What Is the GRE Test?

students discuss GRE test

GRE is an acronym for the Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test offered by the Educational Testing Service (usually known as the ETS).


What Is It Used For?

GRE testing is used to evaluate potential students for graduate-level academic programs at thousands of graduate schools, business schools, law schools, and other academic programs.

In addition, some fellowships, scholarships, and other opportunities also use GRE scores as an evaluating factor.


What Is Covered on the GRE?

The six sections are as follows:


What Is the Test Like?

The Analytical Writing test will always appear first. However, the Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and unscored sections can appear in any order. Bear in mind that even if a section is not going to be scored, you should treat it as though it is.


Are Calculators Allowed?

No outside calculators are permitted in the test center, so the Quantitative Reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator.


How Does the GRE Exam Work?

Computer vs. Paper

The GRE is offered in two possible formats. The test is either given on paper or computer-delivered, which is now most common.


The computer-delivered option is available throughout the year at test centers. In areas where this format is unavailable, the paper-delivered test takes place in October, November, and February at approved test centers.


As with the computer-delivered test, there will be six scored sections. However, there is no unscored section included in the paper version.


How Long Is the GRE?

When done by computer, the GRE test lasts for 3 hours and 45 minutes and consists of six sections, with a 10-minute break after the third section.

Study Resources

Online GRE Test Prep

When to Take Your Test

GRE Study Guide

GRE Sections

Exam Vocabulary

GRE Writing Tips

GRE Verbal Reasoning Tips

GRE Reading Comprehension Tips

GRE Sentence Equivalence Tips

GRE Text Completion Tips

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Tips

Test Difficulty

GRE Scoring Breakdown

Score Percentiles

What to Bring to the GRE

The GRE & Law School

GRE vs. GMAT Breakdown

GRE Psychology