Debunking 5 Common GRE Myths

GREs are general tests taken by undergraduates seeking enrollment for postgraduate studies worldwide. This test is one of the most competitive and challenging tests. The results determine acceptance to your academic institution of choice. But even with the high stakes, there is no reason to be more stressed than you should be due to the myths surrounding GREs. 

It is vital to separate fact from fiction regarding GRE myths. You should instead focus on studying and passing the test. GRE myths vary, some of which are an exaggeration of reality, and others are downright false. 

GRE Basics

It is critical to understand the basics of GRE and free yourself from mistruths. GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and takes three hours and 45 minutes to take. The test splits into three sections: analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. Each of the test sections assesses the comprehension, conceptual, and deduction skills of the test taker. 

You can only take the test once every 21 days and up to five times a year (within a continuous 12-month period). GRE test dates vary throughout the year and are available at Prometric test centers. Therefore, it is essential to plan well to avoid missing the tests and secure enrollment for the postgraduate studies at your preferred time.

Myth #1: Focusing on Your Strengths Over Your Weaknesses Is the Move

One GRE myth is that one should focus on their strengths and ignore their weaknesses when preparing to take the test. Unfortunately, this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that not studying all material is a waste of time and all GRE sections are important. 

You need to prepare for the exam by adopting effective study methods. It is important to create a study schedule that works for you to reinforce learning. Such learning guidelines include having a balanced study/other life activities, avoiding distractions when studying, revisions soon after lectures, creating time for studying, taking breaks, among other tips.

Myth #2: Nobody On the Graduate School Admissions Board Will Read Your Writing Sample, So It Doesn’t Matter

There’s a myth that nobody at graduate school admissions reads writing samples provided by prospective students leading the graduate applicants to be lax in quality of writing. While it is true that not all essays are chosen, some random ones get attention. You do not want to risk a poorly written composition, so pay attention to your writing and set it up for success no matter what. 

Trying to convince yourself that the essay part doesn’t matter likely means you’re nervous about it, so practice writing samples at home to overcome the anxiety. Time yourself so that factor does not intimidate you on test day. Also, ensure that anyone who does read your writing will be impressed with its quality. 

Myth #3: The GRE Is Only Used For Admissions Decisions

Another myth is that GRE scores are only for admission decisions. This perception is a half-truth and, the fact is the test measures a student’s potential performance in grad school and in other ways. Other uses of GRE results are access to financial aid, scholarship application opportunities, and fee waivers for applications.

For you to access the additional benefits, you have to attain a high GRE score. You can also use the GRE score to seek admission to a different program in another institution. However, you need not retake a GRE test if you desire to change your career paths to politics, journalism, writing, public policy, etc.  

Myth #4: Leaving Answers Blank is Better than Being Wrong

Misleading information like leaving answers blank is better than getting it wrong compromise GRE scores for some postgraduate applicants. You should always try your best because GRE does not penalize wrong answers, so have a reasonable attempt. In the multiple-choice type of questions, try your best not to leave anything blank as you have a chance of getting it right. It is critical to manage your test time well to ensure all questions get deserving attention and are not unanswered. 

Myth #5: You Can Take the GRE As Many Times As You Want

The myth that you can take the GRE as many times as you want is not entirely true. Having the comfort of retaking the test is a great way to calm stress, but be strategic about studying because you can exhaust your chances of a retake within a given period. You can take the test once every 21 days and only up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. Your best bet is to focus on doing well on the GRE the first time.

Be Informed, Pass Your GRE

The bottom line is to have factual information on the GRE so you can recognize the falsehoods and debunk them. Unfortunately, some of the myths are so widespread, they became some people’s reality and compromised their GRE scores. Do not let the untruths affect your chances of enrollment in your preferred postgraduate study discipline. 

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