What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a computer-based or paper-based standardized test that is an admission requirement for many graduate schools in the United States and Canada and a few in other countries. The GRE is owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and according to them, the GRE aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning.You may take GRE either online or at one of the test centers.

What are GRE Subject Tests?

In addition to the General Test, there are also four GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. According to ETS, “they measure your knowledge of a particular field of study. Show what you know about a specific subject and graduate schools will take notice.”

GRE Subject Test scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level study. Some Subject Tests yield subscores that can indicate the strengths and weaknesses in an individual test taker’s preparation and may also be useful for guidance and placement purposes.

Thousands of graduate schools, including individual departments or divisions within these schools accept GRE Subject Test scores.  Although the scores may not be a requirement for admission to a particular program, admissions committees are likely to consider the scores if they are submitted. It’s best to contact the specific graduate program you’re interested in and inquire about their requirements.

Am I eligible for the GRE General Test?

As per ETS, the governing body for the GRE, there are no specific eligibility criteria for appearing for GRE.

However, each college that considers GRE as its admission test / one of its admission tests has its own eligibility criteria. Candidates must check the eligibility criteria of individual colleges before applying to them through GRE.

When can I take the GRE General Test?
  • You can take GRE on any date you choose to, based on availability from ETS.
  • You may take the GRE test-centre exam and GRE Online exam a combined total of up to five times within a rolling 12-month period.
  • You must wait at least 21 days after you take the exam before taking it again.

What is the pattern of the test?
  • The overall testing time for the GRE General Test is about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  • There are six sections (a group of similar sections is called a measure) with a 10-minute break following the third section.
  • The Analytical Writing section will always be first.
  • The unscored/research sections may be either a Verbal Reasoning or a Quantitative Reasoning section
  • The scored Verbal Reasoningsections, the scored Quantitative Reasoning sectionsand unscored/research sections may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.
Sections / Measures Number of Questions Allotted Time
Analytical Writing
(One section with two separately timed tasks)
One “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task 30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Unscored Varies Varies
Research Varies Varies


  • This does not count toward your score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section.
  • Questions in the unscored section are being tried out either for possible use in future tests or to ensure that scores on new editions of the test are comparable to scores from earlier editions.


  • This does not count toward your score and may be included in place of the unscored section.
  • Questions in this section are included for ETS research purposes.
  • The research section will always appear at the end of the test.


  • The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are section-level adaptive.
    • The first operational section of each measure (i.e., Verbal and Quantitative) is of average difficulty.
    • The difficulty level of the second section of each of the measures depends on your overall performance on the first section of that measure.
    • For example, if for the QRmeasure, you do very well on the first section, the second section will be at a higher level of difficulty.
  • The scoring for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures takes into consideration the total number of questions answered correctly across the two sections, as well as the difficulty level of the sections.
How is the GRE score evaluated?

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Measures 

  • The reported scores are based on the number of correct responses to all the questions included in the operational sections of the measure.
  • Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score.
  • For each of the two measures, a raw score(the number of questions you answered correctly) is computed.
  • The raw score is converted to a scaled score through a process known as equating, which accounts for minor variations in difficulty among the different test editions as well as the differences in difficulty introduced by the section-level adaptation.
  • Thus, a given scaled score for a particular measure reflects the same level of performance regardless of which second section was selected and when the test was taken.

Analytical Writing Measure

  • Each essay receives a score from at least one trained rater, using a six-point holistic scale.
  • The essay is then scored by e-rater, a computerized program developed by ETS that is capable of identifying essay features related to writing proficiency.
  • If the human and the e-rater scores closely agree, the average of the two scores is used as the final score.
  • If they disagree, a second human score is obtained, and the final score is the average of the two human scores.
  • The final scores on the two essays are then averaged and rounded to the nearest half-point interval on the 0–6 score scale.
  • A single score is reported for the Analytical Writing measure.
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