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Standardized Test Preparation: For Graduate School

This guide provides an overview of preparation and informational resources for a variety of standardized educational tests.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

GRE Overview*

The GRE revised General Test is a standardized test used in the admissions process for many kinds of graduate programs, so if you're planning to apply to graduate school, you may have to take it. (Before registering for the GRE, however, you should check with the admissions personnel at the graduate program(s) where you plan to apply--for some programs, the test may not be required.)

If you will be taking the GRE, the official GRE web site is a good place to start. This site, maintained by the Educational Testing Service (the administrator of the GRE) has a variety of options. You can get general information, register for the test and pay your fee, and also get access to a variety of GRE preparation materials.

In the United States, the test is administered via computer. A number of testing centers are available in Florida, including a location here in Gainesville. Testing centers can be located using this page on the ETS web site. These computer-based GRE tests are administered throughout the year.


Preparing for the GRE

Important Note: The GRE Test was heavily revised in August 2011, so you should make sure that any test programs or materials you purchase or use have been created for the "GRE revised General Test." Materials not so labeled, or produced prior to this date, may not be appropriate for you.

Self Guided Preparation

If you decide to prepare for the test on your own, there are a wide variety of materials available. Generally speaking, you have three types of resources to choose from: 1) Resources from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the administrator of the GRE; 2) Resources from commercial testing companies, typically books and/or CDs; 3) If you are affiliated with UF, you also have access to resources here at the University.

ETS Resources

The GRE web site provides a variety of free preparation materials, including descriptions of the test sections and question types, and sample questions and tests. Additional materials may also be purchased from ETS for a fee, most notably The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test. (After August 2012, a 2nd edition of this book will be available). It is cheaper to purchase this book from online booksellers than from ETS, although ETS does offer the option of an e-version of the book.

ETS also has set up a GRE Facebook page, where you can interact with other test-takers and get official information.

Commercial Testing Companies

A large number of testing companies produce workbooks and guides for the GRE. Most of these are available from local bookstores or through online booksellers.

UF Resources

The main UF library resource for GRE preparation is an online website offered through the Smathers Libraries, the Testing & Education Reference Center . This resource includes preparation books and materials, and practice tests.

The UF Teaching Center and the UF Writing Studio also offer help for GRE preparation. The Teaching Center offers short GRE math and verbal review courses, and the Writing Studio resource library has a variety of commercial books and CD's to prepare for the GRE verbal section. Both Centers also offer assistance with the GRE essay component. All UF resources are free for UF students.

In addition, David Schwieder, the UF Political Science Librarian, offers general consulting on preparing for the GRE. A former test-preparation tutor, he can advise on preparation strategies and help you to choose an approach suitable for your needs. Send email.

GRE Courses and Tutoring

Gainesville is well supplied with commercial GRE courses from a variety of companies. Offered in both online and traditional classroom formats, the cost runs from a few hundred dollars to over $2,000. Tutors are also available. A list of these services is provided here.


* ETS also offers a variety of GRE Subject Tests, which assess subject knowledge in numerous academic fields, but these are not commonly required by graduate programs. Accordingly, this guide refers only to the GRE revised General Test.

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

GMAT Overview

The GMAT exam is a standardized test used in the admissions process for many kinds of business-related graduate programs, most notably for the MBA degree. Accordingly, if you're planning to apply to graduate school in this general area, you may have to take it. (Before registering for the GMAT, however, you should check with the admissions personnel at the graduate program(s) where you plan to apply. Some programs may not require the test. Alternatively, many programs will accept GRE test results instead.)

If you will be taking the GMAT, the official GMAT web site is a good place to start. This site, maintained by the Graduate Management Admission Council (the administrator of the GMAT) has a variety of options. You can get general information, register for the test and pay your fee, and also get access to a variety of GMAT preparation materials. Note: the Graduate Management Admission Council website has additional GMAT information and resources.

In the United States, the test is administered via computer. A numer of testing centers are available in Florida, including a location here in Gainesville. Testing centers can be located using this page on the GMAT web site. These computer-based tests are administered throughout the year.

 

Preparing for the GMAT

Important Note: The GMAT Test was revised in June 2012, when a new "Integrated Reasoning" section replaced an essay section, which was discontinued at this time. Accordingly, you should make sure that any test programs or materials you purchase or use include preparation for this Integrated Reasoning section. (Your materials should NOT contain preparation for the "AWA Analysis of an Issue essay." This was the section that was discontinued.) Materials which do not address these changes, especially materials produced prior to this date, will probably not be appropriate for you.

Self-Guided Preparation

If you decide to prepare for the test on your own, there are a wide variety of materials available. Generally speaking, you have three types of resources to choose from: 1) Resources from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the administrator of the GMAT; 2) Resources from commercial testing companies, typically books and/or CDs; 3) If you are affiliated with UF, you also have access to resources here at the University.

GMAC Resources

The GMAC offers a variety of preparation-related materials, available at their website. They have also set up a Facebook page, where you can get additional information and interact with other test-takers.

Commercial Test Preparation Companies

Many testing companies produce workbooks and guides for the GMAT. Most of these are available from local bookstores or through online booksellers.

UF Resources

The main UF resource for GMAT preparation is an online website offered through the Smathers Libraries, the Testing & Education Reference Center (This link takes you to a resource page. Just click the top link for the Testing & Education Reference Center, then click "Graduate School Tools" to get a link to the GMAT materials). If includes preparation books and materials, and practice tests.

GMAT Courses and Tutoring

Gainesville is well supplied with commercial GMAT courses from a variety of companies. Offered in both online and traditional classroom versions, the cost runs from a few hundred dollars to over $2,000. Tutors are also available. A list of these services is provided here.      

Social Media for the GMAT

In addition to the materials listed above, social media is now available for the GMAT. 

BEATtheGMAT Offers general advice on the GMAT, MBA programs, and the MBA experience.   

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