GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is A standardized exam used to measure one's aptitude for abstract thinking in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics and vocabulary. GRE scores are used to assess the suitability of applicants for graduate-level study across many different subject areas. Some departments may ask applicants to take one of the GRE Subject Tests, while others require the General Test. The Subject Tests assess knowledge in a particular field, while the General Test assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.

Duration: Around three hours and 45 minutes (six sections with a 10-minute break after the third).

Test content: The GRE revised General Test is divided into three parts:

1. Analytical Writing: Two essays. The first asks candidates to put forward a perspective on an issue; the second requires an analysis of an argument. This section tests candidates’ ability to articulate ideas, present supporting evidence and use the English language correctly. (Two separately timed essays in one hour).

2. Verbal Reasoning: A mostly multiple choice section which tests candidates’ ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships between words and concepts. (Two sets of 20 questions, each set lasting 30 minutes.)

3. Quantitative Reasoning: Mostly multiple choice, with a few questions requiring candidates to enter a number. This section tests ability to understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis, and to reason numerically. (Two sets of 20 questions, each set lasting 35 minutes.)

Unscored sections: In addition, an unidentified section and/or a research section may be included. These are used by the test provider to develop new questions or for other research purposes, and do not affect candidates’ scores.

Scoring: Candidates receive a score for each section. Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning are measured on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments. Analytical writing is scored on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. You cannot pass or fail the GRE, but universities and departments may require applicants to achieve a specific score. If you are unhappy with your score you can re-sit the test (a maximum of five times over a 12 month period).

When sending score cards to admissions departments, candidates can now choose whether to include only their most recent score, or all scores from the previous five years. Candidates may choose up to four institutions to send score reports to, or more for an extra fee. Results can be cancelled immediately on completing the test.

Cost: US$190 (worldwide)

Time : The test can be taken once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if the candidate canceled the scores on a test taken previously. One may take the paper-delivered test as often as it is offered.

Valid for: Five years