Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing your GRE

Well so the first step towards the admission to a graduate program in economics starts with the preparation of Graduate Record Examination. For most of the universities GRE is an essential requirement. If you don’t have a GRE score you can’t apply for graduate program in economics. Though some universities may accept application without a GRE score however, it’s strongly recommended to have your GRE scores before November of the year previous to which you are seeking admission.

There are two major academic sessions in US universities ‘Fall’ which starts in July – August and ‘Spring’ which starts in January. However, many of the universities don’t accept admission in Spring hence it’s advisable to apply for the Fall session. The online application process for the fall starts almost one year before the start of the academic year i.e. from previous September only. You can start your online application for most of the universities in September or early October of the previous year.

For most of the universities, there are two deadlines of submission of applications. First, admission with funding consideration and the second, admission without funding consideration. The deadline of admission with funding consideration is much earlier than the one without funding consideration and varies from university to university. This deadline is 1st of November at the earliest and may go up to 31st of March. Nonetheless the deadlines of most of the top universities with funding are no later than 15th January with a few exceptions which may have a deadline till 1st of February or 15th of February. Hence it’s strongly recommended to write your GRE by 1st of November.

Having said that, now important question is ‘what is an ideal score in GRE’. Okay, so those of you who are familiar with GRE know that GRE has three parts

Quantitative reasoning: scores- 200-800 in 10 point increments

Verbal Reasoning: scores- 200-800 in 10 point increments

Analytical writing assessment: 0-6 in half point increments

More information about the GRE exam pattern can be found at You can register for GRE exam over internet while registering for GRE exam one should keep in mind that it takes almost 2 weeks for GRE result to be out.

Now, in the quantitative section of GRE an economics graduate aspirant is supposed to score a near perfect score i.e. 800 out of 800. The score should not be less than 760 or in the worst case not less than 740 if you want to get admitted in a decent college. For top universities the scores should be a minimum of 780. The verbal score is not very important however, since other students might have good score in verbal section also a score of 600+ is a decent score for top universities. A minimum score of 400 is necessary for a decent college and ideally it should not be less than 450. The AWA section does not play very important role in the admission decision however a very low score may hamper your chances of getting admission, Hence, a minimum score of 4.0 is recommended.

What is the importance of GRE scores in admission? Well... it’s important. The higher the score the better the chances you have to make it to your dream college. However, merely a good GRE score does not guarantee you the admission even if you have a 1600 score. But it definitely gives you an edge. So, GRE is important and you should really prepare for it sincerely and try to get a good score around 1400.

For getting a 1400 score in GRE you need to put in almost 2-3 months for GRE preparation. Quant is very easy but needs lots of practice. If you take it easy you may not be able to manage your time efficiently and might end up with a lower score than you really deserve. Verbal preparation is dependent upon the consistent revision of the wordlist from Barron’s GRE guide or Kaplan wordlist and other sources. I would not discuss much about GRE here because the main purpose of this blog is to help you in getting admission to economics graduate program. However I am noting down the addresses of a few websites which are good for GRE preparation. In case you need more information about GRE or you have any query, write it in the comment box and I shall try to explain your query.

Apart from that GRE Big Book is a must have In GRE big book you find questions which come into real GRE exams so do a lot of practice. The practice materials are available free on the internet. Just GOOGLE it.

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