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Introduction to GRE


“Introduction to GRE General”

 Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General is a standardized test that is a mandatory requirement for admission for majority of graduate schools around the world especially in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. It is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Types of GRE:

 There are two types of GRE Tests:

  • GRE General

  • GRE Subject

All graduate schools (with few exceptions) accept GRE General but in few programs, GRE Subject is also required in addition to GRE General. For further details about GRE Subject please click here.

Who takes the GRE General exam?

Prospective graduate and doctorate applicants from all over the world who are interested in pursuing a master's degree, MBA or doctoral degree (PhD) take GRE General Test. As applicants come from varying educational and cultural backgrounds, the GRE General Test provides schools with a common measure for comparing candidates' academic abilities in addition to Grade Point Average (GPA).  In some schools or programs, if GRE General is not required, students with good scores will increase their chances of admissions and scholarships but it is rarely the case with good institutions.

GRE Structure and Pattern: In

 GRE test can be taken as a computer as well as a paper-based exam. In Pakistan, we can only take computer-based GRE.

 The testing time for the computer-based GRE General Test is about 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

The GRE General Test is a multistage test. This format allows the student to move back and forth between questions that are a part of the same section, and the testing software allows the student to “mark” questions within each section so that they can be reviewed later, if time permits.

GRE Sections Details:

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

This section consists of two different essays- “Issue” and “Argument”. Students are required to write the essays on a computer. It does not contain a spell-checker or any other advanced word editing features.

“Issue” Essay

A student is required to pick a side and give their point of view. It tests the student’s ability of convincing the examiner to agree to his/her point of view.  Issue topics are usually selected from a pool of questions, which are published on ETS website.

Argument Essay

The students are given an argument (i.e. a series of facts and considerations leading to a conclusion), and they are asked to write an essay that criticizes the given argument. Students are required to carefully understand the argument’s logic and then make suggestions about how the logic of the argument can be improved.  Basically, students are required to focus on the logical flaws of the argument and not give their own viewpoints on the subject.

How to Prepare For AWA?

Quantitative Section

Assesses a student’s basic high school level mathematics and measures basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, statistics, geometry, data analysis, problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. The break-up of each quantitative section is as follows:

It also includes numeric entry items, which require the students to fill in the blanks and answer multiple-choice questions.

Basic on-screen calculator is also available.

How to prepare for Quantitative Section?

Verbal Section

The verbal sections assess a student’s reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and vocabulary usage.

Every section consists of around six text completion, four-sentence equivalence, and ten critical reading questions. However, text completion has replaced sentence completion and new reading question type with multiple answer choices have been added.

How to prepare for Verbal Section?

Experimental Section

The experimental section (verbal or quantitative) consists of new question types that ETS is experimenting for future use; however, the experimental section do not form a part of the main score.

Since students have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is advisable for students to give their best in every section.

GRE Scoring:

GRE report will reflect three scores:

Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning have 1-point increments, where as AWA has half-point increments. The total score of Verbal and Quantitative sections is 340.

How scoring works?

Test Dates:

The GRE Test (computer based) is offered year-round at Prometric testing centers. Students can take the GRE Test once in every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. This applies even if a student has cancelled his scores of a previously taken test. However, to register and take the test on a specific date, students are required to first create a ‘My GRE Account.’


To register for GRE, students have to create a ‘My GRE Account’. There are four ways to register for the GRE general test- Online, Phone, Mail and Fax registration.

Official Report:

After the actual exam, the official scores can be accessed on your ETS account after approximately 10-15 days.

How do I send scores to my university?

Your test fee entitles you to send scores to as many as four graduate institutions or fellowship sponsors for FREE.

On the test day, at the end of the test, you will be asked to designate your score recipients at the test center.

Validity & Fee:

GRE scores are valid for five years and the fee is the US $205/-.

GRE Software:

To view a simulated version of the GRE General, download the FREE POWERPREP® II software.

How to navigation PowerPREP II Software