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About the GRE Test

The GRE® revised General Test is required by many graduate programs for admission. Here's what to expect from the test.

AGR
Illustration of GRE Test Center
You can take the GRE in a test center (limited availability)
... or at home!

The GRE revised General Test measures general skills that are applicable to most graduate studies, specifically your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The test is three hours and 10 minutes in length, but you should plan for almost four hours for the entire process, due to one short break and possible additional unscored and research questions that ETS may add. The scored part of the GRE test currently consists of three sections:

  • Analytical Writing (1 hour) – two essay questions, each 30 minutes long
  • Verbal Reasoning (1 hour) – two 30-minute sections, each with 20 questions
  • Quantitative Reasoning (1 hour and 10 minutes) – two 35-minute sections, each with 20 questions

In each section, you will be able to preview questions, skip questions, go back and change answers, and flag questions for later attention. Usually the computer-based test is available at testing centers worldwide, including the U.S. and Mexico,  throughout the year. As a temporary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS will allow you to take the test at home, under certain conditions.

The GRE exam can be taken at home.

In preparing for the GRE, it's important to use official GRE questions for your practice. Austin Elite Prep's GRE prep course will also teach you that it's not just about absorbing the knowledge; it's also about pattern recognition, time management, methods for efficient problem-solving, and execution.

Due to COVID-19, GRE Exams Are Currently Able to Be Taken online

Computer Adaptive Test with Scaled Scoring

The GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are adaptive. After you answer the first 20 questions, the computer selects the next 20 questions with a level of difficulty matched to your performance. If you did well, the next section is a set of slightly more difficult questions. If you did not do well, the next section is slightly easier. Your final score is computed from the number of questions that you got right (your raw score), scaled according the difficulty of questions you were given. The more questions that you answer correctly, and the harder your final 20 questions are, the higher your GRE score will be.

Understanding the GRE Score

GRE Verbal Reasoning Section
Score Scale: 130-170
The Verbal Reasoning section gives you multiple-choice and selection questions to test your reading comprehension, fill-in-the-blank passages, and sentence equivalence questions (in which you create sentences that are alike in meaning). Read more about Verbal Reasoning.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning
Score Scale: 130-170
The Quantitative Reasoning section asks questions in which you interpret and analyze quantitative information, and answer multiple-choice questions and make numeric entries to solve problems requiring skills in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. An on-screen calculator will provided for this section. Read more about Quantitative Reasoning.

GRE Analytical Writing
Score Scale: 0-6 (half-point increments)
The Analytic Writing section asks you to write essays that displays your ability to support your ideas, articulate your reasoning effectively, and provide focused responses. Each essay receives a score from at least one trained reader.

The higher your score percentile, the better you did on the exam. Of all test-takers worldwide (2016-2019), less than 10% reach a 162+ GRE Verbal scaled score, and less than 10% reach a 168+ GRE Quantitative scaled score. You should research average GRE scores at your target graduate schools, and study hard!

Your GRE score is valid for five years.

Planning Ahead to Take the GRE Exam

You will need to register in advance to take the GRE. It can be taken at any time of the year, subject to certain restrictions such as holidays and seat availability at a test center. Watch a video to learn about the GRE test center experience. To register to take the GRE test online or in Austin, or find out more, visit www.ets.org.

GRE test-takers have been removed from the test center for checking texts and emails on smartphones and tablets during the optional breaks. Keep your electronics in the locker provided to you (don't sneak a peek) to avoid this risk.

Previewing Your GRE Score.

After taking the GRE exam, you will preview your unofficial GRE Verbal and GRE Quantitative scores before deciding to accept or cancel the score.

  • On test day, you may select Cancel: Your scores from that exam will be canceled, and those scores and the cancellation will not appear on your record.
  • On or after test day, you may select Most Recent Scores: Only the scores from that exam will be sent to schools that you choose (four score reports sent for free on test day).
  • On or after test day, you may select All Scores: All of your test scores from the last five years will be sent to schools that you choose (four score reports sent for free on test day).
  • After test day, you may select Any Scores: You may select test dates from the last five years, and the test scores from those dates will be sent to schools that you choose.

Getting Familiar with the GRE Test Format

We recommend that you take advantage of ETS's practice tests: In addition to practicing question types, take a few full practice exams, recreating the test center conditions as closely as possible (no snacks, for example). Find practice exams on www.ets.org.

You may take the GRE only five times in one year (12 months).

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