1. Education
Tara Kuther, Ph.D.

Is the GRE Really Necessary?

By December 11, 2010

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Recently I received an email from a prospective applicant: "I'm doing very well in school - all A's and I would like to go to graduate school to obtain a doctorate in psychology. The problem is that I recently took the GRE and scored poorly. What are my options? Is there another way into grad school other than doing well on this test?"

Simply put: If you want to pursue graduate study at the doctoral level, you will have to take the GRE. Nearly all graduate programs - especially doctoral programs - in all fields require it of all applicants. If you search long and hard you might find a program that doesn't require the GRE but such a finding is highly unusual - so unusual that I would take a very close look at the program.

So - the GRE is a necessary evil. What can you do to improve? Follow some basic steps to prepare for the GRE, including learning about the test, taking practice tests, and considering a course. Get a GRE prep book. It may be boring and hard work, but plowing through a test prep book - and doing all of the exercises - will improve your score. When it comes time to take the test remember to guess strategically. Finally, as a last resort, know that you can cancel your score before submitting your test.

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