GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations. It is a standardized aptitude exam with a pre-defined syllabus. It is one of the most widely accepted admissions tests for graduate and business school programs, and is used for admissions decisions for MBA, specialized master's in business and doctoral programs.

GRE is divided into two categories. The GRE General Test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills - the types of skills required for success in today's demanding graduate and business school programs - and the GRE Subject Test that measures knowledge of a particular field of study helping students stand out from other applicants by emphasizing their knowledge and skill level in a specific area.

The GRE is a multiple-choice multi-stage test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It has been designed in a way so as to calculate the student's intellectual and logical abilities, adapting to performance by selecting questions based on previous answers. The test allows its takers to skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section they want to answer first.

The GRE question types are designed to closely reflect the kind of thinking that students will be expected to do in graduate or business school and are based upon the following skills:

  • Verbal Reasoning - This section measures a student's ability to analyze and evaluate written material and to synthesize information obtained from it. It measures the ability to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among concepts and words.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - This section measures a student's problem-solving ability and focusses on basic concepts of algebra, arithmetic, data analysis and geometry.
  • Analytical Writing - This section measures analytical writing skills and critical thinking. It specifically measure's a student's ability to articulate and support ideas that are complex in nature both clearly and effectively.

Structure of the GRE General Test
Section Number Of Questions Time
Analytical Writing Assessment (One section with two separately timed tasks) 'Analysis of an Issue' task and 'Analysis of 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
Experimental/Research Varies Varies

The Analytical Writing section will always precede all other test sections. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Experimental Section (the latter of which is not scored but which can be either Verbal or Quantitative) may appear in any order. An identified Research Section that is not scored may also be included in the test, but will always appear at the end.

GRE General Test Scoring Methodology
Section Score Scale
Verbal Reasoning 130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments
Analytical Writing 0-6 score level, in half-point increments

The cost to take the GRE is US$195 To reschedule, test-takers need to pay an additional $50. Re-scheduling can be done up to seven days prior to the test day. The GRE score can be reported to four schools of the applicant's choice for free.

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