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GRE Introduction

Introduction to the GRE

The Graduate Record Examination General Test, or GRE*, is designed to test fundamental verbal, mathematical and writing skills that a student is expected to have assimilated in the course of his or her college education. The vast majority of graduate programs require that prospective students submit GRE* scores in order to be considered for admission.

The GRE* is been administered exclusively as a Computer Adaptive Test, or CAT. The GRE* is taken on computer at special testing centers located throughout the U.S. and around the world. The GRE* CAT consists of about 3 hours of multiple-choice testing.

Here's how the sections of the GRE* CAT break down.

  • Verbal Section: 30 questions in 30 minutes

    • Antonym Questions
    • Analogy Questions
    • Sentence Completion Questions
    • Reading Comprehension Questions

  • Quantitative (Math) Section: 28 questions in 45 minutes

    • Quantitative Comparison Questions
    • Problem Solving Questions

  • Writing Assessments: 2 essays in 60 minutes

    • Analysis of an Argument
    • Analysis of an Issue

In addition, the GRE* includes one unscored experimental section. This section is used by the test maker to try out questions for future use. It could be a Verbal or Quantitative section. It will look exactly like a scored section of the same type, so on test day don't spend time trying to figure out which section is experimental.


The GRE* score report will contain a scaled score within a range of 200-800 for the verbal and quantitative sections. In addition, you will receive a score on a scale of 0 to 6 for the writing section. All scaled scores will be accompanied by a corresponding percentile ranking. The percentile rankings allow schools to quickly judge your performance relative to other test takers.

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