GRE General Test Format

GRE General is a common test that assesses the eligibility of students for admission into graduate programs in colleges and universities across the world. Most colleges and universities, offering scholarships, also require a good score in GRE test for qualifying for their scholarships.  

GRE tests are administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The head office of ETS is in the United States. The regional offices of ETS are in 160 countries to facilitate the students appearing in GRE test. Each of those countries has centers for GRE test.

  GRE General Test – Format

GRE General test is basically a computer-based exam having multiple choice questions. However, GRE General test can also be taken as a paper-based exam in some regions of the world.

GRE General Test has the following three parts:

  1. Analytical Writing                            (2 Essay writing questions)
  2. Verbal Reasoning                              (40 MCQs)
  3. Quantitative Reasoning                (40 MCQs)

  The total time of the test is 3 hours and 45 minutes. This total time also include 10 minutes as a break-time or transfer-time from one section to other.

The format of GRE General test in its sequence is as follows:

Task-1 Analysis of an Issue 30 Minutes
Task-2 Analysis of an argument 30 Minutes
Section-1 20 MCQs 30 Minutes
Section-2 20 MCQs 30 Minutes
Section-1 20 MCQs 35 Minutes
Section-2 20 MCQs 35 Minute

Unscored Questions: Some unscored questions are intentionally included in the Verbal and Quantitative parts which receive no marks and do not affect your score. You may not identify them as they appear in any order within the normal MCQs.  Hence, you have to treat every question as if it carries valid marks.

The purpose of unscored questions is that it helps ETS to refine their MCQs bank for future tests. For this reason, in some tests the ETS may also give a separate section (with title of ‘unscored section’ or ‘research’) of unscored question at the end of a test. In such a case you will identify these unscored questions, though they carry no marks.

   How is the test marked?

The verbal and reasoning parts are marked in two steps.

  1. The number of questions answered correctly is counted.
  2. Each correct response is converted into a scaled score. Scale score for each response differs from test to test depending upon the difficulty level of the test edition. The purpose of this conversion is to make total marks reflect same level of proficiency of the student irrespective of the edition of test he or she takes.

The analytical writing part is marked by a trained reader (human) as well as computer program e-rator, developed by ETS. Both the trained reader and computer program use a six-point scale (0-6) to mark the essay. In the end the average of human score and computer score is calculated and rounded off on 0-6 scale in order to determine the final score.

Test Fees (2017)

Application Fee (all other countries) $205
Application Fee (China) $231
Fee for changing date or center of test $50
Fee for extra-report card $27

Result date: The result of GRE test is announced within 10 to 15 days after the test. Test score can be checked online through ETS account.

Validity of test score: The test scores remain valid for a period of 5 years.

Applying for test: You can apply for the test online by making an account on the ETS website as well as by visiting a regional office of ETS in your country.