The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is for you if you’re all set to explore higher education in grad school. If you’re eager to study further and get the finest of career opportunities, then sit back as we tell you all about the GRE exam and how it can help you get into prestigious universities. 

This blog is the one-stop comprehensive guide to all things GRE. We’ll take you through every part of the exam and preparation journey so that you know everything you need to know about this exam.

Related: What Is A Master’s Degree?

The Graduate Record Examination is a competitive examination that students take to enter graduate, business, and law schools. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students from across the globe appear for the GRE in hopes of getting a good score and making it to their dream universities. The GRE also has a reputation for being one of the most demanding examinations out there, but with dedication and a lot of practice, you can build the aptitude required to ace this test. 

The GRE test, however, is not all about getting a high score; it is also about the journey of preparation that can help you develop a set of important skills and attitudes. As you prepare for the GRE, you will first figure out how you can manage your time effectively as you balance studying with other responsibilities.

You will also learn to be consistent and disciplined as you stick to a study schedule and show up every day to learn. The subjects you study will polish your vocabulary, critical thinking, reasoning, and quantitative aptitude. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses and learn how you can work on them. These are just some of the many things you learn as you embark on your unique journey.

A thing to note: 

While a lot of universities require GRE scores to be submitted as a part of their admission process, there are also more and more universities that do not require GRE scores as mandatory anymore or do not give it a lot of weight. The rationale behind this is that standardized test scores like the GRE do not always accurately reflect a student’s capabilities nor can they fully grasp the potential of a student. 

In the GRE, there are two different types of exams; you can choose to take either one based on the education you are targeting. Both exams can help you get into graduate schools; the main difference between the two lies in the exam syllabus. 

1. The GRE General Test: 

The GRE general test is your gateway to any graduate, business, or law school. It consists of three sections, namely, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. It is a comprehensive test that attempts to measure your general aptitude. 

2. The GRE Subject Tests: 

The GRE subject test is designed to check your depth of knowledge in one particular field of study. This test is intended for students who have an undergraduate major or an extensive background in one particular subject. There are only three subjects in which this test is offered, namely, mathematics, physics, and psychology. You can choose to take the test in any one subject and these scores can be used to supplement your admissions in the chosen subject at the graduate level. 

The GRE general test is a computer-based test with questions in a multiple choice (MCQ) format and one long answer question. This test has no negative markings for wrong answers.


There is no set eligibility criteria for taking the GRE. This means that you can take the test regardless of your age, previous degree or experience, or any other such factors. But since this is a graduate-level examination, it is advisable to at least hold a bachelor’s degree first. If you are targeting any specific college or university, then make sure to read through their eligibility requirements and keep your CV up to date.

Test Content/ Syllabus 

The GRE test content is designed to encapsulate the kind of thinking you will be required to do in your graduate program and even in your career. These are the universally important skills we are talking about.

The test content is divided into three measures:

1. Verbal Reasoning 

This first section of this measure would require you to read passages and answer questions based on them. In the second part of this measure, you would be required to read, interpret, and complete existing sentences, groups of sentences or paragraphs. The verbal section of the GRE is known to be challenging so be thoroughly prepared to counter the hurdles in this one.  Learn more.

2. Quantitative Reasoning

You’ll be provided with a basic on-screen calculator for this section. Your test will have questions from arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The quantitative reasoning section of the GRE includes four types of questions: quantitative comparison, multiple-choice questions with a single answer choice, multiple-choice questions with one or more answer choices, and numeric entry questions.

These questions may appear individually or as part of a data interpretation set, where all questions are based on the same data provided in tables, graphs, or other displays. Practicing a variety of mathematical problems and strategies will help you build confidence and improve your performance in this section. Learn more.

3. Analytical Writing 

Bring forth your ability to hold an argument here. This section consists of a 30-minute ‘analyze an issue’ task. It is all about how well you can articulate your thoughts and hold a focused, logical discussion as you support the given argument. For this section, you will be given a word processor with basic features like insert text, delete text, cut-and-paste, and undo the previous action. You won’t be given any spell checker or similar software. Learn more.

Duration and section-wise split

Just last year, i.e. 2023, the exam ran for about 4 hours but after the new changes were announced, the overall test time has now changed to about 1 hour and 58 minutes. 

MeasureNumber of QuestionsScore ScaleAllotted Time
Analytical Writing (One section)One “Analyze an Issue” task0–6, in half-point increments30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)Section 1: 12 questions
Section 2: 15 questions
130–170, in 1-point incrementsSection 1: 18 minutes
Section 2: 23 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)Section 1: 12 questions
Section 2: 15 questions
130–170, in 1-point incrementsSection 1: 21 minutes
Section 2: 26 minutes

Exam Fee

The exam fee is $220 for all countries except for China, where it is $231.30. If you need to reschedule your exam, then you will need to pay a $50 fee in all countries except China, where the cost is $53.90. The fee for changing your test center amounts to $50. 

