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So I signed up for the General GRE's

  1. Aug 29, 2008 #1
    What do I bring? I zoomed through it and didn't really read anything but when and where I'm supposed to show up. It's my understanding that it's all on them there "computers" these days. But since I'm doing math, I'd still need a pencil and they'd provide scratch paper, right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2008 #2


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    There should be instructions of what to bring. Usually, you need to bring yourself, a photo ID, and a pencil (maybe it doesn't matter if it's pencil or pen anymore since you're not filling out scantron forms). Yes, if scratch paper is allowed, they will provide it. Generally, you won't be allowed to have anything else with you, so don't bother trying.

    I'm trying to remember...the GRE was just a couple hours long, right? So yeah, that should be it. I think it was the MCATs that were all day, so we were allowed to bring a sack lunch and keep it under the chair during the test and only take it out when we left the room for the lunch break.
  4. Aug 29, 2008 #3
    When I took it about a year ago, it was in a office building. Its all done on computer. I was required to bring two photo IDs I think and nothing else but myself. They provided the pencils and scratch paper. They made me lock up my car keys, wallet, phone, etc in a locker. The exam is about 3-4 hours long.

    Be sure to get lots of sleep and load up on B vitamins.
  5. Aug 29, 2008 #4


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    Wow, didn't know it's done on computers nowadays. How about SATs? Are they still paper or computerised now?
  6. Aug 29, 2008 #5
    Is it 3-4 hours depending on how fast you go, or is it just that long? My mind works in sprints, not marathons. I'd do a lot better if I could zoom through questions as fast as I can than to have to wait for half an hour to be up or something like on the SAT's.

    Two photo ID's, then? So driver's license and something else?
  7. Aug 29, 2008 #6
    Good luck! :biggrin:

    I never read those instructions :blushing:
  8. Aug 29, 2008 #7


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    When I took the GRE in Dec 2007, I remember i just brought 2 IDs and that was it. They gave me the pencil and the scratch paper.
  9. Aug 29, 2008 #8
    writing: 45 minute essay + 30 minute essay
    reading section: 30 minutes, 30 questions
    math: 45 minutes, 28 questions

    I imagine you could save time on the writing, but the reading and math don't leave much time to play with. (you choose when to end the test and can move on)

    It's not really too long
  10. Aug 29, 2008 #9


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    Some quick tips:

    1) The test is adaptive, estimating your final score after each question, then giving you a harder question if you get it right and an easier one if you get it wrong. Toward the end of the test, the questions result in a smaller swing, whereas toward the beginning, it can swing your score hundreds of points in either direction. So take extra time and be careful about checking your work on those earlier questions.

    2) Use the scratch paper liberally, especially with your essays. You don't have time to revise, so it's important to plan ahead and have a coherent outline with each paragraph logically connected back to your thesis. You can't throw crap up there and turn it into an essay later. Also, you can get more scratch paper any time you need it by asking the proctor.

    3) You almost never need to solve for variables or calculate precise values for the quantitative comparison questions. There's usually a very quick way to infer the correct answer by estimating.
  11. Aug 29, 2008 #10
    Essays? Will they be on paper or computer? I'm slow as molasses with writing by hand. That's what kills me the most during tests. That, and not knowing the material. But it's still hard. If I can type, then it should be no sweat. I'm real good at writing up BS under pressure.
  12. Aug 30, 2008 #11

    Ben Niehoff

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    4) Use the entire time given for the writing portion. Don't rush. I would say, plan to be done 5 minutes early, but no earlier than that. That leaves you a little room for error, but doesn't cause you to cheat yourself out of writing well. There is PLENTY of time to both plan and type the essay, so use it. You should probably spend up to 10 minutes outlining on the scratch sheets in fact, depending on exactly how fast you type and how long an essay you want to write.
  13. Aug 30, 2008 #12

    Ben Niehoff

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    The essays will be typed, which will be a huge relief from things like the AP English exams where you had to write by hand (eugh!). But if you put down BS, they will recognize it. You need to write reasoned essays, coherent and concise; the point is to say something rather than to fill space.

    And that brings me to

    5) Get a prep book and learn what is on the test, and spend time preparing! If you walked in there without knowing that you had to write essays, you'd be toast. ETS's own prep software is very good; it offers 4 (I think) complete tests, which you can take to simulate the actual test environment. Make sure you do the writing parts, too; even though the program obviously can't grade your essays automatically, it does provide samples of essays which earned all scores from 6 down to 1, so you can compare and estimate what you might score. But mostly, you need to practice writing the essays.
  14. Aug 30, 2008 #13
    Crap. You're making this sound like it's actually hard, and not like High-School essays that were easy...

    I think I'll do one or two of those tests, then. I set my test date on the 9th of September... so not much time. And I still have to keep studying for the physics GRE!
  15. Aug 30, 2008 #14


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    Just download the GRE PowerPrep and practice with the stuff there, and make sure to check out the sample essays provided.

    Good luck!
  16. Aug 30, 2008 #15
    Here's a reallllllly silly question: What exactly is the GRE? Is it the test to get out if undrgrad school? Or into grad school? :redface::confused:
  17. Aug 30, 2008 #16
    It's a test to get into graduate school. It's not the most important thing, i.e. your grades and stuff are just as important, but you need to take it to go to graduate school in the US.
  18. Aug 30, 2008 #17
    Quick question, do I need to know which schools I want to send the scores to before I take the test, or can I send my scores later?
  19. Aug 30, 2008 #18


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    You can send them later, but it will cost you (about $15 per school!). I believe you get to choose 4 recipients, before you actually take the test, free of charge. If you don't pick any, then you're basically forfeiting these 'freebies.'

    The GREs are a ****ing scam if you ask me. It's as if college students can really afford the hundreds of dollars worth of exams and application fees.
  20. Aug 30, 2008 #19
    It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't monopolized. That's where the money comes from, being able to set the price.
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