The GRE TEST STRUCTURE has three main divisions: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. A typical computer-based test starts with the Analytical Writing section (1hour). There are 2 sections of Verbal Reasoning each with approximately 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. There is usually also an unidentified unscored section that can appear at any position in the test.

The computer-based GRE takes 3 hours 45minutes.


Verbal Reasoning: The verbal reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • Analyze and draw conclusions from discourse, reason from incomplete data, identify author’s assumptions and perspective, understand multiple levels of meaning such as literal, figurative and author’s intent.
  • Select important points, distinguish major from minor or relevant points, summarize text, understand the structure of a text.
  • Understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts, understand relationships among words and among concepts.

Analytical Writing: The analytical writing section has two essay writing tasks: the Issue and the Argument. The issue task presents two topics of which the candidate must select one on which to write an essay presenting the writer’s position on the topic. The candidate is required to support his or her point of view with examples and reasoning. The time allotted for this task is 30 minutes.

The argument task presents a statement of a position. The candidate is required to analyze the logic of the given position and suggest how and where the reasoning may be faulty or require improvement. The student is given 30 minutes for this essay.

The scoring for the analytical writing section is on a scale of 0-6. Each essay is scored by a human reader and then by a computer program called e-rater. If the human and e-rater scores differ, the score is sent to a second reader. The final score is the average of the two human scores. If there is no disparity between the first human score and that of the e-rater, that score is taken.

Quantitative Reasoning: The quantitative reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • Understand quantitative information.
  • Interpret and analyze quantitative information.
  • Solve problems using mathematical models.
  • Apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics.

With increased emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios, this section has new types of questions that require you to show your quantitative reasoning ability. To reduce the emphasis on computation, the computer-based test includes an on-screen calculator.

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