GRE: Exam Format

The new GRE CBT is composed of two Analytical Writing Assessment Responses (45 minutes and 30 minutes), a 30-minute Verbal Ability section (30 multiple-choice questions), and a 45-minute Quantitative Ability section (28 multiple-choice questions). It also contains a pre-test section (Verbal or Quantitative) that doesn't count toward your score, and possibly an identified research section of experimental questions, which are unscored. The Verbal and Quantitative sections are each scored from 200 to 800, with an average score of about 500 on each. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored from 0 to 6.

The test is composed of the following sections (also see the following table, "Format of the Test"):

Analytical Writing Assessment: You will write or type two essay responses on topics provided.

  • Present Your Perspective on an Issue: You need to select one of two issue topics and discuss why you agree or disagree with the position taken in the topic you select.

  • Analyze an Argument: You will need to write a critique of an argument given in the form of a short passage.

Verbal: Antonyms, Analogies, Sentence Completions, and Reading Comprehension are intermingled.

  • Antonyms: You select a word that is most nearly opposite in meaning.

  • Analogies: You select a pair of words that best expresses a relationship that is similar to that of an original pair of words.

  • Sentence Completions: A word or words are omitted from a sentence. You select the word or words that, when inserted, best fit the whole sentence.

  • Reading Comprehension:  You answer questions about reading passages from a variety of subjects.

Quantitative: Quantitative Comparisons and Math Ability (multiple-choice) are intermingled.

  • Quantitative Comparison: You are required to determine the relationship between two quantities.

  • Math Ability: You solve multiple-choice general math and word-type problems.

Format of the Test

Section Minutes Number of Questions
Analytical Writing Assessment
Present Your Perspective on an Issue 45 1
Analyze an Argument 30 1
Verbal Ability 30 30
Antonyms, Analogies    
Sentence Completion and Reading Comprehension    
(questions are intermingled)    
Quantitative Ability 45 28
Quantitative Comparison and Math Ability    
(questions are intermingled)    
Pre-Test Section (one of the following) Varies Varies
Verbal or Quantitative    
Research Section (may be included)    

Plan to be at the test center for up to 4-1/2 hours. You may find the following information helpful:

  • The Pre-Test Section is unidentified and will not count toward your score. Be sure to do both Verbal or Quantitative Sections because you don't know which one will count toward your score.

  • The Research Section, which may appear, will be identified and will not be scored.

  • Tutorials will be available for review before the test is administered.

  • An optional ten-minute break is given after Section 2.

Note: Format, scoring, and order of sections are subject to change.