GRE Exam: Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Fee, Results, Preparation

What is GRE? 

The GRE General Test stands for The Graduate Record Examination is a graduate-level admissions exam that is required for admission to a large number of graduate and business school programmes. 

The GRE General Test is a standardised examination developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service, or ETS. It is used to determine an applicant’s overall academic readiness for graduate school. Certain graduate programmes require applicants to take the GRE General Test in addition to a GRE Subject Test, which measures technical knowledge in a specific discipline such as physics, psychology, or mathematics.

What is IELTS and which is better IELTS or GRE read the difference between IELTS and GRE Exam.

The GRE provides graduate and business schools with a standardised criterion for comparing all applicants, who come from all over the world and will undoubtedly have a wide range of academic and professional experience.

It is a test that assesses an individual’s ability to think abstractly in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics, and vocabulary. Numerous graduate schools in the United States and Canada routinely use the GRE to determine an applicant’s eligibility for the programme.

Today, the GRE is primarily administered via computer; however, in areas without adequate computer networks, a paper-based exam may be administered.

The GRE is designed to assess verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking abilities acquired over time. The GRE’s content is divided into distinct algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary sections. The GRE General Test is available as a computer-based exam that is administered at Prometric-owned or authorised testing centres and institutions.

Read the disadvantage of UR category here and how students of UR category suffer in this type of exams.

The weightage is given to GRE scores in the graduate school admissions process varies significantly between schools and departments within schools. A GRE score’s significance can range from being a mere admission formality to being a significant selection factor.

Why do people take the GRE Exam?

The GRE was created to assess applicants’ readiness for graduate school as well as their academic potential. 

It aims to assess your readiness for graduate school and is designed to predict your likelihood of success as a graduate student.

Easily quantifiable way to compare applicants:

The GRE provides graduate programmes with a quantitative method of comparing you to other applicants. While comparing applicants’ personal statements, letters of recommendation, and GPAs can be challenging, comparing objective GRE scores is far easier for programmes.

Admissions committees typically prioritise your highest GRE score. This will either be verbal or quantitative — almost always, AW will be the least important of the three. Generally, calculus fields, such as physics, place a premium on Quant scores, whereas reading-intensive fields, such as English literature, place a premium on Verbal scores.

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Finally, the importance of GRE scores to a programme is determined by the programme. Certain programmes are forthright about the critical nature of GRE scores for admission. Those who place a high premium on GRE scores frequently recommend high minimum GRE scores or report high GRE averages.

Types of GRE Exam

There are two types of GRE tests, GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test.

  • GRE General Test
  • GRE Subject Test

What is the GRE General test?

The GRE General Test, developed and administered by ETS, is a standardised examination designed to assess a candidate’s overall academic readiness for graduate school. A candidate’s analytical writing, quantitative ability, and verbal reasoning abilities are evaluated on the GRE General Test.

The GRE Exam is administered throughout the year, and candidates may schedule an appointment to take the GRE General Test at their convenience. Students applying to MS programmes and a select few MBA programmes and professional courses at the graduate level must take the GRE General Test. A growing number of students are taking the GRE exam, as the majority of universities worldwide now accept GRE scores. The GRE General Test is offered in three different formats:

GRE Computer based test:

The GRE Computer Based Test is a computer-based version of the GRE General Test administered at a GRE-designated test centre. Candidates should be aware that the GRE Computer Based Tests are available in all countries with Internet and computer technology access. This online version of the GRE is the most frequently used method of taking the GRE General Test.

GRE Paper based test:

The GRE Paper Based Test is a version of the GRE that is administered offline in locations with limited access to the Internet or computers. The GRE Paper Based Test is the traditional GRE exam administered using pen and paper. Candidates in India are required to take the GRE Computer-Based Test. In India, there is no paper-based GRE exam.

Check our the GMAT syllabus and complete exam details here.

