Are you planning to appear for the GRE (Graduate Record Exams)? Well, in that case, you need to streamline your preparation in a proper manner. This exam is of the utmost importance to you if you wish to get into the top graduate schools in Canada, the United States, and a few other countries.
Since the GRE is a standard test that evaluates your verbal, quantitative and analytical skills, you need to excel in each section. If you want to make your dreams of studying abroad come true, you need to take up this test.
Basically, this test is the basic step towards getting admission in these schools. The key to scoring well in the GRE exams and getting admission into the top graduate schools is preparing in the best manner possible.
GRE Test: Location and Dates
The Educational Testing Services (ETS) regulates and looks upon the GRE test. They take care of the test being conducted all around the world. If you are looking for a GRE Testing Centre near you, you must visit the ETS website.
Their official website has a search tool that will help you access all the GRE Testing Centres near you. One of the best parts is that you can also check the dates and times of the test being conducted.
In India itself, there are 1000 testing centres across 50 states. You can select any one as per your convenience and visit to take the test.
1. Computer Based Test
If you want to take a computer-based test, you must check which locations allow you to take the online test. However, the computer-based test can only be taken after scheduling an appointment.
When you’re selecting the date and location of your computer-based test, there are certain things to take care of. These include:
- You must find a centre near you that allows you to take computer-based tests.
- Some test centres have specific dates during which they take these computer-based tests. So check the date and schedule your appointment accordingly.
- Always make sure to ask the centre if they charge any cancellation amount.
- Since these tests are conducted on a first come, first served basis, make sure to be there on time.
2. Paper Based Test
If you don’t want to go for the computer based test, you can take the paper based test. The paper based test is however conducted thrice a year. However, the test is usually conducted on a Saturday. Always make sure to locate the testing centre around you that conducts paper based GRE tests. This information is available on the ETS website.
In order to meet the registration deadline, you must sign up for the paper based test five weeks prior to the exam date. It is advisable that you check the nearest test centre to you for a paper based test and reach there within time.
3. Selecting the Date for the Subject Exam
While appearing for the GRE subject test, always keep a hold of the reporting date. Make sure that the exam is conducted in time and that you receive the result before the deadline of your prospective school’s application. While the results for computer-based tests are given within 10-15 days of taking the exam, for paper-based tests, you will have to wait around six weeks.
Tips to Select the Right GRE Centre
Once you are determined to take the GRE exam, you need to find the best GRE exam-taking centre near you. This helps to ensure that you give the exam properly and do not face any challenges. After all, your future depends on it, so you don’t want to risk it all.
1. How Close is it to You
Always make sure to check the location of the exam centre. This is to ensure that you calculate the time and reach the destination half an hour before the exam starts. If there are no GRE centres in your city, you can visit the city closest to you.
If you’re visiting another city to take the test, it is advisable that you reach the city two days before the scheduled exam date. This will give you enough time to know about the city and the exam centre. Hence, you will be able to reach the place on time.
2. Availability of Time and Date
Always make sure to check the time and date when the exam is being conducted in the particular centre. There are some centres that may offer a more convenient time and date matching your schedule.
Therefore, you may visit those. If the centres close to you aren’t offering the date and time of your preference, there is no harm in choosing a centre farther away.
3. Method of Reaching
How do you plan to reach the exam centre? If you’re taking the exam in your respective city, you probably already know the ways of reaching the particular centre. If not, you can drive to the centre a day before.
However, if you are not taking the exam centre in your city, you must reach the destination city two days prior. You can visit the exam centre in the respective city one day before your exam. It is advisable to be a little familiar with the routes so that you can avoid any potential delays during the exam.
4. Feedback from Previous Test Takers
There have been various test takers who appeared to take the GRE exam in the respective centre. Therefore, you may consider listening to their feedback. This will provide you an idea of how the management is at the particular centre.
You can check the reviews of the particular centre before finalising your decision. With more clarity regarding the centre, you will be able to make a better decision.
How to Choose GRE Preparation Courses?
Would you be able to appear for the GRE exam just by selecting the exam centres? Well, no, for that you need thorough preparation. You can join any reputable institute near you or online to start your GRE preparation. These preparation courses aim at making learning fun and easy for the candidates.
