GRE Prep Course Specific FAQ’s

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GRE Prep Course Specific Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

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Welcome to our comprehensive GRE Specific FAQ’s page (GRE Specific Frequently Asked Questions). Here you will find answers to many questions specific to our GRE course. We also have a General FAQ’s page (General Frequently Asked Questions) that provides a comprehensive list of answers to questions on a wide range of topics.
How is the GRE prep course taught?

Our GRE prep course is taught like a senior level undergraduate university course. Each class day, instructors teach concepts appearing on the course syllabus and provide students with course assignments to practice what they have learned. These assignments align directly with class lectures and generally take about 6 – 7 hours per week in addition to the class time. Class instruction is reinforced through review, practice, and timed tests.

Are the practice tests we take full-length official tests?

Yes, the practice tests are official full-length GRE exams. They are exactly like the GRE you will be taking at the Prometric Testing Center. They are designed to simulate the actual test taking experience.

Do you have computers in the classroom?

No, we do not have computers in our classrooms. The GRE test is administered via computer at Prometric Testing Centers. Our students utilize computer-based tests to take at home, using the student’s own personal computer. Instructors will teach you the in’s and out’s of navigating the computer-delivered format. We do not use computers in the GRE classroom because the printed paper-based questions are exactly like the questions administered in the computer-delivered format test. With our course you’ll be thoroughly familiar with the test’s format and know the strategies to capitalize upon the exam’s weaknesses.

What is the instructor’s background in teaching the GRE?

Our instructors have been thoroughly trained in the Xceptional Curriculum and Methods, and are exceptionally qualified to teach the GRE exam.

Are instructors available outside of class?

Yes, instructors are available briefly before and after class, and they are also available through e-mail.

Who will be teaching the GRE prep course?

A Xceptional instructor will be teaching the entire GRE prep course, so you will have the same instructor throughout the course. All of our instructors are highly qualified to teach the examination. They have (1) A Top GRE Test Score, (2) University Teaching Experience, and (3) a Graduate Degree (e.g., Ph.D., Master’s, or J.D. degree). Many of our instructors are faculty members at your local universities. We hire only the best instructors in the test prep industry. We do not disclose specific instructor information and teaching assignments to prospective students.

What type of computer do I need to take the GRE course?

You do not need a computer to take the GRE course; however, you do need to have access to a computer that is compatible with the PowerPrep II v2.2 software to take the computer-delivered practice tests. The Powerprep software is compatible with both PC and Mac Systems. For PC Users the PowerPrep software is compatible with Windows 7 and above. For Mac Users the PowerPrep software is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 and above.

When should I start preparing for the GRE?

You should allow yourself plenty of time to devote to the test prep course, as well as time to complete other graduate school admissions components. Most Xceptional students will spend roughly 55 – 60 hours preparing for the GRE in the 6 week course period. Some students need additional time to complete their homework assignments, while others want to take more practice tests before their official exam. We offer seven GRE course start dates per year to accommodate all admissions schedules: January, March, April, June, July, August, and October.

When should I take the Xceptional GRE test prep course?

This depends upon the semester or quarter start date that you would like to enter in your graduate program. Some universities and colleges allow students to submit test scores closer to the entrance date than others. Please contact your prospective academic department(s) as to when GRE Test scores must be received by the program. Once you have this information, we suggest taking a GRE prep course that ends about one month before your official scores must be received. This will give you up to 2 weeks after the class ends to solidify your preparation and take the test. Your official scores will then be received by your respective program(s) in 10 – 15 days from your examination date.

How soon after I take the class should I take the test?

Most students take the test about 1 – 2 weeks after the course ends and no more than 2 months after the last class. For material retention purposes we strongly suggest taking the GRE Exam within 3 months of your last class date.

When should I register for the test?

We recommend that you wait until the third week of class to sign up for the GRE exam. Waiting a couple of weeks will allow you to ascertain your progress and determine whether or not you might need additional time to study or to complete course assignments. Some students need additional time due to their schedules. Signing up for a test date before you take the course could potentially trap you into a test date that you are not fully prepared for. Waiting until at least the third week gives a better indicator of your overall progress and is generally a sound time to make a decision on when to take your GRE Exam. We DO NOT recommend registering for the GRE exam before you start your course.

When should I take the GRE exam?

It depends on your graduate school(s) application deadlines. Find out the application deadline, and then work backwards from your earliest deadline. Add extra time for delays, keeping in mind that you can only take the GRE test once every 21 days. Also consider other components of your graduate school application and allow enough time to adequately devote to those components. It can take 10 – 15 days for your official scores to arrive at your designed schools.

Why is choosing a examination date is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety?

This can be stressful for a variety of reasons. When not considered carefully the wrong exam date can actually lead to increased stress, anxiety, and decreased performance. Some students force themselves into a situation where they are signed up for a test they are not ready for. We’ve found that students can box themselves into this situation. Consider how long it will take you to prepare. Some students need more time to put in the extra work to complete all of the homework, tests, and course assignments. Give yourself enough time to ensure that you are relaxed and under no stress when you sit for your exam.

