GRE Research Summary

For anyone considering graduate school in the US, your last chance to take the GRE is approaching quickly—and in some cases, may already have passed! The Graduate Record Examination is ia test required for admission in nearly all US graduate programs, but questions about its efficacy have been the subject of numerous academic studies in the last ten years. For anyone who’s curious, I’ve put together a short fact-sheet about some of this research. While it might not help you pass the exam, it’s a good way to take a break from re-memorizing the quadratic formula or any academic essay writing you might be working on.


What is the GRE?

Owned by a company called the Educational Testing Service, the GRE is an exam that purports to test an exam taker’s Quantitative, Verbal (English), and Essay Writing (English) aptitude. A variety of subject-area examinations may be required, depending on the graduate program of study. While ETS is a not-for-profit company, the GRE costs around $200 to register for, not including preparation materials and the price of sending your scores to your institutions.


Whence the controversy?

Since at least the early 1980s, and into the 90s when the GRE was digitized, critics have argued that the GRE is an insufficient, and expensive, way to measure graduate candidates’ aptitude. Numerous studies have shown that a GRE score is not highly correlated with an applicant’s likelihood to succeed, and is far less predictive than other readily and more inexpensively available data, like undergraduate GPA.

Moreover, a good score is more highly correlated with a candidate’s ethnic and economic background, which many have criticized as a backdoor for racialized admissions tests. Indeed, much current controversy deals with bias against non-native English speakers and students foreign to the US.


What about your exam prep?

None of this means you shouldn’t prepare, however. Even while many specific graduate programs have reduced their emphasis on GRE scores, many graduate schools still use the exam to make merit-based financial aid and fellowship determinations. The earliest study I linked shows how certain studying techniques can “crack” the exam. With respect to written and verbal sections, low-cost essay writing and essay collaboration groups, like Assignment Help Club, can provide the exact type of test preparation you’d want on the GRE.

Our writers would love to discuss exam prep options for you, whether you’re taking the GRE TOEFL or other writing-focused graduate exam. And whether you need sample essays, critiques of your current work, or help putting together a writing, schedule, we’re happy to work on a model that fit your needs and schedule.

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