About GRE

GRE Test Content and Structure

The GRE® General Test features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you'll do — and the skills you need to succeed — in today's demanding graduate school programs, including business and law. The test-taker friendly design lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section you want to answer first.

The GRE General Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills — skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all. Here's a look at content covered in the three test sections — Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author's assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author's intent
  • select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text.
  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts.

Get a quick view of the Verbal Reasoning question types.

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author's assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author's intent
  • select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text
  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts Get a quick view of the Verbal Reasoning question types.

The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.

Get a quick view of the Analytical Writing question types.

Modified Versions of Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Questions

The test you take may include questions that are modified versions of published questions or of questions you have already seen on the test. Some modifications are substantial; others are less apparent.

Even if a question appears to be similar to a question you have already seen, it may in fact be different and have a different answer. Pay careful attention to the wording of each question.

Structure of the GRE™ Exam (Computer – Delivered Test)

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
Unscored 1 Varies Varies
Research 2 Varies Varies
  1. An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward your score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. Questions in the unscored section are being tried out either for possible use in future tests or to ensure that scores on new editions of the test are comparable to scores from earlier editions.
  2. An identified research section that does not count toward your score may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section are included for ETS research purposes.

The Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.

Test Design Features

The advanced adaptive design of the GRE General Test allows you to freely move forward and backward throughout an entire section. Specific features include:

  • Preview and review capabilities within a section
  • "Mark" and "Review" features to tag questions, so you can skip them and return later if you have time remaining in the section
  • The ability to change/edit answers within a section
  • An on-screen calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning section

To experience the test design features of the computer-delivered test, access the free POWERPREP Online practice tests.