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What is GRE Exam: GRE Full Form, Fees, Eligibility, and More

Exploring the GRE: Complete Details on Exam Format, Cost, Requirements, and Beyond

The Education Testing Service conducts the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) throughout the year. It is a standardized test that most universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada need admission to graduate school programs. Now, in this blog, we will discuss every aspect of GRE, from what is GRE exam to its importance.

The exam lasts for three hours and forty-five minutes, and students have the option to take a paper-based or computer-based exam. Top universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and others accept GRE exam scores for economics, English, Computer Science, Physics, and other subjects.

The GRE exam quickly gains popularity among students because of its versatility; it enables students to apply to various fields instead of limiting them to the business domain. You should know about the various sections in the exam, such as data analysis, etc. to score well.

GRE tests you on three different skills such as:

  • Verbal reasoning skills
  • Analytical writing skills and
  • Quantitative reasoning skills 

There are six sections in GRE Subject Test:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

The GRE General Test is for 3 hours 45 minutes, whereas the GRE Subject Test is for 2 hours 50 minutes. GRE General Test is for 3 hours 45 minutes, whereas GRE Subject Test is for 2 hours 50 minutes

GRE Eligibility


The GRE exam does not have any specific eligibility requirements. The exam is open to graduates and undergraduates pursuing science, arts, commerce, engineering, medicine, and law courses. There is no minimum qualification, age or work experience required for taking the GRE exam. However, an applicant must have some legal document for identity verification (a passport for Indian applicants) to register. The GRE Exams are one of the main eligibility criteria to get admission in all the graduate schools.

Why take the GRE?


1. Required for admission to prestigious grad schools

The most obvious reason to take this exam is that it is a prerequisite for admission to a competitive graduate programme. Consider taking the GRE early if you know you’ll be applying to graduate school for a master’s degree or a PhD within the next five years. After that, you can focus solely on your application and won’t have to spend an extra 2-3 months studying for the exam, which is especially important when you’re coping with the stress of the lengthy application process.

2. To enhance your application

GRE scores can also be regarded as an effective indicator of your academic prowess in quantitative and verbal abilities. The score will come in handy when you’re trying to compensate for a weakness in your profile. This could be anything from a mediocre undergraduate GPA to unsatisfactory letters of recommendation. GRE scores are an excellent way to demonstrate to admissions officers that you have unique talents to offer, and you will be a great addition to the student cohort. While a high GRE score does not ensure admission, it might help compensate for any weaknesses in other areas of your application.

3. Offers flexibility

The most important aspect of attempting the GRE is that it does not limit your options, unlike the GMAT exam. You can go for an MBA or any other specialized master's degree that you like. It gives you the flexibility of changing your preferred course without going through the hassle of taking a separate competitive exam in that case. Additionally, the test scores are valid for five years, and you have the option of sending your best scores to grad school, regardless of how many times you’ve taken the test. Thus, you always have room for improvement if you choose to take the GRE.

4. More affordable than GMAT

Let’s be honest, sometimes it all comes down to the cost of the competitive exam. While it is not a major deciding factor, it definitely plays a crucial role if you have to attempt the exam more than once. Going for a masters degree is very expensive, so students intend to save every little bit of money they can understandably. If your selected university accepts both GRE and GMAT results, choosing the more affordable choice is a no-brainer.

5. It helps you gauge your potential

Applying for grad school means that you are signing up for tedious assignments and rigorous coursework that requires exceptional dedication on your part. Taking the GRE in advance can help you assess your analytical and quantitative reasoning capabilities. It gives you a true picture of where you currently stand so that you can accordingly take additional help to be fully prepared before you begin pursuing your master’s degree. This will build your self-confidence and help you be at par with your peers.

6. Free preparation resources are available

Another benefit of taking the GRE is that you will have access to free preparation resources compiled by the test makers themselves. This will help you familiarise yourself with the different sections of the exam before taking the actual exam. In addition, you can take two GRE general practice tests, and you’ll immediately be able to access your results. This will give you an insight into the type of questions that are asked in the exam so that you can prepare accordingly.

Best time to take GRE

Even though GRE Exam scores are valid for five years, it is always good to schedule the exam according to the university’s due dates. Most universities around the world have two intakes: spring and fall. If the candidate targets the fall intake, it is ideal for taking the GRE Exam in June or earlier. If the candidate is targeting a spring intake, they can take the GRE by December so that there is ample time to focus on developing a good application. Most applicants expect to take the GRE Exam three to four months before the application process begins, so it’s good to register 2-3 months ahead of time to get your preferred test date and location.

GRE registration


Registering for this exam is a simple process; you have to create an online account on the GRE registration homepage as the first step. After that, you can choose your test date and location and confirm your personal information. To validate your registration, you must make a $213 payment as the final step. For the GRE General Test, candidates can also enroll by phone, mail, fax, or online. Registration for the GRE Subjective test is available online or by mail.

How to Register for the GRE?

