Examiner, Referee, Judge



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

We cannot cover all the exams, since that would require a separate book in itself. To balance providing guidance while keeping the book within scope, we will use this chapter to walk through the resources needed, approaches to be taken, and techniques to remember what you read for the GRE and TOEFL exams. Both of these are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which is the world’s largest private non-profit of its kind.*

The GRE began as an experiment concocted by the deans from four Ivy League universities and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1936.* Over the next decade, it was used by a few universities in the U.S. before getting adopted officially by the ETS as a standard assessment in 1949. However, we would need to wait until 1965 for the birth of TOEFL, which began as another experiment by an applied linguistics professor at Stanford University.*

statsToday, the GRE is requested by and accepted by more than 4,500 institutions just in the U.S.* If you weren’t aware, over 1,200 business schools also accept GRE scores as an alternative to GMAT.*

However, if you choose to pursue your MBA abroad, we recommend taking the GMAT since it is specifically targeted at that degree and helps with your job search if you have a commendable score. It is also the exam taken by more than 90% of business school aspirants.*

ETS lets you do a quick check for yourself to see if your desired university accepts TOEFL scores.*

GRE and TOEFL: Rules of the Game


The GRE is an exhausting test that spans almost four hours and has six parts, with a ten-minute break after the third part. It’s made up of two verbal reasoning sections (30 minutes each), two quantitative reasoning sections (35 minutes each), and two analytical writing sections (30 minutes each). The verbal reasoning section has three sub-categories: reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion.* The quantitative reasoning section tests you on basic mathematical knowledge and your ability to reason with that.

Both the verbal and quant sections score you on a scale of 130 to 170, which is then added up at the end to give you a total score out of 340. Analytical Writing Assessment, or AWA, scores you on a scale of 1–6 with half-point increments.

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