Posted on
09
Nov 2022

GRE Structure, Scoring, and Strategy Tips

If you are at the beginning of your GRE prep journey, it’s important to understand the structure of the test and to be equipped with the right strategies for navigating each section. In this article, we’ll overview the delivery structure of the exam and provide powerful GRE tips to help you earn your best possible score on test day.

GRE Structure and Scoring

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) comprises six sections.

Analytical Writing

The first section, the Analytical Writing measure, has two tasks timed at thirty minutes each. The first task asks you to “analyze and issue” by taking a position on a brief statement. For this task, you will have to construct your own argument in support of your position. The second task asks you to “analyze an argument,” providing you with a short paragraph in which an author supports their own position on an issue. For this task, you will not construct your own argument but critique the argument in the prompt, identifying the assumptions and facts upon which it relies for strength and validity.

Each writing task will be scored on a range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments, both by a person and by a program, with the two scores being averaged. If the scores given by the person and by the program are significantly different, another person will take the place of the program, and the two human-generated scores will be averaged. (This person/program scoring approach is the same as on the GMAT). Once each of the two tasks has its averaged score, those two scores are in turn averaged into your final Analytical Writing score.

Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning

Sections two through six are the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning measures. Each section has twenty questions, but the Quant sections are timed at thirty-five minutes each, while the Verbal sections are timed at just thirty minutes each.

While ETS (Educational Testing Service, the administrators of the GRE) maintains that the sections can appear in any order, the official practice tests on their website and the experience of thousands of test-takers indicate that these sections will always alternate types (Q-V-Q-V-Q or V-Q-V-Q-V). Only two sections of each type (two Quant and two Verbal) count towards your score.

For whichever type has three sections, one of those sections is experimental and unscored. This section exists for ETS to check the validity of new content for future administrations of the GRE. There is no safe way to recognize or distinguish the experimental section from its scored counterparts; you need to treat every section as if it counts.

Like the GMAT, the GRE is adaptive, but on a much lower-resolution scale. While the GMAT adapts on a question-by-question basis, the GRE only adapts the difficulty of the second (scored) section of each type (Quant and Verbal) based on your performance on the first (scored) section of that type, which is always of medium difficulty. ETS has not released information on how many different degrees of difficulty exist for the second sections, but the official practice tests provided on the ETS website have three possibilities for each second section: an easier one, a medium one, and a harder one.

Both the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning measures are scored on a scale from 130 to 170. Unlike the GMAT, the GRE does not combine the Quant and Verbal scores into some overall score or report percentiles for test-takers’ combined scores out of 340 (the sum of the scores for the Quant and Verbal sections). Percentiles are only provided for the independent Quant and Verbal scores out of 170, as well as for the Analytical Writing measure.

GRE scoring percentiles:

Here are up-to-date GRE scoring percentiles:

GRE Score Percentiles for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning

Scaled Score Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning
170 99 96
169 99 93
168 98 90
167 98 87
166 97 84
165 95 81
164 94 78
163 92 76
162 90 73
161 87 70
160 85 67
159 81 64
158 78 61
157 74 57
156 66 54
155 67 51
154 58 47
153 58 43
152 52 40
151 48 37
150 43 33
149 38 30
148 34 27
147 30 23
146 27 20
145 24 17

GRE Score Percentiles for Analytical Writing

Score Percentile Rank
6.0 99
5.5 97
5.0 91
4.5 79
4.0 54
3.5 37
3.0 13
2.5 6
2.0 2
1.5 1
1.0
0.5
0.0

GRE Strategy Tips

A main structural difference between the GMAT and the GRE is the GRE’s feature of section navigation. While the GMAT does not allow test-takers to navigate a section or return to any previously-encountered questions on the section, the GRE has a navigation screen for each Quant and Verbal section, accessible via a “review” button in the top-right corner of the test.

This screen shows you the status of each question in the section. If you haven’t seen a question yet, it will be labeled “not encountered.” If you have seen a question but not answered it, it will be labeled “not answered.” As you can see on question 4 of this section (highlighted above), a question may also be labeled “incomplete” if it has multiple parts and only some of these parts are completed (this is possible on most of the vocabulary-based questions on Verbal sections).

You should never actually leave a question “incomplete” or altogether “unanswered” before moving on, even if you mark it for review. When you toggle the “mark” button (right next to the “review” button in the top right), always fully answer the question before moving on. Even a random answer is better than no answer at all.

