To GRE Or Not To GRE? That Is The Question

Listen to the show!Before your dream of getting accepted to graduate school comes true, you’ll have to face – and conquer – the GRE.

Listen in on our conversation with Dr. Lydia Liu, Managing Senior Research Scientist at the ETS and Tom Ewing, Director of External and Media Relations, for GRE advice, their perspective on the GRE vs GMAT debate, and more.

00:03:22 – An overview of the GRE.

00:05:18 – Don’t stick with your first instinct: The GRE’s changing score feature and how it helps you snag a higher score.

00:09:13 – Paid and free GRE study tools.

00:12:16 – The GRE as a predictor of success in b-school.

00:13:18 – Why MBA applicants should take the GRE and not the GMAT.

00:17:24 – GRE prep strategies.

00:19:57 – Ongoing research studies at ETS.

00:21:09 – The latest news from ETS (and it doesn’t reflect well on US grad students).

00:25:58 – Tips for graduate school applicants.

Listen to the show!

Related links:

ets.org
takethegre.com
Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?
GRE vs. GMAT: Trends
GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In

Related Shows:

The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree
The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
Interview with Chris Ryan of Manhattan GMAT 

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Get Your Game On: Preparing for Your Grad School Application, a free guide

Making Friends with the GRE: How To Overcome Test Anxiety and Perform at Your Best

Click here for more GRE tips“I can’t stop trembling….can’t eat….cry for little or no reason….I am so nervous.”  All of this from Janelle, a prospective graduate student on her response to scheduling a GRE test date.  I was not surprised that Janelle was nervous as almost all prospective graduate students are a bit anxious about admissions’ tests.  However, Janelle took “anxious” to a whole new level.   It was clear to me that I would need to develop a somewhat different plan of action to successfully help Janelle perform at her very best on this exam.

My first step was to listen carefully as Janelle shared all her feelings and fears. She said that she actually felt better just by having someone listen without judgement.  I told her that I would brainstorm some options and we scheduled a follow-up meeting.

I decided to “borrow” some of the techniques I use to deal with speaker anxiety in the public speaking classes that I teach at the undergraduate level. I was planning to use cognitive restructuring– changing the way we think about something.

At our next meeting I told Janelle that I had developed a three stage strategy to position her for success. I asked her to think about the GRE process like the development of a relationship.  In other words going from the acquaintance level to friend level to intimate level.   We were going to “Make Friends with the GRE.”  Here’s how we did it:

STAGE 1: Acquaintance Level—-This is the “getting to know you” stage of the process.

• Understand the GRE Testing program- Research the GRE general test and the discipline-specific subject tests especially in terms of available test administration dates, time limitations on retakes, score delivery options, etc.

• Determine which tests are required by the schools/programs of your interest—Check the admission criteria and the application deadlines to determine which tests are required and the application deadlines so that you can schedule the appropriate exams to meet all of the criteria of the school/programs of your choice. Keep in mind that while the GRE general test has multiple test administration sites and dates, the GRE subject test administrations are often scheduled only 2 or 3 times per admission cycle. Advance and careful planning is necessary to meet these deadlines so that you do not find yourself in a situation where your application is not complete by the deadline date.  Many programs will only review complete applications.

• Learn even more by surveying and requesting feedback from others who have taken the exam.  They may well have some tidbits of advice for you.   They may alert you to specific pitfalls to avoid.  Keep a list for future reference.

STAGE 2: Friendship Level— This is the “let’s become friends” stage of the process.

• Visit the ETS website to learn about the GRE subject tests offered and to access the associated subject test review books which will provide details on the content areas for the test, the weights assigned to each topic, as well as a practice test. This will provide you with a guide on what to study as well as how much time to allocate to specific topics. The subject test practice book can be downloaded from the web free of charge or will be mailed when you register for the exam.