GRE at Home test:

Recently introduced, the GRE at Home Test is a version of the GRE General Test that can be taken in the comfort of candidates’ homes. GRE at Home was launched during the pandemic with the primary goal of ensuring student safety. The GRE test can be taken from home as long as the candidate meets the system requirements established by ETS and maintains a conducive environment throughout the duration of the GRE at Home Test.

What is the GRE Subject test?

The GRE Subject Test assesses candidates’ knowledge of a specific subject. The GRE Subject Tests cover only Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. In May 2021, the GRE Subject Tests in Biology and Literature in English will be discontinued. In December 2016, the GRE Subject Test in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology was discontinued. According to the GRE score policy, scores on these tests will remain reportable for five years.

Generally, admission to specialised courses/technical programmes requires the GRE Subject Test. The GRE Subject test is typically offered three times a year and is administered via paper. September, October, and April are the dates for the GRE Subject Test. The GRE Subject test lasts two hours and fifty minutes in total, and candidates are required to appear for only one of the subjects listed below:

  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology

The following is a summary of the material that an individual should comprehend and study prior to sitting for a GRE subject test.


It is divided into three areas of biology, each of which accounts for roughly a third of the exam questions: cellular and molecular biology; evolution and ecology; and organismal biology.


This exam requires knowledge of all four major branches of chemistry as well as the relationships between them. Analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry are the four focus areas, with a greater emphasis on the latter two.

English-language Literature

The exam requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to analyse literature. Three additional abilities are required to pass this test: recognising and accurately identifying literary works; contextualising a work of literature within its historical or cultural context; and comprehending the history and theory of literary criticism.


The majority of this exam is devoted to calculus, while a small portion of it is dedicated to algebra and number theory. The remaining questions cover a variety of subjects that are typically covered in an undergraduate mathematics curriculum.


This exam will typically cover optics and wave phenomena, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, special relativity, and laboratory methods. Additionally, questions on specialised physics topics such as nuclear and particle physics are included, but the specific topics covered vary by exam.


This exam covers six areas of psychology: biological, cognitive, social, developmental, and clinical, as well as measurement and methodology.

GRE General Test Vs GRE Subject Test


GRE General Test GRE Subject Test
The GRE General Test is not subject-specific; rather, it assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing abilities, all of which are critical and have been developed over time. The GRE Subject Test assesses your expertise in a specific field of study. The GRE Subject Test covers the following subjects: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.
The duration of the GRE General Test is 3 hours and 45 minutes. The duration of the GRE Subject Test is 2 hours and 50 minutes.
The GRE General Test costs US$213 for students registering from India. While the worldwide registration fee for the GRE General Test is US$205 The GRE Subject Registration fee is US$150 per subject worldwide.
The GRE General Test is administered online from a GRE test centre or from the convenience of your own home using the newly launched GRE at Home option. The GRE test is administered multiple times daily and on the majority of calendar days. The GRE Subject Tests are administered three times a year at paper-delivered test centres worldwide. During the months of September, October, and April.

GRE Eligibility Criteria

According to the Educational Testing Service, there are no specific GRE eligibility criteria. Anyone, regardless of age or educational background, may register for this GRE exam. However, candidates applying to master’s programmes must take the GRE.

Compare the IELTS syllabus with GRE Exam Syllabus. click here to compare.

The only other consideration that a candidate must make is that he or she will be required to present their original passport as proof of identity at the exam centre, which means that candidates must have a valid passport prior to registering for the GRE exam. Candidates should be aware that beginning July 1, 2021, they will be able to register for the GRE using their Aadhar Card as part of their identity proof.

GRE Age limit

There is no upper age limit for candidates taking the GRE.

Qualification for the GRE Exam

ETS has made no official statement regarding the educational requirements for taking the GRE Exam. However, candidates must hold a graduate degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited university.

GRE Exam Fees

GRE Exam Fees in India

There is an application fee of $213 to take the GRE General Test in India. The GRE fee in Indian rupees is approximately Rs. 15,912, where $1 equals Rs 74.70. The GRE Subject Test costs $150 worldwide, which equates to approximately Rs. 11,205 ($1= Rs 74.70) for Indian students. Additionally, applicants who wish to change the testing centre or reschedule the test will be charged an additional fee.

