GRE – All You Need to Know


For those who might have tried to apply for Masters programs in US universities, you may have noticed, on some of the programs you wish to apply to, that a weird sentence keeps popping up: “This program accepts GRE scores”. And, for good reasons, you start wondering “What the heck is GRE?”

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that calculates three very important parameters: Verbal and Quantitative reasoning and Analytical writing. It is usually requested by universities in the U.S., that students take the test prior to enrolling to a Master’s degree.

The first point to understand here is that this examination is standardized around the world. You could be taking it from anywhere on this planet, and the syllabus and pattern remain the same. This is logical, considering that education patterns may differ from nation to nation, but when you’re going for higher education on a global platform, it is only fair that all aspirants get judged on an equal footing.

Apart from being used as a qualifying factor, GRE scores are often used to determine funding decisions too. If you want to get into your dream school, and want to be funded by the University for your education, you need to show them a decently high GRE score along with other application requirements.

What makes the GRE stand out is the option to retake the test multiple times a year, while you can also choose which grades you send the university after taking the GRE. And that’s truly amazing, because most other tests won’t even let you go back to some of the questions you already answered, but GRE lets you re-answer all questions when retaking the test.

GRE scores also play a role in your visa approval. The US Embassy is very particular about who gets to enter their country, and a very low score may result in your visa application getting rejected.

How does the GRE test work?

GRE test can be taken on paper or on a computer. However, the time duration varies for each type. For paper-based test, more time is allotted.

GRE General Test will measure 3 parameters. Each one has its own rules for testing your skills. And these are:

  • Verbal reasoning: Where you get some incomplete data and you try to draw the lines and conclusions. These questions also focus on meaning, like if that’s what the author wanted to say, or if it’s literal or figurative, if some points are major themes or simply details, and so on
  • Quantitative reasoning: The Quantitative aptitude section tests logic related to numbers, problem solving and data interpretation skills
  • Analytical writing: Imagine you will need to defend an idea, and you will need to bring arguments, examples, and so on, but, instead of convincing people with wild hand gestures, you can only use the power of pen and paper. The Analytical writing section comprises of two essays where you have to construct a well-reasoned argument with supporting examples, as well as examine and analyze someone else’s claims.

Overall, the entire exam is based on the cumulative knowledge that a graduate studies aspirant is expected to have accumulated over the years. It judges your critical analysis skills which are paramount to completing your dissertation successfully.

Test scores and preparing for the exam

Although the scores will be available for 5 years, you need to take the actual test a few months before you wish to apply to your future degree. The thing is; it will take time to score your paper, and then some more time to send the scores to your future university. Yes, GRE will send your score to the university.

While taking the test, if you don’t answer any questions for a specific measure, the grade you will receive will be ‘NS’, which means No Score. So, if you want to be the best and get the scores you need, you should probably spend between 1 and 3 months studying.

Where can you take the GRE test in Nigeria?

The computer based GRE test centers in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt (Rivers), Jos (Plateau) and Owerri (Imo). Sometimes, test date may be available in one state and not the other.

Why you should take the GRE

  1. It is known that the qualifiers in the GRE Test can get admissions easily in graduate schools worldwide. Nowadays, many schools have started accepting the GRE scores as part of the admissions criteria. In fact, it opens a whole new world of opportunities.
  2. You find that many students from different under-graduate schools and different backgrounds apply to similar graduate schools. This test works out to be a fair test to judge applicants on similar level of learning skills. You need to know the format of the test, besides the questions most likely asked and this is also the reason why you need an appropriate GRE coaching.
  3. Irrespective of the course you wish to do, taking the GRE test will help you plan better. GRE Scores are valid for 5 years, so even if you are not clear as to which course to pursue you can take the test and secure your future by staying ahead in the competition out there.
  4. If you are a student with an average GPA, you have the chance of proving your capabilities with these tests so that you have new avenues opened up for you.
  5. As the GRE test is a general test and does not test you on any specialized skill or subject it is easy for anyone to opt for this test based on their learning over the years.
  6. As this test is able to measure your potential and aptitude for your success in the future during the graduation, you know for sure where you stand.
  7. You are tested for verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing, so the scores give a total picture of your capabilities and potential.
  8. The best part about GRE is that you can retake the test. Studies show that students score better second time. You can show your best score for best results with the new GRE Score Select option.


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