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All about GRE


Students planning to pursue Masters of Science, commonly known as MS, take the GRE - Graduate Record Examination.

Post July 2011, the GRE pattern has changed and the exam is no longer a computer adaptive test but the performance in the given section will determine the level of the next section.

New GRE has 2 sections for GRE Verbal and Quantitative. Each section is considered as one stage. First Section is Stage 1 (or called as Routing Stage). Depending on your performance, the test taker is routed to one of several alternative second-stage tests, each of which consists of a fixed set of questions and differs on average difficulty.

If you get high score in Section 1, your entire set of questions in Section 2 will be under Difficult (or very difficult) category. This makes the New GRE difficult to crack.


  1. You get Quant section first. You solve all the questions which will be a mixture of easy, moderate and difficult. Assuming you did really well, your next section, say Verbal, will be more difficult. If you perform badly, your next section will again be easy.
  2. Moderately difficult level of questions will be given to you in Section 1. Based on your performance, you will get one of Easy, Moderate and Difficult in section 2.

Score 165 in Section 1 then you will be routed to Difficult Level in Section 2.

If you score 135 then you will be routed to Easy Stage 2.

Another variation can be

Stage 1: Moderately Difficult

Stage 2: Very Easy, Easy, Moderate, Difficult and Very Difficult


You should solve the first few questions (the first 8-9 questions) taking as much time as required and get them right. This is not true. It depends on the level of questions. You should not blindly follow this logic and lose too much time so that you do not have enough time in the end to solve the remaining questions which may turn out to be easier. It's “suicide”.

 Must do:

You SHOULD attempt all the questions even though you might have to mark an answer without spending enough time on it because an incomplete paper can cost you a loss of significant points.


How many types of GRE’s are there?

 GRE are of two types:

  1. GRE General Test:The General Test takes into account verbal reasoning, quantitative ability, and analytical writing skills. Almost all the universities accept the General test score and usually everyone opts for this test. It takes place round the year and you can choose your date according to your convenience.
  2. GRE Subject Test:The Subject Test measures the achievement in a particular subject area or extensive background in that discipline. These tests are in the following areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature (English), Physics and Psychology. It is conducted on a fixed date for everyone, more on the terms of an entrance exam. Mostly none of the engineers go for this.

 When should I take the GRE?

GRE takes place round the year. It is not like any other exam where the dates will be announced in the newspaper or any official website. So, anytime you feel you are in a position to go and take your best shot, GO FOR IT.

GENERALLY, engineering students prefer to take GRE in their third year either in March or August. No superstitious connections but some logical reason behind it. GRE is an exam which requires you to be tension-free and relaxed. Most engineers remain free during these two months as they aren’t occupied with any work like exams, submissions, etc. There are a few advantages of choosing March over August as enumerated below:

Reasons to choose March as the GRE month:

March is the ideal time to take GRE because you get one more chance to take the exam in August if suppose you don’t score well in the March attempt.

Giving GRE in March won’t clash your deadlines with final year project, placements (some companies do come in August-September) and most importantly you get more time for your Application Process for USA.

You can take TOEFL without any pressure, if your GRE is over in March.

If you're planning to appear for MBA entrance exams as well, you get sufficient time.

You might have to bunk a lot of lectures for the GRE preparation. This can seriously affect recommendations from your teachers as attendance is the prime parameter. Giving the exam in

August leaves you with very less time to ‘butter’ them and make things turn your way.

 Problems with choosing a date…

Often, the slots are already full and you don’t get your desired date. So, book your date well in advance. Some prefer to wait till the last minute, and once they are confident about their preparation, they start searching for the nearest available date. This can be a problem as you might not get a single date and have to wait for a long time which in turn affects your preparation leading to a BAD day.

Note: Please choose your date wisely and carefully. Although you're allowed to postpone the date, you will only be making the ETS richer by $50 or an additional $190 if you reschedule it within 3 days of the exam.

 Should I choose end of the month as my GRE day as questions will be repeated?

 It’s a big misconception amongst a lot of students.  Questions don’t repeat at all and even if they do, they repeat in the quant section with a maximum of only one or two questions, which anyway are extremely simple to solve or you must have already solved.


QWhat is the cost/registration fee for GRE?

A. The registration fee for taking GRE is USD 190 which includes reporting your GRE scores to 4 universities of your choice.
Q. How do I register for the GRE?

A. You can register online or by phone or by mail. The detailed information about registering for the GRE can be found at
Q. How many times in a year is GRE exam held?

A. GRE is offered on all working days in India. The schedule can be obtained from Prometric in person, through phone, e-mail or online.
Q. How many times can I take GRE?

A. GRE can be taken unlimited number of times with a gap of a minimum of 31 calendar days between 2 tests. (It is highly advisable not to appear for GRE too many times as it may affect the applicant’s candidature). However, one can give the test only 5 times in a calendar year.
Q. If I take GRE more than once, which score will be considered by the universities?

A. The best score is taken into account by most of the universities. A few, though, consider the average.
Q. What is the validity of the GRE exam?

