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GRE


GRE is the acronym for Graduate Record Examination and it is a standardized test that evaluates the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing of a prospective international graduate student hoping to pursue a master’s program in the US. It is administered by the US-based Educational Testing Service known as ETS.

Who should write?

If you’ll like to pursue a postgraduate degree or apply for a fellowship in the U.S, then you should consider writing the GRE test. We say ‘consider’ because the decision to write the test also depends on whether the fellowship or graduate school you are applying to requires the test. Once you have ascertained this in the affirmative, then you need to plan ASAP on how, where, and when to write the test based on the application timeline.

How can I register for the GRE test?

Paper-delivered GRE General Test

If you opt for a paper-delivered test, you can register by mail or online. Either way, you must ensure that the name(s) you provide during the registration is typed exactly how it appears on the identification document(s) you’ll present on the test date.

For online registration:

You’ll need to create an ETS account if you don’t have an active one already. If you are planning to take the test in Nigeria, please note that the only acceptable mode of payment is through Visa, PayPal, and voucher numbers.

And if you’ll like to apply for test accommodation for health-related needs and disabilities, you won’t be able to apply online but by mail.

For registration by mail:

The only payment method acceptable if you wish to take the test in a Nigerian test centre is by using a Visa card or using voucher numbers. You are required to download the registration form, complete the form, and mail it with your payment to the address on the form before the registration deadline.

You are advised to allow 4 weeks of processing your application after submission.

Please note that registration forms cannot be faxed.

Computer-based GRE General Test

Ensure that you register for the computer-delivered test early enough so that you can select your preferred location or test date. Registration for this test could be online or on a call to the ETS office.

As with the paper-delivered test, you must be sure that the name you submit during registration is the same as the one on the valid means of identification you will be presenting at the test centre.

Registering online will also require you to create an ETS account if you don’t have one already. You should also endeavour to register for the test at least 2 days before your preferred test date.

Again, testing in Nigeria? The only way to get your payment to ETS is by using a Visa card, PayPal account, or voucher numbers. Also, note that the online registration option is not available to test takers who wish to apply for accommodation.

To register by mail, you should call the Regional Registration Centre (RRC) under which Nigeria is, at least 2 business days before your preferred test date.

Here are the details of the Nigeria’s RRC:

Prometric Building 3

Finnabair Technology Park

Dundalk Co Louth

Ireland

Phone: 31-320-239-593

Fax: 31-320-239-886

As soon as your registration has been processed, you will receive an email from ETS confirming your test choice, centre, and score recipients (if you provided any during your registration).

If for any reason you need to correct personal data, then you should contact GRE services before your scheduled test date.

Can I reschedule or cancel a GRE General Test before the test date?

Yes, you can. Provided you do so not later than 4 days before the test date you selected. If your cancellation or rescheduling is later than this date, then you’ll have to forfeit your test fee.

However, whether you are rescheduling the test or changing your test centre, you’ll be required to pay a fee of $50. And if you’ll like to cancel a test, you’ll be entitled to only half of the test fee you pay. The ‘no later than 4 days’ clause also applies in any of the 3 cases.  You can do any of these through your online ETS account or by calling the GRE services beforehand.

How is it graded?

The GRE General Test scores are reported in 3 sections. Scores from the Verbal Reasoning and the Quantitative Reasoning sections are reported separately on a 130-170 scale in steps of 1 point while the Analytical Writing section score is reported on a 0-6 scale in increments of half a point.

These scores are scaled scores that have been converted from the raw scores to accommodate any variations in level of difficulty among test editions and the differences in difficulty experienced with the test taker’s test that may be introduced by the second-level adaptation.

So, in essence, a given scaled score is a better indicator of the performance of the test taker irrespective of the test section and the date when the test was taken.

A university department or scholarship body can either set a cut-off mark for each section or an aggregate cut-off mark for both the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections with the maximum obtainable score on both sections being 340.

As soon as you are done with the GRE General Test you will be prompted to make a choice between reporting your scores and cancelling them. If you choose to report them, then you’ll get the opportunity to see your unofficial scaled scores on the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections.

What score guarantees scholarship?

Would you be applying for financial aid alongside your postgraduate application? Then you’ll need to work towards achieving high GRE scores. However, it is important to note that GRE scores aren’t the only determinants of whether or not you’ll get financial aid. The decision panel will consider your past academic achievement, personal statement, GPA and leadership skills among other factors.

