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All About the GRE® TEST

Many students or professionals who plan for GRE®, usually fall into the dilemma about What is GRE® or how should they give a head start. The answer to what is GRE® is explained below in detail.

GRE® General Test or Graduate Record Examination General Test is a standardized test that lets you showcase your ability to graduate schools. Many international universities including most in the US and Canada use GRE® scores as a measure of a candidate’s potential.

GRE® online test is conducted on almost all working days in a year, providing you flexibility with planning your GRE® prep. You can attempt the GRE® entrance test as many times as you like. With Score-select option, you can decide which GRE® score should be shared with the graduate school of your choice.

GRE® tests you across three broad skills:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Quantitative reasoning
  3. Analytical Writing

These are the skills that a graduate student will have to employ on a daily basis. The GRE® scores, therefore, form an important part of the admissions requirements for both MS and Ph. D. programs in English speaking countries.

GRE® Examination is conducted by Educational Testing Services (ETS), a New Jersey-based company with long-standing repute and quality.

Should you take the GRE® test?

If you are planning to apply to graduate or business schools internationally, you should take the GRE® exam. This forms part of the admissions requirement for many courses including master’s, MBA, J.D. degree or a doctoral degree.

Admission, as well as fellowship panels, would look at your GRE® score in tandem with your other achievements including undergraduate records, and recommendation letters when deciding on your candidature.

GRE® exam is an ideal choice for you as:

  1. The GRE® score is widely accepted by universities and institutes across the US, Europe, Canada, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
  2. GRE® test is also considered by many scholarship and fellowship programs.
  3. Ability to retake the exam as required until your test score reflects your true potential.

A few law schools also accept GRE® scores. These include:

  1. American University Washington College of Law
  2. Boston University School of Law
  3. Brooklyn Law School
  4. Chicago-Kent College of Law
  5. Columbia Law School
  6. Harvard Law School
  7. Florida International University College of Law
  8. Cornell Law School
  9. John Marshall Law School
  10. New York University School of Law

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What is GRE® Eligibility criteria?

What is GRE® Eligibility criteria is the most peculiar query that haunts new GRE® aspirants. The good news is that GRE® has no particular eligibility criteria. Anyone can take the test regardless of their age or qualifications. The only requirement is that you produce a document prescribed by GRE® as an identity proof when appearing for the GRE® exam. In India, the original passport is considered a valid proof of identity. To understand the GRE® Requirements, click here.

That said, each of the university or institute that you would apply to may have their own eligibility criteria for offering admission. These vary from program to program and may include factors such as a minimum age, experience, and qualifications.

What is GRE® Test Pattern?

In August 2011, the GRE® test pattern underwent a major change. The total score for the General Test was brought down to 340 from 1600.

The GRE® is conducted in 2 basic streams:

  1. GRE® General Test and
  2. GRE® Subject Test

GRE® General test assesses test takers on the following:

  1. Verbal reasoning skills
  2. Quantitative reasoning skills
  3. Analytical writing skills

GRE® Subject Test:

  1. Focuses on the subject you want to pursue higher education in.
  2. Required by only a few select universities for select programs offered.
  3. You can choose from eight specific fields of study.
GRE® General TestGRE® Subject Test
Test Focus: Verbal & Quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical skills acquired over a long period of time.Test Focus: The GRE® subject Test gages undergraduate achievement in 8 specific fields of study.
Taken by: Majorly MS aspirants. PhD. students also take it up but are fewer in comparison.Taken by: Preferred by PhD or MS aspirants planning to shift the fields of study. Here the majority is PhD.
Cost: The cost of a general test is $205.Cost: GRE® subject test costs $150.

Structure of the GRE® General Test

GRE® General test is divided into three sections. The structure of each section is provided below:

Verbal Reasoning

  1. Two sections of 20 questions each.
  2. You get 30 minutes for each section.
  3. The question types covered in each section are:
    1. Sentence equivalence – 4
    2. Text completion – 6
    3. Reading Comprehension – 10
  4. Score Range – 130 to 170, 1 point Increment.