The registration process for the GRE examination is straightforward. There are seven simple steps to register:

1- Visit the official website of ETS

Visit the ETS’s official website, conduct the GRE examination, and have an official website where all the updates regarding the GRE are given. When you open the ETS website, you will have to select the grey ETS account option.

2- Create an account

After the first step, you will create an account. As with any other website, you need to create an account if you have not created it earlier. You will then click on the “Create an Account” button on the website.

3- Fill up personal information

The third step will include giving your personal information. The website will redirect the page to a form where you will have to fill up personal details. The details will be fundamental, like your Name, Address, E-mail, Gender etc.

4- Username and Password

The fourth step will be to set up a username and a strong password for your account. Make sure to keep a solid and new password that you do not use for any other account. There will also be a security question. Then, you will receive an e-mail on your registered e-mail id, and you will have to verify it.

5- Registration for the appointment

The fifth step is to book yourself an appointment by registering yourself. After completing the basic login steps, a home page will open up for you in which a button saying “Register/Find Test Centres, Dates” needs to be selected. You will have to select that button for the registration process.

6- Fill up the GRE form

The sixth step is to fill in your options about the GRE. You will then see a new form in which you will have to fill up test type, test centre, date etc., as per your own choice.

7- Payment of GRE fees

The last and final step is how to pay for GRE in India. After verifying all your details, you need to pay the GRE fees through different payment option like debit card, credit card, PayPal etc.

GRE Score

On the GRE General Test, three scores are reported:

  • Scores for Quantitative Reasoning are presented on a range of 130 to 170, with 1 point increments.
  • Scores for Verbal Reasoning are presented on a range of 130 to 170, with 1 point increments.
  • The Scores for Analytical Writing is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, with half-point increments between 0 and 6.

The total number of correct answers given and the difficulty level of each segment are reflected in their Quantitative and Verbal reasoning scores.

Each essay question is used to determine the score for the analytical writing measure (2 essay questions in total). A skilled reader and a computerized tool are developed by ETS that can recognize essay qualities related to writing proficiency score your Analytical Writing portion.

GRE Subject Test Scores

The subject test is graded on a range of 200 to 990 points, with 10-point increments. It’s worth noting that the separate test scales only cover a fraction of the 200-900 point range.  Any subject test’s actual range is smaller, ranging from 20 to 99 in one-point increments.


200-990, in 10-points increments.

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

Chemistry 200-990, in 10-points increments.
Literature in English 200-990, in 10-points increments.

200-990, in 10-points increments

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

Mathematics 200-990, in 10-points increments.

200-990 score scale, in 10-points increments.

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

GRE Total Marks

The GRE total scores are calculated only based on your Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning section. The maximum GRE score for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning portions is 170, while the lowest GRE score for both sections is 130. As a result, the greatest GRE score you can achieve is 340, while the lowest GRE score you can get is 260.

The subject test has a GRE total marks distribution ranging from 200 to 990. Sub scores are also reported on a 20-99 score scale, with one-point increments, for Physics, Biology, and Psychology examinations.

However, unlike the SAT and ACT, combining section scores into a single GRE total mark is uncommon. So instead, when submitting your GRE results, you’d publish your three-part scores separately.

What is the purpose of reporting GRE section results separately? It’s usually because most graduate schools are more interested in one section score than the others, and they want to see which one you earned quickly. In addition, grad school programs are more specialized than undergraduate programs, and those reviewing your GRE total marks are usually only interested in the component that most closely ties to the subject matter of your programs.

How long is the GRE Score valid for?


GRE score validity basically means what duration as in the calendar year, GRE scores are valid for? So the answer is just  a one liner; GRE score validity is 5 years. But there is little more to it than it seems, otherwise this article is just a waste of time isn’t it?

GRE score validity being 5 years does not mean that if you score a good GRE exam score, you are set for a 5 years of duration. Even if it is valid for 5 years, there are certain schools and institutes which will ask for a score not older than 2 or 3 years. The standard and prestigious aspects of a school or institute can not be questioned on the basis of required academic or experiential necessities.

So in order to secure your application you need to be steady on your steps. In a way it benefits you. Otherwise one can take a GRE test and rest easy for 5 years. Pressure only keeps you on your toes so if you are not being pushed especially in your student years you may not get what you desire.

GRE Test Syllabus

The latest GRE syllabus is different for the general and subjective test. The General Test assesses a candidate’s GRE verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing sections skills. Therefore, you should have great analytical writing skills to do well in your GRE Exams. In comparison, the GRE Subjective Test assesses a candidate’s expertise in eight particular fields. Thus, possessing analytical writing skills becomes very important.

GRE Pattern

The GRE question pattern is divided into three sections:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • GRE Analytical writing sections

GRE Verbal reasoning:

The GRE verbal reasoning section tests the candidate’s understanding of the given text and their ability to deconstruct and identify different perspectives. GRE Verbal Reasoning test is divided into two sections consisting of 20 questions each and a maximum time limit of thirty minutes for each section. This section consists of questions related to idioms, sentence equivalence, text completion, and parallelism. Thus, making it very important to prepare for the GRE Verbal reasoning test. 

