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What is GRE?

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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

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. In September 2023, the test duration was shortened from about 3.5 hours to about 2 hours.

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 Test GRE® 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 gauges 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:

  1. Two sections with 12 questions in section 1 and 15 in section 2.
  2. You get 18 minutes for section 1 and 23 for section 2.
  3. The question types covered in each section are:
    1. Sentence equivalence – 4 to 5
    2. Text completion – 6 to 7
    3. Reading Comprehension – 10 to 12
  4. Score Range – 130 to 170, 1 point Increment.
  1. Two sections with 12 questions in section 1 and 15 in section 2.
  2. You get 21 minutes for section 1 and 26 for section 2.
  3. The question types covered in each section are:
    1. Quantitative Comparisons
    2. Problem-Solving items
    3. Data Interpretation Questions
  4. Score Range – 130 to 170, 1 point Increment.
  1. This section requires you to write one essay:
    1. Analyse an issue
  2. You get 30 minutes to draft this essay.
  3. Score Range – 0 to 6, 0.5 point Increment.

Approximate number of questions in each section of the GRE® General Test

Question Type Approx Number of Questions per Section
Sentence Equivalence 2 to 3
Text Completion 3 to 4
Reading Comprehension 6 to 8

Time: 18 minutes for section 1 (12 questions) and 23 minutes for section 2 (15 questions)

Question Type No. of Questions
Quantitative Comparisons 4 to 5
Problem Solving Items 6 to 8
Data Interpretation 2 to 4

Time: 21 minutes for section 1 (12 questions) and 26 minutes for section 2 (15 questions)

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

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

GRE<sup>®</sup> is a 3 hours 45 minutes examination.

The GRE® is a 3 hours 45 minutes examination.

You get one-minute breaks between each section.

You get 1-min breaks between each section.

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

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

The cost of writing the GRE<sup>®</sup> varies from the US $130 to $210 depending on your country.

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

Your GRE<sup>®</sup> score will be valid for 5 years.

Your GRE® score will be valid for 5 years.

You can use your GRE<sup>®</sup> score in some universities to apply for business studies too.

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.

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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GRE Score : 330 ( V : 160 | Q : 170)
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