GRE: The Graduate Record Examination


The primary purpose of the GRE exam is to assist schools in selecting the best-qualified candidates for admission to general graduate programs. Schools also use GRE scores to determine eligibility for merit-based grants and scholarships, as well as teaching and research assistantships. GRE basically provides a common measure for comparing candidates' qualifications for graduate programs. Read more to get details on GRE practice test, GRE exam dates, GRE prep, tips to prepare, GRE registration and fee information.

The GRE was completely redesigned in August 2011 to enable students to better transition into graduate level work.  The GRE revised test measures verbal, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Questions in the revised test are based on real-life scenarios to further help students think and prepare for graduate or business school.

Also, the revised GRE offers a more flexible test-taking experience in which students can skip questions, change and/or edit answers.

Why Take the GRE?

Taking the GRE test is significant for students to particularly plan for their career and attain future education goals.  Scores are valid for 5 years, which means students can use their scores later if they decide to go to graduate or business school.

There are two versions of GRE Exam.

The student is given the choice of taking GRE Exam on paper or on the computer.

GRE Test Structure

Computer Based Exam

Focus Areas Time Duration   Number of Questions 
Analytical Writing One section with two separately timed 30 minute essays Two Essay Tasks
Verbal Reasoning Two 30 minute sections 20 questions in each section
Quantitative Reasoning Two 35 minute sections 20 in each section
UnScored This section maybe included, but it is not scored. Varies
Research This section maybe included, but it is not scored. Varies

Paper Based Exam

Focus Areas Time Duration   Number of Questions 
Analytical Writing Two 30 minute sections One Essay
Verbal Reasoning Two 35 minute sections 25
Quantitative Reasoning Two 40 minute sections 2

Tips to Prepare for GRE


The GRE revised scoring for each of the three sections include:

The revised GRE offers a new ScoreSelect option in which students can decide which test scores to send to institutions they target.


The cost to take the test varies between US $130 and $210, depending on the country in which it is taken, although ETS will reduce the fee under certain circumstances. For Example, ETS provides financial aid to those GRE applicants who face economic hardships. Registration:

Test Locations

The GRE revised General Test is available at about 700 locations worldwide, in more than 160 countries.  Access the ETS website to search for a test location near you.


Students can register for the GRE Exam online by visiting the GRE official site or by calling the 800 number given in the Information and Registration Bulletin.

Requesting a Refund

If you cancel your General Test no later than 3 full days prior to your test date, you will receive a $60 refund. Computer-based test refunds will be automatically issued approximately 10 days after the canceled test date. Paper-based test refunds are issued within 6-8 weeks after the canceled test date.