You’ve heard ’em — the horror stories about the GRE exam. GRE Myths abound, growing wilder with each telling. As GRE prep tutors, we get calls all the time from students trying to check out the latest scuttlebutt.
It happens partly because there is little comprehensive knowledge regarding the GRE exam about – its eligibility, pattern, total marks, and scoring criteria. Many test-takers from India believe they are on a favorable ground because of the base score already given. However, the base score is actually an equalizing tool, to cater to the worldwide test-taker pool. Similarly, many people believe that you need a top score in each section of the GRE exam for admissions to good colleges. The truth is, while it is great to aim for a top score in each section, the score requirement of sections depends on the courses.
In this article, we address 10 most popular GRE myths that make the rounds every year, and using our Sherlock Holmes lens find out the facts behind them!
1. The GRE gives a composite score
All of you must have seen tutorials and videos for scoring 330+ in the GRE exam. This score is not how it appears in the official report card. Because GRE gives sectional marks. The GRE Quantitative section is scored on a scale of 130 to 170 points in 1 point increments, as is the GRE Verbal Section. The GRE AWA section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, in increments of 0.5. So when doing your GRE preparation for getting a score of 330+, focus on each section.
2. GRE Scores are less important as compared to SOP and LOR
The weight placed on GRE scores as compared to other factors will vary from program to program. Because the GRE score is university-specific, not country-specific. However, GRE scores are important determining factors when it comes to availing merit-based financial aid and also to mitigate your low GPA score.
3. Missing the First Few Questions Gives You an Easier Test and a Better Score.
Among all GRE myths, this one was somewhat true before there was a change in the GRE exam pattern. Now the Verbal and Quant section in the GRE exam paper has become section-level adaptive, instead of question-level adaptive. This means the algorithm selects the difficulty of your next quant section based on your performance in the first section. It actually leads you to a better GRE exam total marks as getting successive easier questions is a remark of lower scores.
4. GRE Preparation will be similar to GMAT Preparation
Both the tests are very different with respect to the sections, content, emphasis on grammar, vocabulary, and quant. The GRE Exam syllabus has a lot more variation in terms of quant topics. The GRE exam pattern is also very different from that of GMAT. Fundamentally they test different strengths of the test taker. Only for a handful of degree courses, they are considered alternative admission tests.
5. Quant scores can be improved by Practice, Verbal scores by luck
The GRE myths have invented catchphrases of their own, this is one of them. However, like the previous ones, this is also not true. Verbal Reasoning questions have different formats and tricky answer choices. Solving an ample amount of verbal books for GRE Exam and giving GRE mocks will help you understand what kind of answer you need to identify with a particular question type.
6. Only writers can do well in GRE AWA section
The key to scoring well in this section is doing a good amount of practice rather than using effusive language. It is important to cover all the points efficiently. More than vocabulary, this section tests your logical thinking ability.
7. The GRE Has a Passing Score
You can’t pass or fail the GRE, but a particular graduate school may have a cutoff score that you must obtain in order to be considered for admission. Find out what the acceptable GRE score range is at each of the schools you’re considering.
8. The GRE exam pattern gives an unfair advantage to computer savvy aspirants
GRE is a basic graduate-level test that is required by universities worldwide for admissions to masters, postgraduate, and Ph.D. courses. It doesn’t bank on the computer prowess of test-takers because that would totally nullify the GRE exam eligibility criteria. Sure, students who are very comfortable with a computer may have a little advantage because they have one less stress factor going into the test, but the advantage ends there. The computer skills required for taking the GRE are so minimal that they’re almost irrelevant.
9. Retaking GRE affects chances of admission
ETS provides the ‘Score Select’ feature through which you can select the scores of reattempts that you want to send to specific graduate schools. They do not have access to your previous attempts or scores. A second attempt gives you another chance to perfect your GRE preparation and give more GRE mocks for improving on past mistakes.
10. The GRE Tests IQ
Any assessment or task that employs your brainpower tests your IQ. So, as far as GRE myths go, this is somewhat correct. But the GRE is not an exclusive IQ test. If we go by the ETS description, “The GRE exam paper measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills — skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all. ” It is to understand your ability to cope with the graduate coursework and perform across different domains. You can improve your GRE preparation and performance through understanding the techniques, and patterns in which answer choices are given, giving GRE mocks, and seeking suggestions from your mentors of GRE classes to refine your scores.
So, don’t just believe what you hear. Verify it from authentic sources. Check with your peers and mentors, your GRE class tutors for getting the updated, bona fide information.
Myth becoming Fact?
However, while we are on the topic of GRE myths, there is a pertinent myth that recently became a fact. We didn’t address this in the previous section as this demands separate attention.
You Can Take the GRE on Your Own Computer at Home
Until a few months back, giving the GRE exam from the comforts of your home and not under the heavy scrutiny at a recognized test center, was a dream. But then COVID-19 happened. And suddenly the world as we knew was no more there. In the new scheme of things, like other tests, GRE also became uncertain because of the lockdown and closure of centers. Taking all of this into consideration, ETS is temporarily offering a GRE General Test at home option. The test is identical to the one given at a center in terms of GRE Exam duration, content, format, and on-screen experience. The GRE examination will be taken at your home computer, monitored by a human proctor online through a web platform and ETS has made the exam available for 24 hours, seven days a week till September 30. You can give the exam within 24 hours of registering.
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