What is GRE? Education USA

What is GRE?

What is GRE?

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the USA. The test was established in 1949 by the Educational Testing Service, that also conducts TOEFL. The purpose of the test is to test mathematical (Quantitative Reasoning), language (Verbal Reasoning) and analytical (Analytical Writing) skills of the candidate.

Test structure

The approximate duration of the test is 3 hours 45 minutes. The test consists of 6 parts with a 10-minute break after the 3rd part. A test always starts with the Analytical Writing part. Other parts may appear in random order.

GRE Test Sections

Verbal Reasoning — Measures the ability to analyze and draw conclusions from discourse, reason from incomplete data, understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author’s intent, summarize text, distinguish major from minor points, understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts, and understand relationships among words and among concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning — Measures the ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information, solve problems using mathematical models, and apply the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to articulate and support complex ideas with relevant reasons and examples, and examine claims and accompanying evidence.

PartNumber of questionsTime limit
Analytical writing (One section with two tasks, each of which has its own time limit)One task “Analyze the question” and one task “Analyze the argument”30 minutes for each task
Verbal reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section30 minutes per section
Quantitative reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section35 minutes per section
Un-scored (1)InterchangeableInterchangeable
Experimental section (2)Interchangeable Interchangeable

¹ An unidentified section without a rating, is not taken into account to the candidate’s result, can be included in the list of questions and may appear in an arbitrary sequence after the Analytical Writing part. The question from this part can be used either for possible use in future tests, or to ensure that the grading scale is consistent with previous versions of the test.

²Unidentified experimental section, not counted toward the candidate’s score, can be introduced instead of the un-scored section. The experimental section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions from this section are submitted for ETS research purposes.


PartPoint scale
Verbal Reasoning130–170, in increments of 1 point
Quantitative Reasoning130–170, in increments of 1 point
Analytical Writing0-6, in increments of 0.5 points

Any section in which you answer no questions at all will be reported as a No Score (NS).

The result is valid for 5 years from the date of the test.

The cost of the test is 205 US dollars (excluding taxes and commissions).

Learn more about GRE

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