GRE Quantitative reasoning:

GRE Quantitative reasoning segment tests the candidate’s ability to comprehend quantitative data analysis and is divided into two sections with a time limit of thirty-five minutes. The data analysis section should be done with patience as it will dictate how well you will do in your test. In the GRE quantitative reasoning section, candidates have to solve complex problems with the help of mathematical concepts. The Computer-based tests have on-screen calculators that enable the candidates to solve numerical problems quickly and with ease. The GRE quantitative reasoning test requires a lot of practice and needs to be prepared by the candidate who wants to do well. GRE quantitative reasoning might be a bit harder as, unlike other sections, GRE quantitative reasoning tests the reasoning capabilities of a person.

 GRE Analytical writing sections:

The analytical writing sections segment tests the candidate’s ability to interpret and evaluate complex texts. Analytical writing sections consist of two separately timed tasks where candidates have to analyze an issue and an argument with 30 minutes allotted for each task. It also targets data analysis in its writing sections, the data analysis an important part of analytical writing and should be done very carefully. As data analysis is going to dictate how well you are going to score in your exams. You should also possess great analytical writing skills to do well in this section, as the analytical writing skills dictate your capability to score and perform in the test. Hence, making it very important to prepare for the analytical writing sections to gain all the experience to develop all the analytical writing skills. Possessing analytical writing skills will surely cut down the hassle while going through this section.


The GMAT exam is for applicants who choose to undertake management programs at prestigious business schools worldwide. Most schools accept both GMAT and GRE Exams, but certain business schools still prefer the former. The GRE is for students who want to obtain a master’s degree from abroad, regardless of their field of study. Taking the GRE opens up a world of possibilities for students, allowing them to choose various master’s programs, including MBA programs.


1- How can I prepare for the GRE?

To prepare for GRE, one should practice as much as possible. Mock exam papers are available online, and the candidate should practice as many mock exams as possible. Also, test material is available on the ETS website, consisting of material ranging from US $20- the US $72, which is approximately INR 1,400 – INR 5,200.

2- How is the scoring done for the GRE subject test?

The attained score of the candidate will depend on the number of questions you answer correctly. Questions you answer incorrectly or leave or more than one option is selected will be counted as incorrect. There is no deduction in marks for incorrect answers. Equating is a process that will convert the raw scores into scaled scores.

3- What is GRE score validity?

The GRE General Test score is valid for a total of 5 years from the date of administration. That is to say, for example, scores of the GRE test taken in June 2020 will be valid and accepted till June 2025

4- What are good GRE scores for my goals?

GRE scores are necessary for admission into postgraduate programs. However, here, it is recommended to choose the right program that aligns with your eventual goals. The GRE score for different programs is different. Some highly demanding programs require excellent GRE scores Likewise, other programs can accept students with even average scores. Further, it would be best to look into the information available regarding the program on their website for more clarity.

5- How important are my GRE scores in terms of my entire application?

GRE scores are a measurable indicator of an applicant’s academic abilities. Moreover, GRE scores are required when applicants are applying for a masters program from an International University. The importance of GRE scores is inferred from the fact that many universities sometimes look into sectional scores specifically to evaluate the applicant based on a program. Therefore the GRE scores are critical since they convince the admissions committee of your capabilities of the subject. On the other hand, other application information like the essay questions, LOR, resume also plays a vital role during the selection process.

6- What kind of study materials are given by ETS if we purchase them separately?

ETS provides the students with free test materials which can be easily accessible. Still, suppose you want to purchase other material. In that case, it will consist of POWERPLUS online, which contains three practice tests, The Official Guide to the GRE General Test, Third Edition, Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, Official GRE Value Combo (eBook Only), Official GRE Super Power Pack, ScoreItNow Online Writing Practice.


The GRE, or Graduate Record Examinations, is a standardized test commonly used for admissions into graduate programs in various disciplines worldwide. It assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. With thorough preparation, achieving a good score on the GRE is entirely attainable. By dedicating time to study and employing effective strategies, such as practicing with sample questions, familiarizing yourself with the test format, and honing your analytical writing skills, you can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a competitive score on the exam.

Is GRE exam tough?

The GRE is often regarded as more intricate compared to tests like the SAT or ACT due to its emphasis on challenging vocabulary and reading passages. The questions in the GRE demand advanced reasoning skills from test-takers, making it a more rigorous examination.

Which is easier, GMAT or GRE?

According to experts, while the quantitative section tends to be more difficult on the GMAT than on the GRE for many test-takers, individuals who favor logic problems over geometry questions may find the GMAT easier. This is because the GRE contains a greater number of geometry questions.

Is GRE harder than IELTS?

Comparing the difficulty levels of GRE and IELTS, the GRE is generally perceived as more challenging than the IELTS due to its intricate vocabulary and reading passages. Additionally, the mathematics questions on the GRE are considered to be of a lower level compared to other exams.

What is a good GRE score?

A competitive GRE score typically falls within the range of 158+ for Verbal, 159+ for Quantitative, and 4.5+ for Writing, resulting in an overall score of 318+ and positioning you in the 75th percentile or above.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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