GRE or Graduate Record Examination is a basic requirement for admission in many graduate schools in most of the countries. This is organized by Educational Testing Service or ETS, which is a non-government organization. It can be classified into two categories, General GRE and the Subject based GRE. The questions in each of these categories are designed to examine your skills in that particular subject. Therefore, questions in this test will be different from those in GRE mathematics or GRE history.

The aim of general test is to measure the abilities of undergraduate students. It is supposed to check the development of various skills in the students, especially reasoning, which is both verbal and quantitative. The questions asked in the GRE exam have been specifically designed to achieve the above aim. The questions in the various sections cover all the aspects required to examine your skills in the various fields. It is very important that you should concentrate more on the format and the directions to appear for the exam. This will help you understand the various sections and the questions in each section.


This exam was initially planned to be a paper based examination (PBT). CBT or Computer Based Test was later on introduced to bring about many changes in the format and also changes in questions. CBT has almost replaced PBT in a large number of countries of the world. However, in some countries where conduct of CBT has not been possible, PBT is still being used In the revised GRE, both CBT and PBT have two parts in both verbal and quantitative sections. The test questions in the CBT format in some sections are different than those in the PBT format.

GRE General Test Questions

In the general test GRE questions are not specific in regard to any subject. The questions are designed to examine the abilities of the students to communicate in English, reason and analyze. As the name suggests it is the test of general abilities and not subject specific abilities. It can be broadly classified into verbal section, quantitative section and analytical writing section. The verbal GRE questions are about the use of English language, the quantitative GRE questions examine the mathematical reasoning and the analytical writing questions examine the expression of ideas. GRE question types require you to give single choice, multiple choices or numeric answers. Thorough understanding of these questions will help you get a high score in the exam. The format of the exam is regularly revised, based on feedbacks. You should refer to the official web site to see the latest format and prepare according to the new questions being introduced from time to time.

Verbal Reasoning: It measures the ability of a student in respect to analyzing and evaluating the words or sentences, comprehending and utilizing the information obtained from them. It examines whether you can analyze the relationship amongst the parts of sentences and identify the relationships between the words and concepts. In this section, there will be questions based on text completion, sentence equivalence and reading comprehension. This section requires you to give single choice, multiple choices or numeric answers. In this section, time is a very important factor. You should maintain the correct balance of time allotted to various questions so that you are able to complete all the questions in the allotted time. Regular practice and familiarization with this section can be very helpful to save time.

Quantitative Reasoning Section: This section measures your ability to understand the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. You should be able to use quantitative reasoning to solve the problems. There will be questions related to problem solving and data analysis. In this section also time is very important. With the introduction of online calculator, you should have enough practice to avoid any confusion.

Analytical Writing Section: It measures your ability to express your views clearly and effectively. It examines evidence given by you in support of your arguments. It also examines your capabilities to discuss a topic in a focused manner. This section can be divided into two parts. In the first part, you are given an essay supporting an issue. You are required to discuss and give your views in support or against the issue. In the issue task, you should make a quick decision on the topic of your choice and then decide whether you agree or disagree with the arguments. You should then base your arguments accordingly. However, the second part has a different challenge, an argument is given on a topic and you have to analyze the arguments. You are required to evaluate the argument and not necessarily required to agree or disagree with it.

Paper Based Test

PBT or paper based format is still being conducted in the countries where the conduct of CBT is not possible. PBT has three major sections. The total time taken for PBT is approximately three and half hours. The analytical section is generally the first section of the test. The first part of the analytical writing section has one issue task and 30 minutes have been allotted to this section. The second part of analytical writing has one argument task and 30 minutes allotted to it. The revised test gives you no choice the tasks. There are two Verbal sections with 25 questions and 35 minutes each. There are two Quantitative sections with 25 questions and 40 minutes per section.

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