[Note: the label “Section 2 of 5” indicates a total of five sections rather than six because the practice tests do not include an experimental section. Also, you can toggle between showing and hiding the time remaining for the section. This feature is on the real GRE as well.]

The navigation feature represents an exploitable opportunity for GRE-takers. Since both the Quant and Verbal sections have consistent internal structures, you can choose which questions to work through first and which questions to leave until the end. For more info on these “internal structures,” stay tuned for upcoming articles.

On the Verbal sections, you can choose whether to do reading comprehension questions or vocabulary questions first. In the Quant sections, you can begin with all the quantitative comparison questions or leave them until the end. You can also specifically target the data interpretation questions early on if that suits you.

Some test-takers will benefit from getting their least favorite questions out of the way and then speeding through the easy stuff. Other test-takers might like to knock out the easy questions first in order to know exactly how much time they’ll have to complete the harder ones. You can figure out what’s best for you personally on your way through the GRE prep process, and the insights of a private GRE tutor can be of great value here.

Thanks for reading our GRE tips regarding structure, scoring, and strategy. As this series of articles continues, we’ll break down the Quant and Verbal sections independently to help you understand the structure and content of each section type.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute, consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us!

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

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Taking the GRE in New York: Everything You Need to Know
Posted on
26
Oct 2022

Taking the GRE in New York: Everything You Need to Know

About ¾ of the way through your extensive GRE prep you should begin to start planning your test day, including scheduling the test, preparing your trip to the test center, and even pre-visiting the test center so that you know exactly where it is. This guide is here to offer you all the required information related to taking the GRE in New York.

Who administers the GRE in New York?

The GRE is administered by Prometric. They have many test centers located throughout New York, so you should have no problem finding a convenient location.

What does the test center look like in New York?

The GRE is a computer-based test, so you will be taking the test on a computer. The test center will include individual testing areas for each test taker with a separation screen between each taker.

Where are the test centers located in new york?

Center 1:

1250 Broadway, #2500

New York, NY 10001

+1 646-690-0303

Directions to the test center

Center 2:

80 Broad St #3400

New York, NY 10004

+1 212-785-0359

Directions to the test center

Center 3:

384 Bridge St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

+1 718-797-4061

Directions to the test center

Top MBA programs in new york

There are many top MBA programs in New York. Some of the most popular programs include: 

Tips

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the GRE: 

  • Get started early – give yourself time to prepare and increase your chances of success.
  • Create a study plan and stick to it for the most effective preparation.
  • Familiarize yourself with the GRE format.
  • Hire a personal GRE tutor who will guide you through the exam. You will get one-on-one attention and they can help guide your studies according to what’s needed for success.

GRE test Day FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about taking the GRE

How long is the GRE?

The GRE is a 3-hour 45-minute computer adaptive test that has three sections: an analytical writing assessment, a quantitative section, and a verbal one.

Am I allowed to bring a calculator?

You will not be able to bring your personal calculator to the GRE exam. You should also leave any unnecessary electronic devices at home.

If you are looking for professional help to boost your GRE performance, head to our official website and book your 30 minutes complimentary assessment session now.

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GRE Tips
Posted on
25
Feb 2022

Top 5 GRE Tips For The Exam Day

If you are interested in attending graduate school, you may have already started considering taking the GRE exam. This is a standardized exam that not only tests your knowledge and skills but also reveals your potential when applying to graduate schools. If you want to earn a high score, you have to consider different aspects during your preparation, including useful strategies to use on the day of the test. Below you can find our top 5 GRE tips to keep in mind during the exam!

1. Answer every question

There is no negative marking on the GRE. This means that you will face no penalty if you guess on some of the questions. If you aren’t sure about a particular question, it would be better to guess what the correct answer is rather than leave the question unanswered. Try to make a quick, but also educated guess. Even though it may not be the correct answer, by trying you can only gain points. In comparison, leaving a question unanswered will definitely bring you no points. Try your chance, it may be your lucky day, and you may even get it right!

2. Starting with the easy questions

All GRE questions in one section are worth the same points. Thus, you should start answering the questions that you are sure of and collect the “easier” points first. Whenever you come across a hard question, skip it for the moment and go back to it later. You can always use the marking function during the GRE exam to indicate which questions aren’t answered yet. When you are done with the rest of the questions in the section and have earned “all the easy points”, complete your marked questions. Then, review the questions you were unable to answer since you may be able to answer them when you return to them a second time.

3. Use the process of elimination

When you are not sure of the correct answer to a particular question, use the process of elimination. When you eliminate the incorrect answers you are closer to getting the correct answer. This increases your odds of picking the correct answer and getting some extra points from the question.

4. Read every question carefully

Reading your questions carefully and understanding what you are expected to do is crucial for success on the GRE exam. Many students often make careless reading mistakes which result in awkward answer choices. Some of them include misreading a word like “not” or “except” or formatting an answer to a math problem in the wrong way. All this can be avoided if you adopt the essential GRE tip of reading closely! 

5. Keep your pace

You have to keep an eye on the time and have a clear plan on how to organize it while taking the GRE test. The Verbal and Quant sections have 20 questions each. The Verbal section is 30 minutes long, which means you have about 1:30 minutes per question. The Quant section is 35 minutes, meaning you have about 1:45 min per question. You may want to practice sticking to these time limits so that you can ensure that you will have enough time for every question. Some questions may take you longer, but still, this is a good general guideline to follow in order to organize your time effectively.

 

To Review

Learning useful GRE tips and tricks for solving the exam can become a game-changer and help you skyrocket your score. Here at Apex, we know that preparing for the GRE exam day may be a challenging task. For this reason, we are more than happy to support you on your GRE journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you ace your GRE exam!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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Before taking the GRE
Posted on
03
Dec 2021

Before Taking the GRE, You Should Do These 3 Things

Imagine that you wake up on a sunny day, you feel energized and positive about where your day is headed, and you have a plan in your head on how to organize your time efficiently so that you can begin preparing for your GRE exam. Then, suddenly, you realize that you only have a few days left before your GRE exam date. You start overthinking about what you know or don’t know about the exam, its procedure, the dos and don’ts, and you feel yourself getting stressed. This is a normal feeling for most people who have exams coming up and feel like they lost track of time. There are a few things you can do to help with the process.

1. Get yourself accustomed to the exam procedure

It is of utmost importance that you know the GRE exam procedure by heart before taking the test. This can help by making sure the exam goes smoothly and so that you are not worrying about making silly mistakes. So, how is the GRE structured and what are its procedures? The GRE has three sections:

    • Quantitative Reasoning, two sections (35 minutes per section).
    • Verbal Reasoning, two sections (30 minutes per section, 20 questions per section).
    • Analytical Writing, one section with two separately timed tasks (30 minutes per task).

The total time it takes to complete the GRE, with breaks, is usually 3 hours and 45 minutes. If you’re interested in learning some test strategies to boost your score, check out our article 8 GRE test strategies to help you boost your score.” 

2. Take the GRE practice exam during the same time as the real one

Having routines in life helps us manage our time efficiently. The same can be said for the GRE exam. It is crucial that you know what time your real exam is going to be so that you can start preparing and practicing during the same time of the day. Why is this important? Let’s say you usually wake up at 11 AM and start studying around 1 PM. If your exam starts at 10 AM, you’re going to have a hard time functioning to the best of your abilities. Thus, it is suggested that you create a routine around your exam time so that your brain and body can get used to it.

3. Revise your previous GRE mistakes, but don’t acquire new knowledge

Cramming in new information a few days before taking the GRE does not usually result in effective learning. It is a student’s habit to start learning new material at midnight, but this will not help you solidify your knowledge. GRE needs practice and time, and you simply cannot learn new things in a span of a few hours. That is why it is better to go over what you have learned thus far, which will help in remembering what you already know. If this makes you feel like you have to have a plan, that is great! You can start with study plans months or even a year beforehand. Take a look at these GRE prep tips to help you start with your GRE journey in an efficient way. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, it is often easy to get stressed before the exam and lose track of time. To feel prepared to take the GRE, we that you get accustomed to the exam procedure, take the practice exam during the same time as the real one, and revise your previous mistakes, but don’t try to acquire new knowledge a day or two out. These are only a few tips to help you feel more confident about the big day! If you would like to read more about GRE and what to expect on the test day, we have answered some FAQs for you. Some people feel more assured about taking the exam when they have GRE tutors. If you can do it on your own, then good job! If you are thinking about having an instructor help you with the GRE, you can sign up for a complimentary consultation call.

 

Contributor: Sarin Sulahian

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