The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test commonly required for admission into master's and Ph.D. programs in the United States. To get into the best schools, it's probably best to buy a book from Kaplan or Princeton Review and start studying. Look into graduate programs that don't require it, if you can't bear the thought of a standardized test.
It is common for arts programs, including dance, theater, creative writing, culinary studies and fine arts, not to ask for GRE scores. Some of the most highly regarded art schools, including the Rhode Island School of Design and the California Institute of Arts, don't require GREs for any of their master's of fine arts programs. Premier culinary schools, including the Culinary Institute of America, don't require them either.
Academic programs are those that educate scholars and scientists. Philosophy, literature, sociology and neuroscience are all academic programs. Most schools that offer these programs do require the GRE. There are a few that don't, however, including Portland State University and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
Professional programs, such as social work and nursing, are programs in which education is designed to be applied directly to your future profession. Many professional programs do not require the GRE. This varies from school to school and program to program, so it's best to check the websites of the schools you're interested in.
Master's in social work programs that don't require the GRE include Columbia University, Boston College, the University of Michigan, Loyola University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University. Nursing programs that don't require the GRE include Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Hampshire, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.
Some other professions, including medicine and law, have their own standardized tests that are required for admission.
Canada and Europe
Expand your search to include programs in Canada and Europe (where the GRE is less common) if you're looking at academic programs and are having trouble finding a good fit that does not require the GRE.