About the GRE

GRE Basics

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) is the most widely-accepted standardized test for admission to graduate school in the world. It is accepted by thousands of graduate schools around the world, and is now also accepted by more than 1,000 business schools, including most of the top MBA programs in the US.

The GRE is primarily a computer-based test, although in some regions of the world a paper-based test is the only version available. The latest revisions to the GRE were introduced in August 2011. The revisions included moving from a computer-adaptive test, in which test questions changed based on answers, to a format where test takers can go back to change answers or mark questions and return back to answer them later. The GRE Revised General Test also relies less on testing of vocabulary that the traditional version of the test and more on context-based verbal material. Online calculators are now available for quantitative sections to shift the emphasis away from computation and toward reasoning and interpretation skills.

Worldwide, more than 650,000 people take the GRE annually. The test takes approximately three hours and 45 minutes. It is divided into three sections, the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning section, and the Analytical Writing section. The Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections are both scored on a scale of 130 to 170 at one point increments and the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of zero to six at half-point increments.

In addition to the GRE Revised General Test, there are also GRE subject tests available in seven subject areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. (An eighth subject test in Computer Science was discontinued in April 2013.) Unlike the general test, the subject tests are normally not a requirement for admission, but a way for students to emphasize their knowledge and skills in a particular area. The subject tests are paper-based and administered three times a year.

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