Nonetheless, whether it is for an admission or scholarship application, GRE test scores are known to speak about an applicant’s persistence and dedication to do excellently well in a graduate school.

Which is a fair conclusion, because if you can devote your time to attaining high scores on the GRE, it is very likely that you will be as devoted when you are in graduate school and thereafter.

Which schools admit with GRE?

Again, while we can only give you close to accurate information about the schools that admit students with GRE, the onus is on you to actually check to see if the school you are applying to falls into that category.

Harvard Law, for instance, recently announced that by this year’s Fall, it will start receiving GRE scores in place of the LSAT.

So, it is always best to work with updated information which you can get on the school’s official website.

However, based on statistics, 60% of the grad schools in the U.S list GRE scores as a requirement for applying for a postgraduate program.

When will my scores get to score recipients?

Before you select a test date, we advise that you match up the score reporting timeline with that of your score recipient. For the computer-based test, you can work with a time frame of 10-15 days after the proposed test date for the scores to get to your recipients.

For instance, if you are applying to the University of XYZ whose application closes on the 4th of November. If you want the test scores to get to this school right on time, then you will do well to select an available test date between the 18th and 20th of October or even much earlier to avoid missing the deadline.

Nevertheless, some schools may receive GRE scores even well after the deadline. But in such cases, this is stated clearly in the eligibility criteria for the program you wish to apply for. You will do yourself a lot of good to actually look out for this important bit of information before you make a choice so that you don’t miss out on a great opportunity to further your education.

You can also decide to take the computer-delivered test as many times as you want. But you must note that the choice to take a test many times is restricted by ETS’s rule that you can only take the test once in every 21 days in a continuous stretch of 365 calendar days or 12 calendar months.

This rule also applies when you cancel the scores on a test you may have taken before.

The paper-delivered test, on the other hand, can be taken as often times as it is offered.

How many score reports will my test fee provide?

Your test fee gives you the option of sending 4 score reports without extra charges. But if you’ll like additional score reports then you’ll need to pay an additional fee of $50.

ETS also offers GRE General Test takers the opportunity to send their best scores to recipients with its ScoreSelect® option. It allows you up to five years to decide which of the scores you want your recipient(s) to see.

So how does this work?

On the test day, you are at liberty to send your scores immediately after the test or choose one from your most recent or all test administrations in the last 5 years.

After the test date, bearing in mind that additional score reports attract a fee of $50 score reports can also be sent from the most recent, any, or all of the General Test administrations.

Irrespective of what option you choose and when you choose it, the selection is by specific test dates, which means the scores to be reported will be from the same testing session. So you can’t pick a score from the Verbal Reasoning of one section and pick the scores from the Quantitative Reasoning section from a test taken at a different date. All scores must be from the same test.

Then again, if you didn’t do so well on a certain test, you shouldn’t worry about it getting to your score recipient. This means apart from the scores you authorize ETS to send to your recipients, the recipient will never know if you took additional GRE tests.

Which courses can one study with a GRE?

GRE test scores are required for postgraduate programs across many fields. Below is a field-wise representation of those who took the GRE test within an 8-month time frame:

Life Sciences – 18%

Physical Sciences – 11%

Engineering – 12%

Social Sciences – 18%

Humanities and Arts – 8%

Education – 4%

Business – 3%

Other fields – 25%

Nonetheless, you will do well to ensure that the graduate school or the fellowship you are applying to has listed supplying it with your GRE test scores as a requirement for considering your application.

What's the best way to prepare for a GRE?

The GRE test is no child’s play. And considering the fact that you can only write it once in every 21 days, a great deal of studying should precede writing it. You need to draw out a realistic study plan and then work diligently with it. You may choose to create a study group of prospective test takers or enrol at a recognised GRE study centre close to you.

Then again, having the right books and resource materials makes studying easier.

You also need to decide on how long you need to study before the test date. Some test takers, especially those in the engineering field may not require so much time on the Quantitative Reasoning section because it is a familiar area.

However, extra time may be required to master the important words and their meanings on the Verbal Reasoning section. The Analytical Writing section would also require some practice to get familiar with the technicalities of the style of writing.

Whatever you do, ensure that you work within a realistic time frame while considering the application timeline of your prospective grad school.

Which centres provide tutelage for GRE?

