GRE Exam Pattern - Marking Scheme, Duration, Section-wise Test Pattern

Updated by: Nidhi bahl on April 14, 2022, 3:46 p.m.

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GRE Exam Pattern

Understanding the GRE exam pattern is one of the first steps when you begin your preparation for the exam. The Educational Testing Services (ETS) has formulated the test structure of the GRE General Test (both computer-based and paper-based) and the GRE Subject Test.

The exam pattern for GRE general test differs from the format of the GRE Subject Test. The total number of questions in the GRE General Test is 82 (80 MCQs and 2 descriptives), which candidates are required to answer in 3 hours and 45 minutes, in case of the computer-based test. If it is a paper-based test, candidates have to attempt 102 questions within 3 hours and 30 minutes. The GRE Subject Test, on the other hand, consists of only MCQs. Candidates have to attempt 66-230 questions within 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Want Help With GRE Preparation?

Also Read:

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GRE General Test Exam Pattern

GRE is conducted in two formats i.e. GRE computer-based and GRE paper-based. There is a slight variation in the format of the computer-based and paper-based GRE tests. Know the difference by referring to the table given below:  

GRE General (Computer-Based Test)

Section  

Number of Sections 

Number of Questions 

Duration 

Verbal Reasoning 

2

20 questions per section

60 minutes (30 minutes per section)

 

Quantitative Reasoning

2

20 questions per section

70 minutes (35 minutes per section)

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)

2 (1 Analyze an Issue &1 Analyze an Argument task  

60  minutes (30 minutes per task)

 

One unidentified unscored section

-

Varies 

Varies 

One identified research section 

-

Varies 

Varies 

 

Total Sections: 6 

Total Questions: 82

Total Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes

NOTE: 

  • The computer-delivered test comprises six sections with a 10-minute break. 

  • The test may include an ‘unscored’ section which does not contribute towards your score. The questions asked in this section might be used in future tests.

  • Another ‘research’ section might be included in place of the unscored section. This section also does not contribute to your scores and is used for ETS research purposes. 

GRE General (Paper-Based Test )

Section  

Number of Sections 

Number of Questions 

Duration 

Verbal Reasoning 

2

25 questions per section

70 minutes (35 minutes per task)

 

Quantitative Reasoning

2

25 questions per section

80 (40 minutes per task) 

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)

2 (1 Analyze an Issue &1 Analyze an Argument task  

60 (30 minutes per task) 

One unidentified unscored section

-

Varies 

Varies 

One identified research section 

-

Varies 

Varies 

Total Sections: 6

Total Questions: 102

Total Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes

NOTE: 

  • The Paper-delivered test comprises six sections with a 10-minute break. 

  • The first section is always the Analytical Writing section.

  • The rest of the sections from Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning may appear in any order. 

Also Read: 10 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making on Tests like GMAT and GRE

GRE Subject Test Exam Pattern

  • The GRE Subject Tests are delivered in a paper-based format only. 

  • The duration allotted for all the tests is 2 hours and 50 minutes, i.e. 170 minutes. 

  • The tests do not have separately-timed sections. 

The GRE Subject Tests are taken for six subjects and the structure and content varies for all of them. 

  1. Biology

  2. Literature in English

  3. Physics 

  4. Chemistry

  5. Mathematics 

  6. Psychology 

You can check the sections and content for each of the subject tests of GRE here. The following table will help you understand the structure of these GRE Subject Tests.  

GRE Subject Test

Total Number of Questions Asked (approx)

Type of Questions

Testing Time

Biology 

188

Five Choice Based Questions

2 hours and 50 minutes

Chemistry 

130

Multiple-Choice Questions

2 hours and 50 minutes

English Literature

230

Environmental Applications

2 hours and 50 minutes

Mathematics 

66

Multiple-Choice Questions

2 hours and 50 minutes

Physics 

100

Five Choice Based Questions

2 hours and 50 minutes

Psychology 

205

Five Choice Based Questions

2 hours and 50 minutes

Also Read: Here's Why You Should Take Expert Guidance for Achieving a 'Good' GRE Score 

GRE Test at Home

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS, the conducting body of GRE has allowed students to take the GRE test at home. The decision has been made to ensure the safety of test-takers and to make sure that the maximum number of students are able to take GRE to apply for admissions at universities abroad. 

The option is almost available for students belonging to any part of the world except China, Iran, and the Mainland. However, final confirmation of the availability of the ‘Test at Home’ option is done at the time of registration. Based on the country selected, students will be allowed to take GRE at Home.

The pattern and syllabus of the GRE Test at Home are identical to the original GRE Test. Also, the marking scheme of the GRE Test at Home also remains the same. To maintain the integrity of the test, the online test is monitored by artificial intelligence technology and trained human proctors. 

Check the following link for the detailed GRE Test at Home option:

GRE Test at Home -  Eligibility, Registration, Requirements

GRE Test at Home- Disability Accommodation Request

Candidates who need disability accommodation facilities while taking the GRE Test Home can request the same at the time of the registration process. One can request extra time, breaks, screen magnification, or color selection while applying for GRE. For other accommodation requests, one can register through the ETS Disability Services.

Get Expert Guidance for the Preparation of GRE! 

FAQs on GRE 2022 Exam Pattern

For how many subjects are GRE Subject Tests administered?

GRE subject tests are administered for four subjects, namely, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Psychology.

In which format are the GRE Subject Tests delivered?

GRE subject tests are delivered only in paper-based format.

How many questions will be asked in the GRE Subject Test for Physics?

A total of 100 questions approximately will be asked in the GRE Subject Test for Physics.

Is there any break inbetween the GRE test?

Both the computer-delivered and paper-delivered GRE tests will have a 10-minute break in between.

How much time will be allocated for each section of the GRE General Test?

During the GRE General Test, 30 minutes will be allotted per task in the Analytical Writing section; 30 minutes will be allowed for each section under Verbal Reasoning and 35 Minutes will be allotted for each section under Quantitative Reasoning.

What is the total duration of the GRE General Test?

The total duration of the GRE General Test is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

How many questions are under GRE Quantitative Reasoning?

There will be two sections with 20 questions each writing tasks in the Quantitative Reasoning section under the GRE General Test. Each section will be timed for 35 minutes.

How many questions are under GRE Verbal Reasoning?

There will be two sections with 20 questions each writing tasks in the Verbal Reasoning section under the GRE General Test. Each section will be timed for 30 minutes.

How many tasks are in GRE's Analytical Writing?

There will be one section with two writing tasks in the Analytical Writing section under the GRE General Test, each timed for 30 minutes.

Is the GRE a computer-delivered or paper-delivered test?

The GRE is a computer-delivered test conducted at test centres all around the world.

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