All About GRE® Exam: Sections, Number of Questions & Allotted Time

01 November, 2022
SA Team

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. Most top-ranked global universities accept GRE® as an admission test for graduate programs from technical Masters to masters in arts to MBA. Graduate applicants from all around the world who are interested in pursuing a master’s, MBA, specialized master’s in business or doctoral degree take the GRE® General Test. The GRE® General Test, created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills. If you plan to pursue an MS, MEM (Masters in Engineering Management) or MFE (Masters in Financial Engineering), then the GRE is a qualifying test you will need to take.

Global GRE takers: Over 0.6 million applicants take the GRE® of which, approximately 1.2 lakhs applicants are from India.

What makes GRE® an awesome test:

  • Flexibility to choose the test date and time – GRE® is held all through the year
  • GRE® score validity – Your scores are valid for 5 years
  • GRE® retake – You can retake the GRE® after 21 days from the previous attempt if you are unhappy with your performance
  • GRE® maximum attempts – You can take up to 5 attempts in a year
  • GRE® Score Select – You can select a specific score from past attempts and have its score reported to universities
  • You can view your scores before reporting it to a university
  • GRE® score cancellation – You are allowed to cancel an attempt if you are not happy with your performance

The total testing time for the revised GRE® test is around 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

GRE® Format:

One Analytical Writing section with two separately timed writing tasks

  • Two Verbal Reasoning sections
  • Two Quantitative Reasoning sections
  • One unscored section, typically a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section, may appear at any point in the test.
SectionNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
Analytical Writing
(1 section with 2
separately timed tasks)
 “Analyse an Issue”
“Analyse an Argument”
30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning
(2 sections)
Approximately 20 questions per section30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning
(2 sections)
Approximately 20 questions per section35 minutes per section

Scores Reported on the GRE® General Test

SectionScore Scale
Verbal Reasoning130–170, in 1-point increments
Quantitative Reasoning130–170, in 1-point increments
Analytical Writing0–6, in half-point increments

The verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and unscored sections can appear in any sequence.

The test features a score scale that reports the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores on a 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments.*An unidentified unscored section that does not count towards a score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section.

**An identified research section may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section are included for the purpose of ETS research and will not count towards the test taker’s score.

There is a 10-minute break following the third section and a 1-minute break between the other test sections.