A Simple GRE Breakdown

The GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations.

Flickr user Brandy

Standing for Graduate Record Examinations, the GRE is a required test for almost all graduate schools within the United States. If you’re considering attending grad school in the near future, this exam is something you’ll have to prepare for. This is what you need to know.


The GRE, hosted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is a must-do test if you’re considering graduate school. However, it’s a bit different than previous exams for school you may have taken, like the ACT or SAT.

The GRE allows you to choose whether or not to send your scores to a school. You’re also free to retake it and send specific scores to specific grad schools. Also, this exam allows you to actually go back and change answers, skip questions to return to later, or answer the questions in each section in any order you like.

Students use their results in conjunction with their undergraduate transcripts and recommendation letters to apply for graduate school. You can find testing centers in over 160 countries and the exam is also available online.

GRE Breakdown

The GRE consists of three sections. They are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. These are skills that have been developed in your previous years of education and are not specific for any field of study.

These are just some of the types of questions you’ll find on each of the three sections:

  • In the Verbal section, you’ll be asked to reason from data that are incomplete, summarize text, and understand what you’re reading.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning section gives math problems, asks students to analyze information, and uses mathematical models.
  • Under the Analytical Writing section, students should be prepared to articulate ideas, maintain an informed discussion, and have good writing abilities.

There are two different ways to take the GRE: on the computer or on paper. They both vary in structure. On the computer, the overall test is 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are two sections on analytical writing with 30 minutes each, 40 questions on verbal reasoning with an hour time limit, and 40 questions under Quantitative Reasoning with an hour and fifteen minutes to use. On paper, the entire test is 15 minutes shorter. Analytical Writing is the same as far as tasks and time. However, Verbal Reasoning has 50 questions to do within an hour and fifteen minutes. Quantitative Reasoning gives you an hour and twenty minutes for 50 questions.

Prepping for the GRE

One of the best ways to prep for the GRE is to take practice exams. Stick to a study schedule that works for you and focus on your weaker areas. When you’re ready, it’s time to take another practice exam and see how you’ve improved.

There are also several resources available on ETS’s website. There you can find online preparation tools, practice books, content review, and more.

If you’re interested in learning more about the GRE and what will be asked of you, definitely head over the Educational Testing Service’s website. They have the materials you need to succeed, more information about the exam, answers to frequently asked questions, and the details you need to register for your test date.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *