What you should do before the GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) opens the doors to quality international education in universities worldwide. Thousands of students from all over the world opt for higher education in these universities and GRE is an important aspect of the application process.

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Before appearing for the GRE, students must first decide whether they must take the GRE General Test or the GRE Subject Test. The General Test is the classic GRE that students take most often. It is the decades-old exam that tests the students in their reasoning and verbal skills rather than a particular subject. Engineering students for example, must generally prepare for this exam, as it gives them an opportunity to pursue graduate studies in engineering, while also making it possible for them to apply for courses at other technical institutions.

The Subject Tests are restricted to a list of subjects like biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, english literature, mathematics, physics and psychology. Some universities might require international students to apply for this test instead of the general test. Students should find out the requirements of the specific universities they are applying to before commencing their preparation. For example, if a student wants to pursue graduate studies in computer science, but did not pursue relevant courses during his under graduation, there may be an advantage in getting a good score in the GRE computer science subject test. As another example, a student who wishes to pursue graduate studies that are quant-heavy like Financial Engineering may have an advantage in taking up the GRE mathematics subject test.

Lately, business schools have also started accepting GRE scores from students. There are many students who benefit from this system because they may be interested in pursuing a career in their respective engineering streams but may be equally interested in pursuing a career in business administration and management.

The three important things to do before the GRE exam are to decide on a coaching plan, schedule a timetable for preparation and practice rigorously.  This sets the stage for identifying the areas of improvement. Once the shortcomings are realized, then more time must be allotted to them so that a better score is obtained. In the last three weeks before the test, it is important to attempt many mock GRE tests so that familiarity with the testing environment and orientation for high performance are inculcated.

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