The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is an important step in the graduate school application process. 

Here is everything you need to know about GRE.

    THE GRE?

    The GRE is a multiple-choice, computer-based, standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate programs globally. It measures the ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems through one’s command of basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

    Graduate school admissions committees look at your GRE score, along with your academic record and supporting materials, to assess your readiness for the rigors of graduate academic study. A high score on the GRE will have a direct, positive impact on your graduate or business school application.


    The GRE contains two essays, at least two quantitative and two verbal sections, and one experimental or research section. Testing lasts a total of four hours from beginning to end.

    The Quantitative Section

    Each quantitative section has approximately 20 questions to complete in 35 minutes, giving you between 1.5 - 2 minutes per question. This section consists of quantitative comparisons, problem solving and data interpretation questions. Quantitative comparison questions ask you to compare two quantities and to identify the relationship between the two. Problem Solving questions are standard multiple-choice questions, which require you to be familiar with the math foundations and strategies that allow you to approach calculations strategically. Data interpretation questions work like other problem solving questions, but the key to answering these questions is gleaning the information from the graphs.

    The Verbal Section

    Each verbal section has approximately 20 questions to complete in 30 minutes, giving you between 1 - 4 minutes per question, depending on the type. Verbal section consists of text completions, reading comprehension and sentence equivalence questions. Text completion questions, which require vocabulary and mastering the use of context clues, ask to fill in the blank to complete sentences. Sentence equivalence questions require filling in a single blank with two choices that create a complete, coherent sentence while producing sentences that are logically similar in meaning.

    Analytical Writing

    The analytical writing section assesses both your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It consists of two separately timed tasks: an issue essay and an argument essay. The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue followed by specific instructions on how to respond, The Argument task requires you to analyze and critique an argument.


    The GRE is a multi-stage test. Your performance on the first section of the scored verbal and quantitative sections will determine the level of difficulty of the subsequent verbal and quantitative sections. The raw score from each section is the number of questions you answered correctly. For example, if you perform very well on the first verbal section, you will receive the most difficult second section in Verbal, but you’ll also have access to the highest potential score range. For the analytical writing section, each essay receives a score from at least one human reader, using a 6-point scale.

    The requirements -or minimums- at the graduate or business programs you are applying will let you know your score baseline.

    Verbal reasoning

    Quantitative Reasoning

    Analytical Writing

    Percentile Ranking

    Scaled Score

    Percentile Ranking

    Scaled Score

    Percentile Ranking



    Verbal Reasoning Quantitive Reasoning Analytical Writing
    Percentile Ranking Scaled Score Percentile Ranking Scaled Score Percentile Ranking Scaled Score
    99 169-170 98 170 99 6.0
    95 165 95 168 98 5.5
    87 161 86 163 93 5.0
    78 158 78 160 80 4.5
    63 154 64 156 56 4.0
    50 151 52 153 38 3.5
    36 148 37 149 15 3.0
    22 144 21 145 7 2.5
    10 140 10 141 2 2.0