GRE Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Fee, Dates | GRE 2020-21

The GRE is a globally recognized graduate assessment exam. It is widely used by colleges and universities all over the world to gauge the quality of a candidate’s profile to help them decide whether to offer an admit or not.

A good GRE score is necessary to get into any of the world’s leading graduate study programs.

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination and the test is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The ETS is a private but nonprofit entity based out of the US. Its primary function is to provide a reliable educational testing and assessment service through the GRE.

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It is a standardized and globally recognized graduate assessment exam conducted by a private, nonprofit organization called the Educational Testing Services (ETS), based out of the US.

Your GRE score may be a mere admission formality or a critical selection criterion, depending on the university you’re applying to. Different universities assign different values to candidates’ GRE scores. In fact, there’s likely to be a difference in the weightage and score requirements for various departments of the same university as well.

The point of the GRE is to enable colleges and universities around the world to gauge a candidate’s caliber without having to conduct their own entrance tests.

To understand the syllabus of the GRE, it’s important to note the basics of the GRE exam pattern.

There are three sections, namely, Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. We shall look at the syllabus for each of these sections separately.


There are two types of essays that you are expected to write on the GRE AWAs.

One essay asks you to express your own views about a given issue. This is referred to as the ‘Analyze an Issue’ essay. The other is the ‘Analyze an Argument’ essay, which asks you to analyze the argument made by an author in a given passage.

GRE Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal section of the GRE consists of four types of questions:

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Critical Reasoning
  3. Sentence Equivalence
  4. Text Completion

Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning are based on your ability to understand and appreciate what you’re reading. You are given passages and arguments in which views are expressed, and you are expected to evaluate them critically.

Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion look to test your grasp over vocabulary, for the most part. Simply knowing a lot of words won’t help you do well here unless you know exactly how those words can be used fittingly in the English language.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning on the GRE is also split into types of questions:

  1. Quantitative Comparison
  2. Multiple Choice Question with One Answer
  3. Multiple Choice Question with One or More Answers
  4. Numeric Entry

The topics covered in these questions are based on areas of mathematics. Since the GRE is a basic graduate-level exam, the mathematics covered is not very advanced. The areas of math covered under GRE Quant are:

  1. Arithmetic
  2. Algebra
  3. Geometry
  4. Data Interpretation

The Quant section looks to measure your ability to understand and interpret data. It is meant to see if you can make sense of numbers and draw meaningful insights and conclusions from them. GRE Quant also wants to see whether you can apply mathematical models and solve given problems conventionally.

The GRE consists of three major topics: Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning, divided into six sections.

At the beginning of the test, there is always the AWA section. Four of the remaining five sections are made up of two Quant and two Verbal sections. The last section is experimental, meaning that it does not contribute to your overall score.

Important changes were made to the exam in 2011, the most salient of which are listed below.

  • The new score range is 130-170, where previously it was 200-800.
  • Test made section-adaptive instead of question-adaptive.
  • You can control the order in which you answer questions.
  • You can mark some answers for review and change them before submitting if you need to.

The test becoming section-adaptive means that the difficulty level of each consecutive question is no longer based on whether or not you got the previous one right. Instead, your performance on the first section of Verbal Reasoning determines the difficulty of the second Verbal Reasoning section. The same applies to Quant.

When you start your test, you’ll be faced with the AWA. This is followed by two sections of Quant and/or Verbal Reasoning, after which you get a 10-minute break. You can answer the remaining three sections after the 10-minute break.

While you’re not allowed to leave your seat during the one-minute breaks, you can get a snack, use the washroom, or do whatever else you please during the 10-minute break.

GRE Scoring

Scoring on the GRE is based on a scale of 130 to 170 on two sections – Quant and Verbal. On the whole, the scale is from 260 to 340. The points on this scale are given out in single-point increments.

The Analytical Writing section, although not counted on the 260-340 point scale, is still scored separately. You can score between 0 and 6 on the AWA, in 0.5-point increments.

We hope you found the info on this page useful. If you have more questions about the GRE exam, head over to our blog on everything you need to know about the GRE.

The GRE is a standardized, computer-administered test, which means it can be taken at any point in the year.

You are supposed to book your test attempt based on the availability of seats at the most suitable centers for you. The test is offered by a number of test centers run by Prometric, a company that operates in over 130 countries worldwide.

On select days, the test may also be offered at centers not run by Prometric.

According to the ETS website, “You can take the computer-delivered GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously.”

The cost of taking one GRE attempt is $205 for Indian students.

Hope you found the info on this page useful. If you have more questions about the GRE exam, you should definitely check out this blog: GRE Info – All you need to know know about the exam.

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