The GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination, is a test well-known by many applicants to graduate programs and graduate business programs (MBA) worldwide. The test uses a multiple-choice, computer-based, standardized format and measures an applicant’s level of qualification and preparedness for graduate-level academic work.
In a nutshell, if you get a good score on the GRE, your admission to graduate or business school will be a breeze. However, because not much is known about how the exam works (such as the total marks, patterns, or scoring criteria), students made up all sorts of stories over the years.
As a result, test-takers today have to take everything with a grain of salt to avoid falling victim to the misconceptions floating around.
And, to give you a hand, here are some of the most common myths and rumors to keep an eye on:
1) GRE Prep Materials Aren’t Necessary
There are a few students out there who seem to believe the GRE is no big deal. You just sit down with a book or two a few weeks before the exam, and you’re good to go. After all, it can’t be more difficult than the SATs, right?
In reality, the GRE is more challenging than college entrance exams because it has more extensive and complex vocabulary and reading passages. Also, even though the math on the test is lower level compared to the SAT, the problems on the GRE require a higher level of reasoning.
Plus, if you don’t know which materials to use, you can easily get lost in the multitude of resources available out there. And many aren’t exactly affordable! The best way to get prepared for this exam is to work with someone who knows it inside out and can give you detailed instructions on how to avoid the most common pitfalls.
This is why a prep course is the best way to go about this, and you can find a list of the best ones on the Crush The GRE Test website.
2) Everyone has to Take the GRE
Due to its widespread use, it’s easy to see why so many students believe every graduate school in the US requires it. And yet, this is a mistake. While it’s true there are many programs that require it, there are plenty that don’t.
For example, if you’re interested in applying for a master’s or a doctoral program in the humanities, it’s less likely that you’ll be asked for GRE scores. Also, graduate business programs require a GMAT and not a GRE. Plus, mid-tier schools and regular public universities tend to forgo this exam.
On the other hand, a GRE is often required by elite educational institutions (such as Ivy League schools) and programs in mathematics and science-heavy fields.
It would be a shame and a waste of resources to start prepping for the GRE, only to find out you have another exam to take. To avoid such a grim scenario, read the requirements for the graduate programs you want to follow.
3) You can Fail or Pass the GRE
The GRE is not a fail/pass exam; it’s just a standardized test designed to assess skills and knowledge. It’s also a way for universities to select the students they accept based on their scores.
Nowadays, you don’t even get one score for the test – each section has its own score, and most graduate programs have different scoring standards. So, if you don’t meet the requirements for one graduate program (your GRE scores are too low), you can always apply to a different one that’s more inclusive.
Also, keep in mind that the GRE scores are not the only factor considered by the schools to which you apply. Some schools and graduate programs also value work experience (if any) or your undergrad GPA. So, you can have low GRE scores (for your target school) and still get accepted if the other factors are excellent.
The GRE is an important step in your educational path (if it’s required) and should be met with utmost seriosity. But you shouldn’t be highly disappointed if you don’t get your goal scores. It may not get you into the school you want, but there are other schools and programs that will gladly have you as their student.