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Grad School Entrance Exams: GRE vs. GED

Graduate school entrance exams are an essential part of the application process for many graduate programs. These exams help admissions committees assess the academic readiness and potential of prospective students. Two of the most common entrance exams for graduate school are the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED). While both exams serve a similar purpose, they have distinct differences in terms of content, format, and target audience. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between the GRE and GED exams, and discuss their respective advantages and disadvantages for graduate school applicants.

The GRE Exam

The GRE exam is a standardized test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is widely accepted by graduate schools in various disciplines, including business, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. The GRE is designed to assess a student’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills.

The GRE exam consists of three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal Reasoning section measures a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material, evaluate arguments, and identify relationships between words and concepts. The Quantitative Reasoning section assesses a student’s mathematical skills, including problem-solving, data interpretation, and quantitative comparison. The Analytical Writing section requires students to write two essays, one analyzing an issue and the other analyzing an argument.

One of the advantages of the GRE exam is its widespread acceptance by graduate programs worldwide. Many universities consider GRE scores as an important factor in their admissions decisions. Additionally, the GRE is a computer-based test, which allows for greater flexibility in scheduling and faster score reporting.

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The GED Exam

The GED exam, on the other hand, is not specifically designed for graduate school admissions. The GED stands for Graduate Equivalency Diploma, and it is a high school equivalency test. The GED is intended for individuals who did not complete high school but wish to obtain a credential equivalent to a high school diploma.

The GED exam covers four main subjects: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science, and Social Studies. The Reasoning Through Language Arts section assesses a student’s reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking skills. The Mathematical Reasoning section tests a student’s knowledge of algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The Science section evaluates a student’s understanding of scientific concepts and their ability to interpret scientific data. The Social Studies section measures a student’s knowledge of history, geography, economics, and civics.

While the GED exam is not specifically designed for graduate school admissions, some graduate programs may accept GED scores as an alternative to a high school diploma. However, it is important to note that the GED is generally not considered as competitive as a traditional high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

GRE vs. GED: Target Audience

One of the key differences between the GRE and GED exams is their target audience. The GRE is primarily intended for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree or are in the final year of their undergraduate studies. It is a common requirement for admission to graduate programs, such as master’s and doctoral degrees.

On the other hand, the GED is designed for individuals who did not complete high school and are seeking an alternative credential. It is often taken by adults who want to improve their career prospects or pursue further education. While some graduate programs may accept GED scores, they are generally more commonly required for undergraduate admissions or vocational programs.

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Content and Difficulty Level

The content and difficulty level of the GRE and GED exams also differ significantly. The GRE exam is known for its challenging questions that require advanced analytical and critical thinking skills. The Verbal Reasoning section, for example, includes complex reading passages and vocabulary questions that test a student’s ability to understand and analyze written material. The Quantitative Reasoning section covers a wide range of mathematical concepts, including algebra, geometry, and data interpretation.

On the other hand, the GED exam focuses on assessing basic knowledge and skills in core subjects. While the GED exam covers a broad range of topics, it does not delve into advanced or specialized content. The questions are designed to measure a student’s understanding of fundamental concepts and their ability to apply them in real-world situations.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Both the GRE and GED exams have their own advantages and disadvantages for graduate school applicants. Here are some key points to consider:

Advantages of the GRE:

  • Widely accepted by graduate programs worldwide
  • Assesses advanced analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Computer-based test with flexible scheduling
  • Fast score reporting

Disadvantages of the GRE:

  • Expensive registration fee
  • Requires extensive preparation and study
  • May not accurately reflect a student’s potential for success in graduate school

Advantages of the GED:

  • Provides an alternative credential for individuals who did not complete high school
  • May be accepted by some graduate programs
  • Can improve career prospects and open doors to further education

Disadvantages of the GED:

  • Not specifically designed for graduate school admissions
  • May not be as competitive as a traditional high school diploma or bachelor’s degree
  • Does not assess advanced analytical and critical thinking skills
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Conclusion

In conclusion, the GRE and GED exams serve different purposes and target different audiences. The GRE is a standardized test designed for graduate school admissions, assessing advanced analytical and critical thinking skills. On the other hand, the GED is a high school equivalency test intended for individuals who did not complete high school. While some graduate programs may accept GED scores, they are generally more commonly required for undergraduate admissions or vocational programs.

When deciding which exam to take, it is important for prospective graduate school applicants to consider their educational background, career goals, and the specific requirements of their desired graduate programs. Ultimately, the choice between the GRE and GED will depend on individual circumstances and aspirations.

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