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A brief guide to the GRE examination

If you plan to study abroad in any graduate school, you must prove your competency and overall academic readiness. For this, you must take a standardized test that can accurately assess your readiness to apply for a master's or a doctoral program in universities in the USA, Canada, and other countries.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is one of the world’s most popular standardized assessment programs for students seeking admission to business schools, law schools, and other graduate programs worldwide for their Master’s or Doctoral degrees.

The GRE is divided into two sections:

  • GRE General Test – evaluates your analytical, quantitative, and verbal reasoning skills
  • GRE Subject Test- evaluates your expertise in a particular subject (Biology, Chemistry, English Literature, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology)

The USA, Canada, the UK, Singapore, Australia, and Europe accept and require GRE scores for admission to law, business, and graduate schools. Furthermore, more than 600 business schools consider GRE scores mandatory.

Why choose GRE?

The GRE is among the most popular standardized assessment tests accepted by 1300+ B-schools and universities worldwide. Several universities include GRE as a vital requirement for admission to MBA degrees, MS courses, and professional degree programs. Furthermore, many business schools prefer GRE scores to the traditional GMAT exam.

GRE highlights

Exam name : GRE
Full name: Graduate Record Examinations
Link to the official website : https://www.ets.org/gre
Popular for: Admission to graduate schools, law schools, business schools, MS and doctoral courses
Conducted by : Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Examination modes: Computer-based, paper-delivered, GRE at Home
GRE fees : approx. $213
Score range: 130-170 (for Verbal Reasoning & Quantitative Reasoning), 0-6 (for Analytical Writing)
Contact information : 1-443-751-4820 or 1-800-473-2255

GRE registration

Registering for the GRE is pretty simple. Just follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Visit the official website
  • Create a new test-taker account or log in to your existing account
  • Select the GRE test you wish to take (GRE General/GRE Subject Test)
  • Submit your GRE Application form
  • Opt for the GRE at Home or select your preferred test center location
  • Select your preferred date and time slot
  • Confirm/Modify your choices
  • Pay the registration fee
  • Confirm and submit your application
  • Take a printout of your test details

GRE exam fees

The GRE fees are as follows:

GRE general test

  1. China - $231.30
  2. India - $213
  3. All other countries worldwide - $205

GRE subject test

  1. All countries worldwide - $150

GRE eligibility

ETS has not set any upper age limit to appear for the GRE. However, since you usually require the GRE test scores to gain admission to graduate degree programs, you should have ideally completed your undergraduate studies before appearing for the GRE.

GRE exam pattern

There are three sections in the GRE General Exam:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning contain two sub-sections that include 40 questions. Analytical Writing has one section where you must complete two tasks within an hour. In the computer-based test, you must attend two variable sections – Unscored and Research. However, these are not included in your final GRE scores.

GRE analytical writing

In the GRE Analytical Writing section, you must complete two separate writing tasks within 30 minutes each. These tasks include:

  1. Analyzing an issue
  2. Analyzing an argument

GRE verbal reasoning

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section includes three sub-categories:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Text completion
  3. Sentence equivalence

These categories are divided into two sections of 30 minutes each.

GRE quantitative reasoning

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section includes the following topics:

  1. Fundamental mathematical skills
  2. Comprehension of elementary mathematics concepts
  3. Using quantitative methods to solve problems

The subjects you must brush up on are:

  1. Arithmetic
  2. Geometry
  3. Algebra
  4. Data analysis

The Quantitative Reasoning section is divided into two timed tasks of 35 minutes each.

GRE score

Your GRE score will be within the range of 260 to 340 for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning section. The increment for these sections is 1.

For the analytical writing section, your work is evaluated by an examiner and a computerized e-rater. If both scores are similar, the average is taken as your final score. However, if there is a considerable discrepancy between the two scores, another examiner will evaluate your work. The score range is from 0 to 6 with an increment of 0.5.

GRE scaled score percentiles for general test

The GRE scaled score percentiles for the General Test are:

Score Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank
165-170 96-99 86-96
160-165 86-96 73-86
155-160 68-86 56-73
150-155 46-68 56-73
145-150 26-46 19-37
140-145 11-26 7-19
135-140 3-11 2-7
130-135 1-3 1-2

GRE score report

You can obtain your GRE score report becomes available 10-15 days after your GRE test date. As soon as your scorecard is available, you will receive an email in your registered email address, and you can view your report by logging into your ETS account.

The score report includes your:

  • Contact information
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Intended graduate major
  • Test date
  • Test scores and percentile rank(s)
  • The cumulative record of scores within the last 5 years

How to send GRE score?

The ScoreSelect option helps you to send your GRE scores to your chosen institutions. There are two options:

  • Send the unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores on the test date for free (up to 4 institutions)
  • Send your official scores after the test date or to more than 4 institutions by paying a nominal fee. For this, you have to log in to your ETS account and click on ‘Send Additional Score Reports’ under ‘Scores’
  • It takes ETS approximately 5 days to process the request and send the GRE scores.

GRE preparation tips

  • Set a proper timetable to practice for the GRE
  • Complete practice tests daily
  • Focus on all topics
  • Figure out your targeted GRE score
  • Boost your vocabulary
  • Avoid using a calculator

GRE preparation books

  • Magoosh GRE Prep
  • Kaplan GRE Prep Plus
  • Test Prep Books GRE Prep
  • The Princeton Review GRE Prep
  • Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems

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Frequently asked questions

Many universities include GRE scores as a compulsory requirement for admission to Master's degree programs. However, many top-ranked universities have waived this requirement for some courses. Furthermore, the GRE is pretty challenging for students from non-technical backgrounds. Hence, many universities in the USA do not require GRE for admission.

The GRE is a widely accepted standardized test in several English-speaking countries, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, Argentina, Germany, Singapore, etc. Therefore, it is best to check whether the university in your preferred country requires GRE scores beforehand.

The GRE is held at designated test centers worldwide. You can check the complete list of centers in your country on the official ETS website.

The GRE fees depend on the country where you'll give the exam. In most countries, it is $205, while in China, it is $231.30, and in India, the fee is $213.

Most universities only require GRE General Test scores for admissions. However, some institutions need you to take the Subject Test to prove your competency in the field. This is mainly required if you pursue a field in your MS level unrelated to your undergraduate studies.

The total duration of the GRE is 3 hours 45 minutes. You have to attempt six sections with a 10-minute break after the third.

Yes, you can give the GRE General Test at home subject to the following conditions:

  • The availability of the home version in the country from where you’ll give the test
  • Your computer fulfills all the equipment requirements
  • Your surroundings pass the environment test

You can retake the GRE once every 21 days and up to five times yearly for the computer-based exam. In locations where the computer-based test is unavailable, you can take the paper-based test whenever it is offered (3 times a year).

Your GRE General Test scores will become available approximately 10-15 days after your test date. You can access your scores by logging in to your account on the official ETS website.

Generally, a GRE score above 318 is considered pretty good, while above 329 is excellent. A score between 159-165 for verbal and quantitative reasoning and 4.5-6.0 for analytical writing is preferred the most.

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