GRE - All You Need to Know

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    What is the GRE Test?

    Started in 1936 and developed and conducted by the test maker ETS (which also conducts the TOEFL), the GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test held in both computer and paper-based mediums. GRE scores are required for admission to graduate and graduate business programs and hence is an important part of the application process for those students who are applying to graduate and business schools. Apart from the GRE general test, GRE subject tests to are there. The subject tests are in psychology, mathematics, physics, literature in English, biology, and chemistry. 
    GRE scores are accepted by thousands of universities all around the world, especially those in the US and Canada. Students can check here to know if their university and course accept GRE scores for admission to graduate programs. 

    What is the GRE Conducted For?

    The GRE gives business schools and graduate schools a uniform platform for comparing applicant’s qualifications and readiness for graduate-level coursework. The test seeks to measure quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of students desirous of taking admission to a graduate program. The verbal reasoning section of the GRE assesses a student on his/her ability to understand and interpret a given passage, while the quantitative section tests the student on their ability to understand the given quantitative data. The analytical writing section, on the other hand, consists of two essays and requires the test-taker to present complex ideas clearly.

    Where and When Does GRE Take Place?

    The GRE can be taken at any of the 1000 test centres in 160 countries. In most regions, students who wish to take the computer-based GRE can take it all year round. In countries such as Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea, the computer-based GRE is available three times a month. In countries where the paper-based version is available, students can take the test twice in a year, i.e., in November and February. 

    How to Book a GRE Exam?

    Students can book for computer-based test and paper-based GRE test by registering themselves online on the official website. For GRE registration, students need to create an account by filling in the requisite information. They should be careful while creating their profile and filling in their information as all the data entered may be used during the time of score submission or admission. After creating their profile, students need to select the GRE Test centre and date. Once these details have been entered, the student will be asked if he/she would like to participate in the free GRE search service. Then the candidate will be asked to enter some background information. At this point, a student can also purchase GRE preparation books if they want to. Next, the student will be directed to the payment gateway where they have to pay the mentioned GRE test registration fee
    For the computer-based GRE, students can also register for the test through phone by calling on the appropriate Regional Registration Center. Those who wish to take the paper-based GRE can also register themselves by downloading and completing the Registration Form for the Paper-delivered GRE and mailing it with the payment to the address printed on the form. It should be noted here that the form must reach the mentioned address before the last date of registration. 

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    GRE Exam Fee - How to Pay 

    Students have to pay a fixed amount of fee for GRE. The fee differs from country to country. GRE Exam Fees in India is $205. If you are attempting the paper-based test and are registering online after the last date, then you need to pay a late registration fee of $25. Those attempting the paper-based test have to pay a standby fee of $50.
    Students who register for GRE outside the US can pay the GRE Application Fee through American Express, Diners Club International, China UnionPay, Discover, MasterCard, JCB, or Visa credit card or debit card. ETS also accepts GRE Exam Fees payment through an e-check, PayPal, voucher numbers, Money Order/Certified Check. Students should note that the e-check should be drawn against a U.S. bank account. Those who pay the GRE Registration Fee through a paper check or money order will need a GRE General Test Authorization Voucher. This can be requested for via an e-mail. 

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    Cancellation or Rescheduling - Refund 

    Can we cancel the GRE Exam? If you have already booked for a GRE exam and are wondering if you could cancel it, then let us tell you that you can cancel or reschedule your GRE exam four days before the GRE test date. The process for GRE Cancellation or rescheduling the GRE exam is different for the online GRE and paper-based GRE. Let us tell you how to cancel the GRE exam in either of the cases. 

    • For the Computer-Based Exam - Students can reschedule their GRE exam test online. However, ETS charges a fee for rescheduling the GRE. It should also be noted that the exam cannot be rescheduled beyond one year of the first selected date. If a student does not reschedule the GRE date within a year, his/her entire fee will be forfeited. 
    • For the Paper-Based Test - Students can reschedule their test date online through their ETS account or by calling, wiring or faxing GRE services. ETS will charge a fee of $50 to reschedule the exam date and will not reschedule it beyond a year. In case a student fails to reschedule the exam date within a year, his entire fee will be forfeited. 

    GRE Registration Requirements

    Students who register for GRE will be required to provide certain identifying information. The identification information must contain their first and last name as it appears on the primary identification document that they plan to show at the test centre. The identification document must be a government-issued one and should be recognized in the student’s country of permanent residence. 
    Here is a list of documents which will not be accepted during the registration. 

    GRE Eligibility Requirements

    There is no upper age-limit or qualification specified for taking the GRE. However, universities have their own pre-defined criteria related to GRE and other eligibility requirements. Therefore, students should check the requirements specified by each of their target universities.

