The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Exam is a required test for most American graduate schools except for law schools, which require the GRE). The GRE consists of three multiple-choice sections, Quantitative, Analytical and Verbal, and an essay section called the Writing Assessment, which is taken separately.

Test Format Changes (as of August 2011)

High-scorers typically spend over 40 hours preparing.

Essay Section: The Issue Essay is 30 minutes instead of 45 minutes long.

Verbal Section: Antonyms and Analogies have been replaced with Text completion and Sentence Equivalence to test vocabulary.

Math Section: There is now a calculator. There are a new variety of complex math questions instead of standard multiple choice.

The GRE is now a “modified CAT test.” This means that the first section will be medium difficulty, and the second section will be hard or easy depending on how well you did on the first section.

What Skills Does the GRE Test?

The GRE primarily tests four skills:

Endurance and ability to focus
Basic knowledge of word usage, math, inductive and deductive reasoning
Test-taking skills: ability to guess, work at an appropriate pace, and make decisions under pressure
Problem-solving abilities

The 800score method is to focus on these skills that are necessary for both success on the GRE and in graduate school.

As for endurance, the first skill, you’ll have to stare at a screen intensely and focus for over three hours. Keep this in mind when taking practice tests. Get used to working for hours on end. The physical and mental exhaustion is part of the test’s challenge. That’s why we offer 5 GRE CAT practice tests. You should take as many practice CAT’s as possible so as to learn the test and to get used to the grueling experience.

The second skill set, a basic knowledge of reading comprehension, math, inductive and deductive reasoning, is covered in the later chapters of this online prep guide.

General test-taking skills are covered in this chapter and throughout the online guide. Timing is a major part of test taking, particularly for the GRE CAT. Our Test Pacer system will teach you the pacing interactively.

To improve your problem-solving abilities (the fourth skill set) we have extensive information on reasoning techniques and specific strategies. When you get a question wrong, make sure to review the conceptual error you made by reviewing our explanations for the question. You do not want to repeat the error.

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