Many international students who want to pursue graduate studies overseas have to take the Graduate Record Examination or GRE. This is not to say that all universities require the GRE as there are universities that do not require the test. However, getting good scores on GRE is important – very important. It is a matter of hard work and a dash of good luck. If you are having a bad hair day, are sick or just down, you may not do well and this may be reflected in your scores.
Students often question the relevance of the exam. The fact that a student can be “prepped” or coached for the exam shows the inherent weakness of such exams. However, GRE to a large extent is a test of aptitude. That is why it is not always easy to significantly improve your score by just "studying harder!"
A large number of universities also pay close attention to undergraduate GPA, work experience and SOP along with GRE test scores. In order to gain admission to a US university, you must be good across multiple dimensions or factors.
I invite your comments on the GRE exam and viable alternatives to it.
Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the President & CEO of USAsiaEdu, an international student recruitment firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org