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About the GRE

The GRE General Test is an examination designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to measure the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills you have developed in the course of your academic career. High GRE scores strongly correlate with the probability of success in graduate school: the higher you score, the more likely you are to complete your graduate degree. For this reason, many graduate and professional schools require applicants to take the GRE General Test. The former version of the GRE (called the GRE General Test) was replaced in August 2011 by what ETS is now calling the GRE Revised General Test.

Test Overview

The GRE General Test you take will have five or six sections. There will always be:

  • one Analytical Writing section composed of two 30-minute tasks (60 minutes)
  • two 20-question Verbal Reasoning sections (30 minutes each)
  • two 20-question Quantitative Reasoning sections (35 minutes each)
  • In addition, there may be

  • an unidentified Experimental Section, which would be a third verbal or quant section
  • Occasionally, there may be

  • an identified optional research section (but not if there is an Experimental Section)
  • The verbal section measures your ability to use words as tools in reasoning; you are tested not only on the extent of your vocabulary but on your ability to discern the relationships that exist both within written passages and among individual groups of words. The quantitative section measures your ability to use and reason with numbers and mathematical concepts; you are tested not on advanced mathematical theory but on general concepts expected to be part of everyone's academic background. The mathematics covered should be familiar to most students who took at least two years of math in a high school in the United States. The writing section measures your ability to make rational assessments about unfamiliar, fictitious relationships and to logically present your perspective on an issue.

    Preparing for The GRE

    The good news: The GRE tests math and verbal concepts you already know. However it is a good idea to practice with sample questions that simulate the actual test-taking experience of the computer based revised GRE.

    Back to GRE Index

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