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The GRE® General Test

One test for graduate, business and law school

Select a step to learn more about your GRE® General Test journey.
 

Strategies and Tips for the GRE General Test

Preparation for the test will depend on the amount of time you have available and your personal preferences for how to prepare. At a minimum, before you take the GRE General Test, you should know what to expect from the test, including the administrative procedures, types of questions and directions, approximate number of questions, and amount of time for each section.
 

Before test day

Download the Bulletin

The administrative procedures include registration and appointment scheduling, date, time, test center location, cost, score-reporting procedures and availability of special testing arrangements. Download the GRE® Information Bulletin (PDF) for a complete look at the procedures.

Familiarize yourself with test content

Before taking the practice General Test, it is important to become familiar with the content of each of the measures, including the type of material on which you'll be tested and the question types.

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning test-taking strategies

Understand the response required

The questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures have a variety of formats, including:

  • select a single answer choice
  • select one or more answer choices
  • enter a numeric answer

Make sure you understand what response is required when answering a question.

Use the mark and review feature

When taking the GRE General Test, you can skip questions you might have difficulty answering. The testing software allows you to:

  • use the "mark and review" feature to mark questions you would like to revisit during the time provided to work on that section
  • view a complete list of all the questions in the section on which you're working, so you can see the questions you’ve answered and those you've marked for review
  • review questions you've already answered and change your answers, provided you still have time remaining to work on that section

Here’s an example of the review screen.
 

An example of the review screen is shown

The review screen is intended to help you keep track of your progress on the test. Don’t spend too much time on it, as this takes away from the time you have to read and answer the test questions.

Answer every question

Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores are determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from your score for incorrect answers. To maximize your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures, it’s best to answer every question.

Pay attention to time

Work as rapidly as you can without being careless. Since no question carries greater weight than any other, don’t waste time pondering individual questions you find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.

Familiarize yourself with the testing experience

Use the POWERPREP® practice tests to experience a simulated test-taking experience and become familiar with the testing software and test design.
 

Analytical Writing test-taking strategies

Pay attention to time

It’s important to budget your time. Within the 30-minute time limit for each task, you'll need to allow sufficient time to think about the issue, plan a response and compose your essay. Although GRE readers understand the time constraints under which you write and will consider your response a first draft, you’ll still want to produce the best possible example of your writing.

Review what you write for errors

Save a few minutes at the end of each timed task to check for obvious errors. Although an occasional typographical, spelling or grammatical error won’t affect your score, severe and persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your score.
 

Use your scratch paper

You’ll receive a supply of scratch paper before you begin the test. If you need more during the test, ask the test administrator.
 

Don’t take unscheduled breaks

There’s a 10-minute break following the third section and a 1-minute break between the other test sections. You might want to ask for additional scratch paper during each scheduled break. Section timing won’t stop if you take an unscheduled break, so you should proceed with your test without interruption once it begins.