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Facts about GRE

  • Introduced in 1949 by the ETS (Educational Testing Services).
  • It's a common requirment for students applying for their Master's, Ph.D., MBA or JD.
  • There are two types of GRE - GRE General and GRE Subject Test.
  • It is one of the most user-friendly tests.
  • Students can skip questions and go back to re-attempt using 'Mark' & 'Review'.
  • You need a passport number to give the exam.

About GRE

You've probably heard this acronym multiple times, especially from students who've got their sights set on joining a college overseas. That's because the GRE is a common admission requirement for Master's and PhD programs in colleges worldwide. A good GRE score will help students secure admission in a recognised college and bag merit-based scholarships.

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It is a multiple-choice, computer-based exam organised by the test makers ETS (Educational Testing Service). The test was first conducted in 1949 and has helped many students pursue a variety of programs.

Types of GRE

What's New

GRE General Test is for students wanting to pursue a Master's, specialised Master's, doctorate, MBA, or JD (Juris Doctor for pursuing Law).


What's New

*GRE Subject Test tests your knowledge in specific subjects Chemistry, Biology, Math, Physics, English Literature, and Psychology.


User-friendly features of the GRE General Test

The GRE General Test has an advanced, adaptive design. Candidates can move forwards or backwards within a section; you can skip questions and go back later and answer them using the 'Mark' and 'Review' features. You can also change and edit answers within a section. An on-screen calculator makes it convenient for you to perform calculations.

Universities that accept GRE Scores

Several universities and graduate schools around the world accept GRE scores. Universities in popular study abroad destinations like the US, Canada, Singapore, UK include GRE scores in their admission criteria.

What's New

What's New

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS has launched a home edition of the GRE General Test for locations where computer tests cannot be held as GRE test centres have shut down. This facility has been provided to help students who are applying for the 2020-21 programs. However, they must meet the requirements set by ETS. To understand more about this feature, you can go through webinars available on the ETS website.

GRE Eligibility

There are no specific eligibility criteria for the test. This means that almost anyone who wishes to pursue graduate programs abroad can take the test. There are no restrictions on age or qualifications either.

Pro tip

When appearing for the exam, the student must produce an original passport as proof of identity. You can register for the exam and book a test date without your passport number but must produce it at the exam centre.


GRE Registration

Registration fee for GRE General Test USD 213 in India
Registration fee for GRE Subject Test USD 150 worldwide
Additional costs - Exam preparation costs
- Rescheduling fee
- Requests for score reports
- Score reviews
Accepted mode of payment It is possible to pay the GRE fees online through a credit or debit card.
You can also use PayPal or money orders. You cannot make cash payments for GRE.

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Steps to Register for GRE

You can register for GRE online or via phone.

Registering online

Registering online

  • Create your account on the ETS website.

  • Create and save your username and password; you will need them every time to log in to your account.

  • Apply for the exam.

  • Complete the applicatiion form by selecting the time, date and then fill out your academic information.

  • Pay the registration fee.

Registering over the phone

Registering over the phone

  • Call the Regional Registration Center (RRC) located in India.

  • Once you register for the exam, the centre will send you a confirmation number, reporting time, and the test centre address via e-mail.

Pro tip

When registering over the phone, make the call at least two business days before your preferred test date. This will ensure that you get the date and time slot you desire. If you wish to cancel or reschedule a test, you must do so no later than 4 days before the examination, or you would lose your registration fee. The fee to reschedule your test is USD 50.


GRE Structure

The GRE General Test evaluates your Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Data Analysis, and Vocabulary Skills through the following 6 sections. You get a 10-minute break after the third section and the overall test time is about 3 hours 45 minutes.

Section Skillset No. of tasks / sections Allotted time
Analytic Writing Assessment Tests your ability to articulate complex ideas, sustain a discussion 2 tasks ('Analyse an Issue' task and one 'Analyse an Argument' task) 60 minutes
Verbal Reasoning Checks your English competence through your ability to arrive at conclusions, understand perspectives, summarise texts and understand their structure 2 sections, 40 questions 60 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning Tests your ability to understand quantitative information, interpret and analyse it and apply Mathematical skills and concepts to solve problems 2 sections, 40 questions 70 minutes
Unscored*   Varies Varies
Research*   Varies Varies

*Scores not counted. Questions included for ETS research purposes.

The GRE Subject Test evaluates your knowledge in Mathematics, Literature (English), Physics and Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry.

Pro tip

It is possible to know all the answers but lose out because there isn't enough time to answer all of them. Time-management is crucial to complete the exam. Repeatedly taking practice tests can help you manage your time better.


GRE Score Calculation

You should identify the GRE scoring pattern as it will help you understand how scores are calculated:

Section Score range
Analytic Writing Assessment 0-6 with half-point increments
Verbal Reasoning 130-170 with 1-point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130-170 with 1-point increments

GRE total score is calculated on a 260-340 scale. For the GRE Subject Test, the score range is between 200-900.

Some things you need to know about GRE scores

  • A GRE score is valid for 5 years from the day of the exam.
  • Colleges and courses have their own GRE cut-off. It would help if you kept these cut-offs in mind while aiming for your GRE score.
  • If a GRE score is in the range of 80, it might be advisable to rewrite the exam.

Pro tip

While GRE scores are essential, they aren't the only factor considered during the college application process. It helps to supplement a GRE score with an excellent academic record to improve the chances of bagging a scholarship or getting into the college of choice. For extra credits, students could also take up a job or internship for work experience. Helping out at an NGO or doing voluntary work also adds value to the student's application.


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Tips to Prepare for GRE

This is a highly competitive exam. Since admission depends on these scores, prepare hard. Here are some tips to help you do better:

  • Practise using free and paid practice tests from the ETS website.
  • Make use of the essay prompts available on the ETS website and other GRE test prep websites to practice analytical writing.
  • Revise Maths concepts learnt in high school and college to prepare for Math problems.
  • Read respected publications, journals, newspapers, magazines to improve your vocabulary.

Pro tip

It's good to set a target score; make a list of the universities you want to apply to. Now find out the average GRE scores of the latest incoming class. The target score should either match this average or be above it.


While the GRE is an immensely competitive exam, a student can score well if they practise hard. Good scores improve your chances of getting admission to the college of your choice. So, it helps break some sweat during the GRE preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often can I retake the GRE?

A student can take the test up to 5 times in a rolling period of 365 days. There must be a break of 21 days between two exams.

When should I take the GRE?

When deciding a time to take the test, it helps to consider the application deadlines of colleges. Then, working backwards, it is easy to plan for retests, unexpected delays, and even the time it will take for the scores to arrive.

How long does it take to prepare for GRE?

This depends from person to person. Experts say that it takes 2-3 months of intensive studying to get familiar with the GRE syllabus. If a student is looking at a more relaxed but steady pace, it's best to start preparing at least 6 months in advance. There are several books available to help you prep for the exam. You can also visit the ETS website to get free and paid study material, including practice tests.

Can GRE scores be viewed online?

Yes, they can be. GRE General Test scores are usually given about 10-15 days after taking the test. It is possible to check scores on the students' ETS accounts. The GRE Subject Test scores can take up to 5 weeks to reach you.

How to send GRE scores to institutions?

GRE registration fee entitles a student to have scores directly sent to up to four graduate institutions or fellowship sponsors. The 'SelectScore' option lets the student decide which scores they want to send to the desired institutions. If a student wants to send score reports to more than 4 institutions, the charges are USD 27 per recipient.