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The GRE® General Test features question types that closely reflect the thinking you’ll do — and the skills you need to succeed — in today's demanding graduate and business school programs. The test-taker friendly design lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section you want to answer first. Get a look at the structure of the computer-delivered or paper-delivered GRE General Test.

The GRE General Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills-skills that have been developed over an extended period and are not related to a specific field of study but are essential for all. Here's a look at content covered in the three test sections — Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyse and conclude discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author's assumptions and perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author's intent
  • select essential points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarise text; understand the structure of a text
  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire passages; recognise relationships among words and concepts

Get a quick view of the Verbal Reasoning question types.

Take a closer look at the Verbal Reasoning section, including sample questions with explanations, tips and more.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • understand, interpret and analyse quantitative information
  • solve problems using mathematical models
  • apply necessary skills and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis

The Quantitative Reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator. If you are taking the paper-delivered test, a calculator will be provided at the test centre.

Get a quick view of the Quantitative Reasoning question types.

Take a closer look at the Quantitative Reasoning section, including sample questions with explanations, tips and more.

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section measures your 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
  • control the elements of standard written English

The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.

Get a quick view of the Analytical Writing question types.

Take a closer look at the Analytical Writing section, including sample questions, scored sample essay responses, rater commentary, tips and more.

Modified Versions of Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Questions

The test you take may include questions that are modified versions of published queries or of questions you have already seen on the test. Some modifications are substantial; others are less apparent.

Even if a question appears to be similar to a problem you have already seen, it may, in fact, be different and have a different answer. Pay careful attention to the wording of each question.

The overall testing time for the paper-delivered GRE® General Test is about three hours and 30 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the second section.

Structure of the Paper-delivered Test

MeasureNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
Analytical Writing
(Two sections)
Section 1: "Analyze an Issue" task
Section 2: "Analyze an Argument" task
30 minutes per section
Verbal Reasoning
(Two sections)
25 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning
(Two sections)
25 questions per section 40 minutes per section

The Analytical Writing sections will always be first, while the other four sections may appear in any order.

Test Design Features

  • When taking a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section, you are free, within that section, to skip questions and come back to them later or change the answer to a question.
  • There are paper-delivered equivalents for most of the question types, including text completions and numeric entry.
  • Answers are entered into the test book, rather than a separate answer sheet.
  • You will be provided with an ETS calculator to use during the Quantitative Reasoning section; you may not use your own calculator.