The Graduate Record Examinations is a standardized test which is an admissions requirement for most Graduate Schools in the United States.  It measures Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing and Critical Thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning. The content of the GRE consists of certain specific algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary.

In many of the graduate school admissions process, the level of emphasis placed on GRE scores varies widely between schools and departments within schools. The importance of a GRE score can range from being a mere admission formality to an important selection factor.

About the test:

The computer-based GRE General Test consists of six sections. The first section is of an analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order.

Verbal Section

This section assesses reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments. Each verbal section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. Each verbal section consists of about 6 text completion, 4 sentence equivalence and 10 critical reading questions.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative sections assess basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. The quantitative test is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments.  In a typical examination, each quantitative section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes.  Each quantitative section consists of about 8 quantitative comparisons, 9 problem-solving items, and 3 data interpretation questions.

Analytical writing section

This section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0–6, in half-point increments

Issue Task

The candidates are allocated 30 minutes to write an essay about a selected topic.

Argument task

The candidates are given an argument and asked to write an essay that critiques the argument. Scholars are asked to consider the argument's logic and to make suggestions about how to improve the logic of the argument. Test takers are expected to address the logical flaws of the argument and not provide a personal opinion on the subject.

Experimental section

The experimental section, which can be either verbal or quantitative, contains new questions although the experimental section does not count towards the test-taker's score, it is unidentified and appears identical to the scored sections. Because test takers have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is typically advised that test takers try their best and be focused on every section. Sometimes an identified research section at the end of the test is given instead of the experimental section.


  • The test is around 3 hours 45 minutes.
  • The Analytical Writing sections will always be the first, while the other five sections may appear in any order.
  • The verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE are scored between 130 and 170 in one point increments. The AWA section is scored on a scale from 0 to 6 in half-point increments.
  • The GRE scores are valid for 5 years.