GRE Test Content and Structure

The GRE General Test is offered at computer-based test centers in the United States, Canada and many other countries. It is offered at paper-based test centers in areas of the world where computer-based testing is not available.

Computer-based GRE General Test Content and Structure

The computer-based GRE General Test is composed of Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. The Analytical Writing section is always first. In addition, one unidentified unscored section may be included and can appear in any position in the test after the Analytical Writing section. Questions in the unscored section are being tested for possible use in future tests, and answers will not count toward your scores. An identified research section that is not scored may also be included, and if so, it is always at the end of the test.

The Verbal and Quantitative sections, including the unidentified unscored section, may appear in any order. Treat each section presented during your test as if it counts.

Total testing time is three hours, not including the research section. The directions at the beginning of each section specify the total number of questions in the section and the time allowed for the section.

Typical Computer-based GRE General Test

Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing 1 "Issue" Task1 45 minutes
1 "Argument" Task1 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 30 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 28 45 minutes
Unscored2 Varies Varies
Research3 Varies Varies

1 For the "Issue" task, two essay topics are presented and you choose one. The "Argument" task does not present a choice of topics; instead, a single topic is presented.

2 An unidentified unscored section may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. It is not counted as part of your score.

3 An identified research section that is not scored may be included, and it is always at the end of the test.

Typical Paper-based GRE General Test

The paper-based GRE General Test is composed of Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections. In addition, one unidentified unscored section may be included, and this section can appear in any position in the test after the Analytical Writing section. Questions in the unscored section are being tested for possible use in future tests and answers will not count toward your scores.

Total testing time is up to 3¾ hours. The directions at the beginning of each section specify the total number of questions in the section and the time allowed for that section.

The Analytical Writing section is always first. For the "Issue" task, two topics will be assigned and you will choose one. The "Argument" task does not present a choice of topics; instead, a single topic will be presented.

The Verbal and Quantitative sections may appear in any order, including an unidentified Verbal or Quantitative unscored section. Treat each section presented during your test as if it counts.

Typical Paper-based GRE General Test

Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing 1 "Issue" Task1 45 minutes
1 "Argument" Task1 30 minutes
Verbal (2 sections) 38 per section 60 minutes
Quantitative (2 sections) 30 per section 60 minutes
Unscored2 Varies 30 minutes

1 For the "Issue" task, two essay topics will be presented and you will choose one. The "Argument" task does not present a choice of topics; instead, a single topic will be assigned.

2 An unidentified unscored section may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. It is not counted as part of your score.

Modified Versions of Verbal and Quantitative Questions

The test you take may include questions that are modified versions of published questions or of questions you have already seen on an earlier section of the test. Some modifications are substantial; others are less apparent.

Even if a question appears to be similar to a question you have already seen, it may in fact be different and have a different answer. Pay careful attention to the wording of each question.

(Source: ETS)

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