The GRE: everything you need to know about the GRE

If you are applying to grad school, then you probably heard of the GRE test. But what is the GRE? Why would you take the GRE and what do you need to do to take this test? Read on as we will tell you everything about what the GRE test is, the costs of the exam, GRE scores and more. Preparation is key, people. So, let’s dive in!

What is the GRE?

You might already have a clue what the GRE is, but we’d like to start from scratch. GRE stands for Graduation Record Examinations. It is a graduate school admissions requirement for both Ph.D. programs and master’s programs. Graduate school and business school admissions committees look at your GRE score, academic record and supporting materials to decide if you are ready for grad school and how successful you will be as a grad student. Long story short: a high GRE score will have a direct and positive impact on your graduate or business school application.

The purpose of the GRE

The GRE test contains three sections that test different skill sets. Verbal Reasoning tests your vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension abilities. Quantitative Reasoning tests your problem-solving abilities and how much you know about fundamental math topics, such as algebra, geometry and data analytics. The last section tests your ability to construct an essay using clear evidence and correct spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation and goes by the name of Analytical Writing.

GRE scores

The three sections are all rated in a different way. The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored on a scale of 130 to 170. With 153 as the mean score for Verbal Reasoning and 151 for Quantitative Reasoning. The Analytical Writing section is scored from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. In this section the mean score is 4.0. Combine these section scores and you have your GRE score.

But what GRE score will help you to get into the grad school of your dreams? Of course, it depends. Always look at the requirements at the graduate or business program that you want to apply for. For example, if you want to apply for an Ivy League university, you definitely need a more satisfactory GRE score. Harvard University’s minimum GRE score is 328. Brown University requires a minimum score of 305.

But we want to stop right here before this blog will be too focused on GRE scores only. If you want to learn everything about minimum and good GRE scores, you can read it in our blog ‘What is a good GRE score?’. For now, let’s continue here with an important topic: money.

How much does the GRE exam cost?

Good and important question. Unfortunately (for you) the GRE exam will cost you money. The GRE General Test costs $205 across the world. Only China, India, Turkey, Nigeria and Australia use different prices. So yes, preparing yourself for the GRE exam can avoid redoing it and paying double the costs. So, grab those GRE summaries, notes and books and let’s get started!

GRE test locations

Across the country and even across the world. GRE exams can be taken everywhere. Just find a GRE test location near your hometown. On the official ETS website, you can check all of the test locations and available dates. If you are more than 125 miles (201 kilometer) from the nearest test center, you even may request a supplementary GRE test center.

GRE practice test

Practice, practice, practice. It can be a good idea to start preparing yourself for this test. After all, we want it to be a success, right? There are many tools and practice tests available, even free ones, that can help you to smash your GRE exam and get you into the grad school of your dreams. In our blog 'A 7-step GRE study plan: how to study and when to start' you'll find a study plan that can definitely put you on the right track. Also, our platform has thousands of students that already passed their GRE exam and are more than happy to share their summaries and notes with you. Take a look around!

GRE waiver

Does the thought of taking the GRE test give you nightmares? Or is your GRE score lower than expected? Then we might have some good news for you. You might qualify for a GRE waiver! Some people are not made for exams. We feel you. Their qualities won’t shine through these exams. But other ways they might. Business schools are more and more open to accept people that don’t provide a GRE score by offering them a GRE waiver instead. After all, it would be their loss if they lose interesting and bright people simply because one is intimidated by the exam.

GRE waivers can be granted to people that have obtained relevant work experience, educational background, previous GRE scores or other relevant achievements throughout their lives. When schools allow GRE waivers, they want you to work for it. And by that, we mean sending them a letter or essay requesting why you should be afforded this privilege (which it really is). Of course, you can also try to get into grad school using other types of exams, like GMAT, LSAT or MCAT.


Another good question. GRE. GMAT. LSAT. With all the different kinds of exams that might decide your future, it can be a little overwhelming. Which one to take? It all depends on what you want. Different kinds of school and studies require different exams. Some schools require GRE scores, others are more interested in GMAT scores. The grad school that you want to apply to can tell you all about the kind of exam that you need to take. Make sure you get your information right. In the meantime, we would love to tell you about the differences between GRE and GMAT and which one is better for MBA in our blog ‘GMAT vs GRE, which is better for MBA?

Are you looking for GRE summaries, notes or guides? Head over to our seller’s GRE collection and study the night away!