Graduate Record Exam- GRE

GRE which means Graduate Record Exam is an assessment of your critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning skills.  It is the most widely accepted graduate admissions test world-wide. It measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills that are necessary for success in graduate and business school. GRE provides a common measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications.

GRE scores are used by admissions committees and fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters, and other qualifications for graduate-level study.

The overall time for the test is 3 hours and 45 minutes and it is a computer-based test that is available all through out the year.


Structure and Content of the Test

Understanding the structure and the content of the GRE test will give you an edge in preparing adequately for the test. The GRE test is composed of three (3) measures;

  1. Analytical Writing
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Reasoning


#1 Analytical Writing: Content

It is to evaluate your ability to articulate and support (in writing) complex ideas, examine claims and accompanying evidence, sustain a focused and coherent discussion, and control the elements of standard written English. The Analytical Section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task. 


The Analytical Writing Section Structure;  

  • It has two components: Analyze an Issue Task and Analyze an Argument Task
  • Each of the components has 30 minutes
  • It is scored between 0-6 points


#2 Verbal Reasoning: Content

The Verbal Reasoning accesses your ability to analyze and evaluate writing material and synthesize (to combine two or more things to have new product) information obtained from it; understand the meaning of words, sentences and entire texts; and understand relationships among words and concepts. The verbal reasoning section measures your ability to understand what you read and how you apply your reasoning skills.


The Structure of the Verbal Reasoning Section

  • It has two sections of 30 minutes and 20 questions each
  • It has 3 Question Types;
    • Text Completion (6Q)
    • Sentence Equivalence (4Q)
    • Reading Comprehension (4 to 5 passages; 10Q)
  • It is scored between 130-170


#3 Quantitative Reasoning: Content

This section accesses your basic mathematical skills and your understanding of the elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information and to solve problems using mathematical models.


The Structure of the Quantitative Reasoning Section

  • It has two sections
  • 20 questions in each section of 35 minutes
  • The sections are the Math with calculator and math without calculator
  • It is scored between 130-17o points


Order of the GRE Test

The Analytical Writing section will always come first in the test, the verbal reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning may come in any order. For the Analytical writing section, the timing for each task is shown when the task is presented.


Kindly Note: you can 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


Preparing for the Test

Before taking the test, it is important to become familiar with the content of each measures. Spend some time to prepare for the Analytical Wrting by reviewing the skills measured, sample topics, scored sample essay responses and reader commentary.


Strategies for the Computer-Delivered Test

Analytical Writing

The word processor developed by ets to be used in the Analytical Writing test has the following features;

  1. Insert text
  2. Delete text
  3. Cut and paste
  4. Undo the previous action


Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning; The questions in these sections are presented in a variety of formats. Some require you to select a single answer choice, others require you to select one or more answer choices, and yet others require you to enter a numeric number. Ensure you understand what you are asked to do when answering a question.  Here, you are also free to skip difficult questions to return to them later. 


Scratch Papers

You will be furnished with scratch papers at the beginning of the test, this you can replace when necessary.



There is a 10 minutes break following after the third section and a one-minute break between the other test sections.


Understanding the GRE Scoring

For the Analytical Writing measure, you will receive a score from at least one trained reader; using a six-point holistic scale. In holistic scoring, readers are trained to assign scores based on the overall quality of the essay in response to the assigned task. The essay is then scored by an e-rater, a computerized program developed by ETS that is capable of identifying essay features related to writing proficiency. If the human and e-rater score closely agree, the average of the two scores is used as the final score. If they disagree, a second human score is obtained and final score is the average of the two human scores. The final scores on the two essays are then averaged and rounded to the nearest half-point interval on the 0-6 score scale.


The Primary emphasis in scoring your analytical writing measure is on your critical thinking and analytical writing skills.


Score reporting time frame

Its 10-15 days after the exam



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