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What is GRE

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What is GRE? 

The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a standardised exam used to assess an applicant’s mathematical and English language aptitude. Usually taken by applicants willing to pursue graduate admissions, the GRE is offered in both paper-based and computer-based formats. 

Overview of the GRE Exam 

The GRE is conducted every year and is governed by the ETS (Educational Testing Service). Currently the exam is accepted in over 160 countries.

Here are some facts about the GRE exam that you might want to know about, before joining the “GRE test-takers club”

  • The GRE exam tests candidates through 3 main sections- Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. Stay with us till the end to know more about these sections! 
  • The GRE is also offered through 2 modes- computer based and paper based modes. The former being more common! 

GRE Exam Eligibility 

First things first, let us talk about the GRE exam eligibility. So basically, if you wish to pursue a masters degree abroad, you are all set to register for the GRE exam. The GRE eligibility also depends on the university that you are applying to. 

There is no specific GRE eligibility, only  a valid, unexpired government verified PASSPORT is required to apply for the GRE exam. 

GRE Exam Pattern & Format 

To know about the GRE paper pattern it is essential that you know that there are two types of GRE exams conducted- the GRE General Test, and the GRE Subject Test. Further, the GRE General Test is offered as a Computer-based test and a Paper-based test. The GRE Subject test, on the other hand, is only offered as a Paper-based test. 

GRE General Test Format

You might often hear or read that the GRE General test is formatted to assess applicants through a holistic approach. But, what exactly is that holistic approach? To put it in simple words- GRE will assess your English language skills, analytical skills as well as your mathematical aptitude.  

The GRE General exam is offered in 3 major categories- 2 Verbal Reasoning sections, 2 Quantitative Reasoning sections, and 2 Analytical Writing Assessment sections. Apart from these sections, there are also 1 more Unscored and Research.

All of these sections help admission departments know applicants in and out, lets see how: 

GRE General Test Sections Description 
GRE Verbal ReasoningOne of the most competitive sections, VR, deals with your understanding of complex English.
GRE Quantitative ReasoningChecks your mathematical aptitude, how you measure & analyse critical problems 
GRE Analytical Writing AssessmentThis particular section carves out your personality traits in terms of your written and verbal communication.
Unscored & Research Sections Both of these sections are experimental sections and are not scored. These sections are mixed in between scored sections, and are put as an experiment designed to understand the test-taker’s ability. 

GRE Computer Based Exam

Section  No.of QuestionNo.of SectionDuration
Verbal Reasoning 20230 minutes/section
Analytical Writing 2160 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 20235 minutes/section
Research Variable 1Variable
Unscored Variable 130-35 minutes
Total 8273 hours 45 minutes

GRE Scores 

You might have often come across people saying that a perfect GRE score is a myth, and that GRE scores are a filtering mechanism. Well, we won’t debate on who is correct and who is not, we will simply put forward how the GRE average score varies with different sections. We will also give you the average accepted GRE scores at some top universities across the globe. 

Starting with the GRE score averages for different sections: 

GRE Scoring Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning Analytical Writing 
Best GRE Score 163-170165-1705.0-6.0
Competitive GRE Score 158-162159-1644.5
Good GRE Score 152-158153-1584.0

Now, with the minimum score being 130, and the maximum score being 170 in each section; the total GRE total score is entirely dependent on the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections. And therefore, the GRE exam score ranges from 260 to 340. 

Moving on, the table below will help you get a wise understanding of GRE score ranges for a few top universities in the world. 

UniversityVerbal (Average Score)Quant (Average Score)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology157162
Stanford University158163
University of California Berkeley155161
University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign155163
Carnegie Mellon University159161
Georgia Institute of Technology155161
University of Toronto150150
Northwestern University154161
Arizona State University154162
University of California- San Diego162160
University of Wisconsin- Madison163163

GRE Exam Fees

Upon finalising your GRE registration, you will be required to pay the GRE application fee. The GRE exam fee is 228 USD or the GRE fees in India is 18,854.80 INR. Apart from the GRE exam fee, there are also other GRE exam fees that you should know about: 

GRE ServicesGRE Exam Fees (in USD)
GRE Exam Fees228
GRE Rescheduling Fee50
Changing GRE Exam Centre Fee50
GRE Cancellation Fee (at least 4 days before the test date & 10 days for applicants in Mainland China)50% of the Registration Fee is refunded
Additional GRE Score Report27 
GRE Score Reinstatement Fee50

Note that the ETS also offers a GRE fee waiver for applicants with financial hardships. Known as the GRE Fee Reduction Programme, it offers applicants with 50% GRE exam fees waiver. 

GRE Registration 

Moving on, the next step required to take the GRE exam is to register for the same. You can register for your GRE test through 3 ways- through mail, phone and the highly chosen online portal.