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GRE Syllabus


What does the GRE test? For starters, the GRE is neither a test of academic excellence, nor a test of intelligence, nor a test of aptitude. It only tests you on some Math and English concepts. The test writers do not give a syllabus that a student can work through to prepare for the test. It is, however, possible, to analyze each section and its question types to understand the content and skills required for the GRE.

GRE Verbal syllabus:

The Verbal section or Verbal Reasoning measure of the GRE assesses a test takers ability to:

  • analyze and evaluate written material in the form of sentences, paragraphs, and passages
  • synthesize information obtained from  this material
  • analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, and
  • recognize relationships among words and concepts.

The GRE tests the above ability via the following question types

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion

Concepts and skills required for the GRE Verbal section:


Test takers are expected to possess an extensive repertoire of words. Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require students to choose the best word or words for the blank or blanks in a given sentence or paragraph. Learning an entire dictionary is definitely not recommended, students need access to a reliable list of frequently tested words on the GRE, and at the same time work on strategies required for these vocabulary based questions.

Reading ability:

There are no prescribed books that a student can read to prepare for this test. While passages from different genres are given in this section, what matters is how carefully you read the passages and answer the questions based on what you have read. Consistent timed practice using reliable material and taking full-length tests are ways in which you can improve your scores. Just reading and comprehending do not get you points. Thus, the section actually turns out to be a test of your ability to answer the questions rather than just your ability to read and comprehend.

GRE Math syllabus:

The Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE or the Quant section of the GRE assesses High school mathematics and statistics; it does not include trigonometry, calculus or other higher-level mathematics. The GRE allows the use of a calculator in the Math section, however not all questions require you to use the calculator. Topics that are tested on the GRE Quant section are:

  • Arithmetic-topics include properties and types of integers, arithmetic operations, exponents and roots; and concepts such as estimation, percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation and sequences of numbers.
  • Algebra -topics include operations with exponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions; relations, functions, equations and inequalities; solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving simultaneous equations and inequalities; and coordinate geometry.
  • Geometry – topics include parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, three-dimensional figures, area, and perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean Theorem and angle measurement in degrees.
  • Data analysis basic descriptive statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles; interpretation of data in tables and graphs, elementary probability, permutations, and Venn diagrams…

Very often on the GRE, a question is hard not because it tests a hard concept; it is hard because most students get it wrong. Therefore, careful reading and a systematic approach can get you a great score. Contact our counselors to know more about the GRE and take a free diagnostic test to get started on your GRE preparation.