How Hard is the GRE?

Why is the GRE Difficult & What Makes this Test so Hard?

how-hard-is-the-greIs the GRE Test Hard for the Average Student?

The GRE test is often viewed as the most difficult graduate college entrance exam when compared with the SAT and ACT tests. The GRE’s challenging essays, reading, and vocabulary sections make it a tough exam, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Understanding the topics, format, and timing of the test along with key study strategies will help you score higher and get into the college of your choice.

What is GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test used for business and graduate school programs. The test is a multiple-choice answer exam that is computer-delivered and paper-delivered exam measuring various quantitative reasoning types. It is one of the requirements for many graduate schools and colleges. Thus, getting a good score will set you apart from other applicants.

In addition, your GRE score evaluates the applicants’ suitability for graduate levels in various subject areas. The GRE General Test has three sections, including analytical writing, verbal and quantitative reasoning.

Let’s look at a few reason why the GRE is so hard and what you can do to increase your score.

Why is the GRE Difficult?

GRE is one of the most difficult standardized tests used in comparing students joining the graduate school. What makes the GRE tricky is the reading and vocabulary sections. Notably, math problems in the GRE will evaluate your critical thinking relative to math skills.

But when compared to other specialized, standardized tests such as MCAT, it can be less complicated since it doesn’t require more specialized knowledge. Equally, it has an easier curve and less challenging arithmetic questions relative to graduate exams.

What Makes the GRE Hard?

The GRE is problematic because it demands test-takers to reason critically, and it isn’t as straightforward as other tests you’ve taken. In the end, average students will find the GRE to be more complicated than the ACT, or SAT but it may be more doable once they figure out how to solve its challenges.

Whether it’s more difficult or not is determined by your critical thinking and vocabulary skills. Here are some of the aspects that make the GRE exam tough and how to beat the challenge.

Challenging Vocabulary

The GRE’s vocabulary in the verbal reasoning section is one of the more challenging exam components. The section evaluates your knowledge of some quite esoteric and advanced words for over half of the time. In addition, you’ll be prompted to choose words or groups of words to fill in sentences blanks throughout the section. Mostly it is ESL students who aren’t as fluent in English who suffer the most.

To overcome the challenge, it is vital to remember that most of the vocabulary words tested on the GRE are repeated, so you can study and master the most popular vocab words by using flashcards and test practice questions.

Difficultly Worded Questions

Although vocabulary selections are challenging, the wording of several of the questions makes them considerably even more challenging. In addition, many GRE questions need you to apply logical analysis abilities to identify the correct answer, separate the question, and then solving it instead of plain speaking. This slows you down and forces you to engage different parts of your brain at the same time.

To overcome this difficulty, students must extensively practice the GRE. Eventually, you’ll be able to train your brain to recognize the GRE’s tricks and decipher the questions quickly.

Required Math Skills

For some GRE test-takers, it may have been years since they last took a mathematic class or had to exercise their algebra or geometry skills. But, equally, you may have always loathed math and assumed that after you completed your undergrad math courses, you were done with it. Either of these scenarios can make the GRE more difficult because you may need to make up a lot of ground to get your math skills up to par.

Usually, people who have never been comfortable with math and have never taken a math class or used much math recently, such as humanities majors, will have problems in this section. However, overcoming the challenge requires the use of prep materials to boost your GRE math skills is a terrific way to go. There are many GRE prep materials available to assist you in becoming more familiar with the math topics included in the exam.

Time Restraints

Each GRE section is timed, which causes students a lot of problems. Because understanding the questions before answering them accounts for most of the GRE’s difficulty, many first-timers will waste a lot of time on single problems.

As a result, students may receive lower grades and believe they were unprepared for the exam.

The secret to getting a great GRE score is practicing the exam and learn how to comprehend and answer each question swiftly.

Demanding Essay Section

The GRE requires you to write two essays in the Analytical Writing part, more than most standardized tests: The first question will ask you to take a stand on a topic and back it up with facts, while the second will ask you to analyze a particular argument’s flaws.

Each essay will take 30 minutes to finish. Many people are intimidated by the Analytical Writing part since they can’t just pick option “A” and pray for the best. You’ll have one hour to write two entire essays.

Is the GRE hard for ESL students? It can be. Students who are learning English as a second language or who are unsure about their writing abilities find this section challenging.

The Test Format Itself

GRE is a computer-delivered test, and that can throw the test take out of the loop if they are not used to taking tests on screen. This requires a change of test-taking approaches. The format of the GRE test is section-level adaptive for the quant and verbal reasoning section.

The difficulty of the second section will be determined by how well you do in the first section. People not used to adaptive testing or computer-delivered test will struggle.

Overcoming the challenge requires early preparation to familiarize with adaptive testing. ETS offers computer-delivered GRE practice test takers can download and practice.

How to Pass GRE with a Good Score

So, how hard is the GRE test? It depends on your preparedness. If you study and prepare yourself for exam day, you will be able to pass without a problem. Here are a few tips to help prepare for your test and get a higher score percentile.

You should first familiarize yourself with the format of the exam and answer practice questions. It is important to note that most vocabulary questions are repetitive, and in the math section, advanced math is not tested.

Always take a practice test, and you can do this twice or thrice during studying. Prepare for the essays before test day by looking at writing a detailed five-paragraph essay.

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