You may have thought that once you graduated high school the days of standardized testing were behind you. However, if you want to apply to a graduate or business school program there's another major standardized test in your future: The GRE. GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations and it's a specific test administered by a not-for-profit called Educational Testing Service (ETS). It has become the most common standardized test for graduate school admission.
What To Expect From The GRE
People from around the world who are interested in getting a master's degree take the GRE. Just like the SAT and ACT measured your general knowledge when you applied for college, the GRE does the same after you've graduated. This helps admissions committees compare you to other applicants and make a decision on your application to their program.
The GRE can be taken on a computer or on paper. The computer version takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete, while the paper version takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. The general content of the test is the same no matter which form you take. The test has three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.
Registering For The GRE
The first step toward taking the GRE is to register for the test (after you've started studying, of course). You can register for the test online at www.ets.org. When you register, you'll be prompted to set up an account. Think ahead of time about whether you'd like to take the computer-administered test or the paper-administered test and which programs you'd like to send your scores to. You'll also need to pay the test fee, which is $205 in most areas of the world (slightly more if you're taking the test in Australia or China).
Tracking Your GRE Registration Number
When you register for the GRE, you'll be given a unique seven-digit GRE registration number. This number is tied to your score on that specific test date, so each time you take the GRE test you'll get a new GRE registration number. If you need to contact the GRE test administrators, they'll ask for your registration number, so it's important to keep track of. Some schools also request your registration number when you provide them with your scores.
Luckily, your GRE registration number should be easy to find. When you register for the test, you'll receive a confirmation email that has the number on it (just be sure not to confuse your registration number with your confirmation number). In addition, when you receive your score report, your registration number will be listed on that.
If you're still unable to retrieve your GRE registration number, you can call ETS and they'll be able to help you recover it after verifying your identity.
Kelly Burch is a freelance journalist living in New Hampshire. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Parents magazine and more.