GRE- The Definitive Guide

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) . The GRE is a standardized test required for entry into graduate level programs by most universities in the US. It also used for by certain universities for MBA program entrance, alongside the GMAT.

The computer based GRE is offered year round at Prometric test centers across most major Indian cities. Every year, around 6,50,000 people take the GRE.

       | GRE Snapshot

ExamGraduate Record Examination- GRE
FormatComputer Based Adaptive Difficulty Exam (Year Round) & Paper Based (Thrice Yearly)
CoursesGraduate Level Programs in US universities
Registration BeginsOpen Year Round
Registation DeadlineNo Deadline
Exam DatesComputer Baed Test- Year Round Paper Based Test- Generally April, October & November
Application Fees195 USD
SectionsAnalytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning & Quantitative Reasoning
Accepted byUniversities across US and UK, including Harvard, Stanford, NYU, Northwestern University, etc.

       | GRE Eligibility

There is no specified eligibility criteria for the GRE by the ETS. Independent universities set their own eligibility criteria. Candidates can take the GRE once every 21 days and a maximum of 5 times in a year.

       | GRE Registration Process

Candidates can register for the GRE around the year via the following process

1. Register online at ETS
. Select test center and dates from available options
3. Make payment of 195 USD via a credit card.
4. After the test, the candidate can send the score report to 4 universities free of cost. Sending the GRE score report to every additional university will cost 25 USD.

       | GRE Associate Colleges:

Most universities in the US accept GRE for admissions into graduate level programs, including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, NYU, Northwestern University, etc.

       | GRE Exam Pattern

Duration: The GRE has a duration of 3 Hours 45 Minutes, a 10 minute break

Question Types: The GRE has multiple choice questions as well an essay section

GRE Structure: The GRE has 6 different sections. The first section is always an analytical writing section with 2 separately timed taks- issue and argument analysis. There are always 2 verbal reasoning and 2 quantitative reasoning sections. In addition to this, there is one research or experimental section. Apart from the writing section, the other sections can occur in any order.

Research Section: If the test has a research section, it will be explicitly mentioned in the test and the section will not count towards the final GRE score.

Experimental Section: If the test has an experimental section, it will not be explicitly mentioned in the test. Candidates are advised to attempt all sections with equal amount of effort in this case. However, the experimental section will not count towards the final GRE score.

The test will always have one research or experimental section. The section will always be based on either the verbal ability or the quantitative ability section.

Adaptive Difficulty: The GRE is an adaptive test. However, unlike the GMAT, the difficulty of every subsequent question is not dependent on whether the previous question was answered correctly. The difficulty of the second verbal/quantitative ability section will depend on the performance in the first section. Performing well will result in an incrementally tougher section and vice versa.

Scores: The total GRE score will vary between 260 to 340, apart from the essay which will rated between 1 to 6. Sectional scores of the verbal and quantitative section will vary between 130 to 170. Scores can vary in 1 point increments.

       | GRE Sections

Analytical Writing60 Minutes- 30 Minutes each for 2 tasksAnalyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument
Verbal Reasoning- 1 30 Minutes20
Verbal Reasoning- 230 Minutes20
Quantitative Reasoning- 135 Minutes20
Quantitative Reasoning- 235 Minutes20
Research/Experimental SectionUnknownUnknown

Analytical Writing: Candidates are assigned 2 tasks- one “analyze an issue” task and one “analyze an argument” writing task. Candidates must write the essays on computers in a word processing software provided by ETS, with no spell check. The essays are scored by 2 independent readers and scored between 1 to 6, including half point increments. If the 2 scores are within 1 point, then an average is taken. Otherwise, the essay is evaluated by a third reader.

Verbal Reasoning: Includes questions based on reading comprehension, sentence completion and vocabulary. There are 2 verbal sections, each generally consisting of 10 reading comprehension, 6 text completion & 4 sentence equivalence questions.

Quantitative Reasoning: Includes questions based on high school maths and reasoning.  There are 2 sections with 20 questions each. Each section generally includes  9 problem solving , 8 quantitative comparisons and 3 data interpretation questions. Concepts of algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data analysis are tested. There will be on screen calculator to assist candidates during this section.

       | GRE Sample Papers

Sample Papers are available on the several sites such as

The Official GRE site by ETS
Jumbo Tests
Kaplan Prep

       | Recommended Books 

GRE BooksBook of GRE Practice Problems
By Manhattan Prep

The Manhattan Prep’s 5 LB. Book of GRE Practice Problems is an exhaustive collection of practice problems for undergraduates aspiring to take up the Graduate Record Examinations for admission in to graduate schools in the USA.

GRE BooksGRE Premier 2015
By Kaplan

GRE Premier 2015 with 6 Practice Tests is a comprehensive book for undergraduate students preparing for Graduate Record Examinations. The book comprises of over 2000 questions covering verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the exam.

GRE BooksThe Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test

The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test contains hundreds of questions that could actually appear in the exam. It also provides the readers with tips on how students are expected to answer different types of questions posed in the exam.

       | Coaching Institutes for GRE 

Check out our suggestions on best GRE Coaching Institutes in your city.

       | GRE Result

Upon finishing the test, candidates will be able to see unofficial score reports of the quantitative and verbal sections. After approximately 20 days, they will receive a mail from ETS and will be able to access their official GRE scorecard by logging into their GRE account.

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