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GRE Overview

GRE Test Structure and Scoring Explained

Introduction of GRE

A Detailed Overview of the GRE

An essential part of the application process for graduate or business schools is the Graduate Record Examination or GRE. A common requirement for admission to graduate programs and graduate business programs (MBA) around the world is the GRE, a multiple-choice, computer-based exam.

The GRE General Test evaluates verbal reasoning, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing abilities that have evolved and are necessary for success in today's rigorous programs. The GRE tests one's proficiency in basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and data analysis as well as the students' command of college-level vocabulary. It also assesses their capacity for critical thought, problem-solving, and the analysis and evaluation of written material.

Introduction to the GRE

In order to give graduate and business schools standardized metrics for comparing applicants' credentials and readiness for graduate-level academic work, the GRE was developed and it is administered by test manufacturer ETS. The GRE, along with students' academic records and supporting materials, helps graduate admissions committees and business schools determine whether a candidate is prepared for the stringent requirements of graduate academic study. In nations like the United States, Germany, Canada, and others, graduate schools prefer applicants to take the GRE. In more than 150 nations around the world, the ETS administers and undertakes the GRE.

GRE Test Format:

Both a computer-based and a paper-based version of the GRE General Exam are available. In locations where the computer-delivered GRE is not available, the test can be taken on paper. As a result, choosing a paper test over a computer-based test is not acceptable. The third section is followed by a 10-minute break, making for a total of six sections. Students must always start with the analytical writing section.

In the GRE pattern for the General test, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing are the main three skills to pay attention to. Individuals should treat each section as if it contributes to their score because the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections could appear in any order. When it comes to the GRE subject test, applicants are asked questions based on subjects like Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.

GRE Scoring

Reading comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary use are evaluated in the computer-based verbal parts. On a scale from 130 to 170, with each point worth 1 point, the verbal test is graded. The scale was 200–800 (10-point increments) before August 2011. In a typical exam, there are 20 questions in each verbal segment, and you have 30 minutes to finish them. Each verbal segment has roughly 6 text completion questions, 4 sentence equivalence questions, and 10 questions concerning critical reading.

The computer-based quantitative parts test candidates' knowledge and skills in fundamental high school mathematics. Scores for the quantitative test range from 130 to 170, with each point worth one point (Before August 2011 the scale was 200–800, in 10-point increments). Each quantitative component of a test typically consists of twenty questions that need to be answered in 35 minutes. There are around 8 quantitative comparisons, 9 problem-solving exercises, and 3 data interpretation questions in each quantitative portion.

The "problem assignment" and the "argument task" are two distinct essays that make up the analytical writing section. Half-point increments are used to assess the written portion on a scale from 0 to 6. The essays are produced using a word processing tool created especially for ETS on a computer. The program lacks advanced capabilities like a spell checker and only supports fundamental computer operations. Each essay is given a six-point overall grade from at least two readers.

A multiple-choice section can have one or more incorrect answers and still result in a perfect score of 170 for the test taker. Likewise, 130 is the absolute lowest score even if no questions are correctly answered.  On a scale from 0 to 6, verbal and qualitative reasoning marks are awarded in one-point increments, while analytical writing scores are awarded in half-point increments.

Features of the test

The GRE test evaluates students' knowledge of fundamental arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis in addition to their command of college-level vocabulary.


One cannot bring their calculator to the test venue while taking the exam, but they can use the on-screen digital GRE calculator while taking the exam. The quantitative Reasoning portion of the test exam requires a calculator to complete the exam. 

Sections on the GRE

  • Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (Two Sections) 
  • Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)
  • and the Research Section, which is not scored

The Analytical Writing Section

The GRE Analytical Writing test evaluates analytical writing and critical thinking abilities.

The Verbal Section

The GRE Verbal Reasoning test evaluates a candidate's capacity to comprehend the meanings of words and entire texts, analyze discourse and make conclusions from it, pick out key points; and comprehend a text's structure.

Reading Comprehension

The GRE verbal reasoning section's most crucial component is GRE reading comprehension, which accounts for about 50% of the test's overall points.

Text Completion

A brief passage (between one and five sentences) with one to three blank words is the format for GRE Text Completion questions. Candidates must choose the appropriate word from a menu of options for each blank in order to create a logical and meaningful passage.


Candidates are asked to model and address issues using quantitative, or mathematical, approaches in the GRE General Test's Quantitative Reasoning section.

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Frequently Asked Questions

People take the GRE in order to enter graduate school or to qualify for a merit-based fellowship.

Depending on the school candidates plan to apply to, their GRE score may be considered good. The verbal and quantitative components of the GRE are graded on a 130–170 scale. On a scale from 0 to 6, with each half point worth one point, the writing section is graded. However, students also obtain a percentile rank, which compares their performance to a huge population sample of other GRE test takers. This is in addition to the applicant’s score.

The university or college of their choice has a significant impact on the GRE score. The GRE cut-off for each university course is different, thus applicants must research this information. On the university department's website, this information would be easily accessible.

Candidates should be aware that they must aspire higher once they obtain the number in order to make their applications stand out and for their results to speak for themselves. This is a useful method to comprehend what a high GRE score entails.

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