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The GRE Revised General Test

Everything You Need to Know About the GRE 

As early as 2006, the GRE has been an accepted equivalent to the GMAT for selected MBA programs. Today, the GRE is accepted by thousands of business schools world-wide.

As an alternative to the GMAT, the GRE is formatted so that test-takers can alternate freely between questions, skipping over questions and going back to check their work. It is also possible to take the GRE many times; every 21 days up to five times within any continuous 12-month period. Even better, the GRE offers a ScoreSelectSM service that allows test-takers to send only their best scores to prospective schools.

MBA Programs which accept GRE scores

The Computerised GRE Revised General Test Structure

GRE Section Number of Questions Description Time Allotted
Analytical Writing 2 Writing Prompts

Prompt 1: "Analyze an issue."

Prompt 2: "Analyze an Argument."

60 Minutes
Verbal Reasoning

50 Questions           

Multiple choice and fill in the blank questions on reading comprehension and interpretation. You will be asked to make conclusions on the author’s intent and the multiple meanings of the text, identify important points and understand and identify the meanings of words and the relationships between words and concepts. 

60 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning

50 Questions         

Multiple choice and numeric entry questions on the application of basic mathematical skills, and the understanding, interpretation and analysis of quantitative information and models. 70 minutes
Maximum Total Time 3 hours,              10 minutes

In areas of the world where computerized testing is not available, written test will be administered, with the following structure:

GRE Section Number of Questions Time Allotted
Analytical Writing 2 Writing Prompts 60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 50 Questions (2 sections of 25) 70 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 50 Questions (2 sections of 25) 80 minutes
Maximum Total Time 3 hours, 30 minutes

GRE Scoring

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing portion is graded based on the degree to which the essay has satisfied the following:

  • The effective and clear articulation of complex ideas
  • Analysis of claims and evidence
  • Support for ideas with relevant reasoning and examples
  • Follows a focused, coherent discussion
  •  Command of written English
This portion of the exam is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point intervals. Average scores range between 3.5 and 4.5 with scores above 5.0 as high. 
Verbal Reasoning
Verbal reasoning scores range from 130 to 170, in 1-point intervals. Score percentiles are taken from 2013 ETS Statistics. 
Percentile Score Percentile Score
95 165 70 156
91 163 62 154
81 159 53 152
Quantitative Reasoning
The Quantitative Reasoning scores range from 130 to 170, in 1-point intervals. Score percentiles are taken from 2013 ETS Statistics
Percentile Score Percentile Score
95 167 72 158
91 165 61 155
81 161 53 153
GRE General Test Scoring Prior to August 1, 2011
GRE Section Score Scale
Analytical Writing 0-6, in half-point intervals
Verbal Reasoning 200-800, in 10-point intervals
Quantitative Reasoning 200-800, in 10-point intervals

GRE ScoreSelect 

With GRE ScoreSelect, you also have the option of sending schools only the scores you want them to see. That means that if you have taken or plant to take the GRE multiple times, you can put your best face forward and only include your best scores.

Preparing for the GRE

Like any test, studying for the GRE beforehand can have a dramatic effect on your scores. Free test prep software is available from the ETS. As an alternative to self-study, online and open courses are also available from a variety or sources. 

Registering for the GRE

The GRE is offered at over 700 local testing centers in more than 160 countries. In places where access to computers is limited, a paper version is offered. View you nearest testing center and register for the test here.

Last updated: 05 Jun 2014

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