Graduate Record Examination (GRE)



What is GRE?

The full form of GRE is Graduate Record Examination. GRE is a blend of verbal, quantitative, critical thinking and abilities of analytical writing for assessing your capabilities for various programs offered by the grad schools. GRE is a standardized exam whose score is accepted by different grad schools in and around the US. Educational Testing Service (ETS) has been creating and administering GRE since 1949 and Prometric testing centers are the authorized centers for managing the computer- based examination of GRE.

The structure of GRE was improved in Aug 2012, changing its score scale from the scale of 200-800 to 130-170. Since GRE is no longer an adaptive, question by question-based exam but has turned into a section based exam, making it easy for the candidates, as the level of difficulty of each depends upon the performance of your previous section in both verbal and quant. This improvement makes it the only grad-level exam in which the candidates are allowed to skip a question, go back to any previous question, and change the answer or to tackle any particular section according to their interest. The most same feature of GRE is its ScoreSelect option. ScoreSelect means you can give the exam now or any time in future, but it is in your hand to choose what set of score you want to send to school, you can select your best scores and send it to grad schools by selecting the option of ScoreSelect. The best attribute is that you have got five years to decide what you want to do with any of your GRE score making you feel at ease on your exam day.

GRE can be taken as computer based or paper based exam, but the option of paper based exam are available only in those areas where computer-based examination option is not available.

Both the paper- based and the computer- based test consists of six sections:  

  •    The first section is always analytical writing
  •    Two sections of quantitative questions.
  •    Two sections of verbal ability
  •    And one experimental or research section for computer- based exam whereas, for the paper-based exam, analytical reasoning is split into two sections.

These are the basic information that can help you in making your decision and realizing that GRE is the exam you are thinking of joining a grad school.

GRE revised General Test is adaptive in nature based on the performance in the previous section.

Exam Pattern

Analytical writing assessment

Analyze issue: Debate -extent to which you agree or disagree

Analyze argument:  Facts- evidence or counter evidence- evaluate argument and explain how the evidence would strengthen or weaken – CR, Strengthen or weaken (easier to weaken)

Click for Analytical Writing Syllabus.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension is the most conventional method of testing the ability to draw the onclusion from discourse, how one can understand author’s intention about the passage. How well one can differentiate between major and minor idea about the passage. Typical verbal reasoning section will have 2-3 Reading Comprehension passages followed by 4-6 questions per passage.
  • Critical reasoning: Critical reasoning question will include a brief passage followed by question or a set of questions. Critical reasoning tests the ability to provide argument in order to strengthen or weaken
  • Text completion: Text completion questions include question includes one or two blanks and occasionally three blanks. Each blank will have three options out of which only one option is correct. Each blank options are independent of each other. Text completion questions tests vocabulary and ability use right words with right meaning.
  • Sentence correction: Test vocabulary questions will have two sentences each having one blank and each followed by few options. Only one option will be correct out of given option and options must be selected in such a way that both the sentences have same meaning.

Click for Verbal Syllabus.

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Quantitative comparison: Two unknown quantities are provided say quantity A and quantity B with additional information regarding it. Additional information about the quantities will give information regarding the relationship between two quantities which will be the answer among the given options
  • Multiple choice questions-select one answer: Multiple choice questions are usually followed by 5 options. One out five given option will be the correct answer.
  • Multiple choice questions-select one or more answers: Multiple choices multiple answer question are followed by 6 options. One or more than one option out of given 6 options will be correct. No marks are provided for partially correct answers
  • Numeric Entry: Numeric entry questions are followed by either a single box or fraction. Answer could be integer number or decimal number or fraction depending on the question and answer box provided.

Click for Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus.

Analytical writing assessment

  • Analysis of an issue: Analysis of an issue question includes an issue of general interest followed by a text box.  Essay of 500-600 words will be the answer which should include analysis of the given issue.
  • Analysis of an argument: Analysis of an argument question includes a brief passage or conclusion followed by a text box. Essay of 500-600 words will be the answer which should include analysis of the given argument.

Research section:  Research section usually appears at the end of all other sections. A typical research section is identifiable. Educational testing service does survey and research on various different question every time. They complete their survey on the test takers.

Experimental section: Experimental section is the unscored section which is unidentifiable. Experimental section can be a verbal section or quantitative section and it may appear in any order. Format of the questions will be same as verbal and quantitative section depending on which section is experimental.

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