Quick fact: There’s a gazillion of standardized tests you can take in the world. And if you aren’t too careful, you might just get overwhelmed with everything.
But before that happens, keep calm and read our awesome articles about the different standardized tests and what each one is about. Did ya know we’ve comprehensive guides to ACT and SAT, plus super helpful study tips? (You can thank us later!)
While these two tests are generally for incoming college freshmen, we’re also here to help graduate students who wish to pursue higher studies. And for that, we give you another three-letter abbreviation to remember: the GRE!
What is the Graduate Record Examinations?
Like ACT and SAT, the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that students take as part of their school admissions but only this time, it’s for graduate school. Think masters and doctoral degrees!
What started in 1936 by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Ivy League schools such as Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, and Columbia University has now grown to more than half a million GRE takers every year. It’s no surprise though since most graduate schools in the US and other parts of the world consider GRE scores as crucial to school admissions. Are you taking the next one?
How long is the GRE?
The GRE lasts for around three hours and forty-five minutes (3 hrs 45 mins). This includes quick one-minute breaks after each test section and a longer ten-minute break after the third section.
What is the coverage of the GRE?
The GRE is intended to measure an applicant’s competencies and readiness to embark on graduate school. That’s why the exam includes three sections focused on analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning.
Depending on whether students take the computer-based or paper-based GRE test, there will be another section on experimental/research.
Analytical Writing Section
The analytical writing section aims to evaluate your communication and logical reasoning skills through concise and effective writing. This section includes two different essays for a total of 60 minutes, where you’ll be expected to write an “Issue” essay and “Argument” essay for 30 minutes each.
Quantitative Reasoning Section
The quantitative reasoning section aims to test your mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills through data analysis and problem-solving. This section covers basic math topics such as algebra, arithmetic, and geometry. It includes 20 questions for 35 minutes.
What to expect in the Quantitative Reasoning Section?
- 8 quantitative comparisons
- 9 problem-solving items
- 3 data interpretation questions
Verbal Reasoning Section
The verbal reasoning section aims to evaluate your critical reasoning, reading comprehension, and vocabulary usage. This section includes 20 questions for 30 minutes.
What to expect in the Verbal Reasoning Section?
- 6 text completion
- 4 sentence equivalence
- 10 critical reading questions
As mentioned above, not all GRE takers will answer the experimental section! (don’t worry, it’s not part of your total score) This part of the test is limited to those who will take the computer-based GRE test, and can either be verbal or quantitative.
The catch, however, is it won’t be identified in the GRE which of the sections are the experimental part so you have to give it your best for every test section!
How is the GRE scored?
Every GRE taker will receive three separate scores for each test section, with each score presented in scale (eg. 13-170) and percentile ranking (how well you did compared to other takers). While there is no passing score to worry about, a good GRE score will help you get into your dream school and course.
|Test Section||Score Range|
According to ETS, the highest possible GRE score is 340 (170 each for verbal and quantitative reasoning) and 6 for analytical writing. On the other hand, the average GRE scores are 150 for verbal reasoning and 152 for quantitative reasoning.
For an Ivy League school like Harvard University which has an extremely competitive school for graduate applicants, a “good” GRE score to be admitted ranges from 155 to 166 for verbal reasoning, and 155 to 170 for quantitative reasoning. For analytical writing, most admitted applicants have GRE scores ranging from 4.5 to 5.0.
But nonetheless, it’s always good to note that GRE scores vary from school to school, as well as from program to program. The best thing to set your target right is by checking the average GRE scores of the school and course you are vying for!
PS. A GRE score is valid for 5 years.
How much does it cost to take the GRE?
The GRE costs $205. While it can be really costly to take the exam, ETS offers the Fee Reduction Program for low-income applicants in the US and resident aliens who meet the set qualifications.
On the other hand, GRE applicants can pay through any debit/credit cards recognized by ETS such as American Express, China Union Pay, Discover, Diners Club International, JCB, MasterCard, and VISA. If you’d prefer not to pay through a card, you can choose from an eCheck service, a money order/voucher, or through PayPal.
Am I eligible to take the GRE?
While the GRE is primarily intended for bachelor’s degree graduates and undergraduate students who are about to graduate, everyone is welcome to take the test since there is no eligibility criteria or prerequisite for the GRE.
What are the application requirements for the GRE?
The general ID requirements for the GRE depends on your country of citizenship and where you plan to take the test. However, in general, each ID must be: (1) an original document; (2) government-issued; (3) valid; and (4) has your first and last name, a recent recognizable photo, and signature.
According to the ETS’ guideline for application requirements, here are the acceptable and unacceptable IDs for Philippine applicants:
|Valid IDs||Invalid IDs|
|Government-issued driver’s license||Any document that is not recognized by a government agency|
|Military ID||Birth certificate|
|National ID||Credit/debit card|
|Passport||Diplomatic, consulate or embassy ID|
|State or provincial ID card||Employee ID|
|International student ID|
|Notary-prepared letter or document|
|Photocopied or expired ID|
|Social security card|
How do I apply for the GRE?
Your application process depends on your GRE test type! Computer-based test takers can choose to apply through ETS’ online portal or through the phone. On the other hand, those who will take the paper-based test can do so through online or mail.
1. Create an ETS account.
- Through this account, you can process your GRE application and access other exam-related services offered by ETS. This includes free GRE diagnostic services, test preparation materials, and score reports. Ain’t that convenient?
2. Choose your preferred testing center and ETS schedule.
- The ETS is conducted all-year around with multiple testing centers locally and abroad. Just confirm your preferred test date and location from the list.
3. Verify registration details.
- Double check your personal information, application requirements, and GRE purchases (if applicable). Make sure all information provided are correct!
4. Pay the application fee.
- Once you confirmed your application details, you can proceed to pay the GRE application fee through their online payment options. You should be able to receive a confirmation email with your exam date, testing center, and confirmation number.
If you prefer the quick and easy way of applying, doing it by phone is the way to go! While the process may vary from one location to another, your phone call should simply give you your exam details such as time, date, location, and confirmation number. The payment process is the same as the online application.
For more details, contact your Regional Registration Center (RRC). The Philippines’ RRC is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia under Region 6.
Applying through mail is limited to paper-based GRE takers. To proceed, download and accomplish the GRE Registration Form and mail it together with your payment fee to the address written on the form. Since mail take a longer time to process, you can expect a confirmation response within four weeks.
Where can I take the GRE in the Philippines?
The GRE is conducted multiple times in a year with more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries. While most testing centers are located in the US, there are multiple RRCs found in different countries/regions.
In the Philippines, Ateneo’s Research and Creative Work offers GRE testing, alongside other computer-based tests for academic admissions and professional licensure/certification.
For the full list of testing centers and upcoming GRE test dates, check out ETS’ official website.
How do I review for the GRE?
Studying for the GRE is no secret. It’s good preparation! Before you take the GRE, make sure to familiarize yourself with the exam details and start early with your review. After all, it’s graduate school on the line. Give it your best shot!
If you need a lil’ help in navigating your way to a ~legit~ GRE study sesh, don’t ya worry! We gotchu covered. Check out our GRE study guide in the blog! (you can thank us later)
Taking masters or doctoral degree is no walk in the park. And it goes to say that the challenge doesn’t just start when you’re already in school, it starts right before—in the application process. For starters, preparing you’re requirements and taking the GRE. Come prepared and let the best school find you! Hey, we’re counting on it!