GRE: An Overview ofTaking the GRE CBT

Many test-takers are needlessly afraid of computerized exams. You should understand that the testing company has gone to great lengths to make sure that the computerized test is easy to use for even the computer novice. It has included very basic information tutorials to make sure that you are comfortable working with the computer. Take advantage of these tutorials. Work through them slowly.

Test Center Procedure

  • Be sure to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. Don't be late! When you arrive at the test center, a receptionist will check you in. Be sure to have

    • A valid, acceptable, photo-bearing ID

    • Your score recipient information

    • Your authorization voucher (if you requested one from ETS)

  • After you have checked in, you will be assigned a seat. You will receive scratch paper, and you may request more during the test. Following general instructions and preliminary procedures, you will be given time to work through the interactive tutorials. After the tutorials, you will begin the actual GRE CBT.

  • During the exam, if you have a problem with the computer, need additional scratch paper, or want to speak to an administrator for any reason, raise your hand to get his or her attention.

Using the Interactive Tutorials

Selecting an Answer

To select your answer choice in the multiple-choice sections, use your mouse to move the arrow to the oval in front of your answer choice and then click. At that time, the oval becomes blackened, showing your choice.

The time is displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen, and the problem you are on and the total number of problems in the section appear in the upper-right corner.

The Functions Tutorials

These tutorials review using a mouse, using the testing tools, and scrolling through long passages or graphs.

Using a Mouse

You use a mouse to enter your answer choice or input other information. Simply move the arrow to your selection by moving the mouse to the appropriate position and click (press) a button on the mouse. Remember that the tail (cord) of the mouse should always point away from you and that your fingers should be close to the buttons.

Using the Screen Tools

Various tools are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

  • Quit (Test). You can terminate the test administration by clicking Quit. If you click Quit, a message will appear asking you to confirm that you want to quit the test. If you quit the test, you won't receive scores on any of the sections.

  • Exit (Section). You can exit the section you are in by clicking Exit. If you click Exit, a message will appear asking you to confirm that you want to exit the section. After you exit a section, you cannot return to it.

  • Time. You can select to turn the time display on or off by clicking Time. When only five minutes remain in the section, the time is automatically displayed. You should regularly check the time remaining to help pace yourself.

  • Help. If you need to view the directions again or want to review information given in the tutorials, click Help.

  • Next and Answer Confirm. After entering your answer (clicking the oval), click Next and then Answer Confirm. This process saves your answer and allows a new question to appear. You cannot go back to this question or any previous question. You can change the answer as often as you want until you have confirmed it by clicking Next and Answer Confirm.

Note: If a tool is gray (not dark), it will not work. Only dark tools work when clicked.

Using the Scroll Bar

If a passage is too long to fit on the screen, or if there is too much information in a graph or chart to fit on the screen, a scroll bar will appear alongside the passage or graph that is contained in the left portion of the screen. The scrolling portion of the screen is called a scrolling pane. The scroll bar is used to vertically move (scroll) the nonvisible information onto the scrolling pane. The information will not move horizontally.

By clicking the arrows in the scroll bar, you can move the information up or down by line. By clicking between an arrow and the box, you can move the information up or down the page in larger increments. Holding the mouse button down on an arrow makes the lines scroll very quickly.

The status bar indicates whether you are at the Beginning or End of a passage or whether there is More Available. These messages assist you in keeping track of where you are when you are scrolling.

If you are even slightly familiar with a Macintosh or Windows system, you should be very comfortable with the GRE computerized format.

Scratch Paper

Before you start the exam, you will receive scratch paper. It is important that you use this scratch paper to its maximum benefit. Doing mathematical computations, listing wrong answers, taking notes, and redrawing diagrams are some of the ways to take advantage of the scratch paper.