GRE Test Overview

GRE Overview

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a 3 hour and 45 minutes, multiple-choice, a multi-stage test required by most graduate schools. The GRE Board oversees GRE tests, services, and research and establishes all policies for the GRE Program, which is administered by ETS.

Schools differ in how they use your GRE score. Some consider it very important, while others view it as a formality. We recommend asking your prospective programs — most will be quite willing to tell you what part the test plays in their admissions decisions.

What’s the breakdown of the GRE?

The GRE consists of an Analytical Writing section that contains two essay questions, sections that contain 20 multiple-choice questions, and two Quantitative sections that contain 20 multiple-choice questions.

There is also a sixth, experimental section that will be either Verbal or Quantitative. This portion will not count towards your final score — ETS uses it to test questions for use on future exams. Unfortunately, you’ll have no way of knowing which part is experimental (it will look identical to the real Verbal or Quantitative section), so you’ll need to do your best on the entire test.

How is the GRE scored?

The GRE is a multi-stage test. This means that the computer will use your performance in one section to determine the difficulty level of the next section. Within a section, however, the question selection is static and you can skip around. If you do very well on your first verbal section, for example, the second verbal section you will see will be much more difficult. This is a good thing, however, because you must get to and successfully tackle the hardest questions to get to the highest possible scores.

You will receive separate GRE Verbal and Quantitative Scores; these are reported on a scale from 130 to 170 in one-point increments. The Analytical Writing section is listed separately and is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

What are the GRE Subject Tests?

The GRE Subject Tests, test your knowledge of a particular subject like chemistry or literature. Not every school requires a GRE subject test, but many of the most competitive programs do. ETS offers the tests three times a year.

Contact our counselors to know more about the GRE and take a free diagnostic test to get started on your GRE preparation.

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FAQ's

How long is the GRE exam?

The GRE is roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes long. The GRE AWA section is for 1 hour; the GRE verbal sections are for 30 minutes each and the math sections are 35 minutes each. The GRE experimental section can be for 30 or 35 minutes. Along with the breaks in between, the test is for nearly 3 hours and 45 minutes.

How should I prepare for the GRE exam?

You have to take a diagnostic (full-length) GRE test to set the baseline. This will help you know where you stand and how far are you from your target score.  Accordingly, choose a course or books to help you prepare for the test.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the GRE exam:

1. Know the rules of the game – Get thorough with the structure, format, and scoring of the test.
2. Review the essentials (basic concepts) required for the test. For verbal, learn vocabulary and for math, learn the basics of the math topics tested.
3. Learn techniques, strategies and pacing tips to boost your score.
4. Practice questions from standard GRE materials.
5. Take GRE Full-length practice tests at regular intervals and review the test to learn from the mistakes.

For more on GRE prep, see our guide for making a GRE study plan.

What is the format of the GRE exam?

The GRE Exam pattern consists of three major parts: – Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal, and Quants. The GRE analytical writing section has two essays- Issue and Argument. The GRE Quants syllabus includes Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Data analysis. The Verbal section consists of Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Text Completion.

How to start preparing for the GRE exam?

You have to take a diagnostic (full-length) GRE test to set the baseline. This will help you know where you stand and how far are you from your target score.  Accordingly, choose a course or GRE books to help you prepare for the test.

Which colleges/universities accept GRE scores?

Most of the colleges in the US require GRE scores for admissions into graduate courses. For getting into elite colleges in Germany, Canada or the UK, the student may require competent GRE scores.

How long are GRE scores valid?

The GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the time it is taken.