The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized test designed to measure a prospective graduate student’s critical thinking. Almost all universities in the US require applicants to graduate programs to take the GRE and submit their scores.
The GRE consists of a verbal section, a quantitative (math) section, and two analytical writing assignments (essays). Students receive separate scores for Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing.
The Verbal section asks students to read articles written at a graduate level and answer questions about them, and to complete sentences from which words are missing. The Quantitative section poses math problems, asks students to interpret charts and graphs, and includes Quantitative Comparison, a question type unique to the GRE. The Quantitative section is not a math test, but a test of critical thinking written in the language of mathematics. A student can always solve a Quant question by ‘doing the math’, but the test rewards students who save time and effort with creative problem solving. One analytical writing prompt asks students to take a position on a given issue, the other asks them to analyse a given argument.
Students can prepare for the GRE by becoming familiar with the test and by learning and practicing the skills each section requires: reading analytically and efficiently, analysing sentence structure, translating English into mathematics and vice-versa, and problem solving.