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Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE® General Test is a computer-delivered test that features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do — and the skills you need to succeed — in today’s demanding graduate school programs, including business and law. The test-taker friendly design lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section you want to answer first. Get a look at the structure of the GRE General Test.

The GRE General Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills — skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all. Here’s a look at content covered in the three test sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.

Get a quick view of the Analytical Writing question types.

Take a closer look at the Analytical Writing section, including sample questions, scored sample essay responses, rater commentary, tips and more.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author’s assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author’s intent
  • select important points; distinguish major from minor or irrelevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text
  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts

Get a quick view of the Verbal Reasoning question types.

Take a closer look at the Verbal Reasoning section, including sample questions with explanations, tips and more.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information
  • solve problems using mathematical models
  • apply basic skills and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis

The Quantitative Reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator.

Get a quick view of the Quantitative Reasoning question types.

Take a closer look at the Quantitative Reasoning section, including sample questions with explanations, tips and more.

Modified Versions of Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Questions

The test you take may include questions that are modified versions of published questions or of questions you have already seen on 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.

About the GRE® General Test

One Test for Graduate and Professional School, Including Business and Law. More Opportunities for Success.

Getting an advanced degree can create many opportunities. In fact, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development illustrates how education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates.

Whether you are planning to go to graduate school, including business or law — or just exploring your options — you are taking an important step toward your future. It is a smart move to show schools your best and with the GRE® General Test, you can!

The GRE General Test helps you do your best on test day. With the GRE General Test, you decide which scores to send to schools. If you feel you didn’t do your best on test day, that’s okay. You can retake the test and then send only the scores you want schools to see. It’s all part of the ScoreSelect® option, only available with GRE tests.

Plus, the GRE General Test is the only admissions test for graduate and professional school that lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers, and have control to tackle the questions within a section you want to answer first.

The GRE General Test features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do in graduate and professional school, including business and law.

  • Verbal Reasoning — Measures the ability to analyze and draw conclusions from discourse, reason from incomplete data, understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author’s intent, summarize text, distinguish major from minor points, understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts, and understand relationships among words and among concepts. There is an emphasis on complex verbal reasoning skills.
  • Quantitative Reasoning — Measures the ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information, solve problems using mathematical models, and apply the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis. There is an emphasis on quantitative reasoning skills.
  • Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to articulate and support complex ideas with relevant reasons and examples, and examine claims and accompanying evidence. There is an emphasis on analytical writing skills.

Learn more about the content and structure of the GRE General Test.

Who Takes It?

Prospective graduate and business school applicants from all around the world who are interested in pursuing a master’s, specialized master’s in business, MBA, J.D. or doctoral degree take the GRE General Test. Applicants come from varying educational and cultural backgrounds and the GRE General Test provides schools with a common measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications.

GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level study.

When and Where Do People Take It?

The GRE General Test is available on computer at more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries. In most regions of the world, the test is available on a continuous basis throughout the year. In Mainland China; Hong Kong, China; Taiwan, China; and Korea, the test is available up to three times per month.

See Test Centers and Dates for all regions.

In areas of the world where the General Test is not available on computer at physical test centers, the GRE General Test at home option may be offered. The at home test is identical in content, format and on-screen experience to the GRE General Test taken at a test center. It is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human proctor. Learn more about the at home test and how to register.

Who Accepts It?

The GRE General Test is accepted at thousands of graduate schools, including business and law, as well as departments and divisions within these schools. View a listing of institutions and fellowship sponsors approved to receive GRE scores.

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