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Posted on September 23 2020

3 ways the GRE computer test can work in your favor

By  Editor
Updated April 03 2023
GRE Coaching

We all know that the GRE test is taken through a computer. This can be a challenge for some test takers owing to the necessity to spend four hours straight staring at the computer or the inconvenience of not being able to mark the reading comprehension passages. But there are positive aspects of taking the GRE test on a computer. Let us look at some of them.

You can move around more quickly between questions on the GRE than you can on a paper test

You have buttons with arrows at the top of your screen that allow you to skip questions, mark questions for review, and view the questions you've marked. With the click of your mouse, any of these are feasible, which is much quicker than flipping through pages to find questions you skipped and marked on a paper test.

A word of caution, you will have a tendency to mark more questions for review because you have the freedom to do so. But remember that you will have not have the time to redo more than two or three questions maximum, so if you mark more than this to revisit, you're putting yourself in a spot, you are going to go back to the review screen and wonder which of the problems you've marked to prioritize. You will be clicking on problems to view them to figure out which to try.  This can be time-consuming and defeats the purpose of the review facility.

Your GRE scratch paper is wide and empty, and as much of it as you like can be used

Unlike a paper test where you're likely squeezing your scratch work into the test questions margins, you've got scratch paper that's given to you before your test starts. It's a set of bare pages stacked together, around two to five pages, and you simply raise your hand to request more when you run out of papers.

Ways to use the scratch paper

  • Redraw the geometric figures.
  • Solve math problems in a systematic and orderly way, keeping your work neat so you don't lose track of your thinking process (which can easily happen if you squeeze it into test margins).
  • Make notes for the reading comprehension passages

You can refer to the GRE long passage easily while answering questions about it

Although you cannot markup passages of reading comprehension on paper, which is certainly a con when it comes to the computer-based GRE, there is a silver lining.

 You will need to click forward to move through the questions when you reach the "long" passage, which is a passage of several paragraphs followed by around 5-6 questions on it. However, the passage stays on the left side of the screen while you do so in the computer-based test. This means that, without having to flip the page back and forth, you can refer back to it like you would a paper booklet.

This will be helpful especially if you plan to go back to the passage to find and confirm your answers to the detailed questions about the particulars. You are unlikely to remember these details based on just one read.

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