Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

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Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized assessment test developed and administered by the Educational Testing Services (ETS), a non-profit organization in the United States. 

It is designed for individuals seeking to pursue graduate education in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and European countries. First implemented in the United States in 1936, the GRE is now recognized as a criterion for graduate school applications in more than 160 countries. 

The GRE aims to assess individuals who wish to apply to graduate programs in English-speaking countries, measuring their verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills acquired over an extended period of learning. 

The GRE is divided into two: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The GRE General Test evaluates participants' verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. 

On the other hand, the GRE Subject Test is conducted to assess participants' knowledge and proficiency in specific areas such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology.

GRE General Test

The GRE General Test is an exam conducted on a computer that includes question types reflecting the thinking style and skills required to succeed in master's programs offered by universities including business and law programs. 

The digital testing environment, tailored to the needs of test-takers, allows participants to skip questions, go back to skipped questions, and change their answers. The GRE General Test evaluates skills such as verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing, which individuals have developed over an extended period, unrelated to a specific field of study. It consists of three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section assesses participants' abilities to: clearly and effectively express complex ideas, support ideas using relevant reasons and examples, examine claims and accompanying evidence, sustain a well-focused and consistent argument, control elements of standard written English. This section requires participants to provide focused responses based on tasks to accurately demonstrate their ability to respond directly to a task.

Verbal Reasoning 

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE evaluates participants' skills in: analyzing statements and drawing conclusions, reasoning from incomplete data, and deducing logic from the author's assumptions and/or perspective, understanding multiple levels of meaning, such as literal and figurative meanings, and understanding the author's intent, selecting crucial points, differentiating between significant and insignificant details, summarizing text, and understanding the structure of a passage, and understanding the meanings of words, sentences, and passages in context, and grasping relationships between words and concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the exam assesses participants' skills in: understanding, interpreting, and analyzing quantitative information, solving problems using mathematical models. Applying basic skills and concepts related to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

Exam Section

Number of questions


Analytical Writing

(A section containing two separately scheduled tasks)

An "Analyze an Issue" task and an "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

GRE Subject Tests

GRE Subject Tests are administered in a written format on paper and provide test-takers with a duration of 2 hours and 50 minutes. 

These tests do not have individually timed sections. GRE Subject Tests are conducted in four different subjects: chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology.

Chemistry Test

Consisting of approximately 130 multiple-choice questions, this test covers topics from analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.

Mathematics Test

Comprising around 66 multiple-choice questions, this test includes questions from calculus, algebra and reel analysis, discrete mathematics, general topology, geometry, and additional topics like complex variables.

Physics Test

Featuring about 100 five-option questions, this test covers various subjects, including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, optics and wave phenomena, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, special relativity, laboratory methods, and special topics.

Psychology Test

Including approximately 205 multiple-choice questions, this test covers areas such as biological psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and measurement/methodology/other topics.


GRE General Test

The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores of the GRE are based on the number of correct answers given. 

In the Analytical Writing section, each essay is scored by at least one trained reader using a holistic scale of six points. 

The exam is then scored by a computer program called e-rater, developed by ETS, which can identify exam features related to writing proficiency.

If the teacher and e-rater scores are close, the average of the two scores is used as the final score. 

However, if there is a significant difference between teacher and e-rater scores, a second teacher re-evaluates the exam, and the average of the two teacher scores is used as the final score.

For the Analytical Writing section, the average of the composition scores is taken and completed to the nearest half-point on a 0-6 point scale. 

A single score is reported for the Analytical Writing measure, and the most crucial aspect of scoring in this section is critical thinking and analytical writing skills rather than grammar and mechanics.

The Verbal Reasoning section is scored on a scale of 130-170 with 1-point increments. The Quantitative Reasoning section is scored on a scale of 130-170 with 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing section is scored on a 0-6 point scale with half-point increments.

GRE Subject Test

The raw score for GRE Subject Tests is determined based on the number of questions answered correctly. Incorrect answers, unanswered questions, or questions with multiple selections marked are counted as incorrect but do not result in a loss of points.

The Subject Test is scored on a scale of 200-990 with 1-point increments. Biology and Psychology exams provide sub-scores on a scale of 20-99 with 1-point increments.


GRE is one of the most popular exams for engineering and MBA applications, accepted by over 5,000 MBA and Master's programs and more than 2,300 educational institutions in 160 countries worldwide. 

The GRE is geared towards students who want to pursue master's and doctoral degrees in engineering or social sciences. On the other hand, the GMAT exam is specifically designed for students aiming to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in the field of business.

GRE is accepted by over 1,100 universities and organizations for business programs, while GMAT is accepted by over 1,700 universities and organizations for 5,600 business programs. Therefore, taking the GMAT exam is more advantageous for those interested in business programs.

The major difference between the verbal questions in the GRE and GMAT exams lies in their focus: The GRE emphasizes vocabulary knowledge, whereas GMAT focuses on language skills. 

GRE includes questions that assess understanding, critical analysis, and sentence equivalence, while GMAT features questions related to identifying and correcting errors in sentences, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning skills.