Location GRE Fee
GRE Fees in Australia $230.00
GRE Fees in China $231.30
GRE Fees in India $213.00
GRE Fees in Nigeria $226.00
GRE Fees in Turkey $255.00
GRE General Test Fees in other areas of the world $205.00
GRE Subject Test Fees in the world (all locations) $150.00

GRE Exam Cancellation Fees/ Rescheduling Fees

Candidates who need to cancel or reschedule their GRE General Test registration must do so at least four days prior to the test date; otherwise, the GRE exam fee will be forfeited. Candidates would be charged $50 to reschedule their GRE exam. Apart from that, candidates must pay $50 to switch subjects on the GRE Subject Test.

GRE Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The GRE Exam Syllabus is distinct for each of the GRE tests, the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The GRE General Test syllabus is a nationally recognised examination that assesses students’ verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing abilities. Students interested in pursuing specialised subjects must take any Subject Tests required by the college/university to which they are applying, as Subject Tests assess a candidate’s technical expertise in specific fields.

The GRE exam has three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. While the Analytical Writing section will always appear first, the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unscored sections may appear in any order. Along with the time difference, the pattern for paper-based and online exams is also different. Candidates interested in taking the GRE Exam in its paper-based format should visit the official website.

The GRE paper pattern consists of the following GRE sections

  • Analytical Writing
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning


GRE Section Name Duration
GRE quantitative reasoning 1 hour and 10 minutes (35 minutes for each section)
GRE verbal reasoning 1 hour (30 minutes for each section)
GRE analytical writing assessment 1 hour (30 minutes for each section)
Total 3 hours and 10 minutes

The Analytical Writing Syllabus necessitates that you:


  • communicate difficult concepts succinctly and effectively
  • substantiate ideas with pertinent justifications and examples
  • examine assertions and supporting evidence
  • maintain a well-targeted, cogent discussion
  • control the standard written English elements

The Verbal Reasoning Syllabus necessitates that you:


  • discourse analysis and conclusion drawing; a conclusion based on incomplete data; elucidate the author’s assumptions and/or point of view; comprehend a variety of levels of meaning, including literal, figurative, and authorial intent
  • select significant points; differentiate significant from minor or irrelevant points; summarise a text; comprehend a text’s structure
  • comprehend the meaning of specific words, sentences, and paragraphs; comprehend the relationships between words and concepts

The Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus necessitates that you:


  • comprehending, interpreting, and analysing quantitative data
  • resolve issues through the use of mathematical models
  • apply fundamental arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis skills and concepts


GRE Section Name Section and Number of questions Topics Types of Questions
GRE quantitative reasoning 2 Sections

20+20= 40 Questions

Ratio and proportion

Profit and loss

Simple and compound interest

Speed, distance and time

Permutation & combination

Linear equations

Quadratic equations

Sets Theory


Powers and roots


Pipes, cisterns, work, time

Lines and angles





Coordinate geometry

Order of operations

Volume and surface area


Number properties

Quantitative Comparison Questions

Numeric Entry Questions

GRE verbal reasoning 2 Sections

20+20= 40 Questions

No Specified Syllabus Reading Comprehension

Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence

GRE analytical writing assessment 2 Sections

1+1= 2 Questions

No Specified Syllabus Analyzing a problem

Analyzing an Argument

GRE Subject Test Syllabus


Subjects Number of Questions Sub-sections
Biology 190 Cellular and Molecular Biology Organismal Biology
Ecology and Evolution
Chemistry 130 Inorganic Chemistry Analytical Chemistry
Physical Chemistry Organic Chemistry
English 230 Identification Literary Analysis
Cultural and Historical Contexts History and Theory of Literary Criticism
Mathematics 66 Algebra (Linear algebra, abstract algebra, elementary algebra, and number theory) Calculus
Discrete Mathematics Real Analysis
Probability and Statistics Additional Mathematics
Physics 100 Electromagnetism Classical Mechanics
Optics and Wave Phenomena Specialized Topics like Nuclear and Particle Physics etc.
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Quantum Mechanics
Atomic Physics Special Relativity
Laboratory Methods
Psychology 205 Biological Measurement/Methodology/Other
Cognitive Social
Developmental Clinical

