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 topics. 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.
The Verbal section or Verbal Reasoning measure of the GRE assesses a test takers ability to:
The GRE tests the above ability via the following question types
Vocabulary: Test takers are expected to possess an extensive repertoire of words. Sentence Equivalence and Text Completions 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.
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 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: