Applying to Graduate School, Part Two: GRE

by kathleenljackson

Unfortunately, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a part of most US graduate school’s admission process and (as I learned) no amount of moaning about the evils of standardised testing will change that. Make sure there is sufficient time between your test, the score reporting and the admission deadline. Official scores are sent out approximately 10-15 days after the test.

Be sure to thoroughly read the GRE website when you register for the test. They have plenty of resources to help you prepare for the test.

There are no hard and fast rules for studying for the GRE. I personally bought Kaplan’s 2013 GRE Premier and Princeton Review’s Cracking the GRE and crammed during the two weeks prior to my test. I would not recommend the “cram” approach. The Verbal component requires you to learn an extensive vocabulary list. I recommend you learn a handful of words a day: I used a GRE vocab. app and listened to podcasts, as well as the books. I spent far too much time dreading the math (“quantitative reasoning”) component rather than studying for it; there is a method to the GRE’s questions, you just need to learn it.

If you take away anything from this, it should be to take as many practice tests as you can! Practice, practice, practice! Both of the books I used came with practice tests and there are plenty online. Practicing helps you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, familiarise yourself with their system and teaches you to manage your time.

The only other thing I can say is that the GRE is a tiny part of the entire application; though you should take it seriously, it isn’t the be-all and end-all; I think I’m proof of that.

Average marks for History

  • Verbal – 156
  • Quantitative – 148
  • Writing – 4.2

K’s GRE Results

  • Verbal – 156
  • Quantitative – 142
  • Writing – 4.0
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