Quantitative Reasoning

  1. Two sections of 20 questions each.
  2. You get 35 minutes for each section.
  3. The question types covered in each section are:
    1. Quantitative Comparisons – 8
    2. Problem-Solving items – 9
    3. Data Interpretation Questions – 3
    4. Score Range – 130 to 170, 1 point Increment.
  4. Score Range – 130 to 170, 1 point Increment.

Analytical Writing

  1. This section requires you to write two essays:
    1. Analyse an issue
    2. Analyse an argument.
  2. You get 30 minutes for each essay.
  3. Score Range – 0 to 6, 0.5 point Increment.

Experimental Section

  1. This is not evaluated towards GRE® score.
  2. Does not appear in the paper-based test.
GRE® SectionsPaper-basedComputer-based
Analytical Writing2 sections- 2 tasks(60 minutes)1 section- two tasks(60 minutes)
Verbal Reasoning2 sections- 50 questions(70 minutes)2 section- 40 questions(60 minutes)
Quantitative Reasoning2 sections- 50 questions(80 minutes)2 section- 40 questions(70 minutes)

What is the structure of the GRE® General Test?

Verbal Section

Question TypeNo. of Questions
Sentence Equivalence4
Text Completion6
Reading Comprehension10

Time: 30 minutes for each section

Quant Section

Question TypeNo. of Questions
Quantitative Comparisons8
Problem Solving Items9
Data Interpretation3

Time: 35 minutes for each section

Analytical Writing Section

  • The GRE® Analytical Writing Section requires you to write two essays.
  • Score Range – 0 to 6 Scale, half point increment
  • Essays - Issue Task and Argument Task
  • Time - 30 minutes for each essay

Experimental Section

This is a research section and can be any one of the sections mentioned above i.e. Verbal, Quantitative or Analytical Writing. This section is not evaluated to affect your final score. (The experimental section does not appear in a paper-based test).

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How is the GRE® scored?

  1. The GRE® General Test is a computer adaptive test.
  2. Your performance in the first sub-section of verbal and quant sections determines the difficulty of the second sub-section.
  3. In these sections, the raw score is one mark per question you answer correctly.
  4. The scaled score is calculated through "equating".
  5. This means if you do very well in the first sub-section, the second sub-section will have questions with a high difficulty level, but you would also be able to score the highest potential score.
  6. If you score low in the first sub-section, the second sub-section would be easier but your potential high score will be lowered as well.
  7. The Analytical Writing section is scored by a human reader on a 6-point scale with 0.5 increments.

While it is great to score the highest possible score in GRE®, remember that the GRE® score is but one among the many factors that impact your admission. The good GRE® score for you depends on the program you are aiming for. Check out the average score of applicants admitted to the program of your choice to understand the score that will make your application competitive.

PercentileScaled GRE® Verbal Score
Top 10% of all test takers.162
Top 50% of all test takers151
Below 50th percentile of all test takers.150
PercentileScaled GRE® Quant Score
Top 10% of all test takers166
Top 25% of all test takers160
Top 50% of all test takers153
Below 50th percentile of all test takers152

The mean score and score ranges for each section are as below:

SectionScore RangeMean
Verbal Reasoning130–170151
Quantitative Reasoning130–170153
Analytical Writing0–64.0

Score Select

  • Provides option to send only your best score to graduate schools.
  • On test day:
    • Choose either to not send scores at the time or select from four score reports to:
      • Send the most recent score.
      • Send all the scores from the last five years.
  • After test day:
    • Can access additional test scores for a fee.
    • Choose to send:
      • The most recent score
      • All eligible scores
      • Choose to send a set of scores that you select (one or more)
  • Only the scores that you select are made available to graduate schools you apply to.

More details about GRE® Exam

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (2)

The GRE® is a 3 hours 45 minutes examination.

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (3)

You get 1-min breaks between each section.

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (4)

After the 3rd section, you get a 10-min break.

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (5)

The cost for GRE® varies from $130 to $210 w.r.t your country.

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (6)

Your GRE® score will be valid for 5 years.

(Video) Complete Guide on GRE for Beginners - Get Expert Comments Now

What is GRE? Get answers to all your GRE related questions with AdmitEDGE.com (7)

GRE® score can be used to apply for business studies (some universities)

When is the GRE® Exam conducted?

