GRE FAQ
An article about GRE and preparation tips in Indian Context
Contributor

Dr. Yatin Gadgil (yatingadgil@yahoo.com)

Author's Foreward
It took me days and weeks and months to research and find, you are better equipped and have the saved time to be used productively.

If this doesn't help you or is even detrimental, then I would say that this article is merely my opinion and not the official version. And if it does help you and you perform beyond your wildest imagination, you can contact me and express your gratitude to me directly. Cash only please.



INTRODUCTION


Now that you are reading this, it could mean one of two things:-
1) The subject seems interesting to you.
2) More realistically, you would like to go abroad (read US) for higher studies and want to know more about the examination.

And to do that…other than the obvious parameters of money, marks and qualifications, you would need the two important qualifying examinations- GRE & TOEFL.

GRE- Graduates Record Examination

As the two systems of education work differently…the parameters to judge performance and knowledge are different.
Also of primary importance is to check the applicant's ability at using English as a primary language of instruction. English as a foreign language has already been tested in the TOEFL. The GRE is more advanced in its breadth and depth of testing. It is to gauge the applicant's ability at math and analytical ability coupled with verbal proficiency.



CRITERIA UNIVERSITIES USE FOR SELECTION :

(not in order of importance)

-The educational course previously followed-12+4 mandatory
-Performance in all institutions after high school. Official transcripts are necessary for the same. Official transcripts means that the transcripts have been signed by a competent authority and have been placed in a sealed college envelop with the stamp of the college on the closing flap of the envelop.
-GRE+TOEFL
-Recommendation letters from person/s in the best position to judge you objectively in either the academic or the professional arena.
-A Statement of Purpose known commonly as the "SoP".
-Either a paper based or e-version of application form.
In this particular article we shall deal only with GRE…



APPLYING FOR THE GRE:


Applying for the GRE can be done in one of two ways:
-A simpler method is to call up the Delhi number of the ETS. Keep the passport along with you when you call. They ask for pertinent data and then ask for the date and time of your convenience. You have to then provide credit card (an international credit card) data for the fee. You are then given a pin number to be used and the same is mailed to you by regular post.
-A more roundabout route, one followed by those who do NOT have an international credit card is to obtain the ETS/GRE form, fill it. Get a Demand draft for the requisite amount from any bank that handles a foreign exchange department. And then apply for the same. I believe the fee is $170 unless there has been a hike recently.
It is then time for beginning the preparation for the exam. Though there is a provision of appearing for the exam again, the cost factor would be important for any Indian.

IMP:-A point to note here is that the test is administered twice in a day. One begins at 9:00AM and the other begins at 1:00PM. Always take into consideration when you are normally at your active and alert best and accept ONLY that batch. UNLESS the date is a restraining factor, compromise on the date but not the time. The concept of biorhythmic cycles has proved that a person performs best at a particular time of the day.



Examination Details


The components of the examination are:
- Quantitative analysis
- Analytical
- Verbal
The test is against a perfect score of 2400 with 800 per section.

DURATION-The test can last anything from 2.5-4 hrs depending upon certain variables and most definitely luck.
The test has 4 sections…the aforementioned 3 and a repeat of one of the sections as an experimental section. The data thereof would be analyzed and experimental questions applied in exams later on.
The experimental section DOES NOT affect the scores on the exam. But as one cannot say for certain which section is experimental, all sections have to be solved as if they affect your score.

COMPONENTS OF VERBAL SECTION
-Antonyms
-Synonyms
-Analogies
-Sentence completion
-Reading comprehension
COMPONENTS OF QUANTITATIVE SECTION
-Basic algebra
-Basic geometry
-Graphs- bar graphs, line graphs and circle graphs
-Quantitative comparison tests
COMPONENTS OF ANALYTICAL SECTION
-Logical reasoning/critical reasoning
-Analytical reasoning/analytical games

PREPARING FOR THE GRE
BOOKS-
-The Barons Guide to the GRE is considered by some as the bible of the GRE. Good book. I would rate it 5/10 in the overall context.
Arco- Good offering again, especially the tests and the hints. Rating-5/10
Princeton review- Widely loved but I think it is far too easy to take their scores realistically. Rating-3.5/10

CDs-
Kaplan- Undoubtedly the best bet if you want to do specific material without resorting to referring to all and sundry books and CDs. Very user friendly and tough tests and the scores get as close to the actual test as possible. Rating-8/10
Princeton and Power prep- Definitely over hyped and best for the first 2 weeks of preparation. Don't take the scores from these tests too seriously for they are easier tests. Rating-3.5/10

CLASSES FOR GRE
In reality, classes for GRE are not necessary, but if someone feels he/she would cover all angles and would work better under expert guidance, here is some data for you.
A few names:
- Mr. Jayant Pai at Dadar TT, near A to Z showroom, Mumbai. Fee- Rs. 10,000
-Mr. Singh, near Ruia college, Matunga, Mumbai. Fee-Rs. 7,000
-Mr. Dilip Oak, Bhandarkar road, Pune…this person also helps comprehensively to edit SoPs, visa file, etc, for extra charges of course
-Mrs. Madhavi Desai is an overseas education consultant and does NOT take GRE classes…helps with other criteria though.


ADVICE-
Study for short spells of time, there is nothing to learn by rote except for vocabulary. For 2 weeks before the exam, solve computer based tests (CBTs) at approximately the time when you would take the actual test. And sleep well the night before the exam. It is more important to be relaxed and focused than to know a few more weird words.

POST-EXAMINATION


After you are through with the exam and recovering from the grueling endeavor, get ready to hear the scores. It can be a daunting prospect but in that drained condition it hurts way less and if the score is good the joy is unbelievable.

The official scores do take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to arrive. It is advisable to start the paper work along with GRE studies and not wait for the post-examination time frame. Universities indicate that photocopies will not be accepted, yet it is advisable to add photocopies of the GRE & TOEFL scores. At the most they can throw away the copies but if used would serve an important purpose.

Also, before you go into the hall, decide names of 4 schools you would want the scores sent to. ETS sends it to 4 schools within the stipulated fee for the GRE.

Normally Universities ask for scores of all sections but tend to normally focus on those most relevant to the course to be pursued. A humanities course would need verbal scores, maybe even analytical. An engineering course would need quantitative analysis and analytical.



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