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For more than 60 years, the GRE General Test has played an important role in the admissions process by contributing meaningful information that can help differentiate among candidates who present otherwise similar credentials.
The General Test measures skills that are acquired over a long period of time and are not related to any specific field of study.
Description of the General Test
The General Test measures analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study.
The analytical writing section tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, analyze an argument, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.
The verbal section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, to recognize relationships between words and concepts, and to reason with words in solving problems. There is a balance of passages across different subject matter areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
The quantitative section measures your basic mathematical skills, your understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, and your ability to reason quantitatively and solve problems in a quantitative setting. There is a balance of questions requiring arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. These are content areas usually studied in high school.
Retaking GRE Tests
You may take the General Test (computer-based and/or paper-based) only once per calendar month and no more than 5 times in any 12-month period. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously.
Data on the General Test show that repeaters on average show a slight score gain. This finding is tempered, however, by the observation that repeaters are typically a self-selected group who believe that repeating the test will increase their scores. Retaking a Subject Test may help you in certain circumstances. If you have studied for a considerable period of time in your field since last taking a Subject Test, a retake may be advisable. However, unless your scores seem unusually low compared with other indicators of your ability, taking a GRE test again is not likely to result in a substantial score increase. In fact, there is some chance that your scores may drop.
You may wish to consult an institution's admission office directly for information about its procedures for handling multiple scores.