The GRE: Part 1--What is It?

student taking an exam

What is the GRE?

Often, people are really enthusiastic about pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology. Then they realize that applying to graduate school  almost always involves taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Their concern about the GRE is that they fear taking a standardized exam, and they realize that that like most standardized tests (e.g., ACT, SAT) the GRE may be weighted heavily by graduate schools. Here are some things to keep in mind about the GRE:

1) The GRE can be viewed as the “graduate SAT or ACT”. Because it is a standardized exam, everyone who takes it (primarily on computer) takes the same exam in the same way.

2) Most schools will want you to take the “regular” GRE that includes a verbal component, a quantitative component, and an analytical component. However, there are some schools may want you to take a subject GRE exam in Psychology. Because of the latter, it is probably a good idea to keep your textbooks from your Psychology courses to help with your studying.

3) The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the GRE. You sign up to take the exam online, and in most cases you will take the exam online at a testing center. IIt is important to know that to register to take the GRE you need to create or have a My GRE Account.

4) The cost of the regular GRE is $205, that can be paid with a credit/debit card or a voucher number. Yes, this is a high amount, but be aware that ETS will reduce fee under certain circumstances (e.g., financial need). Yu will need to contact ETS about this.

woman sitting and reading a book

5) The regular GRE has three specific parts.The Verbal section tests (using multiple-choice questions) vocabulary (primarily in context) as well as reading comprehension. The Math section tests (agian using multiple-choice questions) basic math concepts--basic algebra, geometry, averages, ratios, number properties, exponents and square roots, and numeric problem solving. Finally, the Analytic section includes two essays--answered on the computer. One question assesses your ability to formulate a convincing argument about an issue topic and (one involves evaluating an argument by addressing the logical flaws of the argument. You can actually access the pool of topics for both questions on the GRE site.

Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding, Dr. Lippert and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

Want More?

Visit our website to learn more about possible careers for psychology majors or those interested in jobs that involve psychology.

Learn how to succeed in college with Professor Golding’s blog.

Check out Dr. Lippert’s website to learn about her work as a cognitive psychologist.

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