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GRE Introduction

What Does the GRE Measure?

The GRE General Test measures the skills that you've acquired over the high school and college years. It is an aptitude test because it is meant to measure your potential to succeed in graduate school. While the GRE is only one of several criteria that graduate schools use to evaluate your application, it is one of the most important. This is particularly true if your college GPA is not as high as you'd like. Exceptional GRE scores can open up new opportunities for grad school.

The GRE General Test contains sections that measure verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills.

  • The verbal section tests your ability to understand and analyze written material through the use of analogies, antonyms, sentence completions, and reading comprehension questions.
  • The quantitative section tests basic math skills and your ability to understand and apply quantitative skills to solve problems. Types of questions include quantitative comparisons, problem solving, and data interpretation.
  • The analytical writing section tests your ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively, examine claims and accompanying evidence, support ideas with relevant reasons and examples, sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion, and control the elements of standard written English. It consists of two written essays: 45-minute "Present Your Perspective on an Issue" task and a 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task.

The verbal and quantitative subtests yield scores ranging from 200 to 800. Most graduate schools consider the verbal and quantitative sections to be particularly important in making decisions about applicants. The analytical writing subtest yields a score ranging from 0-6.

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