Primary Selection Criteria
Graduate programs usually receive two to fifty times more
applications than they can accept. Therefore, graduate programs will
usually use a cut-off to determine who will be selected. For many this is
your GRE score. It is the only criteria that directly
compares students between different undergraduate institutions. Others, may look at a combination of GRE and Grades.
Some may consider letters of recommendation at this point. If you do not
pass the primary selection criteria you will be sent a rejection letter.
If you pass the primary selection criteria they will move on to look at your
letters of recommendation, work experiences, etc.
Why is the GRE required for graduate school
admissions? I heard that it does not predict graduate school performance
The GRE does not predict graduate school performance very accurately.
The GRE is used in the graduate application process because it is the only
method available that can compare applicants from different undergraduate
institutions on a standardized scale. Grades are difficult to compare
because different undergraduate institutions have different grade standards.
Letters of recommendation are difficult to compare because you rarely find a
bad letter in this age of fear of litigation. Because the GRE is the only
direct method of comparison among applications, it is not going to be abandoned
any time soon.
Description of the GRE
- Three sections: Verbal,
Quantitative, and Analytical Writing
- The Analytical Writing section
was introduced in the Fall, 2002-its impact on
graduate school admissions is unknown.
- Maximum score on the Verbal
and Quantitative Sections = 800.
- Maximum score on the
Analytical Writing section = 6.
- Perfect GRE score = 1600 on
Verbal and Quantitative and 6 on Analytical Writing
- Psychology Subject Test can
exceed 800 points. An interpretation will be provided.
Scores you will need to gain
admittance to a graduate program:
- Master's Programs - 1100
minimum on Verbal and Quantitative and 5-6 on Analytical Writing
- Ph.D. - 1200 minimum on
Verbal and Quantitative and 5-6 on Analytical Writing
– 1100 minimum on Verbal and Quantitative and 5-6 on Analytical Writing
- Psychology Subject Test-
approximately 600 for all programs
To predict your score:
- The best predictor of your
GRE score is your score on the SAT or ACT.
- Grades don't predict GRE
score very well.
- GRE score will approximate
- ACT = 25 = GRE (V + Q)
Should I take the GRE without
studying to see how I do?
That all depends on how well you did on your entrance
exams into college. If your score on the ACT or SAT was high
enough to predict a high GRE you could take it without studying. You
should consider several things, however.
- First, some universities use
the most recent GRE others use the highest GRE. If the school of
your dreams uses the most recent GRE and for some reason your score goes
down, you will be upset.
- Second, even if you did fine
on the ACT and SAT and make the minimum score on the GRE why not study and
do as well as possible the first time around? Doing the best you can
will increase your chances of getting into graduate school and also
increase your options. Doing well the first time frees time for
other things instead of studying and taking the test again.
- Third, all your scores are
reported to each school, regardless of how they use them. You don't
want to have multiple low scores and then a high score. It will make
them wonder how long it is going to take you to get things right if you
enter their program.
Tips on Improving your GRE Score
Verbal and Quantitative
- Begin studying at
least 3 months before the test.
- Obtain a study guide
for GRE and study all word lists and practice problems.
- Take several
computerized practice tests prior to taking a real test.
- Read the New York
Times daily and make flash cards of new vocabulary.
- Save Algebra and
Geometry courses for the semester before you take the test.
- Re-read an Algebra and
Geometry text if you have taken those classes.
- Hire a math tutor (at
$10 an hour for 2 hours it will be worth the $20 to get you into a good
- Read Cracking the
System: The SAT by Robinson and Katzman.
The information applies to the GRE.
- www.wordsmith.org will
give you a word a day everyday to build vocabulary.
- Attend study sessions
sometimes offered on campus
- Take a practice test
offered each semester by the Caduceus Club-Contact Dr. Martin Brock or
Psi Chi-Contact Dr. Julie Robinson or Dr. Theresa Botts
The assessment consists of two complementary writing tasks in that the first
requires the writer to construct a personal argument about an issue, and the second
requires a critique of someone else's argument by assessing its claims
analytical writing tasks:
(1) 45-minute "Present Your Perspective on an Issue" task
In this task the test taker is given an opinion on an issue
of general interest and asked to address the issue from any perspective(s) they
wish, as long as they provide relevant reasons and examples to explain and
support their views.
(2) 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task.
In this task test takers are asked to critique an argument by discussing how
well-reasoned they find it. Test takers are asked to consider the logical
soundness of the argument rather than to agree or disagree with the position it
- Know what is being
asked of you in each writing assignment.
Focus is on critical thinking and analysis skills, not grammar.
- Write it like you
would say it. Do not try to use
- Review completed tasks
on the GRE Web site.
- You must use a word
processor to write your essay, so be sure you are proficient at word
- All possible topics
for each task are available on the GRE Web site and will be sent to you
when you register for the test.
Review topics and practice each task.
Psychology Subject Test
an Introduction to Psychology Test (check out a recent copy from the library)
Subject Test Only - Paper and Pencil Testing
- Given three times
throughout the year-November, December, April.
- Scores will be sent to
you and 4 institutions in 6 weeks.
- You can change
answers, skip question, etc. while taking the test.
General Test Only - Computerized Testing
- Given year round.
- Scores sent to 4
schools within 10 days.
- Can take new test
every 30 days for a total of 5 times in a year.
- You receive questions
geared to your level making the test shorter.
- Because of
"gearing to your level" exact questions given will differ from
test taker to test taker.
- You cannot correct
answers or go back to questions.
- You can cancel your
score immediately after you take the test and before you see it.
When should you take the Test?
- This is a juggle
between being prepared for the test and making sure that there is enough
time for your application to be received and processed.
- Remember that it takes
6 weeks for the subject test to be reported. You may want to take
this one first.
For more information, to register,
and to obtain practice materials:
This page last updated on Feb. 5, 2008