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Introduction to GRE sections

Patterns and Introduction to GRE sections

What is GRE? Introduction to GRE sections

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that is a prerequisite for gaining admission at majority of graduate schools in the United States.  It is created as well as administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). GRE aims to assess verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or want to study a specialized master’s course; MBA, MEM, MS or a doctoral degree can give the GRE Test.

Eligibility Criteria: Introduction to GRE sections

There is no specific eligibility criterion for taking the GRE Test. Students can apply for the test irrespective of age and qualification. However, the candidate has to fulfil the admission criteria for individual institutes where he/she is applying.

GRE Structure and Pattern: Introduction to GRE sections

The computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section is the analytical writing section which consists of Issue and Argument tasks. The other five sections have two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or a research section.  However, these five sections can occur in any order.

The GRE revised General Test is a multistage test. This format allows the student to move back and forth between questions that are a part of the same section, and the testing software allows the student to “mark” questions within each section so that they can be reviewed later, if time permits. It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test but one-minute breaks are offered after each section, and a 10-minute break is also given after the third section. The paper-based GRE General Test consists of six sections, but it is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable.

Analytical writing section: Introduction to GRE sections

This section consists of two different essays- “Issue” and “Argument”. Grades are given on a scale of 0–6, in half-point increments. Students are required to write the essays on a computer using a word processing program which is specifically designed by ETS. Using this program, students can perform only certain basic computer functions. It does not contain a spell-checker or any other advanced features. Both the essays are graded by at least two readers on a six-point scale.

  • Issue Essay

The students are given 30 minutes to write an essay based on a debatable topic. In an issue essay, a student is required to pick a side and give their point of view. It tests the student’s ability of convincing the examiner to agree to his/her point of view.  Issue topics are usually selected from a pool of questions, which the GRE Program has published in its entirety.

  • Argument Essay

The students are given an argument (i.e. a series of facts and considerations leading to a conclusion), and they are asked to write an essay that criticizes the given argument. Students are required to carefully understand the argument’s logic and then make suggestions about how the logic of the argument can be improved.  Basically, students are required to focus on the logical flaws of the argument and not give any their viewpoints on the subject. The students must complete this essay in 30 minutes.

Quantitative section: Introduction to GRE sections

It assesses a student’s basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. It is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 35 minutes. Every section has around nine problem-solving items, eight quantitative comparisons, and three data interpretation questions. It also includes numeric entry items which require the students to fill in the blanks and answer multiple-choice questions.

Verbal Section: Introduction to GRE sections

The verbal sections assess a student’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments. Each section consists of 20 questions which need to be completed in 30 minutes. Every section consists of around six text completion, four sentence equivalence, and ten critical reading questions. However, text completion has replaced sentence completion and new reading question types with multiple answer choices have been added.

Experimental section: Introduction to GRE sections

The experimental section (verbal or quantitative), consists of new questions that ETS is considering for future use, however, the experimental section does not form a part of the main score. Since students have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is advisable for students to give their best in every section. Sometimes an identified research section at the end of the test is also provided instead of the experimental section.

Test Dates:

The GRE Test (computer based) is offered year-round at Prometric test centres. Students can take the GRE Test once in every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. This applies even if a student has cancelled his scores of a previously taken test. However, to register and take the test on a specific date, students are required to first create a ‘My GRE Account.’


To register for GRE, students have to create a ‘My GRE Account’. There are four ways to register for the GRE general test- Online, Phone, Mail and Fax registration.


In the GRE test, three scores are reported:

  1. Verbal Reasoning wherein the scores are given on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments
  2. Quantitative Reasoning also on a 130–170 score scale with 1-point increments and
  3. Analytical Writing which is given on a 0–6 score level, in half-point increments.

The official scores are mailed in 10–15 days after the student’s actual test date.

Validity of GRE scores:

The scores are valid for five years.  However, students can request for a re-score up to 3 months after the actual test date.

