Complete Guide to the GRE Examination

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Nitesh Viramgama

What is GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test used by graduate schools and business programs to assess the academic readiness and potential of applicants. It measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The GRE is accepted by thousands of institutions worldwide and serves as a common benchmark for evaluating applicants’ abilities. It is typically taken by individuals seeking admission to graduate programs in various fields, such as business, social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

Who can take the GRE exam and why

The GRE exam is open to anyone who wishes to pursue a graduate degree or business program. It is commonly taken by college seniors or graduates who are planning to further their education in abroad.

Many students take the GRE to apply for master’s or doctoral programs, while others take it to enhance their chances of securing scholarships or fellowships. The GRE is also required for certain professional degrees, such as a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

Additionally, international students may be required to take the GRE as part of their application process for studying abroad.

Key Details

In this section, we will explore key details of the GRE exam, including its structure, modules, syllabus, availability, scoring, test centers, fees, and validity.

Structure of the exam and pattern

The GRE exam consists of three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal Reasoning section assesses the ability to analyze and evaluate written material, vocabulary usage, and sentence completion. The Quantitative Reasoning section measures mathematical skills, problem-solving abilities, and data interpretation. The Analytical Writing section evaluates the ability to articulate complex ideas, construct arguments, and support them with evidence. The exam is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes long.

GRE Sections (Current) GRE Exam Pattern GRE Exam Pattern (Wef September 22,2023)
GRE Analytical Writing 1 Section, 2 essay tasks, total – 60 minutes 1 section, 1 essay task, total – 30 minutes
GRE Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections, 40 questions, total – 70 minutes 2 sections, 27 questions, total – 47 minutes
GRE Verbal Reasoning 2 Sections, 40 questions, total – 60 minutes 2 sections, 27 questions, total – 41 minutes
Unscored Section Varies N/A
Research Varies N/A
Total GRE Exam Duration 3 hours 45 minutes 1 hour, 58 minutes


There is no fixed syllabus for the GRE exam. However, it is important to have a strong foundation in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Test-takers should review sample questions and study relevant topics to ensure comprehensive preparation.


The GRE General Test is available throughout the year, allowing candidates to choose a convenient date and location for their exam. It is advisable to book the test in advance to secure preferred testing dates and locations.

Score details

Section Score Range Availability of Scores
Verbal Reasoning 130 – 170 Immediate after exam
Quantitative Reasoning 130 – 170 Immediate after exam
Analytical Writing 0 – 6 Available online 10-15 days after test date

Test centers

The GRE exam is conducted at numerous authorized test centers worldwide. These centers provide a controlled testing environment to ensure fairness and security during the exam. Test-takers should choose a test center that is convenient for them and offers the necessary facilities.

GRE Exam Test Centers in India 2024-25
New Delhi

Exam fees

The application fee for the GRE General Test is ₹22,550 INR and the GRE Subject test costs ₹14,500 for Indian students who register for the GRE test. The GRE fee in Indian rupees is roughly Rs. 22,550/-. This fee is subject to change without notice from ETS. The GRE exam fees in Indian Rupees are based on different scenarios, as given in the table below.

Sr No Types of GRE Fees In US Dollars In Indian Rupees
1 GRE General Test $275 ₹22,550
2 GRE Subject Test $177 ₹14,500
3 GRE Reschedule Fee $150 ₹12,256
4 Changing the Test Center of Subject Test Fee $50 ₹4,088
5 GRE Cancellation Fee Half of the original test fee if cancelled four days before the test date NA
6 Score Reinstatement Fee $50 ₹4,088
7 Question-and-Answer review service – Verbal Reasoning & Quantitative sections only (New York State residents only) $50 ₹4,088
8 Score Review for Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) $60 ₹4,906
9 GRE Late Registration Fee (registration only) $25 ₹2,044
10 Additional Score Report $30 ₹2,453

Validity of the exam

GRE scores are valid for five years, allowing test-takers to use their scores for admissions purposes within this timeframe. After five years, scores are no longer considered valid.

Types of GRE

The GRE exam consists of two main types:

  • GRE General Test
  • GRE Subject Tests

GRE General Test

The GRE General Test is designed to measure the general abilities and skills required for graduate-level education. It assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The test serves as a common benchmark for evaluating applicants across various fields of study, such as business, social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

GRE Subject Tests

The GRE Subject Tests are specialized exams that assess knowledge and understanding in specific subject areas. These tests are available for subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Unlike the GRE General Test, the GRE Subject Tests focus on a particular discipline and are ideal for candidates who want to showcase their expertise in a specific field.

Note: Not all subject tests are offered for every administration, so it is advisable to check the official GRE website for the availability of specific subject tests.

For whom and for what

The GRE exam is taken by individuals who aspire to pursue graduate-level education, such as master’s or doctoral programs. It is also a requirement for certain professional degrees, like an MBA. Many students opt to take the GRE to increase their chances of gaining acceptance into their desired graduate programs or securing scholarships and fellowships. Moreover, the exam serves as a valuable tool for graduate program admissions committees to evaluate applicants’ academic abilities and potential for success.