GRE Result

Candidates who have taken the GRE exam can access their GRE scores by logging in with their GRE credentials. The total score on the GRE exam is 340. Likewise, the maximum GRE score is 340, while the minimum GRE score is 260. The composite score is the sum of the Verbal and Quant sections of the GRE, whereas the AWA section score is presented separately.


Your official GRE test scores will be available 10-15 days after your test date in your account on the GRE website. They will be distributed within three weeks of your test date to the universities of your choice. Once the results are released, you will receive an email from ETS notifying you that your official GRE score is now available in your account. Candidates will also be able to access their GRE at Home scores within 10-15 days of the GRE test date.

EWS category means, and how candidates from general category are under EWS.

Candidates should be aware that candidates will receive their GRE raw scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections immediately following the completion of the GRE test. The analytical writing section, which is scored by a human, will be included in the official GRE score report. The raw GRE scores reflect the candidates’ performance on the exam.

Raw and official scores are nearly identical. Candidates do have the option of cancelling their score if they are dissatisfied with their performance. In this case, no official scores will be recorded and sent to universities in advance.

What is the GRE Score Range?

You must have a basic understanding of how the scoring pattern works in order to comprehend how your GRE score will be calculated. The GRE Score Report includes the following components, along with their official GRE score ranges.


GRE Section Name GRE Score Range
GRE quantitative reasoning 130-170
GRE verbal reasoning 130-170
GRE analytical writing assessment 0-6
Total 260-340


GRE Cut Off

While there is no universal GRE cut-off, each college and course that accepts GRE scores will have their own on their official website. Candidates seeking admission to prestigious graduate schools must err on the side of the higher margin.

GRE Registration

The GRE exam can be registered for in a variety of ways. Aspirants can register for the GRE exam in a variety of ways, including online and over the phone. Apart from this, candidates may also register via mail or fax. To reserve a slot for the GRE test, candidates must pay the registration fee of US$213 with a debit or credit card and present a valid passport or Aadhar Card during the registration process.

ETS GRE slot booking is the procedure for registering for the GRE exam. This section will inform GRE exam applicants about the steps necessary to successfully book a GRE exam slot. The booking process for the GRE consists of three simple steps:

  • GRE Registration
  • GRE Exam Dates
  • GRE Test Centres

Various ways to register for GRE Test are as follows:

  • GRE Online Registration
  • GRE Phone Registration
  • GRE Mail Registration
  • GRE Fax Registration

Registration Process

  • Candidates must first create an account with ETS on the official website:
  • They can choose between the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test.
  • Select whether to take the GRE exam at a designated GRE Test Centre or at home.
  • Choose a date for the GRE Exam and the nearest test centre, or skip this step if taking the GRE at home.
  • Provide information about their academic background.
  • Proceed and pay the $213 registration fee.

GRE Test Centres

The GRE is administered in nearly 22 cities throughout India, each with its own GRE test centre. These cities include Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Gurgaon, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nashik, New Delhi, Nizamabad, Patna, Pune, Trivandrum, Vadodara, and Vijayawada.

The majority of them offer GRE computer-based test options. As previously stated, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ETS, the organisation that administers the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), has decided to launch the GRE General Test at home for locations where the computer-based format of the GRE Test was previously available for the convenience of students interested in studying abroad.

GRE Exam Preparation

A strong GRE score is the first step toward admission to any of the world’s top graduate schools. A high score is simply the result of proper GRE exam preparation. GRE preparation is not the same as preparation for high school or college exams. The reason for this is that GRE exam preparation is extremely self-directed. You may have numerous concerns about how to study for the GRE, including the following:

  • Which subject should I begin with?
  • How do I manage my time?
  • What type of questions should I expect?
  • What is the best method of preparation?
  • Which of the following are the most frequently asked questions?

