How is the GRE Structured?

What is more exciting than reading your GRE prep books and preparing yourself for a standardized test? Well…a lot of things. However, it is likely that if you are reading this, you are planning to take the GRE to go onto graduate school. The GRE test is a general knowledge computer exam. But how is the GRE structured?

How is the GRE Structured

How Is the GRE Structured?

The GRE general test is one that tests several components in the following order:

  1. Analytical Writing Section
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. and an unscored section (research section)

Overall, the GRE has three sections and one research section (typically, section quantitative reasoning or analytical writing), which should be around 3 hours and 45 minutes long. So get some sleep, eat a good breakfast, and gear up!

Analytical Writing 

The analytical writing section of the GRE has two essay tasks. In one of the written prompts, you will have to analyze an issue, and in the next to analyze an argument. During both of the tasks, you will have 30 minutes each. According to the ETS website, the analyze an issue task mainly assesses your ability to think critically and to express your thoughts clearly as to whether you agree or disagree with the claim the issue is making. In the argument task, you will delineate given arguments and evaluate them using logical reasoning. You will get specific points for discussion with each writing task.

Verbal Reasoning

This section of the GRE focuses mainly on the test takers reading comprehension ability. Within the two sections of this portion, there are 20 questions per section. Each question set of the two sections has a time allotment of 30 minutes for each. Within a section of this portion, you will have to demonstrate your skills to identify sentence equivalence, in which you can identify sentence structure and word selection. Multiple choice questions during this portion of the GRE general test can have a simple one answer response or multiple answers to a single question.

Quantitative Reasoning

During the quantitative reasoning section, test-takers will have access to an on-screen calculator if taking a computer-based exam—examinees taking a test on paper with a physical calculator to assist in their problem-solving. There are 20 questions per section, each one lasting 35 minutes. At any point within a section of the math portion, you will have to analyze data charts where a series of multiple selection questions will follow as a set.

Research Section

In this section of the exam, you may get more verbal reasoning, quantitative question types. This unscored section of the GRE general test can take place at any point within the test. Which means the test structure you prepared more could potentially be thrown off. Overall, it is mainly important to try your very best in all aspects of the test as you know where within a section or what point the research questions could occur.

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