Where do you take the test?

The GRE General Test is taken at Prometric Testing Centers and additional testing locations nationwide. They are located in most mid-size or larger U.S. Cities. If you do live in a more remote area you might have to drive some distance to take the exam. Please go to to register and for information on current center locations.

Exam Scheduling for GRE tests at Prometric Testing Centers

Some locations can fill up if you wait too long (for instance, more populated areas: Manhattan, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles). Please check the availability of those centers in advance to ensure that you can schedule a time to take the exam. If you cannot find a location in your immediate area you might have to travel to another suburb or city to take the exam. Some smaller cities have only one location to take the exam and if you live in a rural area you might need to travel to take the exam in another city.

In the event examination dates are impacted and/or limited in your area you should schedule an examination date far enough after your last prep class date so that you have extra breathing room to finish any remaining work that you did not complete within the course. The best rule of thumb is to schedule the exam far enough after your last prep class, but before the deadline for schools to receive your official scores.

Is the GRE General Test available on paper, as a paper-delivered test?

Not in the U.S. except the territories of American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; however there are many testing locations across the globe that administer paper-delivered tests. U.S. paper-delivered GRE General Exams ended more than a decade ago. You cannot take a paper-delivered GRE General exam in the United States.

What types of programs is the GRE used for?

The GRE is used for admissions to many types of graduate level programs, both Master’s and Doctoral. Most business schools will accept a GRE test score for admissions purposes. If you are uncertain of what test your prospective program requires for application, please consult the program’s Graduate Advisor or Department Chair.

Should I take the GRE or the GMAT?

It depends, so check with the graduate or professional schools you’re interested in, and see which test they require you to take, depending on your course of study. Traditionally, students who plan to study business or management generally are asked to take the GMAT, whereas most other programs generally ask you to take the GRE. However now most business programs accept the GRE for admission.

If given a choice, make sure that you know about each test’s format and content. While the math concepts tested in the GRE and GMAT are similar, the types of math questions are different. GMAT math questions are somewhat longer than GRE questions and most students consider GMAT math questions more difficult. The GMAT, however, does not test vocabulary and the verbal section is easier than the GRE counterpart. The GRE verbal section has more difficult reading comp passages and two types of vocabulary-in-context questions. It however does not test grammar, whereas the GMAT uses grammar with its sentence correction question types. The writing components of the two tests are essentially the same except the GMAT has only one essay while the GRE has two.

If you’re undecided, you can look at sample test questions at the GRE and GMAT websites. You can then determine which format is more complementary to your skill set and which test works best for you. In general, most students find that the GRE is easier than the GMAT.

Is there any preparation I should do before taking the course?

No, there is no preparation needed before taking our GRE course. We want students to come in with a clean slate, and learn our building blocks approach to test prep. The course begins at an introductory level, and progresses from there. However if you need to brush up on basic level math we suggest this additional starter and refresher book: Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests (3rd Edition)

What type of math do I need to know for this course, and the test?

Students should have a basic understanding of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Instructors will provide a content review of major math and statistics topics within the math section of the course (Weeks 2 and 3). If you would like to brush up on your math skills before you start the course we recommend purchasing this book: Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests (3rd Edition)

I haven’t been in school for a while, and my math skills are very rusty. Will I be able to keep up in your course?

Yes, you should be able to keep up with our GRE course. Our course begins at an introductory level and then progresses each week. However, if you would like to brush up on your math skills, we recommend purchasing this book: Cliffs Notes Math Review for Standardized Tests (3rd Edition)

I’ve taken a prep course before, would it be worthwhile to take another prep course through Xceptional Prep?

Yes. If you feel that you need more preparation for the GRE exam, it is advisable to take a course through us. Our GRE prep course is comprehensive, and will provide you with proven test strategies, techniques, methods, and content mastery to do well on the GRE exam. We have a strategic, straight-forward approach to test prep that many students have found to be very beneficial.

How important is the vocabulary list for the GRE?

It is rather important for the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions in the Verbal Section of the test. We recommend students study and learn at least 20 vocabulary words per day so that they are better prepared to answer these vocabulary-in-context questions.

Can I use a calculator?

Yes. Students are given the option to activate and use an on-screen calculator; however, you are not allowed to bring in your own calculator to the actual test. For our course, please bring in a standard calculator to help with the Quantitative section.

How does the Computer-delivered GRE test work?

The computer-delivered GRE test adjusts between sections to your individual ability level. Students are given two graded sections for the quantitative and verbal components of the GRE. The test adjusts the difficulty of the second section based on your performance in the first. This is the only adjustment in difficulty; hence the test is a CAT (Computer Adaptive Test) hybrid and not a full CAT exam. Questions in any section do not adjust based on how you perform on prior questions. It is a linear test within each section and you can freely pick and choose which questions to answer and in what order.

Do you prepare for the GRE Subject Tests?

No, we only prepare students for the GRE General Test.