The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is an admissions requirement at many graduate and business schools in the United States. It consists of three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.
*The structure and content of the GRE underwent significant changes in August 2011. All changes are reflected here.
Format and Content
In the United States, the GRE is a computer-based test.
The GRE is a computer-adaptive test. Performance on the first section of both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning determines the difficulty level of the questions in the second corresponding section.
The GRE follows this basic format:
- Section 1 is always the Analytical Writing section
- Sections 2-5 comprise two Verbal Reasoning sections, two Quantitative Reasoning sections, and one Experimental section in varied order.
- Section 6 is always a Research section
1 Multiple choice
2 An online calculator is provided and permitted for the Quantitative Reasoning Sections ONLY. Students are NOT allowed to bring their own calculator.
3 The Experimental section is NOT scored. It is used by the ETS to try out new questions and could be an Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, or Quantitative Reasoning section.
4 The Research section is also NOT scored and is also used by the ETS to try out new questions. In contrast to the Experimental section, however, it is identifiable since it is always the last section.
TOTAL TIME: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning
Raw scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are calculated by adding one point for every correct answer. There is no wrong answer penalty on the GRE, so students should never leave a question blank.
Raw scores are converted into scaled scores based on a formula that the ETS does not release. Students receive a scaled score between 130 and 170 (in one point increments) for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
For the Analytical Writing section, each writing task receives a grade between 0 and 6 from two different graders. The two grades are averaged for each task. Then the grades for each task are averaged together to produce a final Analytical Writing score between 0 and 6 (in half point increments).
In the United States, the GRE is a computer-based test that is administered year round at certified testing centers. See available testing dates.
A student can take the GRE only once every 60 days, and no more than five times within any rolling 12-month period.