By: Lisa Parmley
The GRE General Test is the most widely accepted college admission exam for graduate school. This test strives to measure the knowledge that test takers have gained over long periods of time (like through their undergraduate programs).
The GRE currently consists of three sections; Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are made up of multiple choice questions. The Analytical Writing section is composed of two essay questions.
You will receive three different scores for your GRE test; one for each of the three sections. The scores for the two multiple choice sections, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections, range from 200 to 800 (with 800 being the highest). The score for the Analytical Writing section ranges from 0-6 (6 is the highest).
The average GRE General Test score is about a 500 for the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections and about a 4 for the Analytical Writing section. Obviously, the better your score, the better chance you have of being accepted into more competitive graduate programs.
In addition to your GRE General Test scores, some graduate programs also require scores for the GRE Subject Tests. You will need to determine what the schools you are applying to require for admissions. Many of the more competitive programs within a particular school will require GRE Subject Test scores. All graduate programs will require your undergraduate transcripts along with letters of recommendation. Many schools also desire a personal essay.
If you are planning on pursuing a graduate degree, it is recommended that you apply to a few schools. Many graduate programs are highly competitive; therefore you increase your chances of getting into at least one program with more applications. You never know how your application will be perceived by the admissions counselors. If you only send in one or two applications and are not accepted by either school, you will likely need to wait another full school year to apply again.
Depending on your area of study, your background, and the schools you apply to, you may qualify for an assistance ship. This can virtually pay your way through graduate school. Most assistance ships will pay full tuition along with a monthly stipend throughout the school year in exchange for teaching labs or undergraduate courses. In addition to the money this will save you, you may also add this as experience to your resume once you graduate.
Competitive assistance ships are usually granted based on GRE scores and undergraduate GPA's in addition to an individual's experience. The most qualified students in a graduate program will usually secure the assistance ships.
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