The GRE, or the Graduate Records Examinations, is a required standardized exam for admission to many graduate programs. The test assesses students’ Quantitative and Verbal aptitudes and qualifications for schools in the US. Since 2011, the test has been computer-based and “section-level” adaptive, as compared to “question-adaptive.” This computer mode is used only in the U.S.


How much it costs

The cost of the test is $205 per exam, and students receive one free score report. The test is administered by ETS at designated testing centers. You can register online.


When is the test given 

You can take the computer-delivered GRE General Test once every 21 days and up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. This testing limitation applies even if a student cancels a test score after taking the test. You may take the paper-delivered GRE General Test as often as it is offered.

The paper-delivered test is given approximately 3 times per year.


How  the exam is scored 

Test takers receive 3 separate scores: one for each section. For the math and verbal sections, the scores fall between 130-170; for the Analytical Writing section, scores range between 0-6.

Your GRE score remains valid for 5 years.

  • On the score sheet, students will always receive two scored Verbal sections, two scored Math sections, and one experimental section that is not scored.


Section Question Type Number of Questions Time
AWA Essay 1 Essay Writing 24-26 30 mins
AWA Essay 2 Essay Writing 24-26 30 mins
Verbal/ Math or Experimental V/M or E 20 30/35mins
Verbal/ Math or Experimental V/M or E 20 30/35mins
Verbal/ Math or Experimental V/M or E 20 30/35 mins
Verbal/ Math or Experimental V/M or E 20 30/35 mins
Verbal/ Math or Experimental V/M or E 20 30/35 mins

Understanding the Sections


The Verbal Section

There are two sections and three question types: Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Completion.


Reading Comprehension

Students are presented with a passage and associated questions. The reading passages are drawn from a variety of subjects including the sciences, social sciences, or humanities.  There are approximately 10 reading comprehension questions in a verbal section.

Text Completion

Test takers are presented with a sentence or a paragraph that has one to three blanks. There will be answer choices provided and the reader is to “fill in the blanks.” There are approximately six text completion questions in a verbal section.

Sentence Equivalence

Students are presented with a sentence that has one blank and are given six answer choices. The student must pick two answers that will produce a similar meaning. Strong vocabulary skills are important for doing well in this section. There are approximately 4 sentence equivalence questions in the verbal section.


Quantitative Section

There are two quantitative sections on the exam. Both are each 35 minutes long and consist of 20 questions.  More importantly, there are two quantitative question types: Problem Solving and Quantitative Comparison.

Problem Solving

There are three tasks for problem solving questions. Students are either required to solve a problem and select one correct answer out of five choices or to provide their own answers (numeric entry problems). Approximately two-thirds of the 20 questions are problem solving.

Quantitative Comparison

Quantitative Comparison questions are very different from Problem Solving ones. Typically, in you are presented with two columns A and B and given additional information about each column. Your task is to compare columns A and B and if either one has a greater quantity, equivalent or it cannot be determined. Approximately six or 7 questions are quantitative comparison questions.

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