GRE Syllabus

Developed and conducted by ETS, the GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test started in 1936. It is organized in both paper-based and computer mediums. GRE scores play a vital role in admission to graduate and graduate business programs around the world, especially those in the United States and Canada. GRE offers business schools and graduate schools a uniform platform for evaluating students’ qualifications and readiness for graduate-level studies. 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.

Skills Tested in GRE

Analytical Writing Assessment

Quantitative Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

GRE General Test syllabus is divided into 3 parts:

1. Analytical Writing

The analytical writing section evaluates students’ skills to present complex ideas in a clear and effective way. It also tests whether or not students can support those ideas with relevant reasons and examples, and can have a coherent and well-focused discussion. It is recommended that students find out from the college they are applying to how strong is the AWA section considered by their admission board. The scores for the Analytical Writing section are not part of the total GRE score and are graded on a separate scale out of 6.

2. Verbal Reasoning

The verbal reasoning section evaluates students’ skills to examine and derive conclusions, identifying information in it, scrutinize relationships among parts of sentences, and identify relationships among words and concepts. GRE Verbal Reasoning consists of three separate areas of skill-testing: Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension.

Topics covered under the Verbal section:

  • Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  • Verb Tense
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism

3. Quantitative Reasoning

GRE quantitative reasoning section, also known as GRE Quant, seeks to evaluate students’ skills to comprehend quantitative information and analyze and interpret quantitative information. It tests the taker’s competency in four areas i.e., Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis.

Topics covered under the Quant section:

  • Divisibility, Prime Numbers, Factorization, Even & Odd Integers, Remainders
  • Percent, Estimation, Ratio, Absolute Value, Decimal Representation, Number Line Sequences of Numbers
  • Arithmetic Operations, Roots, and Exponents;
  • Quadratic and Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Simultaneous Inequalities and Equations
  • Simplification & Factorization of Algebraic Expressions
  • Functions, Equations, Relations, and Inequalities
  • Forming Equations to Get Answers to Word Problems
  • Coordinate Geometry, Graphs related to Functions and Equations
  • Quadrilaterals, Perpendicular & Parallel Lines, Circles and Triangles
  • Polygons and Congruent Figures
  • 3-D figures, Area, Volume, Perimeter
  • Pythagorean Theorem
  • Measurement of Angle in Degrees
Data Analysis
  • Statistics
  • Interpreting Data in Tables & Graphs
  • Frequency Distributions & Scatterplots
  • Elementary Probability
  • Conditional Probability
  • Probability Distributions and Random Variables and Counting Methods
  • Combinations, Venn Diagrams, Permutations

GRE syllabus for Subject Test includes the following subjects:

1. Biology

Number of Questions: 190 five-choice questions.

Topics Included:

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Organismal Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution

2. Chemistry

Number of Questions: 130 multiple-choice questions.

Topics Included:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

3. Literature in English

Number of Questions: 230 questions on poetry, biography, drama, essay, short story, novel, literary theory, criticism, and the history of the English language.

Topics Included:

  • Literary Analysis
  • Identification
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism

4. Mathematics

Number of Questions: 66 multiple-choice questions.

Topics Included:

  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Additional Topics

5. Physics

Number of Questions: 100 five-choice questions.

Topics Included:

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Atomic Physics
  • Special Relativity
  • Laboratory Methods
  • Specialized Topics

6. Psychology

Number of Questions: 205 five-choice questions.

Topics Included:

  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Clinical
  • Measurement/Methodology/Other

Exam Pattern of GRE

1. GRE General Test Exam Pattern

  • Conducting Time: Twice a year

Test Syllabus & Question Types


 No. of Sections 

No. of Questions

Types of Questions


Quantitative Reasoning


 20+20=40 Questions 

  • Quantitative Comparison Questions 
  • Numeric Entry Questions

 Computer-Delivered: 70 min
Paper Delivered: 80 min 

Verbal Reasoning


20+20=40 questions

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence

Computer-Delivered: 60 min
Paper Delivered: 70 min

Analytical Writing


1+1=2 questions

  • Analyzing an Issue
  • Analyzing an Argument

Computer-Delivered: 60 min
Paper Delivered: 60 min

The total duration is 3 hours and 45 minutes in which, students get a break of 30-35 minutes. This break is permitted after the completion of the first 3 sections of the 6 sections.

GRE General Test Score Range


 Score Range 

GRE quantitative reasoning

130-170 with 1-point increment

GRE verbal reasoning

130-170 with 1-point increment

GRE analytical writing assessment

0-6 with 0.5-point increment

Grand Total


GRE Subject Test Exam Pattern

  • Conducting Time: Indian students are allowed to take GRE subject tests only in October.
  • Test Duration: 2 hours and 50 minutes without break.
  • GRE Subject Test Score Range: 200-990. Uses 10 points increment system and all the sub-areas of the GRE subject test has a score range of 20-99 with a 1-point increment. Also, it has a negative marking system in which 1 point is awarded for every correct answer and 0.25 point gets deducted for every wrong answer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How are the GRE Quantitative Section and GRE Verbal Section scored?

GRE Quant and GRE Verbal sections are section-level adaptive. It means that the computer picks the second section of a measure on the basis of the performance on the first section. In every section, every question contributes equally to the final score. The number of questions answered correctly provides a raw score which is converted to a scaled score 'equating'. This 'equating' accounts for small variations in difficulty among every individual's test so that the scaled score can measure in a standardized way regardless of when the test was taken.

How is the GRE Analytical Writing section scored?

In GRE AWA, every essay gets a score from at least one trained GRE rater, using a 6-point holistic scale. The essay score is then scored by GRE e-rater, which is a computerized program developed by ETS and identifies essay features related to writing skills. The average of these two scores is termed the final score.

How much time does it generally take to complete the GRE test syllabus?

The completion of the GRE Test Syllabus depends completely on the retaining capacity of students. A fast learner would take lesser time in comparison to a slower learner.

Can I see my test scores at the exam center when I take the GRE General Test?

After the GRE General Test, you can report or cancel your scores. If you select- Report Scores, you can see your unofficial Verbal and Quant scores at the test center. As the Analytical Writing essay scoring process is time-taking, you will not be able to see your Analytical Writing score at the test center.

Can I use a calculator during the GRE test?

You cannot bring your own calculator to the test center. You will be provided an on-screen calculator for use in the Quantitative Reasoning section. This calculator has five functions: square root, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
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