All That You Need To Know To Understand GRE

Charlotte Miller

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If motivation and determination are one side of the coin, then preparation is the other side. Most prestigious and top-tier institutions have mandatory tests students need to take before admission, to prove the candidate’s potential. It’s a globally present process, so whether it is within your city or somewhere abroad chances are you will be facing tests. Here we will discuss GRE, so you can have a good idea of what it’s like preparing for GRE.

In this blog we will talk about

What is GRE?

What do you need the GRE for?


GRE test types

GRE pattern

Examination mode

General information


What is GRE?  

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test students are required to take as an admission prerequisite in many graduate schools based in Canada and the United States. The GRE was created in 1936 and is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to measure whether the overall academic ability of the student is ready for graduate school or not.

An advantage of the GRE is that it is conducted almost throughout the year so you can prepare accordingly and take it at your pace. You can attempt the computer-based GRE, a total of 5 times a year and the paper-base as often as it is available. The computer-based GRE can be taken once every 21 days from the last attempt.

What Do You Need The GRE For?

The GRE is necessary if you’re planning on enrolling on international graduate or business schools. It is one of the admission requirements listed for courses like master’s, doctorate, MBA or J.D. degree. It can even secure you scholarships or fellowship programs.


There are no official pre-requirement criteria for the GRE. Generally, it is exclusive to everyone regardless of age and qualifications but it was designed for students pursuing post-graduation degrees, a candidate is expected to have an undergraduate degree in the relevant subject.

That said, GRE eligibility admission may vary according to the institution or university. Different programs may have different requirements so accordingly, start the preparation for gre.

GRE Test Type

There are two types of GRE tests – the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The institution will specify which type you need to test to qualify as per the requirements of the program.

  • GRE General Test

It’s a general test that is open to students from any educational discipline and background. Among the two, the general test is the more common one and is required for enrollment and scholarship programs. It can be computer-based as well as paper-based. It is based on three parameters –

  • Verbal reasoning skills (English)
  • Quantitative reasoning skills (Mathematics)
  • Analytical writing skills (English)

Most master’s degree aspirants take this type, while Ph.D. pursuing students are smaller in number.

  • GRE Subject Test

This test focuses on a particular subject and tests you on its proficiency. It’s designed to demonstrate the student’s ability at their undergraduate level. This is a computer-based exam, with MCQ questions with the number of questions depending on the subject itself. Available subjects for the GRE are English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology. All questions are focused and related to the subject matter of the candidate’s subject.

Ph.D. students are more common in this type due to their specialization, but master’s students may approach it with the intention of shifting their field of study.

GRE Pattern

The following is the test structure for the GRE General Test.

  • Verbal Reasoning

Here reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage are tested. These are reflective questions that focus on meaning (eg. what does the author mean by this). It asks for literal or figurative answers involving themes and details.

  1. Two sections of 20 question each.
  2. Question types in each section are –
  1. Sentence equivalence – 4
  2. Text completion – 6
  3. Reading Comprehensive – 10
  1. Time – You get 30 minutes for each section.
  2. Score scale – 130-170, 1 point increment.
  • Quantitative Reasoning

This section is mathematical. It tests basic high school-level math and reasoning skills.

  1. Two sections of 20 question each.
  2. Question types in each section are –
  1. Quantitative comparisons – 8
  2. Problem-solving items – 9
  3. Data Interpretation Questions – 3
  1. Time – You get 35 minutes for each section.
  2. Score scale – 130-170, 1 point increment.
  • Analytical Writing

This portion requires you to defend an idea by making valid arguments using examples, case studies etc.

  1. In this section, you will write two essays.
  2. Question types in each section are –
  1. Analyze an issue
  2. Analyze an argument
  1. Time – You get 30 minutes for each essay.
  2. Score scale – 0-6, 0.5 point increment.

Examination Mode

GRE subject test happens on paper so the candidate has to take it at a designated centre. GRE general however is available as both computer-based and paper-based. If the candidate takes it from the centre then it is paper-based but another comfortable option provided by the ETS is to take it from home, which then becomes computer-based. There are not many prominent differences between the paper-based and the computer-based test, only a few minor ones like

  • The paper-based GRE test is 210 minutes while the computer-based GRE is 225 minutes.
  • The paper-based GRE has a total of 102 questions, divided into 6 sections. The computer-based GRE has a total of 82 questions, divided into 7 sections.

General Information

Application: Candidates can apply for the GRE test both offline and online. For online registration, they will need to make an account on the ETS website and for offline they can fill in the registration form from the regional office.

Results: The results come out within ten to fifteen days post-test and are released online on their site.

Validity: The test score remains valid for up to five years.


Now that you know what the GRE is all about, if you’re planning on attempting the test, be sure to do it accordingly. Working hard is important, but working smart is equally necessary. Coaching courses are available both offline or online for almost any test, but you need to self-prepare as well, and get yourself ready to take on the challenge. The key to cracking these kinds of tests is advanced and detailed preparation. These factors go hand in hand because to be able to conduct a thorough study, you will require a lot of time.

Jamboree education offers you test preps, online counselling and a series of comprehensive classrooms that has helped over 320+ candidates achieve their best GRE scores. Book a session today!