GRE Test Overview

GRE Section Comparisons

Section Questions Section Time Section Topics Scoring
GRE Analytical Writing Assessment 2 separately timed writing tasks 30 min per task 1 30-minute essay: Analysis of an Argument; 1 30-minute essay: Analysis of an Issue; 2 Essays in total 0-6, half-point increments
GRE Verbal Reasoning About 20 questions per section 30 min per section Reading Comprehension; Text Completion; Sentence Equivalence; 2 Sections in total 130-170 score scale, 1-point increments
GRE Quantitative Reasoning About 20 questions per section 35 min per section Quantitative Comparisons; Multiple-choice questions (select 1 answer choice); Multiple-choice questions (select 1 or more answer choices); Numeric entry questions; 2 Sections in total 130-170 score scale, 1-point increments
Experimental (Unscored) About 20 questions 30-35 min section An unidentified verbal or quantitative pretest section may be included and appear in ANY order after the AWA section. Not counted as part of the score Not Counted
Research Varies Varies An unidentified section may be there at the end of the test. Not counted as part of the score Not Counted
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes (including unscored section) 260 - 340 total; Analytical writing from 0-6.

GRE Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE lasts 30 minutes and has 30 questions. The questions have traditionally been evenly split between Sentence Equivalence, Reading Comprehension, and Text Completion questions as well, which are a complex form of Sentence Completion requiring the test-taker to type in the correct vocabulary words from a provided list.

This Section Tests:    

•English usage/mechanics    

•Rhetorical skills    

•Analyze and make conclusions based on written material  

•Compare and contrast the relationships between words and concepts

GRE Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE lasts 45 minutes and has 28 questions. This section has traditionally been half Problem Solving questions and half Quantitative Comparisons, but now there are several Data Entry questions as well, which require a typed-in response rather than a multiple choice.  Calculators are NOT permitted.

This Section Tests

  • Mathematical Concepts

  • Arithmetic

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Trigonometry

  • Data Interpretation

  • Graphs and Tables

GRE Analytical Writing

The writing section of the GRE, which is always administered at the very beginning of the test, is 75 minutes long. It consists of two writing topics. You will have 45 minutes to present your perspective on an issue and 30 minutes to evaluate an argument. All essays must be in response to a given prompt. The prompts are about a social issue applicable to high school students. No particular essay structure is required.

Two trained readers trained by ETS assign each essay a score between 1 and 6, where a score of 0 is reserved for essays that are blank, off-topic, or non-English. If the scores are within one point of one another, they are averaged to produce a final score from 0 to 6. If the two readers' scores differ by more than one point, then a senior third reader decides.

This section tests:

  • Grammar
  • Argument Formulation
  • Writing Ability
  • English Usage
  • Examples chosen to support an argument