As I’m getting closer to graduating from UMD, I am considering my post-graduation decisions more seriously. As a junior, I am looking into a variety of graduate programs trying to find one that will fit my interests and needs. I quickly realized that for most graduate school options that I am looking into, I will need to take the Graduate Record Examination or the GRE. I personally had no idea what this test entailed, where I would take it or when, so I began to research! Today I will share with you some of my findings.
The GRE is offered 1-3 times per month based on your testing center (there is one located in Duluth). You can take the test as many times as you would like, just not more than once in the same month. There is a $175 fee associated with taking the exam each time. As far as formatting goes, the test is divided into three parts: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. These are chosen because they are skills that are used in a variety of fields and are not career or field specific.
When is the appropriate time to take the exam? There is much ambiguity with this answer. I found out that test scores are valid for approximately five years. So even if you’re looking into taking a break between undergrad and graduate school, you can still take the GRE now. It is wise to plan ahead and talk to admissions counselors at the schools you’d like to attend. They will give you useful advice about scores they want to see, and also when application deadlines are. You can then plan accordingly, to make sure you are finished early enough to have your scores sent in. You can also budget enough time to take the exam a second time in case you aren’t satisfied with your initial scores. Also important to note, not every graduate program requires you to take the GRE. You may have to take a different entrance exam or no exam at all. Check the admissions requirements for each program to know for sure.
There were a lot of sites available that offered advice for the GRE. Some of the reoccurring themes were: make sure to study, memorize math equations, and take practice exams. I also found that there is an abundance of free study materials online. Even the GRE website offers a free software that will give you practice exams, vocabulary words, and much more.
If the GRE is something that is of interest to you, I recommend checking out their website at https://www.ets.org/gre/. There is a ton of useful information about submitting your scores after the test and it also goes into great detail about what you can expect to see on the test. Good luck!
Here are some resources about graduate school available on the UMD Career Services website.