GRE is administered to graduate school applicants to determine aptitude for abstract thinking.  It is a standardized test which measures Verbal, Mathematical and Analytical Writing skills. It assesses the potential of the applicants for advanced studies. It is required for admissions in the graduate programmes other than business.

An Overview of the Exam

The GRE TEST is divided into three main sections.

The Analytical Writing

Verbal Section

Quantitative Section


The Analytical Writing section is always the first section in the test. The other two sections (Verbal and Quantitative) may appear in any order and may include unscored and research sections with questions that are being considered for use in future tests. (The answers on the unscored and the research sections are not counted towards the total GRE score but since it’s not know that which questions are legitimate and which aren’t, therefore it is advisable to treat every portion of the test as if counts.)

GRE exam can be taken on paper or on a computer. The testing time will vary depending on which version of the test you take and the potential presence of unscored research sections, but plan to set aside at least three hours.

Paper version of the test generally takes longer time than the computer based test. The paper version has two verbal and two quantitative sections. Similar to the computer version of the test, the paper-based GRE examination may also include an unscored section.

Most of the students take the computer-adaptive version of the test. Each time you enter an answer, the computer scores it immediately, compares it with your preceding responses, and then presents a question suited to your level. If you answer correctly, the questions become more difficult. Incorrect answers result in the next question being slightly less difficult.

GRE Test is of two types:

GRE Subject Test

GRE General Test


GRE Subject test

The GRE Subject Test is an achievement test that measures the knowledge of a particular field of study. Graduate schools notice the knowledge of a candidate about a specific subject. The Subject Test can help you stand out from other applicants by emphasizing your knowledge and skill level in a specific area.

GRE General Test

The GRE General Test measures the 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.


GRE is a Computer Based Test (CBT) test. The time required to complete this test is up to 3 hours 45 minutes, not including the research section.

The GRE is a six section exam:

  • 75-minute analytic section (A) with two essays
  • 30-minute verbal section(V) (twice)
  • 35-minute quantitative (Q) (math) section (twice)
  • 30-minute experimental section (math or verbal)

Educational Testing Service (ETS) announced that the GRE General Test, the world’s most widely accepted graduate admissions test, is now accepted by more than 500 business schools worldwide (including top schools like Harvard, MIT, Wharton, INSEAD for their MBA programs.

GRE Scoring

Measure Scores Reported
Verbal Reasoning 130 – 170, in 1 point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130 – 170, in 1 point increments
Analytical Writing 0 – 6, in half point increments


 Average GRE Scores required for an admission to a University

There is always a minimum score required to get admissions into top ranked universities. We all know there is a 1% chance of getting admission to Stanford if your GRE is <300. GRE is important (especially for International students). We also believe if your score is 160+ in Q, 155+ in V and 4+ A then you should try top 20 Universities.

Few Facts about GRE

  • Maximum score for sections Verbal, Quantitative is 170. Analytical writing score will be reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments.
  • GRE is required by universities in North America (USA and Canada).
  • Most Universities require General GRE for admission to MS and Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences.
  • Generally for Engineering Students score like 160 (q)+ 148 (v) + 4 (a) is considered OK for admission for middle order universities ranked between 40 to 90. There might be some deviation.
  • For all Engineering Students GRE Q is most important for best results GRE Q must be well above 160, GRE A>4.0/6.0), GRE V above 150.
  • A high GRE score can considerably improve your chances of admission. TOEFL score must be well above 92.
  • Top 50 ranked Universities may require GRE>318(162+,156+,>4/6) and TOEFL>95. The Verbal Section must be prepared well.
  • There is no penalty for wrong answers.
  • You can review, move forward and edit/change your answers, etc. (within a section).


Number of times the GRE Test can be taken.

GRE revised General Test (computer-based) can be taken  once every 21 days, and no more than five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. This applies even if you cancelled your scores on a test taken previously.


Validity of the GRE Score

 GRE scores are valid for five years.


Details of the Tests Sections

Analytical writing section of the GRE test

This is the first part of the test. In case of a paper based test, then are required to read a paragraph on a general issue and then address that topic as you deem fit for the next 45 minutes.  You are required to support your views with sound reasoning and examples. These are key elements to completing this section well.

The Computer based exam is completed through simple word processing software.

In the second essay of the GRE, you are required to read and then critique an argument. The time allotted to complete this essay is 30 minutes. You need to analyse the reasoning presented in the argument and then discuss whether you believe the argument is good one or not. You are not required to agree or disagree with the statement. You just have to analyze it and convey your reasoning clearly through your written response.

The writing section is not computer-adaptive like the rest of the GRE exam. You may use a computer to complete it, but it won’t “react” to your writing or attempt to score your essays. For this section, your scores are determined by real people, not computers.

Verbal section of the GRE test

The Verbal section of the GRE test includes things like sentence completions, analogies, antonyms, and reading comprehension questions. This section tests your ability to form conclusions from written materials, recognize relationships between concepts and words, and to determine relationships between different parts of sentences.

The computer based test has 30 questions to complete 30 minutes. If you take a paper version of this test, then you have two segments, each 30m minutes with 38 questions to answer.

Math section of the GRE test

The Quantitative section of the GRE tests high-school-level math. This section administers your skills in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. It aims to test your skill at solving a variety of different math problems, as well as to analyze your ability to use quantitative reasoning.

The computer version has 28 questions to be completed in 45 minutes. The paper version will have 30 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.

You’ll probably notice similarities between the GRE and other tests you may have taken before you started college. You should prepare for this test much like you did the others, with GRE practice and GRE preparation.



Open chat