Your Guide to the GRE

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test provides US graduate schools and US business schools with common measures to evaluate applicants. Most other parts of the application can be subjective, so GRE scores give a useful way for admissions teams to compare applicants with different skills and experience.

What Does the GRE Test?

The exam tests quantitative, verbal and analytical writing skills that have been developed over a long period of time. Research shows that scores on the GRE General Test consistently predict graduate school students' performance and grades.

How difficult is the GRE?

The GRE is designed to determine which applicants will be a good fit for advanced academic study, and it is used by some of the most competitive programmes in the world. Therefore, the questions can be challenging and will greatly test your critical thinking skills.

Why is GRE Important?

Often GRE scores will be used to ascertain eligibility for merit-based fellowships and grants, in addition to teaching and research assistantships. To limit the application pool, cut off points are established for GRE scores by numerous programmes, particularly those at large state schools, while others use GRE scores to directly establish the amount of financial support you receive. Investing effort and time in your GRE preparation can help you achieve entry into the US grad school of your choice, as well as enhance your chances of receiving financial aid.

The GRE at a Glance:

Section Time Format Question Types Skills Tested
Verbal Two 30 minute sections
(60 minutes total)
20 multiple-choice questions in each section Reading Comprehension (with increased focus on short passages), Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence Reading, Analytical Reasoning, Vocabulary
Quantitative Two 30 minute sections
(60 minutes total)
20 multiple-choice questions in each section Problem Solving, Quantitative Comparisons, Data interpretation Basic Math, Mathematical Concepts, Quantitative Reasoning
Analytical Writing Assessment 60 minutes Two 30 minute essays Analysis of an Argument, Analysis of an Issue Critical thinking and analytical writing skills

Next: Read about How the GRE is Scored