About the GRE® Tests

GRE® test scores provide graduate and business schools around the world with an objective and common measure for evaluating and comparing the qualifications of applicants with differing educational and cultural backgrounds. GRE scores are used by admissions and fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records, including grades and recommendations, and other qualifications for graduate-level study. GRE test takers may opt to take the GRE® revised General Test and/or a GRE® Subject Test.

GRE Score Use Pilot for Employers

In the past, GRE scores have only been sent to approved academic institutions and fellowship-granting organizations designated by test takers. However, our recent market research has found that test takers find value in providing potential employers with their GRE scores along with their other application materials for employment purposes.

In December 2012, the GRE Program began a three-year pilot program whereby GRE test takers are permitted to send their official GRE scores to employers. This pilot will allow the GRE Program to evaluate the use and role that GRE scores play in employment decisions and provide us with an opportunity to determine whether or not there is evidence to support the use of GRE scores for employment purposes.

The GRE revised General Test

The GRE revised General Test measures a test-taker’s 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: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section measures the 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 relevant 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

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures the ability to:

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

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section measures the 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 GRE Subject Tests

The GRE Subject Tests gauge undergraduate achievement in specific fields of study.

Carefully developed by committees of examiners with expertise in particular disciplines, the tests assess knowledge of subject matter emphasized in many undergraduate programs as preparation for graduate study. Each Subject Test is intended for students who have majored in or have extensive background in that specific area. Subject Tests are available for the following disciplines:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Some Subject Tests also yield subscores that can indicate the strengths and weaknesses of an individual student's preparation and may be useful for guidance and placement purposes.

See also:


GRE Guide to the Use of Scores

Learn about the appropriate uses of GRE scores

Using GRE Scores for Employment Purposes

Review important information for consideration in the use of GRE scores by employers