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If you’re aspiring to go to a good university, either abroad or in Pakistan, this is a must read!

It is known to make even the most astute of academics sweat a bucket load. It is known to take up a year of preparation without giving commensurate results. It is known as the test of all tests. Is all of this really true about the GRE test?

what is the GRE test
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If you’ve ever seen someone you know apply at universities abroad, you probably have a good idea about the loads of tests they have to appear in, most of whom go by their acronym, like the TOEFL or the IELTS exams. Another such test is the GRE test, which is the most general test of them all (but by no means the simplest), and serves as a benchmark against which your academic credentials and your aptitude is judged. Almost all reputed universities demand it, so you might want to read the following carefully.

What is the GRE Test?

The GRE Test, or the Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Service), the organization that also formulates the TOEFL exams. The test, as the name itself implies, is used by graduate schools as an admission criterion, meaning that if you want to do a Master’s degree from a decent university, there is no escaping this mousetrap. The test has three portions – Analytical Writing, Verbal (English) and Quantitative (Maths), and it is scored from a total of 340 points or scores, 170 for Verbal and 170 for Quantitative. It is worth mentioning that even the most ‘Angraiz Bachay’ amongst us do a fairly average job on the Verbal (English), so it is no walk in the park. And if you’ve always felt that you’re good at mathematics, you will not be exempted from hardcore preparation on the Quant section. The analytical writing portion is graded separately. While it may sound simple to prepare for and do well in, it is anything but. Read on to know why.

Registration and Cost of the GRE Test

what is the gre test

So what you’re going to have to do, first and foremost, is to register at the ETS website, and begin filling your details. Next, you will be required to input your location, say Lahore, and the website will automatically show you the seats available, and where your test will be held. Here’s a quick glance at where tests are conducted in three major cities of Pakistan.

  • Lahore: Prometric Center, FC College
  • Karachi: Prometric Center, BRR Tower, II Chundigar Road, Saddar.
  • Islamabad: Prometric Testing Center Islamabad, House #5, Street #17, F- 6/2

The test costs $205, as of May 2019, which round off to around Rs. 29,000/-. A teacher in my school once intelligently remarked, “Pakistanis would pay Rs. 100,000 for a cellphone, but would always prefer pirated books over original versions”. This meant that we have a tendency to cheap out on things that actually matter way more than other impertinent materialistic things. Since the test is aimed at improving your future, don’t be scared to reach deep into your pockets to pay for the test, PLEASE!


Which universities in Pakistan require the GRE Test?

The headache of the GRE Test is normally associated with students who are applying abroad, but it turns out universities in Pakistan also require the GRE Test. LUMS and IBA, Pakistan’s top business schools, require GRE Test scores for their graduate level admissions. Although LSE doesn’t, their admission test is reminiscent of the GRE testing format. The English and Maths tested is similar in type and difficulty, for which basic level GRE test preparation is essential.

How To Prepare For The GRE Test?

how to prepare for gre test
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Let us start by acknowledging that the GRE test is difficult, and to crack it and crack it well requires a lot of hard work, dedication and a goal oriented approach. If you think the old habit of studying last minute will work here too, you’ll soon find yourself in hot waters. If you’ve come this far in the article, it means you’re genuinely interested in giving the exam, and anything of help, at this stage, is useful for you.

As mentioned above, the GRE primarily tests two things, English and Maths, and sadly, very few Pakistani students are equally good at both. Engineers are naturally better at the mathematics portion, and business school graduates are expected to be better at the English portion. Either way, you’d have to put in serious hours and pull your socks up to get a decent (forget good) score in the test.

The discussion of preparing for the GRE test requires a separate, detailed write up, as there are literally hundreds of books and material that you can prepare from, but very few of those will actually help you on test day. The preparation process is a complex and time taking one, but as someone who has prepared for, appeared in the test and gotten a fairly decent score, we will be providing you with pretty much all the pointers you might require.

Caption: Giphy

If you’re starting out, you can begin by revising your basic Math and statistic concepts learnt in school or college.

Tell yourself that there is room for improvement, and begin reading articles from the New York Times, or The Economist online, and get in the habit of reading long articles with complex words and sentence structures. Speaking good angraizi won’t help you in the test, understanding it will. Pakistanis think they’re good at English just because they know how to say a few nice sentences with an accent, but the reality is much different.

For detailed GRE test prep tips and methods, click here.

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