How to Prepare for GRE

Fast Facts

  • Name of the Exam: Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

  • Eligibility: The only eligibility required for GRE is to prove your identity. In India, candidates will require their original passport to prove their identity. A candidates' passport will show their Full name, photograph and signature. It is mandatory to use only your passport as no other document can be used as an alternate photo identity proof. The Education Testing Service (ETS) does not set any age qualifications. However, the Universities which accept GRE scores have their own range of eligibility criteria. The Universities have set certain parameters for each of their programmes pertaining to minimum age, experience and qualification-related filters.

  • Exam schedule: At Prometric centers, computer-based GRE is offered all around the year. Within a period of 12 months, you can take a GRE test up to 5 times, once every 21 days. This parameter applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. However, you need to create a My GRE Account in order to register for a specific date. .

  • Notifications: The notifications pertaining to GRE is issued by the GRE Information Bulletin from time to time. Candidates are advised to visit the website regularly to check the updates. For GRE Information Bulletin 2017-18, visit

  • Preparation time: Candidates from across the world compete in this prestigious exam. Each candidate has a diverse background which provides them an edge above the rest. It is advisable to study strategically and regularly to crack this exam. Comprehensive and coherent approach along with regular practice of the sample papers and previous year question papers is required.

What is GRE Exam?

GRE is Graduate Record Exam. More than 1,00,000 graduate school applicants from approx. 160 countries take the GRE General Test at 700 test centers. In most regions of the world, computer-based GRE General Test is available throughout the year on a continuous basis. In the countries of the world, where computer-based test is not available the paper delivered test is available up to three times throughout the year i.e. in the month of October, November and February. However, before you register make sure seats are available on that date. The Registration fee to take GRE General Test is $205 and the fees for GRE Subject Test is $150.

Examination Pattern

GRE exam allows a wide range of Universities to use the GRE score to select applicants from diverse backgrounds applying for degrees. As per the GRE test pattern 2017, an applicant will be evaluated on the parameters of Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. There are six sections with a ten minute break following the 3rd section. GRE test is available in two formats - GRE General Test which tests candidates on their Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing and GRE subject Test. However, as per the GRE test pattern 2017, the GRE Subject Test evaluates the knowledge in specific fields which are as follows - Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

Analytical WritingTwo Tasks - 1) "Analyse an Issue" 2) "Analyse an Argument"30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning (Two Sections)20 Questions per Section30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning (Two Sections) 20 Questions per Section 35 minutes per section
Unscored variesvaries
Research variesvaries

*However, the Unscored and Research Sections do not count towards the actual GRE 2017 Score according to the GRE Test pattern. For more information about the content of the computer delivered GRE General Test visit

Exam-based test format

The total duration for the computer-based GRE General Test is 3hours 45minutes. There are six section with a ten minute break following the 3rd section. According to the GRE test pattern, the Unscored and Research Section do not count towards the actual GRE 2017 score. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored on 130-170 scales and the Subject Tests are scored on a 200-990 scale.

Tips to Prepare for GRE

  • Know the format: Strategise and plan your time to create a study routine with sufficient time for each section. Each section is different and thus requires different preparation. The last two sections are not included in the paper-based GRE.

  • Analytical writing: This section mainly evaluates how you maintain a steady focus, your capability of intelligible discussion, and how coherently and clearly you express complex ideas supporting them with appropriate examples. To master analytical skills, read different articles rigorously and try to analyse different perspectives.

  • Keep yourself updated: Be aware of what is going on nationally and internationally. Keep updated with important events across the world. Make it a habit of reading a national daily and magazines that give information on latest occurrences and trends around the globe. Also explore relevant content on television and the Internet.

  • Quantitative reasoning: This section evaluates your skill to analyse and interpret different quantitative problems and how you use your skills in mathematics to solve the problems. The subjects include arithmetic, geometry, algebra, statistics and probability. Clear concepts and ample practice are the key to success here.

  • Verbal reasoning: This section evaluates your ability to comprehend what you read and also how you draw and analyse conclusions from it. Read voraciously to hone your English language skills. Analyse and write as much as possible.

  • Study materials: Carefully choose preparation books, making sure that they cover the entire range of topics included in each section. Download free material from The website of ETS allows downloading the POWEPREP II software. It help you familiarise with the tests that are taken maintaining stipulated time, the type of questions, test directions, testing software, on-screen calculator and design of the test.

  • No negative marking: The GRE does not include negative marking, so you can attempt as many questions as you can. But attempt those first that you are more confident of, as it will maximise your scoring potential.

  • Read the questions carefully: The type of response differs for different questions. Some may ask for a single choice while others may require more than one choice; yet another may ask you to give a numeric answer in the new format of GRE revised General Test. Read the question clearly, understand the requirement properly and then go for answering it.

  • Change answers: The revised General Test of the GRE allows you to edit or change answers, move back and forth in a section and also answer skipped questions later on. With such flexibility you are free to glance at a particular section first and then attempt questions according to your convenience.

Useful Links

GRE General Test - Visit to access test preparation materials, many of which are free.

GRE Subject Tests - Visit to access free test preparation material.

Paper back versions of The Official Guide to the GRE General Test- 3rd Edition, Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, 2nd Edition and Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, 2nd Edition are also available by phone or fax.

Some Useful Books
  • The Official Guide to the GRE General Test- 3rd Edition
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume1, 2nd Edition.
  • Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, 2nd Edition.
  • New GRE 2011-2012 Premier with CD-ROM (Kaplan GRE Exam Premier Live)
  • 1,014 Practice Questions for the New GRE, 2nd Edition

Last Updated on : August 4, 2017

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