How hard is the GRE?

The difficulty of the GRE depends on the student’s preparedness on the actual exam day. Some sections may indeed appear tricky and even complicated. But most of the time, due to self-fulfilling prophecies, which may be caused by nervousness, even the easy items appear challenging to examinees. Instead, if the students believed in the power of perseverance and hard work, they could have aimed for a high GRE score, which would help them get into good graduate schools with business school programs or other chosen programs.

Is GRE harder than SAT and ACT?

Yes, the GRE is viewed to be harder than the SAT, ACT, and other college entrance exams. First, its vocabulary and reading sections are more challenging than the two tests. Second, the math problems in the GRE involve higher-level reasoning. It is believed that these math problems assess the student’s critical thinking abilities, not basic arithmetic[1].

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Is GRE harder than MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT?

No, the GRE is easier than MCAT and other specialized, standardized tests like LSAT and GMAT[1]. Compared to the GRE, these tests and other graduate exams require a student to be knowledgeable of specific topics or subjects[2].

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Is the difficulty of the GRE same for everyone?

Yes, the difficulty of the GRE is the same for everyone. There may be speculations that one test format is more complex than the other. This may be due to the reason that the GRE is a section adaptive test. This means that the difficulty of the next section depends on the performance in the prior section. But for the paper-delivered GRE test, test questions are the same. Hence, there is the same difficulty level.

Is the GRE at home harder than the GRE at the test center?

No, according to one of Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) statements, the test format and contents for both the GRE computer-delivered test and GRE paper-delivered test are the same. The organization assured its consumers that their test administration was secure and scores were reliable[3].

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Is GRE easier than everyone thinks?

In some aspects, it is true that the GRE is tough. But the contents of this test are high-school-level concepts. Therefore, these are topics that everyone has encountered at some time in their life. That’s why anyone who prepares for it can definitely ace it[4].

Is the actual GRE harder than the practice tests?

It depends on the study resource used. There are so many test books and practice tests available on the market, but not all offer the same quality. One of the most famous and probably most accurate practices tests is the one made by ETS. It is safe to say that the actual GRE and practice test have the same difficulty level. On the other hand, the difficulty of other test materials provided by course providers may differ from each other[5].

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Why is the GRE hard?

Test takers view the GRE hard for the following reasons[1]:

  • Vocabulary Difficulty. One might think that advanced language is applied only in language-focused tests. But on the GRE, challenging vocabulary is used throughout the test, making it a complicated exam for some. To be specific, college-level vocabulary is usually used in the test.
  • Word Use Difficulty. Some of the questions are found to be difficult because of the way it is constructed. Logical analysis is really a must in finding the correct answer in every GRE question.
  • Time-related Variables. Some test takers do not perform well under timed conditions. These students get a lot of time pressure during these situations, causing them trouble in understanding the questions. There are people who are slow readers and those who cannot comprehend questions fast, causing them to have time constraints on the test day.
  • Essay Tasks. Compared to other standardized admissions tests, the GRE asks test-takers to write two essays in an hour. The time for each essay is strictly set to 30 minutes, making it more challenging.
  • Computer-Delivered Test Format. There are still test takers that prefer the paper and pencil format than the computer-adaptive test. The adaptive feature of the test also brings stress to most examinees since the test gets harder and more challenging [6].
  • Math section. The math section is viewed by the graduate school aspirants to have a higher level of difficulty compared to other standardized tests. Although ETS has provided its test takers a basic calculator during the exam, some students still find it challenging to answer some questions especially those that includes advanced math. These questions require extensive math knowledge and math reasoning skills.

Listed above are the possible reasons why examinees consider the GRE as difficult. The GRE is difficult because it challenges students’ critical thinking skills and is not as straightforward as previous examinations.

Will the GRE be hard if I study?

Definitely not. It can be challenging, but with enough proper preparation, it will be easy. Familiarizing oneself with the test pattern, honing a study routine, using study resources wisely, taking mock tests, and not letting nervousness get in the way on exam day will surely help achieve the score goals. Basically, how hard the GRE will depend on the preparation of the student.

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How hard is the GRE analytical writing section?

The difficulty of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section depends on one’s writing skills. It’s difficult to get a perfect 6 on this section, even for seasoned writers. The average score ranges from 3 to 5, but this is only the average and it is still very possible to get a perfect score. With enough practice and determination, the goal score may be successfully achieved or even a higher score[7].

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How hard is it to get a score of at least 300 on the GRE?

There is not much difficulty in achieving a score of 300 on the GRE. With minimal preparation and enrolling in a GRE preparation course, scoring significantly higher than 300 may be anticipated. Studying for around 3 to 4 hours a day for 3 to 4 weeks can help achieve this goal score. The GRE score requirement for the prospective school is another factor that must always be taken into consideration.

How to Feel Confident on the GRE

Listed below are tips to reduce stress on the GRE test day and tips in preparation. These steps will help boost confidence in the examinee and prepare them to ace the test[2].

  • Familiarize the test format. Knowing the GRE and its test format is a big help in preparing for the test. The test format includes the time for each section, types of questions, topics, testing procedures, and everything in between. The more you know, the more confident a test taker will be on the test day.
  • Answer practice exams. Take full-length practice tests to be more familiar with the test questions and format. This will also help in tracking the progress and identify which areas need improvement.
  • Take a prep course. If needed, one can take a GRE prep course to improve test scores. Course providers help examinees prepare by providing lectures, practice tests, practice questions, and other study materials.
  • Practice essay writing. The topics for the analytical writing section are provided by the ETS on their official website. Simply being familiar with the test topics will help an examinee prepare and feel confident on the test day. Testing how to write passages on some topics will definitely be a big help.

These are tips that will help an examiner do well on the GRE. Do not forget that there is no perfect formula to this. It is best to look for what works best for the schedule and other personal factors.

How to prepare for the GRE General Test?

Here are some guidelines to help test takers prepare for the GRE General Test:

  • Determine the baseline score. The test taker may have a GRE diagnostic practice test to establish a baseline score and determine strengths and weaknesses. Identifying the areas of weakness gives them an idea of where to focus on during their review.
  • Invest in a GRE test prep course. Although a test taker’s GRE score is determined entirely by their effort rather than the popularity of their review center, enrolling in a respected institution with numerous positive reviews is one better way to study and review for the test.
  • Select the right study tools. Selecting the right study tools and resources can make the reviewing process more efficient.
  • Identify sections to prioritize. It is important that the test taker identifies which part/s of the test they are particularly struggling on so that they can focus more on studying that part.
  • Do practice tests. When studying for the GRE, the practice test is extremely important because the test taker must have practical abilities and approaches rather than simply memorizing information.
  • Prepare a study plan. Making a study plan helps a graduate school aspirant, decide and realize the time frame they have before the test. Through this, they can prepare their study time based on personal factors like work and other commitments. In making a study plan, make sure to give ample time to study each test section.

ETS, the test makers of the GRE, also offers free and low-cost study tools to help test takers prepare for the GRE General Test.

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