Pattern of GRE

GRE Pattern Explained

If you want to score well in the GRE, you will, first of all, need to understand the test pattern. This will help you to prepare for the test. This article explains the pattern of the exam, the sections of the test and its question types

A Brief Overview of the GRE:

There is a new revised version of the GRE, since August 2011. It is available as the General GRE and the Subject GRE. The General GRE is the test that most of the students take. This is available as two types, a computer-based test and a paper-based test. The latter type is available at those centers where it is not feasible to arrange the computer-based version. It can be taken at many centers around the world.

GRE Pattern:

The pattern of the exam varies slightly, from one version of the test to the other.

1. Computer-based Test:

There are six sections that comprise the test. The Analytical Writing part of the test has one section and two tasks. The time is allotted 60 minutes, with 30 minutes for each of the two tasks. The Verbal Reasoning part of the GRE has two sections with about 20 questions per section. The time allotted per section is 30 minutes. The two sections of the Quantitative Reasoning part of the test have about 20 questions each. Each section is allowed 35 minutes of time. There are also the Unscored and Research sections of the test. These sections are allotted variable amounts of time. You will get a break for ten minutes after the third section.

2. Paper-based Test:

The test pattern for this version of the test is similar to the other one except for the following differences:

  • Analytical Writing has two sections, each section lasting for 30 minutes.
  • Both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning parts of the test consist of about 25 questions each, in each of their sections.
  • The time allotted for the above two parts of the test is slightly more in the paper-based test, due to the slight increase in the number of questions.
  • The break is given after the second section.
  • Unscored and Research sections are not part of the test.

Question Types:

1. Analytical Writing:

1) Analyze an Issue Task:

An 'issue statement' will be given to you. It will be accompanied by instructions that will test your ability to understand, explain and form critical judgments on a given topic.

2) Analyze an Argument Task:

In this task you will be given an argument in the form of a text passage. The passage will also contain the reasoning and justification used by the author to support his argument. You will be given instructions that will test how well you are able to analyze the argument, assess its soundness and express your views in writing.

2. Verbal Reasoning:

1) Reading Comprehension Questions:

You will get multiple-choice questions with one or more correct answers and Select-in-Passage questions, in which you have to find a sentence in a passage that meets a certain description.

2) Text Completion Questions:

You will be given a passage with blanks, which have to be filled in, by choosing from among three to five answer options.

3) Sentence Equivalence Questions:

In this part of the GRE, a sentence will be given, which will contain a blank. There will be two correct answers. You have to choose both the answers from among six options, in order to score points.

3. Quantitative Reasoning:

The pattern of GRE for this part of the test consists of five types of questions. These are:

  1. Multiple-choice questions with one correct answer.
  2. Multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer.
  3. Numeric-entry questions. In these questions you will be required to enter a number as your answer. Unlike the multiple-choice questions, you will not get options to choose from.
  4. Quantitative comparison questions, in which you have to choose the statement that best explains the comparison between two given quantities. Each of the above mentioned questions may be given on their own or may appear as a part of a Data Interpretation set.
  5. Data Interpretation Sets, which are composed of graphs or tables of data and questions based on that data. The questions may be multiple-choice or numeric entry type.

Terms and Conditions

Information published in is provided for informational and educational purpose alone for deserving students, researchers and academicians. Though our volunteers take great amount of pain and spend significant time in validating the veracity of the information or study material presented here, we cannot be held liable for any incidental mistakes. All rights reserved. No information or study material in this web site can be reproduced or transmitted in any form, without our prior consent. However the study materials and web pages can be linked from your web site or web page for

  • Research

  • Education

  • Academic purposes

No permission is required to link any of the web page with educational information available in this web site from your web site or web page