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Candidates wanting to pursue graduate studies abroad are required to qualify their Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Candidates are required to check with their university admission guidelines and accordingly start preparing for the test. Candidates can check out the latest GRE Syllabus and the GRE Exam Pattern below. Two test formats GRE exam has two test formats - GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The GRE syllabus is different for each.
  • GRE General Test:General Test is the standard exam that tests students’ verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.
  • GRE Subject Test:For more specific courses a Subject Test might be required by the college, as Subject Test focuses on judging the candidate’s expertise in specific fields.
What are the Skills Tested in GRE?
  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  2. Quantitative Reasoning
  3. Verbal Reasoning
GRE Syllabus for General Test Here is the GRE exam syllabus covering writing syllabus, verbal reasoning syllabus, and Math syllabus: Analytical Writing The analytical writing section aims to measure the test taker's ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively, support ideas with relevant reasons and examples, examine claims and accompanying evidence, sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion and control the elements of standard written English. Verbal Reasoning The verbal reasoning section aims to measure the test taker's ability to analyze and draw conclusions from the discourse, reason from incomplete data, identify author's assumptions and/or perspective, select important points, distinguish major from minor or relevant points, summarize text, understand the structure of a text, understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts and understand relationships among words and concepts. List of topics covered under the verbal section
  • Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  • Verb Tense
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism
Quantitative Reasoning The quantitative reasoning section aims to measure the test taker's ability to understand quantitative information, interpret and analyze quantitative information, solve problems using mathematical models, and apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. List of topics covered in Quantitative Reasoning
Ratio and proportion Profit and loss
Simple and compound interest Speed, distance and time
Permutation & combination Linear equations
Quadratic equations Sets Theory
Statistics Powers and roots
Probability Pipes, cisterns, work, time
Lines and angles Triangles
Polygon Quadrilateral
Circles Coordinate geometry
Order of operations Volume and surface area
Percentage Number properties
GRE Subject Test Syllabus GRE syllabus for Subject Test consists of the following subjects: Biology The test consists of approximately 190 five-choice questions related to Biology. The topics include:
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Organismal Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution
Chemistry The test consists of approximately 130 multiple-choice questions related to the four fields into which chemistry has been traditionally divided
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
Literature in English Each edition of the test consists of approximately 230 questions on poetry, drama, biography, the essay, the short story, the novel, criticism, literary theory and the history of the language.
  • Literary Analysis
  • Identification
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism
Mathematics The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level.
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Additional Topics
Physics The test consists of approximately 100 five-choice questions, some of which are grouped in sets and based on such materials as diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Atomic Physics
  • Special Relativity
  • Laboratory Methods
  • Specialized Topics
Psychology The test consists of approximately 205 multiple-choice questions. Each question in the test has five options from which the examinee is to select the one option that is the correct or best answer to the question.
  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Clinical
  • Measurement/Methodology/Other
GRE Syllabus – General Exam Pattern Even though one is aware of the GRE Syllabus and knows all the answers, failure to manage time can lead to an incomplete exam. This is where the importance of being familiar with the GRE Exam pattern is of utmost importance. The GRE question paper is divided into three main sections, namely, Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The total time given to complete the exam is three hours and thirty minutes (3 hours 30 minutes=210 mins) and for computer-based, it is three hours and forty minutes (3 hours 40 minutes= 220 mins). Test Pattern for Computer-Delivered General GRE For the computer-based pattern, each of these sections is further divided into two-sub-sections with forty questions in total (Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning). Analytical Writing has only one section that contains two tasks with a time duration of one hour. Apart from these main sections, there are two other variable sections included in the computer-based pattern exam. This section is followed by a ten-minute break after the Quantitative Reasoning part is complete. However, these two variable sections- Unscored and Research section- are not included in the final GRE Scores.
GRE Sections No. of Sections Duration
Analytical Writing 1 section- two tasks 60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 2 section- 40 questions 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 2 section- 40 questions 70 minutes
Unscored Varies Varies
Research Varies Varies
Test Pattern for Paper-Delivered General GRE The paper-based exam includes two sub-sections of each of the main categories- Analytical Writing, Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning. Analytical Writing part contains two tasks with a duration of one hour (60 mins). Verbal and Quantitative reasoning each contains two sections and 50 questions with a maximum time limit of 60 and 70 minutes, consequently. The variable sections of Unscored and Research are not included in the paper-based exam.
GRE Sections No. of Sections Duration
Analytical Writing 2 sections- 2 tasks 60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 2 sections- 50 questions 70 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections- 50 questions 80 minutes
Unscored NA NA
Research NA NA
Best Books for GRE Preparation The costs of studying and preparing for the GRE exam plus the application costs add up to a lot of expenses. If you are taking coaching classes, even then you will need to purchase an official GRE guide and practice tests. So it doesn’t make a difference whether you will be taking coaching classes or you believe in self-studying; you will need to purchase a few resources to practice GRE sections. So here are the best online resources to boost your studies. GRE POWERPREP II Software - Preparation for the Computer-based GRE revised General Test – Along with the sample questions, strategies and tips, this free software includes two full-length practice tests. They have timed tests, which simulate the test-taking experience including the user-friendly design features like changing answers within a section, as well as an on-screen calculator.