is the gre hard

Is the GRE Hard? – How Can You Crack GRE?

ACT, SAT, and GRE commonly opted for graduate examinations. These are viral tests; their scores can help students secure seats at their favorite colleges and departments. GRE is considered the most challenging graduate examination, with a difficulty quotient higher than the ACT or SAT. The most challenging part of the GRE is the English knowledge section, stuffed with tons of vocabulary, reading, and writing questions.

Scoring a high percentile in GRE is challenging. But is the GRE hard? GRE is more complicated than other contemporary graduate examinations, but it is easy. With the correct understanding of the topic and developing clear concepts, it is feasible to crack GRE. So let us learn more about GRE and try to decode its difficulty level.

GRE – About the Exam

GRE is the abbreviated form of the Graduate Record Exam. As the name suggests, this is a standardized test for entry into graduate schools. GRE is the primary test for almost all graduate school academic programs. After a student ends their school years, they can opt for GRE to get into the graduate schools of their choice and pursue their career in their deemed departments. Most graduate schools and colleges consider the GRE scores as the filter for accepting students into their academic graduate programs. GRE is not just any other exam; it is a wholesome evaluation system that assesses whether candidates are suited for the graduate course they want to apply for. The test comprises primarily three significant sections – verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

Is the GRE Hard?

GRE is a norm reference test. The unique characteristic of such tests is that the results of norm reference tests represent the form of percentile ranks. That means the GRE scores will depict a student’s position concerning all the test-giving students. For example, if a student’s percentile rank is 99th percentile, that implies the student has done better than 99 % of the test givers and belongs to the top 1% of test givers. If you are in a dilemma, is the GRE hard? The answer is yes. GRE is a brutal examination because it tests the analytical and reasoning skills of the candidates. Most of the questions in the reading and vocabulary sections are on higher-order thinking skills. GRE is one of the few exams that test the candidates’ problem-solving capability and critical thinking aptitude.

You can include GRE in the attainable exam list. GRE tests little specialized or core subject knowledge because – GRE is a standardized test taken by innumerable students from different academic backgrounds. So, GRE is a uniform exam emphasizing general testing knowledge rather than subject knowledge. The syllabus and exam pattern of the GRE is prefixed so that students from various streams like humanities, science, or commerce can quickly appear for the exam. The arithmetic questions included in GRE are more accessible to crack than those of other graduate exams. For example, MCAT is a more complex graduate exam than GRE because it tests core-subject knowledge and is domain specific.

Factors that Make GRE Difficult to Crack

Out of 100 test givers, at least 70 will agree that GRE is hard. But how hard is the GRE, and what are the factors that contribute to making GRE difficult? Let us learn about them:

Exam Format

Before moving into the content matter, let us all agree that GRE is a complex Computer Based Test (CBT). If the student is not used to appearing for exams on screen, they may find it more accessible, especially on the first attempt. GRE questions do not follow a uniform format for all students and instead abide by a “Level-Adaptive” design. This means the difficulty level of the subsequent or following sections depends on how well you perform in the previous area. Hence, candidates cannot apply the flat strategy for all the GRE sections like the other exams. To achieve better, candidates must prepare to tackle this adaptive target of the test. The best way to serve better and handle this unique test format is to practice the online computer-based tests to get acquainted with the layout.

Exigent Vocabulary

GRE is unpopular across the globe because of this section. Most students who appear for GRE are horrified by the vocabulary section. The verbal reasoning section of the GRE consists of the vocabulary counterpart, which is the most challenging component of the GRE. The unit will test the candidate’s vocabulary and word power. Sometimes, the words included are so complex and of a higher vocabulary genre that students may have yet to hear of the terms. Since GRE is a global exam and almost anyone can opt for it, it becomes increasingly more challenging for students whose mother tongue is not English. The GRE vocab section becomes easier to deal with if you are willing to practice well. GRE often repeats the words in the vocab section, so if you want to perform well, practice the past year’s papers ardently.


Each question of the GRE, irrespective of the section they belong to, is difficult worded. You would need more significant than expected time to decode the meaning of the question before you can even think of answering them. There are two emerging problems due to this issue, first is that it consumes a significant amount of time to re-read the question several times before you can spot the correct answer among the many options. Second, with a misinterpretation of the question, you could answer incorrectly, even if you know the concept. The only way to improve your marks is by practicing as many papers for the GRE as possible. With difficultly-worded questions, GRE also features an exuberant demanding essay section (Analytical reasoning) where you have to use great vocabulary to gain more marks.

How to Improve Your Performance in the GRE?

Here are some quick tips to improve your performance in the GRE examination:

  • The only key to success in GRE is practice. Practice as many past year papers as possible to get acquainted with the style when solving papers and ensure that you do it on screen, not pen and paper.
  • Include a Thesaurus in your life. It will help you learn new words that will help you understand questions better and write better essays.
  • Identify your strength and weakness and use them wisely to score the maximum marks. If you need to improve in English, you must work hard on your maths skills. That is how the equation will work.

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