What is the GRE Exam?


The full form of the GRE is Graduate Record Examination. It is a standardized exam for admission into Masters and PhD programs in sciences, arts and business in the United States, UK, Canada and other countries. The GRE is created by the Educational Testing Service or ETS that administers tests not only in the US but also in 180 countries across the globe.


   Who or what is ETS?

ETS is a private, non-profit organization governed by a 16 member Board of Trustees. These members select their president and oversee the leadership provided by the ETS officers. The GRE and other tests are developed by a team of question writers, reviewers, editors and statisticians who ensure that the test questions are fair and address the test skills that are being tested.


  GRE exam

The GRE Exam is a 3 hour 45 minutes test and is computer delivered. While the GRE is also available in a paper-pencil format in some countries, only the computer delivered version is administered in India. The GRE has 6 sections with one 10 minute break after the third section. Here’s how the GRE is structured:

Measure/Section Number of Questions Allotted Time
Analytical Writing
  • 1 Analyze an Issue task
  • 1  Analyze an Argument task
  • 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning (2 sections)
  • 20 questions per section
  • 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning ( 2 sections)
  • 20 questions per section
  • 35 minutes per section
Unscored Can vary Can vary
Research Varies Varies

  More about the sections:

Analytical Writing: This section deals with two separately timed essay writing tasks. It measures the analytical and critical reasoning skills as reflected in the writing styles of the test –taker. Both the tasks do not require pre-knowledge of any specific content, but they do require test takers to have a persuasive and critical style of writing devoid of major spelling and grammatical errors. The AWA score is reported on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments.

The Verbal reasoning section consists of 20 questions per section. The Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions are targeted to measure the word power, critical reasoning and comprehension skills of the test taker. Test takers need to work not on just vocabulary but they also need strategies to deal with these questions. The score on this section is reported on a scale of 130-170 in 1 point increments.

The Quantitative reasoning section consists of 20 questions per section. Basic mathematical skills and elementary concepts of algebra, arithmetic and geometry are tested in this section. The Multiple-choice, Numeric Entry and Quantitative Comparison questions require quick thinking and sound application skills that require focused preparation. The score on this section is reported on a scale of 130-170 in 1 point increments.

Unscored and Research sections do not count toward the actual GRE score. The unscored section is not identified, is not optional and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section.

All test takers do not get the Research section that can appear at the end of the test. This section is identified and is optional.

  GRE Login:

To register online or access your GRE account login to https://mygre.ets.org/greweb/login/login.jsp?WT.ac=grehome_greaccount_a_150213 

For more information on how ETS develops questions visit the site: https://www.ets.org/s/understanding_testing/flash/how_ets_creates_test_questions.html