GRE Exam Syllabus – Test Structure, Scoring System & Tips

GRE Exam Syllabus

GRE Exam Syllabus

The GRE® General Test is a computer-based test with question types that closely reflect the type of thinking you’ll do — and the skills you’ll need to succeed — in today’s competitive graduate programmes, such as business and law. The GRE exam syllabus test-taker-friendly design allows you to skip questions within a section, come back and change answers, and choose which questions within a section to answer first. Take a look at the GRE General Test’s structure.

The GRE General Test evaluates your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing abilities — skills that have been acquired over time and are not relevant to any field of study but are essential for everyone. Here’s an overview of what’s covered in each of the three test sections. Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

Analytical Writing

The section on GRE Exam Syllabus for Analytical Writing evaluates your ability to:

  • Convey difficult ideas in a clear and effective way.
  • Ideas should be supported up with relevant reasons and examples.
  • Examine the claims and facts to support them.
  • Maintain a well-focused, well-coordinated discussion
  • Control the elements of written English in a standard manner
  • You must have focused responses based on the tasks presented in the Analytical Writing section to correctly demonstrate your ability to directly respond to a task.

Verbal Reasoning

The section on GRE Exam Syllabus Verbal Reasoning evaluates your ability to:

  • Analyse and draw conclusions from a discourse; reasoning based on incomplete data determine the author’s assumptions and/or perspective; understand a variety of levels of meaning, including literal, figurative, and authorial intent.
  • Choose the most critical points; separate the major from the minor or irrelevant; summarize the text; understand a text’s structure.
  • Understanding the meanings of words, sentences, and entire texts; fully understanding the relationships between words and concepts.
  • Get a quick overview of the various types of Verbal Reasoning questions.

Quantitative Reasoning

GRE Exam Syllabus Quantitative Reasoning is a section that evaluates your ability to:

  • Comprehending, interpreting, and analyzing quantifiable information
  • Use mathematical models to solve problems
  • Apply basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis skills and concepts
  • An on-screen calculator is included in the Quantitative Reasoning section.

Questions in Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning that have been modified

You may encounter questions on the test that are modified versions of previously published questions or questions you have already seen on the test. Some changes are important, whereas others are subtle.

Even if a question seems to be the same as one you’ve seen before, it may be different and have a different answer. Pay close attention to how each question is asked.

GRE® General Test Structure

The GRE® General Test takes approximately three hours and 45 minutes to complete. There are a total of 6 sections, with a 10-minute break after the third.

Measure Number of Questions Allotted Time
Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks) One “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task 30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning    
(Two sections) 20 questions per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning    
(Two sections) 20 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Unscored¹ Varies Varies
Research² Varies Varies


  • After the Analytical Writing section, there could be an unidentified unscored section that does not count against your ranking. It may appear in any order. Unscored questions are being tested for possible use or to ensure that scores on new editions of the exam are equivalent to scores on past editions.
  • In place of the unscored section, an identified research section that does not count toward your score may be included. The research section of the test will always appear at the end. The questions in this section are included for the purpose of ETS research.
  • The section on Analytical Writing will always come first. Since the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections will appear in any order, you should treat each one as if it counts toward your overall score.

Test Design Features

The advanced adaptive design of the GRE General Test allows you to freely move forward and backward through an entire segment. The following are some of the factors:

  • Preview and review capabilities within a section
  • You can use the “Mark” and “Review” features to tag questions so you can skip them and come back later if you still have time in the section.
  • Within a section, the ability to change/edit answers
  • For the Quantitative Reasoning part, there is an on-screen calculator.

GRE General Test Score Range

GRE section name Score range
GRE quantitative reasoning 130-170 with 1 point increment
GRE verbal reasoning 130-170 with 1 point increment
GRE analytical writing assessment 0-6 with 0.5 point increment
Total 260-340

What is the GRE’s scoring system?

  • The General Examination for the GRE is a computer adaptive exam.
  • The difficulty of the second sub-section of the verbal and quantitative sections is calculated by your performance in the first sub-section.
  • The raw score in these sections is one mark for each correct question answered.
  • “Equating” is used to calculate the scaled score.
  • This means that if you perform well in the first sub-section, the second sub-section will have more challenging questions, but you will still be able to achieve the highest possible score.
  • If you get a low score in the first sub-section, the second sub-section will be easier, but the chance of getting a high score will be reduced.
  • A human reader scores the Analytical Writing segment on a 6-point scale of 0.5 increments.

The best GRE score for you is determined by the programme you want to join. To determine the score that will make your application competitive, look at the average score of applicants admitted to the programme of your choice.

Percentile Scaled GRE Verbal Score
Top 10% of all test takers. 162
Top 50% of all test takers 151
Below 50th percentile of all test takers. 150
Percentile Scaled GRE Quant Score
Top 10% of all test takers 166
Top 25% of all test takers 160
Top 50% of all test takers 153
Below 50th percentile of all test takers 152

The mean score and score ranges for each section are as below:

Section Score Range Mean
Verbal Reasoning 130–170 151
Quantitative Reasoning 130–170 153
Analytical Writing 0–6 4
Total 260–340


When will the GRE Exam be conducted?

The GRE General Test is:

  • It’s available in 160 countries.
  • In most parts of the world, including India, computer-delivered tests are available on all working days.
  • In Chinese territories (Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and South Korea, it is available up to three times a month.
  • In October-November and February, a paper-based test is available.

Tips for GRE General Test Preparation

Here are the GRE exam tips Candidates should follow to prepare for the GRE general test:

  • Learn both basic and advanced mathematical concepts.
  • Learn new vocabulary.
  • Learn how to write sentences that are grammatically correct.
  • Analytical thinking
  • To improve your writing speed, practice typing.

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