• To prepare for the GRE general test, you should invest the time to diagnose the skill areas that need the most attention by identifying areas of weakness that require intensive review. These may include, but are not limited to, reading for meaning, analyzing and general organization of your ideas in short essay format, general mathematics, algebra, geometry, charts, etc.

• Take advantage of the diagnostic services offered by ETS which includes GRE’s Diagnostic Tests and Score It Now!, the online writing practice. Check out these low cost options on the ETS website.

• Make use of the GRE Powerprep software for reviews of the verbal and quantitative measure sections of the GRE exam.

• Be prepared to write 2 timed essays. One essay will present your perspective on an issue and the second essay will assess your ability to analyze an argument.  You can practice typing an essay response under timed conditions using GRE Powerprep software or you can pay for Score- it -Now! for online writing practice. The analytical writing measure serves as an assessment of critical thinking and the following analytical and writing skills:  articulation of complex ideas, clear and effective examination of claims and evidence, supporting ideas with relevant reasons and explicit examples, preparing a well-focused and coherent discussion, and displaying mastery of standard written English.

• Throughout this entire stage use positive self-talk as a confidence booster.  Place the emphasis on all of the progress you have made and continue to make.

(On a side note, I made sure that I was always available for confidence boosting and positive feedback)

 STAGE 3Intimate Level—- this is the commitment stage of the process.

• Become comfortable taking a computer delivered, timed, online exam by practicing in that type of environment.  If you only practice using a review book, the new delivery format may increase your level of anxiety and, as such, may impact your performance.

• Look back at how far you have come and continue to invest in the relationship you have established.  You may even learn to enjoy the challenge and the rewards that the relationship may bring.

• Last but not least, allow yourself enough time for the relationship to strengthen (prepare and study for the exam) and take hold.

At this point I am sure you are wondering if Janelle was successful.  Yes she was–she handled the stress very well and was accepted to her top choice schools. I was certainly proud to have helped her achieve her goal.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own!Carol DrummerBy Carol Drummer, Former Hofstra University Dean of Graduate Admissions, who for 10 years reviewed and signed off on over 4500 admissions decisions per year and has taught communications and rhetoric since 1991.

Related Resources:

The GMAT, GRE and the Guy Who Knows Them Well
Should You Take the GMAT or the GRE?
Why You Don’t Need a Perfect GRE Score

The Test Prep Guru Speaks

In honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve decided to repost one of the podcast episodes that our listeners have been most grateful for.

If you didn’t hear it the first time or you just want to review, now is the perfect time to listen to our highly informative (and super-popular) interview with Bhavin Parikh, CEO and founder of Magoosh, the leading online test prep company for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL. 

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Magoosh
• The Hansoo Lee Fellowship
• How to Put Your Best Foot Forward on Test Day
How to Get Accepted to B-School with a Low GMAT Score

Related Shows:

• The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes
• The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
• Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To? 

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Successful GRE Score = Successful MBA Students

Want to know what HBS has to say about accepting the GRE?An Educational Testing Service (ETS) press releases reports on a study conducted by ETS that examines the performance of part-time and full-time MBA students who had taken the GRE revised General Test. Results show that high GRE scores predict solid student performance in MBA programs.

According to David Payne, Vice President and COO of Global Education at ETS, “The GRE® Program has a long history of predictive validity for graduate-level programs such as social sciences, including business, which is why more than 1,100 business schools worldwide are accepting GRE scores for their MBA Programs. This new study provides even more evidence regarding the specific population of MBA students.”

The ETS press release also shares the following points:

• Currently, almost all top b-schools (90% of U.S. News’ top 100 schools) accept the GRE.

• GRE test takers report positively about the GRE’s ScoreSelect which allows test takers to submit only their best sets of scores to schools for up to five years from the test day.

• Test takers also provide positive feedback regarding their ability to skip questions and return to them later on.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
• GMAT vs. GRE: Harvard Business School Weighs In
Should You take the GMAT or the GRE?