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GRE exam details | Exam pattern, GRE sample papers, & more!

There is a lot of jumbling information on the internet about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that confuses us to no end. So here is a neat and detailed account of everything you need to know about GRE.


Whether you’re a young student aiming for admission in a credible college or a professional aspiring to hone your craft for better career prospects, there is a lot to ponder over before selecting and applying for an educational program. Many colleges require students to take exams like SAT, MCAT or ACT before being eligible for their programs. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is one such test, and in this article, we give you all the relevant GRE exam details.

What is GRE?


Man asking what is GRE
GRE is a measure of your skills required to succeed on a graduate level
It’s common for students to scratch their heads and wonder what GRE is. For starters, it’s a broad assessment of a student’s aptitude. The exam measures a student’s skills related to disciplines like critical thinking, analytical writing, and verbal and quantitative reasoning. Most international universities and degree programs require a GRE exam for the USA university aspirants.

What is the GRE exam pattern?

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Thousands of universities and institutions across the globe accept GRE scores

The GRE General Test lasts for the average duration of 3 hours 40 minutes. It is divided into 3 main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Section and Quantitative Reasoning.  Apart from these, there are also the Unscored and Research sections which do not count in the actual GRE score and are variable in nature. Here’s a breakdown of the entire GRE exam pattern 2019:

GRE exam pattern 2019
A breakdown of the GRE test pattern



How to Register?


A boy asking ow to register for the GRE exam
Make sure you pick the right test date and understand the policies before you register
The registration process for GRE is pretty straightforward. The candidate has to register online on the ETS website before the test date to be eligible for the test. ETS administers the GRE and it is conducted at Prometric test centers. The registration fee of the exam is $205, but opting to change the test center or rescheduling the exam can cost you an extra $50. ETS offers fee reductions to students who prove their financial hardship.

How is the GRE test conducted?

GRE is conducted online throughout the year and in offline mode thrice a year

There are two ways to conduct GRE. A Paper-delivered test with a total test of 3 hours and 30 minutes and a Computer-delivered test with a total time of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Paper-delivered tests are rare and are conducted only thrice a year. The computer-delivered tests are offered throughout the year. In computer-delivered, the computer selects the next section of a measure based on your performance on the first section.

GRE Exam dates 2020

As is the case with other entrance exams such as IELTS, there are no fixed GRE exam dates. You can decide to apply for the GRE test all year-round. All you have to do is to choose which mode of examination you want to attempt and choose the test centers for the Computer-delivered test or Paper-delivered test.

It is important to promptly book an appointment at the GRE test center of your choice. There is a possibility that you might not get the date or center you want due to a lack of free slots.  You can take a look at the GRE test centers, GRE test dates, and the seat availability, here.

How is the GRE exam scored?

The test is scored out of an overall of 340 marks

As we mentioned earlier, the exam is comprised of three main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Section and Quantitative Reasoning. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are graded on a scale of 130-170 each, whereas analytical writing scores range between 0-6. Some colleges require additional test sections to be taken with the GRE test, but they’re not graded in the final score of the test. The GRE test score in each exam is valid for 5 years.

GRE exam syllabus

  1. Analytical Writing– A two-segment test that examines your ability to interpret and express your thoughts on complex issues and arguments.
  2. Verbal Section– In these sections, you are asked to understand the written-content and answer the queries (Reading comprehension, Text completion, and Sentence equivalence) accordingly.  
  3. Quantitative Reasoning– This section analyzes your problem-solving skills and basic mathematical concepts such as Algebra, Geometry, Data analysis, etc.

How much should your GRE Score be?

According to ETS, the average GRE score in 2017-18 was 302.54

The importance of your GRE score varies depending on the institution and degree program. Some programs may consider your test score to be a critical determinant for your admission while others may only consider it a formality. But most institutions have their own formula for incorporating your GRE test scores in their selection process.

The average GRE scores are:

Verbal and Quantitative sections – 150-155(Range 130-170)  

Analytical section – 3.5(Range 0-6) 

GRE sample papers

You can always take a look at these GRE sample papers and attempt a GRE mock test. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect in your final GRE scores.


iSchoolConnect: The doorway to education abroad

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Many students have problems identifying their strengths and finding a program that suits their aptitude, interest, and skills. We at iSchoolConnect are study abroad consultants that help international students find an educational program that is tailored to their ability and preferences.

Our company uses cutting edge AI technology and human expertise to present the best application packages for their students. iSchoolConnect also provides personalized university and program recommendations based on the student’s profile.

We hope this article provided you with all the info you need for preparing for your GRE. And if you have any other queries about studying abroad, you can always contact us or see what answers our website has to offer!

Akanksha Vora

Bright, bold, and bubbly, Akanksha Vora is a writer at iSchoolConnect. She writes creative and curious blogs that help students with their life and studies abroad.

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