Get Your GRE Score

Test day is here. You’ve spent the past couple of months scanning study guides for hours and adjusting your study habits to ensure you ace the GRE, but you can’t seem to shake off those test jitters. You’re not alone: In the past decade, studies have shown that students of varying ages have experienced test-taking anxiety. For some, pre-exam anxiety may help to improve focus at the time of testing and, ultimately, performance. But for others, it can be debilitating and even prevent them from making it to test day or signing up to take the test.

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE as it is commonly called, is one of the staple application requirements for many graduate programs in the United States, including the Master of Science in Communication Disorders program offered at Emerson College. Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the multiple-choice standardized exam evaluates your analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning abilities. Along with academic records, a personal statement, and other supporting materials, admissions staff use your GRE scores to measure your overall preparedness for graduate academic study. While the GRE doesn’t necessarily boost your application, a high GRE score could lead to financial aid opportunities, depending on the school.    

At Emerson College, we support aspiring speech language pathologists from different backgrounds even before they begin the application process. That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful information to assist you in preparing for the GRE exam, regardless of where you are in your educational or professional journey. 

Review Your GRE Registration Checklist

First up is a checklist for registering for the GRE:

When Is the Right Time to Take the GRE?

By now, you have likely identified a graduate program that best suits your career ambitions. Maybe you have a bachelor’s in communications and considering a master’s degree program that will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for work in the field of speech-language pathology. Through clinical placements and a rigorous curriculum covering topic areas such as language development and dysphagia, our Master of Science in Communication Disorders program, also known as Speech@Emerson, prepares you to make an impact in the lives of people with speech, language, or swallowing challenges.

Our program has three cohorts throughout the year: one in January, another in May and the final one in September. Priority and final application deadlines for each cohort can be found on the admissions section of our program website. Be mindful of the application deadline for the cohort you wish to join. Give yourself ample time to gather and review all required application materials, including your GRE scores. 

We advise you to take the GRE exam before you begin your application to any one of our cohorts. The computer-based version is offered year-round (on a first-come, first-served basis), and GRE results are available in about 10 to 15 days from the date of testing. The paper-delivered test is offered on select dates, and results are typically available in five weeks.

The GRE can be taken up to five times, once every 21 days. Taking the GRE more than once will not go against your chances of admission.

You can choose what score to send to us. So, if you’re worried that test anxiety might affect your scores the first time around or you want to retake the exam to improve your score in the verbal reasoning portion of the exam, for example, plan ahead as you would with other components of your application and keep the results timelines in mind.

The ETS updates its website to reflect new information about GRE test dates and test centers. The GRE information bulletin is also a helpful resource.

Complete Your Application

There are other steps you can take to help you stay on top of application deadlines. Prioritize portions of the application that you feel might take longer for you to complete and budget what you deem to be a reasonable amount of time to complete each task. That might mean reaching out to current and former supervisors, professors, or mentors for letters of recommendation at least one to two months before the school’s deadline; giving yourself two weeks to finish writing a personal essay; allowing an additional week for review; and then investing the rest of your time in GRE prep.

Do your best to stick with timelines you set for yourself, but don’t be discouraged if you fall a little behind schedule. Sometimes you might end up putting more time into a portion of the application you didn’t expect to, but that extra time may be necessary.

To learn more about what it takes to become a speech-language pathology graduate student at Emerson College, refer to the Speech@Emerson list of admissions requirements.

When Is the Right Time to Start Studying for the GRE?

Kaplan, a leader in the field of education, recommends that you start preparing for the GRE when you see fit. To help you get started, Kaplan offers the following:

Work schedule, course load, extracurricular activities, and study habits and skills are all factors that can affect your preparedness for the exam.

Be aware of the factors or personal traits that might slow you down, as well as those that can be used to your advantage, and develop a study plan accordingly. As previously mentioned, time management is crucial to the grad school application process, so the earlier you can get started with study prep, the better.

How to Get Ready for the GRE

Just as figuring out when the right time to begin studying for the GRE is a personal decision, selecting test prep materials and study strategies depends on you.

Do I prefer to have a hard copy of a book so I can highlight sections of it? Can I afford to pay for a portion of my study materials? Do I retain more information when I study in the morning or at night?

These are just a few questions you can ask yourself as you begin your exam prep journey.

GRE Prep Resources

The internet is full of exam prep resources, from cheat sheets and test guides to sample tests and electronic GRE flashcards. The abundance of tools and materials can certainly be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming. You may be unsure about what book or study plan is the best fit for you or where to look for low-cost prep items.

When in doubt, turn to the ETS. The GRE test administrator offers a range of free prep resources, including tips for answering questions and subject-specific GRE sample questions with explanations. Having access to free resources can be helpful since returning to school is a significant financial undertaking. The ETS also provides sample GRE essay prompts and scoring guides. If you have a disability or health-related need, the ETS offers GRE test prep materials in accessible formats. 

Other free prep materials are available through Chegg’s GRE test prep blog. You can watch videos, review study articles, and answer the “GRE Question of the Day.

If you know of a friend or family member who has recently taken the test, ask them for their notes, books, and any test-taking tips they might have. Alternatively, create an online study group so you can share ideas, materials, and tips with other test takers from the comfort of your home, or join an existing online study group.

