Preparing for the GRE

How important is it to prepare for the GRE? Admissions committees for US masters programmes assess your GRE score to determine if you have the academic ability to succeed in graduate school. An outstanding GRE score won't always get you into the school of your choice, however, a low score will probably keep you out. You should consider taking the GRE again if you scored poorly. Admissions committees usually focus on your most recent score.

How should you approach the GRE?

The GRE is a standardised test; therefore, there are standard ways of approaching it —time-management techniques, question type strategies, etc. Understanding the exam format and the ways you can use it to your advantage can increase your score significantly. Because of the competitiveness of today’s US grad school admissions environment and the intensity of the GRE, we highly encourage you to prep formally for the exam. The structure that preparation provides can help you build the skills, techniques and confidence to score your best.

What GRE Score Do You Need?

Your own expectations and goals will determine what you consider a good score. You should keep in mind what scores top graduate schools consider as competitive. Information on average test scores at different schools and programmes is readily available. Research the schools on your list and ascertain their average GRE scores, and then develop a preparation plan to achieve your desired score.

The GRE will help to support your undergraduate grades and helps admissions officers compare you with students from other schools. If your grades are lacklustre, an outstanding GRE score can help you prove that you are really capable of higher academic performance than your grades illustrate. For an older, non-traditional student, GRE scores can attest to the fact that you are still capable of the necessary academic and thinking skills. The GRE Subject Tests are meant to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you plan to study in grad school.

In addition, lots of US graduate programmes base financial aid packages on the GRE (especially on your total score) including teaching assistantships and fellowships. Numerous state and federal financial assistance programs are based partly on the GRE. Application fees may also be waived for students with high GRE scores.