The GRE® General Test is:

  • Available across 160 countries.
  • Computer-delivered test is available on all working days in most regions around the world, including in India.
  • Available up to three times a month in Chinese territories (Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and South Korea.
  • Paper-delivered test is available in October-November and February.

When to take the GRE® Test?

There are a couple of key factors that impact when you should take the GRE® test. These are:

  • Application deadlines for your chosen programs.
  • Enough time to take a retest, if required.

You should take the exam such that the scores of your retest will be available by the time your application deadlines hit. That is, about four weeks before your application deadline.

How long should the GRE® prep be?

There are a couple of key factors that impact when you should take the GRE® test. These are:

  • Application deadlines for your chosen programs.
  • Enough time to take a retest, if required.

Where can I test the GRE® Test?

You can take the GRE® General Test as any of the recognized test centers. In India, the GRE® test is primarily conducted by Pro-metric. The test centers are present in the following cities:

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Allahabad
  3. Bengaluru
  4. Chennai
  5. Cochin
  6. Coimbatore
  7. Dehradun
  8. Gurugram/Gurgaon
  9. Gwalior
  10. Hyderabad
  11. Indore
  12. Kolkata
  13. Nashik
  14. New Delhi
  15. Nizamabad
  16. Patna
  17. Trivandrum
  18. Vadodara
  19. Vijayawada

To find the exact location of test centers and the time slots available, visit the ETS Website (GRE® official website). Remember that the test centers for computer-based tests and paper-delivered tests may be different.

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Where can I test the GRE® Test?

The cost of registering for the GRE® exam in India is US$205. At the current exchange rate, this comes to ₹14,287. An additional US$50 is charged if you need to either reschedule or change your test center.

To register for the GRE® test, visit the registration portal at ETS website.

How to crack GRE?

Your GRE® prep will depend on where you stand right now, and the timeline you are working with. Sign up with AdmitEDGE for a counselling call from a GRE® Expert. Get all your doubts cleared and start your GRE® preparation as soon as possible.

FAQs about the GRE® Exam

Q. What is the duration of GRE® General Test?
Ans. The GRE® General Test is for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Q. Is there any break during the GRE® Exam sections?
Ans. A one-minute break is provided between each section. A 10-minute break is provided after the 3rd section.

Q. GRE® score is valid for how many years?
Ans. The GRE® score is valid for 5 years.

Q. What is the cost of taking the GRE?
Ans. The cost of the GRE® exam varies between US $130 and US $210 depending upon the country you take the test in. GRE® entrance exam fee in India is US $205 or ₹14,287.

Q. Does any other course accept GRE® test score?
Ans. A few law courses accept GRE® score as well.

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Is it better to answer all questions on the GRE? ›

Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores are determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from your score for incorrect answers. To maximize your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures, it's best to answer every question.

What is the GRE for? ›

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is an important step in the graduate school or business school application process. The GRE is a multiple-choice, computer-based, standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate programs and graduate business programs (MBA) globally.

How many questions do you have to get right on the GRE to get a 150? ›

Its given in the ETS home website that each correct question counts for 1 point increment. So if you answer minimum 20 out of 40 correctly you will be definitely scoring at least 150. If you answer more correctly you will get more. Its as simple as that.

What is the fastest way to answer GRE questions? ›

The best way to gain speed is to know the material very well. So keeping your focus on content knowledge is really your first priority. The better you know the material, the fewer mistakes you'll make; the fewer mistakes, the faster you'll work your way through each problem. For example, what's 10 x 10?

How difficult is it to score 320 in GRE? ›

The 320 GRE percentile is around 80 percent or above! But again, the GRE is a sectional game. If you want admission in a specific course, say engineering, you need to up your game and receive the highest possible score in the quant section.

Is it easy to get a 300 on the GRE? ›

For aspirants, achieving a 300+ score is a dream. But there are many who achieve this. It's simply their strategic GRE study plan, time management, and approach to academics that allows them to bag this good score.

What GPA is required for GRE? ›

Most programs would not accept less than a 3.0 GPA; however, there are always exclusions. Numerous students with less than a 3.0 GPA are acknowledged into graduate programs. For highly viable programs, you need more than a 3.5 GPA.

Is GRE hard to pass? ›

The GRE test is often viewed as the most difficult graduate college entrance exam when compared with the SAT and ACT tests. The GRE's challenging essays, reading, and vocabulary sections make it a tough exam, but it doesn't have to be that hard.