There are also test prep materials available for purchase. Some are listed below:

Study Strategies and Prep Tips for Test Takers With Anxiety

It’s normal to feel some nervousness as test day approaches. Here are a couple of steps and strategies you can take to prepare for the GRE and combat pre-exam anxiety.

Before Test Day

Study smart. Are you a visual learner? Does it help to use specific examples to understand a new or abstract concept? Do you prefer to study with a little background noise? To study smart, you need to set study goals, leverage your learning strengths, and modify study habits that don’t promote productivity. These habits may include procrastinating, cramming, and not keeping distractions to a minimum.

Another way to study smart is to complete several practice tests. By doing so, you can learn from mistakes and work on improving your test-taking abilities. Remember, you don’t need to earn the “perfect” score. Set a realistic target based on your desired program’s requirements and your personal goals, not external factors such as parents’ or peers’ expectations.

Finally, know when to stop staring at your study guide. Long hours of studying aren't always effective. Sometimes it can lead to boredom, lack of enthusiasm, or study burnout. Be sure to take breaks when you need them, but also do well to heed the deadlines you set for yourself.

Remain active, and rest up. Eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and getting a good night’s rest can help set you up for test day by improving your focus.

Work out a routine. Having a consistent routine prior to test day is important. Your routine should include steps and actions that enable you to be both attentive and calm. Those steps and actions will vary from person to person.

Talk to a mentor or professor. A professor is no stranger to test-time anxiety. They may have experienced it themselves or work with students who are dealing with it. Ask your professor or professional mentor for tips on coping with test-time edginess, or even using it to your advantage.

On Test Day

Get to your testing center early. The last thing you want is to feel rushed and worried. 

Think positive thoughts. You’ve worked hard up until this point, so reminding yourself of that is key. Positive affirmations help to boost morale. Write down positive emotions or speak positive thoughts out loud. If you need to talk through your anxiety or stress with a mental health care provider prior to testing, do so. You can also use stress management mobile apps in the days before testing. The American Institute of Stress has a list of apps that can be used for meditation and healthy living.  

Pace yourself. Like you would have done during your practice tests, watch the clock and be sure to mentally allocate ample time for each section of the exam. You’ll also want to give yourself some time to review your responses and proofread your essays. Don’t panic if you spend a few minutes more on a question or section; simply reallocate your time.

Practice breathing exercises. Regular deep breathing is one technique that can help you remain calm. As you begin the exam, take a deep breath to slow your racing mind. Your feelings of anxiety may not disappear right away, but it’s important to continue to take deep breaths. Take one after you’ve read a difficult question—and take another after you’ve submitted your answer to that question.   

Use scratch paper. Write the opening of your essay or work out a math equation on the scratch sheets given to you. Don’t hesitate to use as much of it as you need. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America and ETS provide even more test day tips and information.

After Test Day

Reflect. First, congratulate yourself for completing the exam and take some downtime for yourself if possible. Try to remain calm and avoid going down a rabbit hole trying to figure out what you might have done wrong on the exam. Instead, think through the highs and lows of your journey. What did it teach you about yourself and learning styles? How can you apply those lessons to your graduate studies or daily routine? 

If you feel strongly that you’ll need to retake the exam, you can begin to plan for that, but it’s also OK to wait for your test results to come in—you might have done better than you think. Remember that if you’ve completed the test once, you can do it again. Continue to remain active and take care of yourself in the days leading up to the release of your results.

FAQ

There are some key questions you can ask yourself to get acquainted with the GRE exam, registration process, and scoring system. Below is a small selection of basic questions and responses for test takers.

How can I register for the GRE?

If you want to take the computer-delivered test, you can register online once you’ve created an account or by phone. For the paper-delivered test, you can register online or via mail. Note that the paper test is only offered in areas (both in and outside the United States) where computer-based testing is not available.  

How long is the GRE? 

The GRE lasts three hours and 45 minutes. The ETS recommends 30 to 35 minutes per GRE measure (analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning). The computer-based exam is designed in a way that allows you to skip a question or section if you’re stuck and come back to it at the end. To learn more about the structure of each portion of the exam, study the ETS Test and Content Structure resource page

How much does the GRE cost?

Exam prices vary by location. North American–based test takers pay $205 for the general test, while those in China pay $231.30. Fees are subject to change. For more information on exam costs in your part of the world and payment and refund policies, check out the ETS website.

Does the ETS provide testing accommodations?

Before you register for the GRE, find out if you meet the ETS testing accommodation for test takers with disabilities and health-related needs

What score should I be aiming for?

It depends. You’ll want to make sure your score is one that helps you get accepted into your graduate program. The verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE are scored between 130 and 170, according to Kaplan, while the analytical writing is scored between 0 and 6 in half-point increments. To submit your scores to the Master of Science in Communication Disorders program at Emerson College, use our school code, 4081

For more frequently asked questions about reporting and more, refer to the ETS list of FAQs for the GRE general test.

Just remember that taking the GRE doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. With conscious preparation and positive thinking, you can work to meet your goals. If you have specific questions about any portion of the Speech@Emerson application, do not hesitate to contact the program’s admissions team by phone at Phone Number: 855-997-0407. You can also send an email to admissions@speech.emerson.edu.