GRE Overview - A Complete Guide

Do you wish to study a graduate program, perhaps an MS, in a top university abroad? Along with carrying out an extensive application process, you also need to take the GRE.

Graduate Record Examination, commonly known as GRE, is a standardized test conducted by ETS which seeks to assess the quantitative, verbal, and analytical skills of the test-takers. Students who want to enrol in graduate schools abroad to study Master’s programs need to send their GRE scores to their target universities.

Over 1000 universities in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia accept GRE scores to determine the admissions of applicants.

Recent Updates on GRE

ETS, in response to the current Coronavirus pandemic, has decided to launch the test at home for locations where the computer-based format of the test was earlier available for the convenience of students who want to study abroad. The home edition has been initiated in response to test centers being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, need to ensure that they meet the system equipment requirements set by ETS. ETS has also, on a temporary basis, waived off rescheduling fees for all the students.

Why GRE?

GRE is one of the most commonly accepted exams by universities and colleges abroad for admissions to graduate programs. Students who want to pursue a master’s, Ph.D., or MBA are also required to take the GRE General Test. In addition, students give the GRE exam to get a merit-based scholarship for grad school. Thousands of graduate schools across the world accept the GRE test score. Besides this, various law schools and business schools, and different departments within these institutions accept the GRE test scores.

What are the types of GRE Tests?

There are two types of GRE tests:

  1. GRE General Test - Students wanting to get admission to MS courses abroad in different fields appears for GRE General Test. In this test, a student is evaluated on his quantitative ability, analytical writing, and verbal reasoning skills. The exam is conducted all-round the year, and students can appear for the test at their convenience. The paper-based GRE General Test is offered up to two times a year in countries where computer-delivered testing is not available.
  2. GRE Subject Test - GRE Subject Test intends to evaluate the candidates’ ability on a particular subject. These tests are conducted in the following topics: Physics and Psychology, Mathematics, Literature (English), Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. In general, this test is required to get admission to specialized courses.

GRE Highlights

Full Form Graduate Record Examination
Official Website
Popular For MS in the US
Conducted By ETS (Educational Testing Service)
Mode of Exam Computer and Paper – Delivered Test
GRE Fee USD 213
Score Range Verbal Reasoning score range: 130–170
Quantitative Reasoning score range: 130–170
Analytical Writing score range: 0–6


The TOEFL and GRE both serve different purposes. The GRE is used to evaluate how prepared a test-taker is for graduate-level coursework, while the TOEFL determines English language skills.

Knowing the content and format of the two exams is an important step to feel confident and score well. It’s possible that a student may have to take both exams. For each school someone applies to, he has to be sure to research the score requirements so he can submit all the materials and test scores required.


The major difference between the both is that GRE is widely accepted by colleges offering master's courses around the world while GMAT is accepted by colleges offering business courses. Thus, students who want to enroll in a graduate school go for GRE, and to attend business school, students take the GMAT. In the verbal section, GRE evaluates the vocabulary of the students and in GMAT the emphasis is more on grammar.

Which Countries Accept the GRE Scores?

All of the popular universities around the world in countries like the US, the UK, Singapore, Europe, and Australia accept GRE scores. Over 600 business schools around the world accept the GRE score.

What are the Eligibility Criteria of GRE?

GRE eligibility criteria are important, but there might be additional criteria to ensure admission to a university. For instance, Ivy League colleges have strict rules on GPAs. But it varies, and this shouldn’t be seen as GRE exam eligibility conditions. There is no set age limit or qualification required for students to appear for the GRE exam. However, since it is an assessment test for admission to graduate courses, test-takers should have successfully completed their undergraduate program.

What is the GRE Exam Fee?

The application fee for the GRE General Test is USD 213 around the world, which roughly translates to Rs. 15,782. GRE Subject Test costs USD 150 around the world, which would cost Indian students around Rs. 11,114. In addition to this, if the students want to change the center or reschedule the test, there is an extra fee that has to be paid.

What are the Important Dates for GRE?

As GRE test dates are distributed across the year, it provides students a sense of freedom to take the test at a time that suits them. GRE tests are conducted at Prometric Test Centers at different locations. Test takers have the liberty to take the exam either paper-based or online, but the former is available only in select regions without internet connectivity. Thus, in India, it is only given through the online mode.

What are the GRE Exam Pattern and Syllabus?

The paper-based exam involves two sub-sections of the main categories- Verbal, Analytical Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning. Verbal and Quantitative reasoning contains two sections and 50 questions with a time limit of up to 60 and 70 minutes. Analytical Writing includes two tasks with a duration of 60 mins. For the computer-based pattern, all the sections are further divided into two sub-sections with forty questions. GRE exam syllabus aims to assess quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and critical thinking skills of aspirants looking to get admission to a graduate program. Check the GRE exam syllabus to know the topics covered in each section.

What is the GRE Score Range?

The GRE score range has a section-wise distribution system in which.

  • Verbal Reasoning: On a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: On a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments
  • Analytical Writing: On a 0–6 score scale, in half-point increments
  • Total Score: On a 260–340 score scale

Subject Test is calculated on a scale of 200 to 990 with an increment scale variation of 10 points.

Students who have appeared for the GRE exam should be aware that their score is valid for 5 years from the day of the exam.

What are the Top Preparation Tips for GRE?

Students looking to ace the GRE test should follow a solid preparation plan to achieve their desired results. Similar to other exam preparations, students can select to study on their own or join coaching. The decision for GRE preparation lies entirely on the student depending on both time and resources. Newer ways of studying are growing in popularity, like online GRE prep classes, where students can learn in the comfort of home.

Where are the GRE Test Centers in India?

GRE exam slot can be booked online. Aspirants should check the availability of the test centers online. To check the appropriate time and date of the test center, one has to sign up on the official website of ETS and then enter the location to find the nearest GRE test center.

How Can GyanDhan Help You?

GyanDhan believes that to ace any test, one should be familiar with the complete mechanics of the test. Therefore, we have come up with a comprehensive guide to GRE covering all the vital specifics pertinent to the test like GRE exam pattern and syllabus, GRE eligibility, GRE exam fee. Since we are aware that scoring well in GRE is no menial task, we have also come up with rigorous and exhaustive overall and section-wise GRE exam preparation guides. Right from the syllabus, test pattern, and sample questions to general preparation tips, sectional preparation tips, preparation tips for one week before the test, tricks to use on the day of the exam, we have covered it all. GyanDhan has also provided GRE exam sample paper sources to the test-takers who can look them up for free. What’s more, we have partnered up with many test preparation companies and can help you select the right test prep course at an attractive price.


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Frequently Asked Questions

When to apply for GRE?

While selecting the date to apply, two aspects should be kept in mind- the preparation plan and the university application deadline. One should apply only when fully prepared and should apply early enough to fill out the application form.

How many times can a student retake the GRE exam?

Students can appear for the GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to 5 times in a span of a year.

Can a student get admission to an MBA program with GRE scores?

Many business schools around the world also accept the GRE scores. However, it is advised to check the eligibility criteria of the target school.

What is a good GRE score?

There can be different answers for it, but a GRE score of more than 300 is considered a good score for getting a seat in a top university.

Can a student get a scholarship through GRE scores?

Yes, students can get scholarships using their GRE scores and past academic record.
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