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GRE. Score!

You must take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) if you want to get into gradschool. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Sounds hard? Well, the hardest part about this exam is scheduling a time and place to take it and then getting your scores sent to the right places; otherwise, it's not bad at all. In fact the GRE is a lot like retaking the SAT. But remember, when your school asks for your GRE scores, they mean your OFFICIAL scores, so they have to be sent from the GRE people directly to the program you want to enter. The real McCoy; none of that photocopying stuff.

What's it like to take the GRE?

Well, for me, I drove up to my testing site (after having pre-registered) and arrived ON TIME (don't be late or you'll be sorry), I showed them my driver's licence (an ID), was given a locker to put all my suspicious effects in, and was sent to a cubicle with a computer, pencils, and some scratch paper. You're also lended ear muffs in case the sound of corralled humanity is distracting to you. You take your test on the computer--reading passages, answer inputs, math problems--everything is on the computer. They even have a tutorial at the beginning to teach you how to point and click, so there are no excuses. You can request a paper-based test if you really hate computers, but doing it on computers is really much more convient. After the test, it asks you for two schools where you would like your scores to be sent, and then you can leave. The test lasts up to 3 hours and has three parts: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Anylitical Writing. It wasn't too bad. Just like going to the dentist. Good luck!

How do I register for the GRE?

You can register online by clicking HERE and following the simple instructions.

More importantly, how much does it cost?

This sucker's no joke. It's $140 just to take it. But you have to, so get it over with. Also, when it asks you what schools you want the scores sent to, make the most of the opportunity, because later it's going to cost you $20 per school if you want to send more of them, and keep that score sheet too when you get it. Getting your scores after that is going to cost you $12 just to hear it over the phone.

Here's a list of all the costs you might incur from a GRE (important ones are highlighted):

EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2008, THROUGH JUNE 30, 2009

$140 General Test—U.S., U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico
$195 General Test—China (including Hong Kong), Korea, and Taiwan.
$170 General Test—All Other Locations
$ 25 Late Registration Fee
$ 50 Standby Testing (paper-based test only)
$ 50 Rescheduling Fee
$ 50 Changing Your Test Center
$ 12 Scores by phone
$ 20 Additional score report (ASR) requests–per recipient
$ 50 Question-and-Answer Review Service—Verbal & Quantitative Sections
$ 55 Score Review for Analytical Writing Measure
$ 30 Paper-Based Test Hand Scoring
$ 30 Score Reinstatement Fee

I'm reasonably convinced that if the good folks from the GRE could charge you for blowing your noes, they would charge double for a tissue.

What should I study before taking the GRE?

Well, like I said, it isn't very hard or particularly important, but if you want to do extra well, study up on trig and sharpen your vocabulary. Sound familiar (SAT)? You forget a lot of that kind of stuff over the years, and you probably didn't take much of a class on it in college, so you'll probably be at a loss to answer even basic trig questions. They don't slap you with a lot of calculus, but they do hit you with some mathematical logic. Your strengths and weaknesses will tell you more about what you need to do to prepare though. There are all kinds of GRE practice tests out there that will give you all the forewarning you need, even a free one on the GRE website itself.

Should I be worried?

Don't stress yourself. From what I understand, the GRE is basically there just to screen for geniuses and idiots, and since idiots don't generally apply to graduate school, I think you'll do just fine. The score isn't really all that important. There are many, many other factors that go into whether or not you get accepted into a certain program, and the GRE just isn't the most useful. Don't worry, you'll do fine! If you want all the official information about the GRE, visit their own website. That'll answer all your extra questions, I'm sure.
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