A. Your GRE score will be valid for 5 years after from the date the test was taken.
Q. Does admission to universities depend only on GRE scores?

A. It is one of the various criteria that the admission council looks at. However, a good GRE score does improve chances of admission and financial aid.
Q. How do I pass on my score to the colleges where I want to apply to?
A. The universities only accept official scores sent directly by ETS. Scores to four colleges can be sent free of cost while taking the exam. Subsequently, for each score report sent to a college, you would have to pay USD 23.
Q. What is an ideal GRE score for engineering students?

A Anything above 1250 (old pattern) or 310 (new pattern) is considered good but you should always aim higher. An engineering student should score above 750 (old pattern) or 160 (new pattern) in quant as this counts a lot.
Q. How important are extracurricular activities?

A. Extracurricular activities are always an add-on to your profile. Any achievements at the state or national and international level are considered important. Working for social causes such as for an NGO or charity trusts on a regular basis (Please don’t start visiting NGOs when your application dates are nearing, it won’t help) helps a lot. Participating in college festivals or becoming a head of some committee does not count much.
Q. Do universities consider photocopies of the GRE scorecard? Do I have to send scores through ETS?

A. No, photocopies are not accepted. You have to send your scores only through ETS.
Q. Is GRE mandatory for applying to MS and PhD programs outside India?
A. No, not all the MS and PhD programs outside India require you to take GRE. These scores are required only by US universities and a few universities in Canada, Germany and UK.
Q. How important is the GRE score in helping secure scholarships for graduate studies?
A. The GRE score, your past academic record and your application materials play a vital part towards securing scholarships.

 Total Expenditure for MS in US

Wondering how much it costs to complete your MS from US? We've summed up most of the factors here and you'll get a fair idea of the expenditure involved (unless, of course, you travel business class)

 1. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Exam Fee

This is, usually, the first step towards the entire journey. This parameter is like the poker face - nobody knows whether it can make or break the chances; and hence, it has always been the most popular of all. The cost of the exam is $190

Low scorers and a bunch of restless high scorers might retake the exam adding another $190.

 2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

While you MIGHT skip the GRE test for your applications to the States (some universities do take in applications without GRE), TOEFL is something that you can't skip. It is like the passport to the United States. The universities need to know your proficiency with the language and hence, it is a compulsory exam, if not at the time of applications, atleast during the VISA interview. The cost of the exam is $150.

 3. Applying to US universities:

Fees for applying to each university vary from $50 to $100 with former being the most common. However, applications are incomplete without sending your official test scores (GRE and TOEFL) through ETS, adding another $40 (GRE: $23 and TOEFL: $17)

On an average, students apply to 10 US universities and the total estimate comes out to be as follows:
Application Fee ($50) + Sending GRE and TOEFL scores ($23 + $17) = $90. Let's be on the safer (read higher) side and assume $100 per university. So, applications to 10 universities will be a whopping $1000.

 4. Other Expenses during Applications:

Now, this list might be long and will drastically vary from every applicant. Still, the normal expenses in this category are as follows:

  1. a) Counselling: Applicants, rather lazy applicants, who feel that a counsellor can fit in their shoes and get them to Stanford or Berkeley shell out anything from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. We've assumed the average at Rs. 25,000.
  2. b) Transcripts on the college letter head (around 15 copies), Bank Statements (15), Affidavit (15) with the sponsors name on it (15) and Dispatching them to the university (major expenditure of the lot). This, altogether, should not cost more than Rs. 8,000.

In some cases, students make multiple copies of the Letter of Recommendations (LoRs) and Statement of Purpose (SoP) and unnecessarily burn an extra 500 bucks or so.

 5. VISA:

While the costs are just a notable factor, it's really important to know the entire VISA Procedure.

Once you receive your I20 (official document sent by the university which states your stay in the United States and the amount to be spent for year), you need to pay up the VISA Fee which is $160 followed by the SEVIS fee which is $200.



Students who plan to study in states/cities like California, New York City, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Boston have to keep in mind that owing to the popularity of the location, they might have to spend more.

Moreover, if you plan to stay alone or with a single roommate in a nice furnished apartment, the expenses certainly will be higher. So find yourself a nice roommate before landing there.

Having said that, it is not only safe to share your apartment with a couple of students in a new place, the fun factor is what makes the Masters course all the more interesting.

The two primary expenses after reaching the States are Tuition Fee and Living Expenses.

Tuition Fee:

Please check the list of University Reviews on stupidsid.

Living Expenses:

Well, there's no accurate way to estimate living expenses as factors like

  • Location
  • Apartment Size
  • Number of Roommates and
  • Proximity to the University

The overall expense will vary from individual to individual. However, on an average students tend to spend between $500 to $1100 per month which includes everything. If your course length is 2 years you'll end up spending around $15,000.

Source: Internet

We understand how important higher education is, especially considering the it is the start to something exciting in your life and the amount of investment that goes into a program like MS. 

We recommend that you do all your research and talk to experts who have been there and done that who can help you make the best decision.

Good Luck :)

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