Learn more about the fee.

When and where will the test be conducted?

The GRE is a computer-based test that can be taken both from test centers and from your own home. The GRE has no fixed date and can be taken throughout the year at your convenience. You can take the GRE once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). You will receive your scores 8 to 10 days after the test. Make sure to take the test in advance and be ready with your scores when the universities start admissions into their graduate programs. Learn more.

For how long is your score valid?

Your test scores will be valid for 5 years from the date of your test. Want the exact number? Check out this calculator on the site.

The GRE subject test is offered for the subjects of mathematics, physics, and psychology. It is a computer-based test with a multiple-choice question (MCQ) format. This test has no negative markings for wrong answers.


The GRE subject tests should be taken by students who have an undergraduate major or an extensive background in the chosen subject. The GRE test scores are used to supplement your admission appeal for graduate school. 

Test Content/ Syllabus


The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions. The test syllabus will consist of courses offered in undergraduate study. About 50% of the questions will be on calculus and its applications. 25% of the questions will be about elementary algebra, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and number theory. And the remaining questions will deal with other areas of mathematics.


The test consists of approximately 70 5-choice questions. You will be able to solve the majority of this test with a good grasp of undergraduate physics. Get familiar with the International System (SI) of Units because you will see a lot of that in this test. 

The question distribution is as follows:

1. Classical Mechanics: 20%

2. Electromagnetism: 18%

3. Optics and Wave Phenomena: 8%

4. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: 10%

5. Quantum Mechanics: 13%

6. Atomic Physics: 10%

7. Special Relativity: 6%

8. Laboratory Methods: 6%

9. Specialized Topics: 9%


This test will have 144 multiple-choice type questions. For each question, you will have to choose the right option from 5 different options. The questions you will encounter on the test are drawn from common undergraduate psychology courses. 

The question distribution on the test is

1. Biological (30 questions)

2. Cognitive (29 questions)

3. Social (19 questions)

4. Developmental (18 questions)

5. Clinical (23 questions)

6. Measurement/Methodology/Other (25 questions)

Related: Alternative Careers For Psychology Majors.

Duration and section-wise split

The total test duration for the mathematics test is 2 hours and 50 minutes. Whereas, for the physics and psychology tests, the duration is 2 hours. There is no separate section time limit on any of these exams. You solve the whole test in one go. 



In the Mathematics Subject Test, your total score can be between 200 and 990. The scores go up in increments of 10 points.


For the physics test, your total score also ranges from 200 to 990. Additionally, there are subscores for specific areas of physics, such as classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and atomic physics. These subscores are presented as percentages, ranging from 0 to 100. Each percentage point represents the proportion of questions answered correctly in that specific area.


In the psychology subject test, your total score can range from 200 to 990. Alongside the total score, there are six subscores, each reflecting your performance in different areas of psychology. These subscores are categorized as biological, cognitive, social, developmental, clinical, and measurement/methodology/other. Each subscore is reported as a percentage, with values ranging from 0 to 100. Within these subscores, each percentage point represents the proportion of questions answered correctly in the respective area. 

Exam Fee

The GRE subject test fee across the world is $150. And the fee for rescheduling your exam or changing your test center is $50.

When and where will the test be conducted?

In 2023–24, the GRE Subject Tests will be conducted worldwide on:

April 7, 2024, through April 20, 2024

The upcoming test is in the month of April. You can take the test within the given timeframe. This applies even if you cancel your scores on a test taken previously. The next exam dates, 2024-25, could be conducted in the months of September to October and October to November.

You can choose to take the test at the examination center or at home.

For how long is your score valid?

Your GRE subject test scores are valid for 5 years from the date of the test.

The ideal flow of events:

1. Create your ETS Account 

To begin with, you must first create an ETS account, through which you will access all things related to your GRE. The account creation process is simple and requires you to fill out a form that requires you to add your personal information. You can then create a username and password and after a final review, you can submit the form. Your account has been created!

2. Register for the test 

After you sign into your ETS account, you will be able to register for the GRE general test or the GRE subject test. You can pick the location, whether at the center or home, and the date and time of your choice. At the end, you will be required to make your payment and this completes your registration.

3. Prepare for the GRE

Here comes the most important part, your preparation game! Ensure you have all the resources you need to complete the syllabus successfully. This includes books, mock tests, and a lot of practice! You can also find sample exams and other resources on the ETS site. Make sure to stay motivated and dedicate a good amount of time to studying.  

