GRE Pattern and Exam Syllabus

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As the GRE exam draws near, it’s the perfect time for aspiring candidates to delve into the details on what the GRE exam syllabus holds and prepare for this significant opportunity.

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What is the syllabus for the GRE exam?

The GRE exam syllabus is structured into three core sections: GRE Verbal Reasoning, GRE Quantitative Reasoning, and GRE Analytical Writing. It is a comprehensive assessment of students’ verbal reasoning, mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills, particularly geared toward preparing them for higher education abroad.

It’s important to note that there are two distinct test formats, each with its unique syllabus. The GRE General Test syllabus encompasses verbal, quantitative, and critical reasoning, while the GRE Subject Test delves into specific subject areas such as Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

GRE exam format

You have two distinct test formats: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. It’s important to note that each format has a unique syllabus tailored to your specific academic needs.

The GRE General Test:

This is the standard examination that assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills, providing a comprehensive evaluation of your abilities.

The GRE Subject Test:

In some cases, colleges may require the GRE Subject Test, especially for more specialized courses. This test format evaluates your expertise in specific fields, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your academic pursuits.

An Overview of the GRE 2024 General Test Syllabus:

The General Test syllabus is meticulously designed to assess key skills, including verbal reasoning, GRE quant topics, critical thinking, and analytical writing. These skills are of universal importance across various academic disciplines. The syllabus for 2023 is divided into three main sections: GRE Analytical Writing, GRE Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

Test SectionsTotal QuestionsQuestion TypeMarking
Verbal Reasoning20+20=40 questions
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence
130-170 (in 1-point increment)
Quantitative Reasoning20+20=40 questions
  • Quantitative Comparison Questions
  • Numeric Entry Questions
130-170 (in 1-point increment)
Analytical Writing1+1=2 questions
  • Analyzing an Issue
  • Analyzing an Argument
0-6 (in 0.5 point increment)
Total80 MCQs 2 Descriptive 260-340

The entire test lasts for a duration of 3 hours and 45 minutes. A designated break of 30-35 minutes is permitted upon completing the initial 3 sections.

GRE verbal exam pattern and syllabus

The Verbal Reasoning section provides a thorough evaluation of your capacity to analyze discourse, draw conclusions, reason from incomplete data, identify an author’s perspective, select key points, summarize text effectively, understand text structure, and comprehend word, sentence, and concept relationships.

GRE topics for Verbal Reasoning:

  • Modifiers and Parallelism
  • Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns
  • Verb tense
  • Idioms and Idiomatic expressions
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronoun Agreement

The verbal is further divided into 3 sections:

  • GRE Reading Assessment

    Reading comprehension questions evaluate a candidate’s ability to comprehend and interpret a given passage. Candidates must understand the text’s structure, recognize the author’s assumptions and perspective, determine word and sentence meanings, elucidate the text, analyze its content, and ultimately draw conclusions based on the provided information.

  • GRE Sentence Prowess:

    In Sentence Equivalence questions, candidates complete a passage using partial information provided. Test-takers face a single blank and six answer choices. Candidates must carefully read the sentence, identify significant words or phrases, and select a word that best aligns with the answer’s context. No partial marks are granted in these questions.

  • GRE text completion

    Text Completion assesses a candidate’s skill in comprehending and evaluating information in brief passages of five sentences. Candidates are tasked with filling in one to three blanks based on the information presented in the passage.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning syllabus

The quantitative reasoning topics assess the test taker’s capacity to comprehend quantitative information, interpret and analyze quantitative data, solve problems using mathematical models, and apply fundamental mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics.

GRE math syllabus

ArithmeticGeometryAlgebraData Analysis
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Property and types of integer
  • Powers and roots
  • Percentage
  • Statistics
  • Estimation
  • Number properties
  • Exponents and Roots
  • Ratio and proportions
  • Arithmetic Operations
  • Three-dimensional figures
  • Lines and angles
  • Triangle
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Polygon
  • Angle Measurements
  • Circles
  • Area, Perimeter
  • Volume
  • Exponents
  • Word Problems
  • Equations and inequalities
  • Linear and Quadratic inequalities
  • Algebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying
  • Speed, Distance, and Time
  • Linear Equations
  • Quadratic equations
  • Profit and Loss
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Interpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, etc
  • Probability
  • Descriptive statistics such as Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, etc.
  • Sets Theory
  • Permutation and Combination

GRE Analytical Writing Syllabus

The GRE Analytical Writing section comprises tasks that draw from an extensive array of subjects, including fine arts, physical science, and humanities. It doesn’t demand specific subject expertise, thus allowing candidates with varying interests and backgrounds to grasp and complete the tasks easily.

The GRE Analytical Writing section assesses test-takers in the following areas:

  • Proficiency in critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
  • The capacity to express and substantiate intricate ideas.
  • Competence in formulating and appraising arguments.
  • The ability to maintain a concentrated and logical discourse.

This section comprises two distinct tasks:

  • Analyzing an Issue.
  • Analyzing an Argument.

GRE Subject Test Syllabus

Commencing in September 2023, the GRE Subject Tests will transition to a computer-delivered format. The Mathematics Test will require 2 hours and 50 minutes, while the Physics and Psychology Tests will demand 2 hours. Notably, there will be no separately timed sections.

The GRE subject test syllabus includes four disciplines.

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
(about 100 five-choice questions organized into sets and centered around materials like graphs, diagrams, and experimental data. The topics encompass)(Around 66 multiple-choice questions)(approximately 130 multiple-choice questions, )(approximately 205 multiple-choice questions)
  • Classical mechanics (20%)
  • Electromagnetism (18%)
  • Optics and wave phenomena (9%)
  • Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)
  • Quantum mechanics (12%)
  • Atomic Physics (10%)
  • Special Relativity (6%)
  • Laboratory methods (6%)
  • Specialized topics (9%)
  • Calculus (50%)
  • Algebra (25%)
  • Additional Topics (25%)
  • Analytical chemistry (15%)
  • Inorganic chemistry (25%)
  • Organic chemistry (30%)
  • Physical Chemistry (30%)
  • Biological (17-21%)
  • Cognitive (17-24%)
  • Social (12-14%)
  • Developmental (12-14%)
  • Clinical (15-19%)
  • Measurement/methodology/other (15-19%)

Note: the % mentioned along the subjects signifies the weightage of that subject in the particular test section.


FAQs icon

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CAT and GRE syllabus same?

No, the CAT (Common Admission Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) syllabi are not the same. They are designed for different purposes and assess different skills. CAT is primarily used for admission to MBA programs in India and tests quantitative aptitude, verbal ability, data interpretation, and logical reasoning skills. On the other hand, GRE is used for admission to graduate programs in various fields worldwide and includes sections on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The content and format of the two exams are distinct.

How long is the GRE General Test?

The GRE General Test takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

Can I use a calculator during the GRE exam?

Yes, a basic on-screen calculator is provided for the Quantitative Reasoning section

Is there a specific syllabus for the GRE General Test?

 No, the GRE General Test does not have a fixed syllabus. It assesses skills and knowledge considered fundamental for graduate and business program success.

How should I prepare for the GRE exam?

Preparation often includes studying vocabulary, practicing with sample questions, and taking practice tests. Many test prep books and courses are available.

Can I choose the order in which I take GRE sections?

Yes, you can choose the order of the sections on the computer-based GRE General Test.

How long is the score valid for the GRE exam?

GRE scores are valid for five years.

How are scores reported for the GRE General Test?

Scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections range from 130 to 170 in one-point increments, and the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 in half-point increments.

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