The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949.
Many graduate schools in the United States require GRE results as part of the admissions process. The GRE is a standardized test intended to measure the abilities of all graduates in tasks of general academic nature, regardless of their fields of specialization. The GRE is intended to measure the extent to which undergraduate education has developed an individual’s verbal and quantitative skills in abstract thinking.
The exam aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at Prometric testing centers.
The structure of the computer-based GRE revised General Test consists of five sections. The first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order.
This format allows the examined person to freely move back and forth between questions within each section, and the testing software allows the user to “mark” questions within each section for later review if time remains. The entire testing procedure lasts about 3 hours 45 minutes. One-minute breaks are offered after each section and a 10-minute break after the third section.
The scoring scale is 130 to 170 scale. An examinee can miss one or more questions on a multiple-choice section and still receive a perfect score of 170. Likewise, even if no question is answered correctly, 130 is the lowest possible score.ETS does not release scores that are older than 5 years, although graduate program policies on the acceptance of scores older than 5 years will vary.
The paper-based GRE General Test consists of six sections and is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable. The analytical writing is split up into two sections, one section for each issue and argument task. The next four sections consist of two verbal and two quantitative sections in varying order. There is no experimental section on the paper based test.
In addition to the General Test, there are also seven GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. The length of each exam is 170 minutes.