GRE Exam To Study Abroad

Graduate Record Examinations by ETS


Established and conducted by ETS, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 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. The 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.

GRE general test syllabus

GRE general test syllabus is divided into 3 parts:

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.

Verbal reasoning

The verbal reasoning section evaluates students’ skills to examine and derive conclusions, identify 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

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:

  • Arithmetic
    • 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
  • Algebra
    • 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
  • Geometry
    • 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

Exam pattern of GRE

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.

Section Number of Sections Number of Questions Types of Questions Duration
Quantitative Reasoning 2 20+20=40 questions Quantitative Comparison questions, Numeric Entry questions Computer-delivered: 70 min, Paper delivered: 80 min
Verbal Reasoning 2 20+20=40 questions Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence Computer-delivered: 60 min, Paper delivered: 70 min
Analytical Writing 2 1+1=2 questions Analyzing an Issue, Analyzing an Argument Computer-delivered: 60 min, Paper delivered: 60 min

GRE general test score range

Section 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 260-340

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 a 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 be measured 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 less 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.