GRE Tactics

The GRE is predominantly a computerized multiple-choice exam that adapts to your responses. Specifically, the computer changes the difficulty of the questions as you proceed with the exam, depending on the number of correct or incorrect answers. You are not allowed to go back and change answers to previous questions and you must answer the current question in order to move on.

Overall GRE Test Tactics

  • Learn the section directions now. Use the time saved during the test to work on questions.
  • Be especially careful in the first portion of every section. Successful answers to the earliest questions will lead to higher scores.
  • You can write on the scratch paper provided. Scratch paper can be used to take notes or you can use the process of elimination to cross out wrong answers; do scratch work.
  • Easy questions usually precede hard ones.
  • Double check your work and answer before you click on the screen bubble. On the computer test, you cannot skip any question and you cannot go back after you've answered a question.
  • Answer every question, making educated guesses if you have to. Just try to eliminate one or more choices before guessing.
  • Don't spend too much time on any one question. You should spend only seconds on the easiest questions. Don't spend more than 1-2 minutes even on the hardest ones.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Practice tests from ETS are available here.
  • Bring a watch to the test center. You can't be guaranteed that there'll be a working clock there.
  • Don't bring a calculator since you're not allowed to use one.
  • Bring a couple of IDs to the test center. Make sure at least one of the pictures actually looks like you. Also bring any authorization voucher you may have received from the Educational Testing Service.
  • Read the words in the question carefully. Be sure to answer the question asked and not the question you recall from a practice test.
  • Know the Question Types to Expect on the GRE:
    • sentence equivalence
    • text completion
    • reading comprehension
    • math multiple-choices
    • numeric entry
    • quantitative comparison