Moreover, these GRE preparation course institutions usually teach candidates different shortcuts that will be time-saving. Before choosing the perfect course for you, there are different factors to consider. Some of the prominent factors to consider before choosing a GRE preparation course are as follows:
If you’re preparing individually by yourself with the help of online materials, it’s going to be free. However, in this case, you are less likely to get expert guidance if you are ever stuck. If you have a budget for your GRE preparation, be sure to check the fees of the course before signing up.
The GRE preparation course fee can also vary depending on the mode, of course, you’re taking. However, there isn’t much of a difference in the fees for online and offline courses. You can check the fees of GRE courses of respective institutions by visiting their website. If the fees aren’t mentioned, you can call them and discuss the fees before making your decision.
2. Personal Score Goals
Before you decide which GRE course to choose, it is extremely important that you know your score goals. The score you wish to achieve in the GRE exam significantly depends on the graduate school you want to get into. The personal GRE score goals play an important role in helping you make the right choice.
You can check what your personal score goals are by taking a practice GRE test. Taking the practice test will give you a clarity on where you stand in terms of your preparation and if you need any extra classes or not.
When you take the practice test, you may come to realise that there’s only one section for which you need the class. It will also help you understand where you stand in terms of your goal scores.
If you want to improve your expertise in some areas, you can opt for a general class that teaches basics. However, if you feel you’re lagging behind in preparation and need help, you can join a full-fledged course. Each of this will help you in meeting your score goals thereby helping to make the right choice.
3. Method of Learning
Your method of learning can also impact your decision of choosing a GRE preparation course. Every candidate has their preferred method of learning. So, before you make a choice regarding the course, you must know yourself the best.
Do you learn the best by yourself? Do you learn the best in a group? Not every candidate is equal so the method of learning will vary significantly from one to another.
Moreover, you will also need to understand whether you prefer a structured way of learning or independence. When you compare all these criteria, you can make a more informed decision in terms of course.
Since the GRE exam is going to be really important for you, it is advisable that you don’t stick to the general schedule. You will need to make some adjustments in your learning schedule if one form of learning isn’t getting you the best.
Hence, if self-study hasn’t worked out for you, switch to group study. Experimenting with your preferred method of learning can help you know more about yourself. Moreover it can also help you make a more informed decision on how to choose a GRE preparation course.
Types of GRE Courses
There are different types of GRE courses that these preparation institutes offer. However, you must know that each of these types have their own pros and cons to offer. Therefore, you must make a choice depending on that.
Some of the prominent types of GRE courses offered are as follows:
The offline classes usually have a batch of students coming in for the preparation. Each offline class will typically have less than 30 students. The instructor will teach different approaches towards a question and how to solve them easily and quickly.
If you take an offline class, you can meet like-minded candidates in person. Since all candidates will be working together, the changes of learning will improve.
The online GRE preparation courses are the same as offline, the only difference is that it will happen virtually. The online GRE courses have live as well as recorded sessions. You can appear for the online practice questions and mock tests.
Moreover, if you’re taking an online GRE preparation course, you can customise the learning as per your preference. If you have pre-recorded sessions, you can learn at your own pace as well.
Not everyone can be comfortable learning in a group which is why many candidates opt for one-on-one learning. The one-on-one learning allows the candidate to get special attention from the tutor. The tutor will schedule the learning plan as per your preference. However, one-on-one GRE preparation courses can be quite expensive.
Which Type of Course to Choose?
The type of GRE preparation course you choose significantly depends on your preparation. It is advisable that you compare all the factors such as price, learning speed, and access to learning materials before making your choice. As said earlier, every student is different. So, the method of learning for every student will vary as well. As a result, you can make a more informed decision by comparing all these factors.
When you are preparing for your GRE exam, you will get various opportunities to excel. Make sure that you’re grabbing them all.
You need to take practice tests, mock tests, sample papers, previous year’s question papers and more so that you can excel in exams. It is advisable that you find the course and testing centre ahead of time so that you don’t face any problems when the application deadline is approaching.
Staying prepared from the beginning ensures that you’re getting the maximum result. This will also help in making the right choice, especially in terms of exam preparation and getting into your dream graduate school.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find GRE testing centres near me?
Use the official GRE website or ETS mobile app to search for testing centres in your area.
Where can I find GRE preparation courses near me?
Look for local universities, test prep centres, or online platforms offering GRE preparation courses in your area.
Are there any free resources available for GRE preparation?
Yes, you can access free online resources like practice tests, study guides, and video tutorials on the official GRE website and other educational platforms.