What is the GRE exam? How to prepare for it?

How To Start Preparing For GRE

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”-Benjamin Franklin

What is the GRE exam?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a computer-based standardized test conducted and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This exam is primarily a requirement for admissions in graduate programs in the United States and Canada.

The GRE General Test generates scores in three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills to evaluate the applicants’ qualification and preparation. The verbal and quantitative reasoning parts have scores ranging from 130 to 170 each. Analytical writing assessment scores range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. Some graduate schools also require applicants to take the GRE Subject Test that assesses the technical cognition of a particular subject like Physics, Psychology, Chemistry, or Mathematics. The scores range from 200 to 990.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the GRE General Test can stand at any of the various test centers and institutions available in more than 160 countries or from the comfort of your own home. Choose the place that suits you the best. The duration for giving the exam is 3hours 45 minutes. According to the ETS website, the at-home GRE version is here to stay, and appointments are available around the clock, seven days a week. The applicant can attempt the GRE once in 21 days and a maximum of 5 times a year, with the scores valid for the next five years. The test costs a $205 fee, and financial aid is available for those GRE applicants who prove economic hardship.

What is a good GRE score?

The importance of a GRE score can range from being a mere admission formality to an essential aspect of the selection process. Each program has varied expectations from standardized tests. Researching admissions statistics for different graduate programs can help applicants determine the GRE scores good enough to qualify for their desired programs. Prospective students should check the admitted students’ GRE score ranges and if the schools they are applying to require a GRE at all.

Conforming to the ETS statistics, the mean GRE score for quantitative reasoning is 150.3, verbal reasoning is 153.6, and analytical writing is 3.6, resulting in a 303 overall score(45th percentile). In the same way, the mean GRE subject test score for Chemistry is 689, Mathematics is 664, Physics is 714, and Psychology is 619. Securing above the average subject score can be considered well.

According to Andrew Selepak, the GRE scores that are good enough for someone to qualify for one graduate program may not allow them to compete for another program. Some schools may have a higher or lower GRE score requirement. So, the applicant needs to learn the minimum score for the program he/she is applying to because a few points higher or lower can make all the difference. After considering the mean score for the targeted institution and evaluating the candidacy competitiveness, the applicant can arrive at a good GRE score.

How to prepare for the GRE exam?

For GRE preparation Online, a variety of resources are available. Acquiring good scores in GRE depends on one’s ability to prioritize the information presented and organize it in ways that allow solving problems efficiently. The following tips for GRE preparation will strengthen your performance:

  • Understand GRE format: The applicant should familiarize with the test pattern to know what to expect exactly. It will act as a framework and boost your confidence. GRE pattern is available in both Computer and Paper-based modes. However, prospects taking the GRE test from India can only appear for the GRE Computer-based module.
  • Set daily goals: Prepare a timetable or study schedule for regular daily studies and follow it religiously until the exam day. The plan should cover the entire syllabus and leave much time to solve practice papers. Candidates need to dedicate at least 2-3 hours per day at the minimum. Build up your GRE vocabulary.
  • Manage time: Focus on managing the time for effective and efficient preparation of GRE. A few months of sacrifice will get you closer to your dream university. While some might take only a few months to reach their optimum level of preparation, others could take a longer or shorter period to study. Hence, time management becomes very crucial.
  • Solve practice test: Attempt a sample mock test to know the baseline score. Practice tests make the applicant well versed with the GRE syllabus. Numerous practice tests and study guides are available on the official ETS website. Treat these results as a benchmark to obtain the ideal score.
  • GRE prep courses: While some choose private tuitions, coaching classes, or self-studies, the current choice among students is online prep courses. Online GRE courses assist in finding the quickest way to solve questions. They provide interactive videotapes, animations, and real-time feedback.


Candidates desiring to appear for GRE can achieve qualifying or higher scores by committing to their ultimate goal and taking information from verified sources such as the official GRE website. The essential part of GRE is keeping calm and collected. So, keep the test context up-to-date, relax your brain the preceding day of the exam, and maintain self-care by taking calculated breaks and remaining confident. A clear and vigilant mind is the best way to approach this exam.

And if you’re still wondering how to prepare for GRE and don’t know how to move ahead, reach out to LilacBuds. We are a digital-first study abroad consultant. We offer end-to-end personalized mentoring, so schedule a diagnostic call with one of our mentors and discuss your aspirations with them before signing up. We provide admissions consulting, test prep, SOP evaluation, and profile development services.


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