Candidates should follow the following steps:


Candidates must familiarise themselves with the GRE exam’s structure and syllabus. Take a look at the average test scores of candidates admitted to the courses over the last few years. This will enable them to establish your desired GRE score.

Keep in mind that while a high GRE score is desirable, so is a strong academic record. If you begin your preparation early enough, you can ensure not only a high grade, but also a passing grade on your final examination.

Take a diagnostic Test:

The first step toward effective GRE preparation is establishing a baseline. Before you can plot a route to your destination, you must first determine your current location. This is analogous to having a complete physical examination performed prior to beginning any strenuous physical training. Therefore, begin by administering a diagnostic test that is as close to the real thing as possible. Do not be concerned with the score you receive; it serves as a baseline for determining your strengths and weaknesses.

Figure out your strengths and weaknesses:

As the proverb goes, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” All victories are the result of a well-executed game plan. With a factual understanding of the difference between your current score and the target score, you can allocate your resources appropriately. You can estimate the time required to master specific concepts from the syllabus based on your current score.

Additionally, you should determine the total amount of time required to cover the entire syllabus. Your study plan must also take your learning style into account. Each test taker is unique in terms of their learning style, speed, target score, and available time. That is why each student requires a customised study plan.

Choose your GRE Exam date wisely:

Typically, students reserve exam dates and then focus on exam preparation. This is not the most effective method because it disregards the amount of time required for test preparation. Once the date is set, the amount of time available for preparation is also set. A better strategy is to first create a GRE study plan and then schedule the exam date.

Yes, the application deadline determines the date of the exam. However, another critical factor is your preparation for the test day. Bear in mind that the date you select early in your preparations serves as a deadline. You are not required to book it until three weeks before the exam date and have consistently achieved target scores on GRE sample tests.

Plan your Preparation:

Now that you understand how to prepare for the GRE, all that remains is for you to get started! Divide your preparation into sessions for learning, practise, and feedback. It is critical to understand key concepts prior to testing yourself, and it is also critical to receive feedback on your performance in order to fine-tune your GRE test preparations. This practice is critical to the success for GRE candidates and they should follow the following practice in order to get good grades:


Develop a holistic understanding of the syllabus by breaking it down into simple, easily understood concepts such as Permutations and Combinations or Text Completion. By mastering specific techniques, you can approach a variety of questions and also identify variants on a particular type of test question.


 Seize the moment! Conduct a practice test as soon as you have mastered a new concept. With GRE-style questions on specific concepts, you can quickly assess your position and how much you’ve learned.


Are you concerned about not fully comprehending Reading Comprehension? Do not be concerned. Receive immediate feedback on each session you complete as well as on each practice exam you take. This combined analysis will assist your expert trainer in identifying flaws in your learning style and making recommendations for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. How many times am I allowed to retake the GRE exam?

Ans: Candidates may take the GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times in any 12-month period that is continuous.

2. Which Exam Should You Take, the GRE or the GMAT?

Ans: The primary distinction between the GRE and GMAT is that the GRE is widely accepted by colleges worldwide that offer master’s degrees, whereas the GMAT is widely accepted by colleges worldwide that offer business degrees. As a result, students seeking admission to graduate school take the GRE, while those seeking admission to business school take the GMAT. Both examinations contain a verbal and a quantitative section. The GRE verbal section assesses candidates’ vocabulary, whereas the GMAT focuses more on grammar. Additionally, the GMAT and GRE quantitative sections are quite similar.

3. Is the GRE syllabus same across all branches?

Ans: The GRE General Test syllabus is the same regardless of the student’s field of study or the course he or she intends to pursue for a Masters.

4. Is the GRE subject to negative marking?

Ans: No, the GRE exam does not include negative scoring.

5. IELTS or GRE: which is better?

Ans: However, the primary distinction between GRE and IELTS is that the GRE is used to determine eligibility for a Masters Degree, whereas IELTS is an English proficiency test that verifies an individual’s English language proficiency.

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