Countries and eligibility

The GRE exam is administered in over 160 countries worldwide, providing accessibility to test-takers from various parts of the globe. Some of the countries where the GRE exam is offered include:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • India
  • China

These are just a few examples, and the GRE exam is available in numerous other countries as well.

When it comes to eligibility, the GRE exam does not have strict criteria. It is open to all individuals who are planning to pursue graduate-level education or professional degrees. Whether you are a college senior, recent graduate, or a working professional, you can register for the GRE exam to further your educational and career aspirations. There are no restrictions based on age or academic background, making the exam accessible to a wide range of individuals.

GRE tips

Preparing for the GRE exam requires dedication, time, and effective study strategies. By following these tips, you can maximize your chances of success and confidently tackle the exam:

  1. Dedicate sufficient time for preparation: Starting your GRE preparation early allows you to thoroughly study and practice all sections of the exam. Aim to dedicate several months to focused and consistent preparation.
  2. Create a study schedule: Develop a study plan that includes specific goals for each day or week. Organize your time effectively to cover all topics and practice regularly.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the exam format: Understand the structure, question types, and time constraints of each section. This knowledge will help you manage your time effectively during the exam.
  4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take practice tests and identify the areas where you excel and those that require improvement. Focus on strengthening your weak areas while maintaining your strengths.
  5. Utilize study materials: Invest in quality study materials, such as review books and online resources, that cover the content and provide practice questions. Use these resources to enhance your understanding of the exam topics and to practice different question formats.
  6. Take practice tests: Regularly take full-length practice tests to simulate the exam environment. This helps you become familiar with the timing and pressure of the actual test and allows you to evaluate your progress.
  7. Review and analyze your mistakes: After completing practice tests and exercises, thoroughly review the questions you answered incorrectly. Understand the concepts you struggled with and learn from your mistakes.
  8. Develop effective test-taking strategies: Learn and practice time-saving strategies for each section, such as skimming passages, eliminating answer choices, and using process of elimination.
  9. Strengthen your vocabulary: Build your vocabulary by regularly learning new words and their meanings. Use flashcards, vocabulary-building apps, and practice exercises to enhance your verbal reasoning skills.
  10. Practice writing analytical essays: Develop your analytical writing skills by practicing writing essays on various topics. Focus on structuring your arguments, providing evidence, and maintaining coherent and concise writing.
  11. Stay focused and motivated: Maintain a positive mindset and stay motivated throughout your GRE preparation. Reward yourself for milestones achieved and remember your ultimate goal of pursuing higher education.

By implementing these GRE tips, you can approach the exam with confidence and increase your chances of achieving your desired scores.


The GRE exam plays a crucial role in the admissions process for graduate school and business programs. It evaluates candidates’ abilities in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing, serving as a benchmark for their academic readiness. To succeed in the GRE, prospective test-takers should have a solid understanding of the key details, types of the exam, and tips for preparation. Adequate preparation, focus, and practice are essential in maximizing the chances of achieving a high score and gaining admission to their desired programs. With dedication and perseverance, individuals can confidently tackle the GRE and pave the way for their future academic and professional success.


  • How many times GRE exam is conducted in a year?

The GRE exam is available to test-takers multiple times in an academic year. Students can take the GRE test once in every 21 days up to 5 times within any continuous 12-month period (365 days).

  • Which month is best for GRE exam?

If your application deadline is in December, it’s advisable to attempt your GRE exam in September or October. This timing allows for score results to be received 10-15 days after the exam, providing an opportunity to retake the exam if necessary.

  • Is GRE online in 2024?

The computer-delivered GRE test is available every month in India, excluding weekends and public holidays. ETS has also introduced the GRE Test at Home, which is available if the applicant meets the system requirements set by them.

  • Is 2 months enough to study for GRE?

Yes, with a proper study timetable, 8 weeks (2 months) is sufficient to prepare for the GRE exam. It is possible to achieve your target score within this timeframe.


  • What is the total duration of the GRE exam?

The duration of the GRE General test is 3 hours 45 minutes. For the GRE Subject test, the total duration is 2 hours 50 minutes.

  • Can I take the GRE exam multiple times?

Yes, you can retake the GRE exam multiple times if you wish. However, it’s worth noting that different institutions have varying policies regarding score consideration. Some may consider the highest scores from multiple attempts, while others may consider only the most recent score. It’s essential to check the specific requirements of the institutions you plan to apply to.

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Author Nitesh Viramgama

I am a dynamic Clinical Pharmacist, Researcher, Career Coach, Visa Guidance Expert, Mentor, Entrepreneur, and a firm believer in the '7-Year Rule' philosophy. My educational journey at Curtin University of Technology, Australia, equipped me with expertise in clinical pharmacy and research, leading to a successful career as a registered pharmacist.

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