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 well.

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

Scores you will need to gain admittance to a graduate program:

To predict your score:

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.

Tips on Improving your GRE Score

Verbal and Quantitative Sections:

Analytical Writing Test

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 presents.

Psychology Subject Test

o    Read an Introduction to Psychology Test (check out a recent copy from the library)

Testing Format

Subject Test Only - Paper and Pencil Testing

General Test Only - Computerized Testing

When should you take the Test?

For more information, to register, and to obtain practice materials:

GRE Homepage
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This page last updated on Feb. 5, 2008