Thursday, March 6, 2008

GRE test pattern

The GRE test consists of 3 sections testing your Quantitative, Verbal and Analytical writing skills.The Quants and Verbal section are for 800 marks each while the analytical section is scaled to 6. The GRE is an adaptive test unlike most of the tests you have taken at school and colleges i.e the questions are not fixed in nature. The next question you get depends on the difficulty level of the previous question and whether you have answered it correctly or not. The first question is of moderate difficulty while the difficulty of the second depends on the answer to the first. A correct answer means a more difficult second question while a wrong answer means an easier second question. The catch is that if you get the easier questions wrong you get to lose more marks than a more difficult one. This process continues till the last question. If your last question is exceedingly tough it means you have done well in the exam. If you have done very poorly the last question will be child's play!

This is why the first 10 questions are very important in the GRE. If you get them all right then you enter the 'tougher' zone and so even if you get a few questions wrong after that you get to lose lesser marks. If you get most of the first 10 wrong you lose more marks because these questions are relatively easier. So concentrate on the first 10 questions and try to get most of them right.

Quantitative section:

The Quantitative section consists of 28 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. The Quants section mainly covers topics that tests your basic knowledge of mathematics. Major topics include Number Systems, Percentages, Fractions & Decimals, Algebra (including Quadratic Equations), Geometry (including Basic Coordinate Geometry), Ratio & Proportion, Area & Volume of 2-D and 3-D figures, and Probability.

Verbal section:

The Verbal section consists of 30 questions to be answered in 30 minutes. The questions can be sentence completion, analogies, antonyms and reading comprehension. There can be 2-4 comprehension passages containing 8-13 questions. The passages can be make or break of your performance. If you are a good reader than you can not only get most of the answers right but also save some time for the other questions.

Analytical writing section:

The most tedious part of the exam is the analytical writing section. The writing assessment section requires you to write two short essays. The first is the Issue task, in which you need to analyze the issue presented and explain your views on it. For the Issue task, you will be able to choose 1 of 2 essay topics selected by the computer from the pool of topics. The time allotted is 45 minutes.

The second essay is Analysis of an Argument, in which a given argument has to be critically analyzed and evaluated. The Argument task does not offer a choice of topics; the computer will present you with a single topic selected from the topic pool. The time allotted is 30 minutes.

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