Studying in the US or the UK is a great way for Indian students to expand their knowledge and get a respected master’s degree in a particular field. What is the GRE? Do you need to take this test to get into a master’s program abroad? What does GRE testing look like in general? You’ve no doubt got a lot of questions, and SchoolApply has the answers for you in this GRE guide.


What is the GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. This test measures a student’s critical thinking skills through analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. These are skills you are likely to have acquired during your undergrad years. 

The analytical writing section comprises of an essay-type test in which international students are required to demonstrate a variety of skills, which include clear articulation of your ideas, correct punctuation and grammar and the ability to present a complex yet coherent point of view. Students are also tested on their ability to evaluate the evidence presented to them and reasonably support their ideas with examples.

The quantitative reasoning part of the test is a multiple-choice section that focuses on math. As an Indian student hoping to study in the US or the UK,in this part of the test, you should be able to demonstrate your ability to analyze and understand data. You will also be tested on GRE math which will include algebra or geometry.

Verbal reasoning is also structured in a multiple choice format. This portion of the test analyzes your skills in text structure, distinguishing between irrelevance and significance and understanding figurative and literal language. Students will also be tested on their ability to provide meanings of different words and phrases, as well as interpret an author’s perspective.

Optional tests that can accompany this test are called GRE subject tests. The college or university you plan to attend can tell you whether one is required. Subjects include physics, chemistry, literature in a particular language, biology, psychology, mathematics and biochemistry, cell and molecular biology.

Why do universities require students to take the GRE?

Universities in the US and the UK ask Indian students to take the GRE because they want to gauge if the student has what it takes to succeed at their schools. Based on how the GRE is structured universities are able to get a holistic view of a student’s academic abilities. If you plan to study abroad, whether in business, health or another field, it is highly recommended that you take the GRE. The good news is that there are testing centers all around the world, so Indian students don’t have to wait until they are in the US or the UK to complete the test. Contact SchoolApply to learn more about where you can take the test.


How to prepare and practice for the GRE?

If you want to do well on the GRE, preparation is essential. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) offers free GRE prep materials as well as some that can be purchased. ETS GRE practice materials include guides, books, online practice tests, sample questions and other material. They also provide strategies and tips to help students do well on the official GRE.

Another online resource is examPAL. This website personalizes your study course so no preparation time is wasted. It enhances your skills through personalized test questions, interactive videos, professional consultations and tutoring sessions to assist you in getting the highest score you possibly can.

When to take the GRE?

The GRE Exam can be taken at any time. However August to December is the peak season and therefore it may be difficult to find an available slot around this time. 

Have questions about the GRE? Out expert advisors have the answers!

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What is a good GRE score?

The complete test takes three hours and 45 minutes. Verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning are given a raw score, which is one point for every question that is correct. The raw score is then equated to a scaled score that takes into account the difficulty of different test editions. Analytical writing is scored in half-point increments ranging from 0-6. Along with the general score, test takers also receive percentile ranks for each test score. 

 Examples of percentile scores for 2017-2018 are as follows:

Scaled Score

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile

Verbal Reasoning Percentile










If the chart above were your test results, the quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning percentile columns would show the percentage of test-takers you did better than. With these results, you can figure out whether you received a good score. For example, if you took the GRE in 2017-2018 and your scaled score was 151 for quantitative reasoning, your percentile score would have been 51. This means you did better than 51% of test-takers, which is a fairly average score. If your scaled score was 134 in verbal reasoning, it would have been a percentile rank of 1. This means you only did better than 1% of other test-takers, which is not a good score.
If you’re unhappy with your score, you can prepare to take the test again by obtaining more information from the testing service and learning all you can through more GRE guides. Your second round of test prep will provide you with further confidence and skills to get a better score. 

Do you need a good GRE score if your have a high GPA? 

If you’re unhappy with your GRE score and aren’t keen on retaking the test, a high CGPA may suffice in getting you through the grad school application process. But unfortunately, this is not often the case and may even limit your options considerably. More often than not, schools require a good GRE score in addition to a good CGPA. 

Admissions officials generally look at both your transcript as well as your test scores, as this provides them with a more in-depth assessment of your abilities. 

For example, a high GRE score and a low CGPA can mean that while a student may have the critical thinking skills that graduate programs require, they may worry about your dedication to your education because of the low CGPA. On the other hand, if your GRE score is low and you plan to rely on your high CGPA, a university may question your critical thinking skills. It’s best to retake the test in hopes of a higher score so both your CGPA and GRE reflect your skills and knowledge.

Getting started

As an Indian student hoping to study abroad in the US or the UK, getting a good GRE score can show universities that you have what is needed to succeed. So give it your best shot. You can be sure that it will be worth it when it gets you into the school of your dreams. Contact SchoolApply to help you find the best schools based on your scores.