Written by Thien Van Tran

What is the GRE and Why Should I Take it?

If you are thinking about going to graduate school, you need to get familiar with the GRE. What is the GRE? It’s the SAT’s bigger brother. And by bigger I mean more difficult. And it costs more. Like a buttload ton. So don’t just think that you can retake it as many times as you wish. It is the standardized test that colleges across the United States use as an admissions requirement. However, instead of going into college as an undergrad, you’ll be applying as a graduate student. In order to be competitive, your scores will need to be among the highest of those who apply. Also, the job market is a fight for survival right now, so having a Master’s degree will definitely boost your chances of surviving the apocalypse.

Having your Master’s is like these guys having light sabers. Problem solved

The test itself is made up of three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Basically, it’s math, reading, and writing. It is a timed test, so working quickly is just as important as knowing the material.

How Do I Study?

Take practice exams. The GRE can be easy, believe me. But it doesn’t test how good you are at the material. It tests how good you are at taking tests. The questions are written by people who must be as crazed as road lizards. Therefore the only way you can actually be prepared for the questions they ask is to see them beforehand. The company who writes the exams, ETS, has a program available to simulate the actual test, and contains two complete exams. These are very accurate, and in my own experience, I took the practice tests the day before the real thing and scored within two points of my practice score for my Verbal and Quantitative sections.

So what if you do badly on the practice tests? Well you need to assess which sections are your weakest. If math is your weak spot, brush up on your skills with a practice book by AP. Rather than trying to relearn Geometry, I would recommend that you study all the little tricks that allow you to see shortcuts to problems. The main issue that people have on the Math section is time. Doing problems the long way is time consuming, and there is almost always a shorter, “clever” way. If your verbal skills aren’t so sharp, study vocab. How much vocab? ALL OF IT. The GRE literally picks the most obscure words in the English language and manages to use 15 of them in a single sentence. If you don’t know what a few of them mean, you’re probably not going to do well.

When Should I Take It?

Wheneva you want brotha. The scores are good for five years, so if you want to take the exam sooner so that your math is fresh in your head or whatever, go ahead and do so! When it comes time to graduate, you won’t have to worry about studying for your GRE in your senior year. However, the prices do fluctuate so if you want to save some money, try to monitor when prices go up and down throughout the year. But, you can only take a test every 30 days. So good luck studying!!