Introduction to GRE sections
How to register for the TOEFL iBT exam
How to Register for the GRE exam
Day before GRE exam

Day before GRE exam

You have done your utmost to prepare yourself for the big day. The race has been long and you have come very close to the finishing line. You have poured all your energies in meticulously planning for your exam, studied exhaustively and done countless revisions.  The last thing that you want now is to ruin your exam performance by any careless slip-up. Now that  you are fully equipped to take the much awaited GRE/SAT/GMAT exam ,make sure to follow the right strategy.  Day before GRE exam Read More



|TOEFL vs IELTS – This is an article that compares the two examinations|

When you are striving to become part of a globally renowned university, you do not want to leave anything on a stroke of luck. Higher education aspirants from countries where English is not the first language need to exhibit required proficiency in English in order to become a part of an international classroom setting. There are predominantly two standardized English language testing which are widely accepted in most of the foreign universities i.e. IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). While both evaluate your English language skills based on four parameters of Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking, on-going debate of which test to take has become a moot point amongst the aspirants. Read More

GRE Classes

Should you be taking up GRE classes or should you self study. Read the pros and cons for both.

Your aspiration to attend a top graduate school is greatly dependent on one vital factor, your GRE score. A good GRE score is an ace up your sleeve and an authorized educational permit to reputed universities and much sought after graduate programs. GRE scores play a crucial role not only in helping one get admission in prestigious programs but also facilitates lucrative scholarships, fellowships and grants. Moreover with a better GRE score, one has an upper hand in getting your education funded from reliable financial institutions. GRE CLASSES

Before you decide whether to take preparatory classes or not you must take a diagnostic test to ascertain where you stand.If you score 315 or above , you are already on the road to success and you do not need to take preparatory classes.If your score is less than this threshhold number, then it is advisable to consider preparatory classes.

An effective GRE regimen can be worked out by getting enrolled with a good test prep program which offers following advantages: GRE CLASSES

1.While one is self-motivated to excel in GRE, an external stimulus goes a long way in inspiring him/her towards accomplishing their GRE goals. It is similar to running a marathon, where the other people running with you inspire you to continue. GRE CLASSES

2.You get a conducive, inspiring and a tailor-made environment that helps you in making an organized strategy for study. GRE CLASSES

3.You are able to beat the test anxiety powerfully while training yourself with effective time management methodologies.

4.While you learn from your mistakes, you do so with the mistakes of others as well.

5.Your facilitators help you not only in identifying and working on your weak areas which you might not even be aware of but also help you hone your strengths to its optimum level.

6.Your facilitators will familiarize you with strategies that will help you save time and increase your efficiency.

7.You will invariably start falling into a routine without even realizing it.

8.Your study becomes more structured and disciplined and you start getting comfortable with the idea of GRE exams by repeatedly solving test papers.

9.You get speedy support and guidance while reviewing your answers and a fresh perspective also helps you brush up your own perspective. GRE CLASSES

10.Doubt clearing sessions as well as personalized one-on-one sessions is an essential part of such programs.

11.Practice sessions, Mock tests, study material, online library offer a rich resource.

12.You get to know about recently asked GRE questions and latest updates by ETS.  For example: You might not know whether 0 is an odd or an even number but from GRE perspective it is an even number.

13.Once you join a Test Prep class, periodic exams will help you in mapping your progress.  On the basis of your current capabilities and areas of improvement, a Road map is chalked out for you. GRE CLASSES

Joining a test prep class is like joining a gym. Though you might know the benefits of a healthy fitness regimen, you may not always follow it but when you enroll yourself with a fitness program, it becomes a part of your routine to attend. In the same way, joining Test Prep class invariably enhances your skillsets, improves your approach, and makes you more disciplined and competent to take the GRE. GRE CLASSES

What is a good score in TOEFL

This article is about understanding the TOEFL requirements of the Universities and thereby answering “What is a Good Score in TOEFL?” 

TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardised test to measure the applicant’s proficiency in English. TOEFL is recognized by more than 9,000 colleges, universities and organizations and other TOEFL participating institutes across 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK and the United States.What is a good score in TOEFL

Each section has a score of 30, for a total overall score of 120. You don’t pass or fail the TOEFL. Sometimes universities require a specific score for each section of the test, for example 24 out of 30 in the speaking section. The score levels for the various sections are as mentioned below:

Sections Score Range Level
Listening Section 0–30 High (22–30)
Intermediate (15–21)
Low (0–14)
Speaking Section 0–30 Good (26–30)
Fair (18–25)
Limited (10–17)
Weak (0–9)
Reading Section 0–30 High (22–30)
Intermediate (15–21)
Low (0–14)
Writing Section 0–30 Good (24–30)
Fair (17–23)
Limited (1–16)
Total TOEFL Scores 0–120

The best definition of a good TOEFL score is that it should get you into your school of choice. Most colleges have a cut off TOEFL score, or a minimum score that you must meet in order for your application to be considered. Sometimes meeting this cut off score is enough for the school to feel confident about your English skills, but there are cases where it is recommended that you score higher than the cut-off score to improve your chances of being admitted. Some schools are more accommodating and flexible and ask for alternative requirements if you fail to meet their TOEFL cut-off score. Hence, before you begin studying for the TOEFL, it’s a good idea to know the score that you need to achieve. Here is a list of the minimum score required by some colleges in the USA. What is a good score in TOEFL

College Name Minimum Score
Arizona State University 61
Boston University 95
Carnegie Mellon University 100
Case Western Reserve University 80
Clemson University 79 – 80
Columbia University 100
Cornell University 100
Florida Institute of Technology 71
George Mason University 88-100
George Washington University 80
Georgia Institute of Technology 79
Harvard University 100
Illinois Institute of Technology 80
Purdue University–Indianapolis Undergraduate: 61

Graduate: 79

Johns Hopkins University 100
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 100+
Michigan State University 79 (No section below 17)
Michigan Technological University 79
New Jersey Institute of Technology 79
North Carolina State University–Raleigh 80
Northwestern University 111
Ohio State University–Columbus 71
Pace University Undergraduate: 88/89

Graduate: 90

Purdue University–West Lafayette
77* (*Writing 18 Speaking 18 Listening 14 Reading 19
Note that in addition to required minimum scores for writing, speaking, listening, and reading, the Graduate School also requires a minimum overall score that is higher than the minimums for the four area tests combined.)
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick 83 (*Writing 22 Speaking 23 Reading 21 Listening 17)
Stanford University 100
Stevens Institute of Technology 61
SUNY–Stony Brook 80
Syracuse University 80
Texas A&M University–College Station 100
University at Buffalo–SUNY 79
University of California–Berkeley 78
University of California–Irvine 80
University of California–Los Angeles 87 (Writing: 25 Speaking: 24 Reading: 21 Listening: 17) 

 Now that you have figured out what your minimum score should be here are some tips that will help you in your prep – What is a good score in TOEFL

  • When you are preparing for the TOEFL, it is not good enough to just listen to and read things that you enjoy and are interested in. You need to read extensively to build your vocabulary. Three excellent resources on the Internet areBBC News, NPR, and VOANews.
  • Learn how to take good notes. What is a good score in TOEFL

As you can hear the clip only once – take down the essential points. Try symbols and shorthand

  • Practice pronunciation. There are lots of videos freely available over the internet that will help you improve on your pronunciation.
  • Practice writing essays in the English format
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Take the test at least twice, if not more.

The above information would help you understand, plan and systematically work towards meeting your desired TOEFL scores. This would increase your eligibility for the desired program and help you get admission in your dream university.

References: What is a good score in TOEFL

The Wikipedia Article What is a good score in TOEFL

The Test Magic TOEFL FAQ

Score Use: Setting Score Requirements for the TOEFL iBT


About the GRE Exam