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GRE Format

The GRE is a multiple-choice multi-stage test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It has been designed in a way so as to calculate the student's intellectual and logical abilities, adapting to performance by selecting questions based on previous answers. The test allows its takers to skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section they want to answer first.

The GRE question types are designed to closely reflect the kind of thinking that students will be expected to do in graduate or business school and are based upon the following skills:

  • Verbal Reasoning - This section measures a student's ability to analyze and evaluate written material and to synthesize information obtained from it. It measures the ability to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among concepts and words.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - This section measures a student's problem-solving ability and focusses on basic concepts of algebra, arithmetic, data analysis and geometry.
  • Analytical Writing - This section measures analytical writing skills and critical thinking. It specifically measure's a student's ability to articulate and support ideas that are complex in nature both clearly and effectively.

Structure of the GRE General Test

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Analytical Writing Assessment (One section with two separately timed tasks)'Analysis of an Issue' task and 'Analysis of an argument' task30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)20 questions per section30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning(Two sections)20 questions per section35 minutes per section
Experimental/ResearchVariesVaries

The Analytical Writing section will always precede all other test sections. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Experimental Section (the latter of which is not scored but which can be either Verbal or Quantitative) may appear in any order. An identified Research Section that is not scored may also be included in the test, but will always appear at the end.

GRE General Test Scoring Methodology

SectionScore Scale
Verbal Reasoning130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments
Quantitative Reasoning130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments
Analytical Writing0-6 score level, in half-point increments

The Chopras 10 key insights into the GRE:

  1. The GRE selects questions in groups, or stages meaning that it is critical to perform well section by section rather than question by question.
  2. The difficulty of questions is governed by performance in the preceding ones. Difficulty levels therefore alter in accordance with the student's answers as they progress through the test.
  3. The first section is reflective of an 'average' difficulty level.
  4. The student has the provision to skip, navigate and return, and change their responses within a section. However, once they finish with a section, they cannot return to it.
  5. There is a 'mark and review' feature to mark questions the student may want to review later.
  6. The student will be scored on the basis of the number of questions answered, the number of correct answers and the difficulty level of the sections.
  7. The GRE can be taken once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous 12-month period (365 days)
  8. Scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which a student was tested.
  9. There is an on-screen calculator for use in the Quantitative Reasoning section to reduce the emphasis on computation and to ensure that the student focuses more attention on reasoning skills.
  10. There is emphasis within the test on the student's knowledge of vocabulary through reading.
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