Now that you have finished your undergraduate degree, its time for grad school. There is a good chance that the school you will apply to will require that you take the GRE. This test will have a lot to do with your chances for admission and how you score on it will be part of what determines your future. Short for Graduate Record Examination, the GRE measures your various cognitive abilities including reasoning, critical thinking, and your ability to write effectively.
The GRE is not of course the only thing that is considered for admittance, but it is an important factor. Schools also consider your gpa, undergraduate degree, and so forth, but depending on the situation, they may care about different parts of your GRE more than others. For instance, if you are applying for a graduate program in writing, schools will likely put more weight on your writing scores rather than math. Nonetheless, other parts are important too, such as considering applicants for a program in mathematics. Since many students will naturally score very high on the math section of the GRE, the school may look more critically at other non math portions of the test.
The verbal section you will be tested on your reading comprehension and analogy skills. The quantitative portion tests you on your math skills, but only at a high school level. In the analytical writing portion, you will write a total of two essays on various subjects. Part of the test includes experimental questions too. You are not told where these are, but they will just be part of the test in one of the sections.
The final section is a specialized section that may be in Chemistry, Biochemisty, Biology, English Literature, Computer Science, Molecular Biology, Psychology, or Physics. Of course this section will be specifically related to the graduate program that you are applying for.
A very unique portion of the GRE is found in a few multiple choice sections that are taken on a computer using a Computer Adaptive Testing mode (CAT). The system analyzes your answers and adjusts according to your skill level. This increases the level of difficulty as you successfully answer questions.
When you apply to take the GRE you will be sent some software to help you including two practice tests, but this is not enough if you wish to excel. There are many different options available for taking practice tests, many of which are online for free, but practice makes perfect, and practice is the name of the game. Knowing what is the GRE going to do for you is only half the battle. You must also prepare and practice, practice, practice, so you can get the best score possible and make your higher education dreams come true.