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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.
 

GRE General Test Structure

The GRE General Test is a computer-delivered test. Its 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. 

Test sections and their timing

The overall testing time is about 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

Measure Number of Questions Allotted Time
Analytical Writing
(One section with two separately timed tasks)
One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task 30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Unscored¹ Varies Varies
Research² Varies Varies

 

The Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward your score.

Section-level Adaptation

The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are section-level adaptive. The first section of each measure (i.e., Verbal and Quantitative) is of average difficulty. The difficulty level of the second section of each of the measures depends on your overall performance on the first section. 

For example, if you do very well on the first Quantitative Reasoning section, the second section of Quantitative Reasoning will be at a higher level of difficulty. The scoring for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures takes into consideration the total number of questions answered correctly across the two sections, as well as the difficulty level of the sections.

Test design features

The advanced adaptive design of the GRE General Test allows you to move forward and backward throughout an entire section. Specific features include:

  • preview and review capabilities within a section
  • "Mark" and "Review" features to tag questions, so you can skip them and return later if you have time remaining in the section
  • the ability to change/edit answers within a section
  • an on-screen calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning section

To experience the test design features, access the free POWERPREP® Online practice tests.

1 An unidentified unscored section that doesn’t count toward your score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. Questions in the unscored section are being tried out either for possible use in future tests or to ensure that scores on new editions of the test are comparable to scores from earlier editions.

2 An identified research section that doesn’t count toward your score may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section are included for ETS research purposes.