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GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations. It is a competitive entrance exam designed and conducted by ETS. ETS is run by well qualified professionals and it is responsible for administering a number of standardized entrance tests across US and many other English-speaking nations.
The GRE is conducted solely for the purpose of scanning students for admission in a graduation course. Every year there are numerous students who seek admission in various colleges and universities across US. They come from different socio-economic backgrounds and hence have different levels of knowledge and understanding. The test examines them for a standard level of knowledge which they are supposed to have at the college level. College education is tougher than school education and colleges cannot afford to take in students who are not competent enough to complete it. This test, in fact, serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it helps colleges scan candidates and select only the capable ones. The colleges can shun those who do not meet their requirements and choose from others who have scored well in the test. Secondly, it helps students by giving them an opportunity to show their knowledge which is measured on a common scale and all deserving students get a fair chance of admission to a college of their choice. The test is fair and unbiased to any particular class of students. It is an excellent opportunity for students to compete for admission.
The test comprises of two types of tests. First, you have to take up the General Test which is compulsory; and second, there is an optional Subject Test. The general test evaluates the students’ basic knowledge, logical reasoning and understanding skills, learning capacity and analytical abilities. It signifies the basic requirement for college studies. And the subject test measures subject specific abilities of the students, if any. For those who want to take up some specific subject of their choice, the subject test comes in handy. This test gives you a score, and hence a certification, that your knowledge in the subject which you intend to take up is good enough for you to understand the subject at the graduation level. Hence the college authorities do not hesitate in giving you admission. It is an added admission criterion of sorts.
The test (general) consists of three sections, each having a different purpose. The first section is the Analytical Writing Section. It is followed by the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Sections which may come in any order. The Verbal Reasoning Section tests your knowledge of different aspects of English language. For a student who has to study graduation in a college, a certain level of proficiency in English is required. He has to know how to interpret written information, how to comprehend the meanings of difficult words, etc. In the verbal section you have basically three types of questions: Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence and Reading Comprehension. Analogies and antonyms have been removed from this section with the introduction of the revised test. To attempt this section well, you need to have good vocabulary; good reading and comprehension skills; clear conception of grammatical rules; etc. Next you have the Quantitative Section. Mathematics is considered to be a difficult subject, but at the same time it is a very important subject. It is said that “mathematics is the mother of all sciences”, and very truly so. Any subject that you take up, any job that you take up or even small calculations required at home are based on the basic principles and formulae of mathematics. Hence it becomes obvious that your quantitative skills are tested in the test. The topics will include number systems, percentages, fractions, decimals, quadratic equations, basic coordinate geometry, ratio and proportion, area, volume, probability etc. The level of knowledge tested is that of a student of 10th standard. Moreover, this section hints at your sense of logic as well and is thus an indispensable part of the test. Finally, there is the Analytical Writing Section. In this section what is tested is how well you can construct your argument and how well you can express yourself. Here you have to write two essays. In the first essay you have to read a given viewpoint and present your own views on the issue. In the second essay you have to critically analyze the viewpoint presented and criticize the views in a logical manner. Here the criticism need not be reflective of your personal ideas; only the given viewpoint has to be analyzed. These two questions give a fair idea of how logically you can analyze written material, develop ideas and present them. Thus the three sections of the test cover significant aspects of your education and intellect and give a comprehensive view of your capabilities.
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