There are several centres that provide tutelage for GRE across the country and you can find a good list here. Pay attention to the ones we have verified as they are the centres that our team have visited and can vouch for. For those we have not verified, you can check them out nonetheless.

What are the best books for GRE?

There are different resource materials available for prospective test takers who want to prepare for the test. Among these materials is the ETS PowerPrep software that closely imitates the actual GRE test so that test takers can have a feel of a real test under examination conditions.

Currently, ETS is the only source of GRE past questions. However several companies have also provided courses and unofficial resource materials that have been invaluable to test takers.

You may like to check our reviews on the best GRE prep books and where to buy them.

How many testing centres are there in Nigeria and where are they?

The GRE test centres in Nigeria are currently located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Owerri. Any other suggested test centre is not recognised by ETS. So beware of scammers who will come to you suggesting they know test centres other than the ones listed below:

ABUJA

Galaxy Uniprep Centre

N 3, Al-Khums Close 1st floor,

Lingu Crescent,

Opposite Red Cross by NNPC station

Abuja

LAGOS

Electronic Test Company

No. 1 Oba Akran Avenue,

Akande House,

Ikeja.

OWERRI

Swintec Computer Institute

No 5/9 Hospital Road

(Hospital/Orlu Road by warehouse bus stop)

Owerri

PORT HARCOURT

Jephthah Schools LTD

KM4 East-West Road

Between University of Port-Harcourt and Rumuokoro

Academic Bldg.

First Floor Computer Lab/Resource Centre

Port Harcourt

ETS can decide to include new test centres to its list depending on the availability of the centre to host test takers. However, the best way to find the updated list of test centres that offer the GRE test to test takers is to visit the GRE section of the ETS website.

Are there accommodations for health-related needs and disabilities?

ETS provides services and accommodations for test takers with health-related needs and disabilities who meet its eligibility criteria. And if you have a health challenge that may require you take extended or extra breaks, or requires you to bring snacks, beverages, or drinks to the centre, then making an accommodation request is the certified way to ensure that the provisions are made for you on the test day.

To apply for your needs to be catered to so that you can have as much comfort as you can possibly get while writing the test there are a few things to note.

First, you need to get all the requisite information from the Bulletin for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs which contains the forms and instructions you’ll need to make a request.

Then you’ll find more important information in the GRE Information Bulletin and registration forms.

Thereafter, you are to send all completed request forms through one of the following media:

Online:

Applying for accommodation online is straightforward. You only need to log in to your ETS account, go to the homepage, click on the icon tagged ‘GRE Accommodation Status/New Request’ in the ‘Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-Related Needs’ section, and follow the instructions.

Mail:

ETS Disability Services

P.O. Box 6054

Princeton, NJ 08541-6054 U.S.A.

Courier Service:

ETS Disability Services

225 Phillips Boulevard

Ewing, NJ 08628-1426 U.S.A.

Email:

disability.reg@ets.org

Be informed that you can only be scheduled for the GRE general test only after your accommodation request has been approved. You are to wait for this approval email before proceeding to the registration process.

Moreover, your request must be submitted early enough. We also advise you to submit all forms at once because, typically, it takes about six weeks for the documents to be reviewed before they are approved.

Additional documents sent in after the first submission will take another 6 weeks to be reviewed.

If you don’t receive a feedback at least 4 days before your scheduled test, then you should check in with the ETS Disability Services.

Note that the forms differ with test type. For instance, the form for the paper-delivered and computer-delivered tests are not the same. And of course, since you will be writing the GRE general test, ensure you don’t download the forms for the GRE Subject Tests.

All forms can be found on the GRE website for easy download.

Finally, must-haves and mustn’t-haves for the test day?

There are a few things you’ll need to note before the D-day.

First, test centres are often quite cold. So, it is highly recommended that you dress in a way that you can conveniently adapt to whatever room temperature greets you on arrival at the test centre.

For those little albeit important exercises before the test commences, we advise you to ensure that you are at the test centre 30 minutes before your scheduled testing time. If you arrive late, you won’t be allowed to write the test and there will be no refunds of your registration fee.

Food, snacks, music players, mobile phones, calculators, weapons, tobacco, and personal items are not allowed at the test centre. If you must have something to eat based on health grounds, then ensure you visit the ETS website for procedures on accommodation requests.

The only valid means of identification if you plan to write in a Nigerian test centre, is a valid international passport.