Studying in America and Canada  
4.7 Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is typically required for graduate (Masterís and PhD) studies in computer science, engineering, humanities, sciences and some programs in business. The GRE offers two types of tests: General Test and Subject Tests. While most colleges require the GRE General Test, only a subset requires the GRE Subject Test.

The GRE General tests consists of 3 parts:

  1. Verbal: This section tests your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, and recognize relationships between words and concepts.
  2. Quantitative: This section tests your basic mathematical skills and your understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, as well as your ability to reason quantitatively and solve problems in a quantitative setting. The content areas included in the quantitative sections of the test are arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. These are content areas usually studied in high school.
  3. Analytical: This section tests your ability to understand structured sets of relationships, deduce new information from sets of relationships, analyze and evaluate arguments, identify central issues and hypotheses, draw sound inferences, and identify plausible causal explanations. No formal training in logic or methods of analysis is needed to do well in these sections.

Each part of the GRE General Test - Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical - is scored on a scale of 200 to 800; thus, the additive overall scale of 600 to 2400. Your score on each part individually - and thus the overall score - is important. Colleges assess and place different emphasis (or weight) on individual components based on the type of program to which you are applying. For example, engineering programs may place more emphasis on the Quantitative and Analytical parts, whereas English program may place greater emphasis on the Verbal and Analytical parts.

Chances are that you would take the computer-based GRE. This is how it works. You are first presented with questions of medium level of difficulty. As you answer the questions, an algorithm in the background assesses your performance on an on-going basis. As you answer each question correctly, the computer presents questions of increased level of difficulty. If, on the other hand, you answer incorrectly, you are presented with questions of lesser difficulty. This mechanism has two implications that are different form a paper-based test:

  1. No two candidates will answer the identical set of questions; however the algorithm - developed through a rigorous statistical testing of questions - will ensure that the scoring, relative to other candidates, is consistent with your performance.
  2. You can not go back during the test and change your answers, because the sequencing of questions, presented to you, is based on how you answered the previous questions. It is a one-way street.

The GRE Subject Tests are designed to help graduate school admission committees and fellowship sponsors assess the qualifications of applicants in specific fields of study. The GRE Subject Tests are available in 8 discipline: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Whether you are required to take a Subject Test depends on your prospective college.

We can not emphasize enough that your performance on the GRE is critical to your prospects for admission and, more importantly, for financial assistance. You must take the GRE very seriously. Your performance on this test could be the ultimate difference in your success or failure for studying in America or Canada.

You can obtain more details about the Graduate Record Exam on the Web: (

The contact information for the GRE in India:

  • To Register:
  • Region 14 - India
    Phone: +91-11-651-1649 (New Delhi, India)
    Fax: +91-11-652-9741
  • Permanent Test Centers: Ahmadabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Madras, Mumbai, Mumbai US Educational Foundation in India, New Delhi, Trivandrum

prior |  Book Contents  |  Chapter Contents  | next


   Search Help

Tell a friend about this webpage!