Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Pattern

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a standardized test that is required to be taken by anyone who is seeking admission in most of the graduate schools abroad. GRE was created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949. The exam measures the aspirant’s general skill in certain parameters like Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing and critical thinking abilities. The questions are generic and do not relate to any particular field of study. This test can be both computer based as well as paper based.

The revised GRE pattern was introduced in August 2011 and it emphasizes on assessing the student’s critical and analytical thinking capability for admissions into premier graduate or business schools. Students seeking admission in any Master’s Program in Arts or Science in Germany and many other European countries are required to take the GRE. This exam can be taken round the year at any computer-based centers and appointments are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. The GRE can be taken once in every 60 days and a maximum of 5 times in a 12-month period. The paper-based GRE pattern consists of six sections and is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable. However, the paper-based test can be taken as often as it is offered.

Eligibility Criteria

  • A Bachelor’s Degree is the minimum requirement for taking the GRE.
  • However, most universities have now made it mandatory for a student to complete 16 years of education for admission to Science and Engineering programs.

Structure of GRE

The GRE pattern of the computer-based test consists of six sections. The first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section.

Verbal Section
The Verbal Section of the GRE assesses the candidate in reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments.

Quantitative Section
The Quantitative section consists of basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. The quantitative test is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments. In a typical examination, each quantitative section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes.

Analytical Writing
The analytical 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.

Here the candidate is given 30 minutes to write an essay about a selected topic. Issue topics are selected from a pool of questions, which the GRE Program has published. Individuals preparing for the GRE are given access to the pool of tasks on the ETS website.

Apart from the above, there is an experimental section which may contain questions on verbal, analytical or a writing task. These are the kinds of questions ETS considers for future use. The scores of the Experimental section do not count towards the candidate’s total score.

GRE Subject Tests

In addition to the General Test, there are also seven GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. The length of each exam is 170 minutes.