What is a good score for GRE? ›

What is a good GRE score? For most programs, it's 75th percentile or above: 157+ in Verbal Reasoning and 162+ in Quantitative Reasoning. For top programs, it's a 90th percentile score or higher: 162+ in Verbal and 168+ in Quant.

How hard is it to get a 155 on GRE? ›

A top 20% score is in the 155-159 range, so we'll note 159 again for selective schools. A top 40% score is in the 150-154 range, so 154 is our target again there. A 149 is the average, so anything below that would be a less selective score.

How hard is it to get 150 on GRE? ›

For example, a scaled Verbal score of 150 on the GRE translates to roughly the 47 th percentile, meaning that you scored better than 47 percent of other test takers—and worse than the other 53 percent of test takers.

How many questions can you miss on the GRE to get a 300? ›

Just do your best on the GRE exam, and know that on both the verbal and the math section, missing one question will still leave you with a perfect score.

How many questions can I miss on the GRE to get a 160? ›

To get such a score on the verbal section you can get 13-15 questions wrong in total but no more than 7-8 wrong in the first section. So if you get 13/20 on the first section and 12/20 on the second section you will get a 160 on the verbal section.

Is 1 week enough to study for GRE? ›

If it's summer and you have a lot of free time, you may be able to fit in 20-40 hours of studying a week. However, if you're already balancing school and/or work, 5-10 hours of GRE study a week might be more realistic.

Is 1 month enough for the GRE? ›

You'll be in a decent place if you give yourself 1 month to study for the GRE. However, it's not quite as much time as it sounds, so this study schedule requires about 3 hours every day, as well as one day a week you can dedicate to taking a full-length practice GRE exam.

Can you do well on the GRE without studying? ›

Going into the GRE without studying increases the chances that you will give up points that you should earn, resulting in an artificially low score. Without studying, you will be tackling the exam without understanding exactly how questions will be presented to you.

What is the lowest passing GRE score? ›

Average GRE scores would range anywhere from 280 to 300. And, since 260 is the minimum GRE score, anything below 260 will not guarantee you admission to the university of your choice. However, these GRE scores vary from university to university.

How long should you study for the GRE? ›

You can't cram for the GRE test. By and large, the exam is a test of patterns, not facts, so if you want to raise your GRE score, you will need sufficient time to practice. We suggest you devote between 4 and 12 weeks to GRE preparation.

Is 292 a good GRE score? ›

Generally, a 75th percentile is a pretty good GRE score, and a 90th percentile is an excellent one. Thus, we can say that a score of 318 and above is good, whereas a score of 329 is an excellent one. A score of 300+ is considered average, and a 292 score is considered below average.

Can I prepare for GRE in 10 days? ›

We will give you a day-wise schedule to streamline your GRE prep and make it the most effective for a good GRE score. For these 10 days, forget everything and just focus on your GRE prep. Be ready to give a minimum of 7-8 hours every day and you will surely get the results.

Is getting 330 in GRE easy? ›

However, it is also important to remember that a 330+ score is in the 98th percentile of all GRE scores. This means that only 2% of the test takers can achieve this score and over 98% of people are below this score. It can be as difficult to increase your score from 320 to 330 as it is to score 320 in the first place.

Is it better to send all GRE scores? ›

GRE scores are but one of many criteria used to evaluate an applicant. Individual department's practices may differ, but overall the best score from each section is used. However, you must submit ALL of your GRE scores in order to have the department consider the highest from each section.

Do all questions carry equal marks in GRE? ›

You'll also get either an unscored or research section, which takes the form of an additional Verbal or Quant section. Your performance on this extra section does not affect your GRE score. Each question within a Verbal or Quant section contributes equally to your final GRE score.


1. When can i take the GRE? Overview of GRE in a Nutshell
2. GREedge - All About GRE: A Guide For Beginners
3. How to Crack the GRE - GRE Preparation Guide
4. GRE Prep: How To Score 320+ in GRE in 30 Days || LEGITWITHDATA
5. GRE At Home | Actual Experience of a GRE Expert | Tips to Prepare
6. GRE Preparation Tips: When & How to prepare for GRE?
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