GRE Exam Pattern

GRE test and GRE Services is administered by the ETS which stands for Educational Testing Service, which is based in the United States of America. This is a standardized test which prominently aims at measuring the critical thinking, the knowledge gained by the aspirants over the years and the necessary decision-making skills that are acquired at the graduate level. Check out the GRE Syllabus for more details about the GRE Test Contents.

  • GRE Exam Pattern is planned in such a way that it measures applicants verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills-skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all. Thus providing an equal ground to everybody irrespective of their graduate degree. 
  • ETS the conducting authority of GRE has created GRE Exam Pattern in such a way that it tests the candidate's calibre which is developed over the years and it also tries to test candidates in such a way that the candidate's inability to get good education doesn't effect GRE Score.
  • GRE Exam pattern is made in this way because GRE wants to be impartial to students who have got a high-quality education and those who have couldn't access it.

Types of ETS GRE Examinations

There are generally two types of GRE Examinations, which are the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The following table gives a comparative analysis between these two.

Particulars GRE Subject Test GRE General Test
Purpose Entry level Entry level
Required by Scientific and Technical Universities or Individual dept. Undergraduate or Business schools
Adaptive Paper adaptive test Computer adaptive test
Duration 2 hours and 50 minutes 3 hours 50 minutes
Fees US$150 US$205
Test contents Specific specialization in the 7 subjects like Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular BiologyBiologyChemistryLiterature in EnglishMathematicsPhysicsPsychology Verbal, Quant and AWA
Test Dates 1. April2. September3. October Throughout the year

GRE Exam Pattern for GRE General Test

GRE Exam generally consists of 6 sections. Analytical writing is always the first section. then two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative sections and either an experimental or research section. These following five sections may come in any order. The experimental section does not count for the final score. Check the GRE Eligibility to know more details about the general eligibility criteria for taking the Test.

The GRE Exam Pattern along with the number of sections and tasks is given in the following table:

Papers Analytical Writing Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning
Number of Sections 1 2 2
Number Questions 2 Tasks 20 Quetions*2=40 20 Questions*2=40
Time Allotted per Section 30 Minutes 30 Minutes 35 Minutes
Total Time Allotted 30 Minutes 60 Minutes 70 Minutes

Breaks In Between: The GRE Test has an optional 10-minute break after the third section and one-minute breaks between the remaining sections of the test. Break times cannot be exceeded. 

GRE Analytical Writing

This is usually the first section of the GRE test, it focuses on the analysis and apt responses that the candidates provide for an issue or an argument. The candidates are expected to read, analyze and assess the given situation first and frame a response to the best of their knowledge in a short but appealing manner. 

The Analytical Writing section will always be first, the Verbal Reasoning and the Quantitative Reasoning will follow. The analytical writing paper has one section with two separately timed tasks. 

  • "Analyze an Issue" task,
  • "Analyze an Argument" task. 

GRE Verbal Reasoning

This section predominately is the toughest of all but with appropriate preparation and a good hold on the English language can also be an easy section for you to score the maximum out it. This section covers almost all the basic essential parts regarding the English language and its grammar. There is an emphasis on complex verbal reasoning skills.

So all the candidates aiming to ace the GRE test are advised to dig deep and make an intense preparation for this paper. Candidates should not only concentrate on just preparing by just reading a lot of topics but they should also understand the concepts properly in order to be able to tackle questions.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning

For any candidate with good and basic math education, this section proves to be relatively easier than the rest of the test.

  • The questions framed in this section mainly encompasses all the basic branches of contemporary mathematics. The main aim is to test the accuracy and speed with which he/she can solve the given problem. 
  • For the Quantitative Reasoning section, the GRE General Test has an on-screen calculator. 
  • Candidates are advised to practice on-screen calculator so that it will be familiarised and they can use it with ease.

GRE Test Features:

The advanced adaptive design of the GRE General Test allows applicants to freely move forward and backwards throughout an entire section. The applicant has an option of "Preview" and "Review" within a section. There is "Mark and Review" feature to tag question if the applicant wants to skip questions and return later (if there is time remaining in the section). There is also the ability to change/edit answers within a section.

Section-wise Adaptive Test: 

The ETS has included the process of computer adaptive methodology into the GRE Test. It is based on the performance of the candidate over the first couple of questions. It works in such a way that if the candidate is able to answer the first few questions with ease, then the computer will understand this and make the net section of the test much tougher. But if the candidate has not performed well in the first couple of questions, then from the next section onwards the questions will be much simpler.

So after your analytical writing section if you are feeling that your verbal section is going easy watch out! 

Candidates can check which GRE score is good to prepare for a exam with goal.

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