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GRE Introduction


The following section refers to the typical computer-based test. The structure of a paper-based test or a test with special accommodations will differ. See for details.

The exam consists of three graded sections, plus a required experimental section that is not included in the reported score. The three graded sections are analytic writing, verbal, and quantitative. The analytic writing section will always appear first, while the verbal, quantitative, and experimental sections may appear in any order on the test. An additional non-scored and clearly-marked optional research section may also appear at end of the test. The entire test procedure takes about 3 hours.

Analytic Writing Section

The analytic writing section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The essays are written on a computer using a word processing program specifically designed by ETS. The program allows only basic computer functions and does not contain a spell-checker or other advanced features. Each essay is scored by at least two readers on a six-point holistic scale. If the two scores are within one point, the average of the scores is taken. If the two scores differ by more than a point, a third reader examines the response.

Issue Task

The test taker will be able to choose between two topics upon which to write an essay. The time allowed for this essay is 45 minutes.

Argument Task

The test taker will be given an "argument" and the test taker will be asked to write an essay that explains why one "side" of the argument is superior. Typically, the task requires that the taker identify and critique the logical fallacies of the argument. The time alloted for this essay is 30 minutes.

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