4. Appear for the GRE 

On the test day, you will need to produce accurate and up-to-date ID documents. Make sure that the name on your ID and the name on your GRE registration match exactly. Apart from these, depending on your test location, you will need to keep a few additional things handy. Here is a comprehensive source for all test-related policies. You will receive your score 8 to 10 days after your exam.

The GRE is considered to be challenging as it is a graduate-level examination. Its difficulty level is on par with most graduate-level examinations. The maximum score you can get on your GRE general test is 340. For that, you will have to score full marks in verbal and quantitative reasoning (170 each) and a total of 6 points in analytical writing. 

An excellent score on the GRE is considered to be 320+, which puts you in the 80th percentile or higher. With a score as high as that, you can expect to land at the best of colleges. 

A good score on the GRE is 310 to 319. Below that might be considered average and anything less than 300 is looked upon as a poor score. 

How well you perform in each section of the GRE is also important. For verbal, a good sectional score would be 155+ and for quantitative, your ideal score would be 165+. For analytical writing, target a score of 4+. 

With that being said, your ideal score depends on the school and program that you’re targeting. What works best for you is ideal!

The GRE subject tests assess your expertise in your chosen subject. It’s practice and more practice that will get you through this test. If you’re well-versed in the fundamentals of your subject, then you’re good to go.

The maximum you can score on the GRE subject tests is 990. It’s good to know that the range of a good score for each subject is different based on the difficulty level. The highest score you can get on the GRE subject tests is 990. A good score to get in mathematics is above 700; for physics, the ideal range would be higher than 750; and for psychology, a good score would be higher than 650.

Both GRE and GMAT scores are considered for admission into graduate programs. The only difference is that a GMAT score is only for admission into business schools, whereas a GRE score is for all graduate, business, and law programs. The difference between the GRE and the GMAT is that the GRE is known to be more challenging in its verbal section, while the GMAT is tougher in its math section. 

This raises one question, if you’re aiming for business schools, should you take the GMAT? The answer to that is mixed. Since the GMAT is specifically designed for business schools, it may be preferred. However, an increasing number of B schools are accepting GRE scores alongside GMAT scores, with claims that they do not prefer one over the other. All in all, both the GRE and GMAT are accepted by most business schools, including some of the top ones. So you should evaluate your strengths and go for the one you deem a better fit for you.

Related: MBA Specializations: What Do They Pay? & Choosing an Ideal MBA Concentration for Your Goals.

1. Graduate School Admissions

Many graduate programs, especially in the United States, require GRE scores as part of the admissions process. Scoring well on the GRE can enhance your application and increase your chances of being accepted into your desired graduate program.

2. Scholarship Opportunities

Some universities and external organizations offer scholarships based on GRE scores. A high GRE score can make you a more competitive candidate for these scholarship opportunities, potentially reducing the financial burden of graduate education.

3. Gateway to Academic and Career Success

Achieving a commendable score on the GRE can get you accepted into esteemed educational institutions, which could lead to promising and lucrative career prospects. Your performance on the GRE could thus lay the groundwork for success in your academic and professional lives. 

4. Career Advancement

In addition to graduate school admissions, certain careers may require or prefer applicants with GRE scores. These include fields such as academia, research, public policy, and consulting. A strong GRE score can demonstrate your analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, which are valued in many professions.

5. Self-Validation

Scoring well on the GRE can validate your academic abilities and demonstrate your readiness for graduate-level study or professional endeavors. This validation can boost your self-confidence and provide a sense of fulfillment in your academic capabilities.

In conclusion, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) stands as a significant milestone for students like yourself who seek to pursue advanced education and excel in their careers. A strong GRE score serves as a gateway to well-regarded universities and opens doors to a myriad of professional opportunities. Beyond its role in admissions, the GRE symbolizes diligence, perseverance, and the potential for academic and intellectual growth. As you embark on your GRE journey, you not only equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge but also demonstrate your readiness to face challenges and thrive in the competitive landscape of higher education and beyond. Ultimately, the GRE represents more than just a standardized test, it embodies the aspirations and ambitions of individuals striving for excellence in their educational and professional endeavors.

How should I prepare for the GRE?

Preparing for the GRE involves getting familiar with the test structure first. Then create a study plan and stick to it. Take a lot of practice and mock tests and utilize the study material on the official ETS website. Be sure to understand the best way to tackle each section of the test. And here comes the most important part, stay motivated and positive throughout!

Can I choose which GRE scores to send to schools?

Yes, test-takers have the option to select which GRE scores they want to send to designated institutions. You can choose to send all scores from the past five years or only the scores from specific test dates. So yes, go ahead and send your best score in!