    GRE Exam Pattern

    The GRE is of 3 hours 40 minutes and consists of three sections - analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative. Students get a ten-minute break after the quantitative section. The table below explains the GRE exam pattern in greater detail. 

    GRE Exam Pattern - Computer-Based GRE

    GRE Sections


    No. of Sections

    Analytical Writing

      60 minutes (30 minutes per task)  

      1 section, 2 differently timed tasks  

    Verbal Reasoning

    60 minutes

    2 Sections, 40 Questions

      Quantitative reasoning  

    70 Minutes

    2 Sections, 40 Questions








    GRE Exam Pattern - Paper-Based GRE

    GRE Sections


    No. of Sections

    Analytical Writing

    60 Minutes

    2 Sections, 2 Tasks

    Verbal Reasoning

    70 minutes

      2 Sections, 50 Questions  

      Quantitative reasoning  

    80 Minutes

    2 Sections, 50 Questions


      Not Applicable  

    Not Applicable


    Not Applicable

    Not Applicable

    Unscored* - An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward your score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. 
    Research** - An identified research section that does not count toward your score may be included in place of the unscored section.

    GRE Syllabus

    The first section of the GRE is the Analytical Writing section. This section tests the students on their critical reasoning and analytical writing skills. In this section, students have to attempt an “analyze an issue” task and an “analyze an argument task”. The student is expected to:

    • Present Complex Ideas Clearly
    • Support Ideas with Reasons and Examples
    • Examine Claims and Evidence
    • Bring About a Relevant and Coherent Discussion
    • Control the Standard Written English Elements

    The next section is the Verbal reasoning section which consists of questions related to reading comprehension, text completion and sentence equivalence. The test-takers will be evaluated on the basis of their ability to:

    • Draw conclusions from discourse
    • Analyze incomplete data
    • Understand the author's perspective or assumptions, figurative and literal meanings and author's intent
    • Select important points to summarize and comprehend the structure of the test 
    • Understand the meanings of words and sentences and relationships between different parts of sentences

    The third section is the quantitative reasoning section that tests the students on their basic mathematical skills and their ability to understand and analyze quantitative information. For this section, the GRE Exam Syllabus includes topics such as

    • Algebra
    • Geometry 
    • Arithmetic 
    • Data Analysis

    Additionally, to know how to prepare for GRE, you could check out GyanDhan’s GRE study guide here

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    GRE Scoring Process and Scales 

    In the GRE general test, the scores are reported for three different sections. In the analytical writing section, the score is reported on a scale of 0 to 6 with a half-point increment. In the Verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections, the score is reported on a scale of 130-170 and with a one-point increment. Most importantly, there is no negative marking, meaning you would not lose a mark if you answered a question incorrectly. If you wish to know what is a good GRE score, then let us tell you that getting a verbal score between 163 and 170, a quantitative score between 165 and 170 and an analytical writing score between 5 and 6 will help you get in the top 10%. 

    GRE Result

    Students who appear for the computer-based GRE will be asked to Report (view) or Cancel after their test. If they select Report, they can view the unofficial score of their verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Since the analytical writing scoring takes time, they can view their entire official result on the ETS website in 10-15 days. Those who give the paper-based GRE will get their GRE Results in five weeks after their test. When the score of the student is available on their ETS account, ETS sends the students an email. They will also receive notification about their scores being sent to the requested recipients. 
    Students who feel that they have not scored well in the online test can select “Cancel” option when they are prompted for report or view of their score. However, GRE cancels score should be opted for with great care, since their score will neither be visible to them online nor will be sent to the designated recipient. Also, their entire fee will be forfeited, and they would have to pay again for taking the GRE. 

    Ideal Time to Give GRE

    There is no single ideal time to give the GRE. On the contrary, it depends on multiple factors, such as which year of undergraduate studies you are in, how prepared you are, your current academic or professional schedule, etc. We at GyanDhan recommend a few tips when selecting the date of your GRE. 

    1. If you are currently pursuing an undergraduate program, we suggest taking the GRE at a time when your academic schedule is not busy. This will give you ample time to prepare for GRE without jeopardizing your academics in a college. The same is the case for full-time professionals who wish to join a graduate school. They too should select a date when they are not full of professional commitments. 
    2. GRE scores last for five years only. So, take the test only when you are convinced that you wish to pursue a graduate program.
    3. Keep in mind the application deadlines of the colleges you are aiming for. Most programs have an application deadline of December and January. So, take the test in the summer of the year you wish to apply or latest by September or October of that year. 

    The GRE is a test in which you can show your best to graduate schools. So, make the most of it and get admission into your dream program. 

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