GRE is a test that students take to prove their English language proficiency. Students take this test to get admission to top-ranked business institutes in an English-speaking country.

Many top institutes for business have made it compulsory to take the GRE in their application requirement.

So we will discuss the pattern of one of the most selected exams, the GRE. So that it becomes easy for you to fulfill your requirement for entrance to a business institute.

Sometimes for students, it become very stressful to take the GRE test. Because the first question that pops up in their mind is what is GRE exam pattern is and what the GRE exam syllabus is.

In this blog, we will discuss about the GRE exam pattern. But before understanding the pattern of the GRE, let’s discuss what GRE is.

What is GRE?

A group of four colleges and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching launched the GRE in 1936. Until the ETS was established, GRE was under the Carnegie Foundation.

Currently, the ETS (Educational Testing Service) conducts the GRE General Test. ETS itself sets the GRE exam pattern every year and changes it from time to time. 

This is a standard exam that analyzes a student’s general academic ability for graduate study.

There are mainly two types of GRE 

  • GRE General test
  • GRE Subject test

GRE Exam Syllabus

As per the ETS, the GRE exam syllabus 2022 has three sections of the exam. 

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

GRE Test Duration

GRE Section NameNumber of QuestionsDuration
GRE verbal reasoning40 (2 sections 20 questions in each section)60 minutes (30 minutes for each section)
GRE quantitative reasoning2 (one Analyze an Issue and other Analyze an Argument task)70 minutes (35 minutes for each section)
GRE analytical writing assessment40 (2 sections 20 questions in each section)60 minutes (30 minutes for each task)
Total82 questions190 minutes

GRE Exam Pattern

For both type of GRE the pattern is different. If students are familiar with the pattern of the GRE, then it will become easy for them to prepare for the exam. So now, without wasting more time, let’s shift to the GRE exam pattern. Read carefully!

There are two types of GRE:

  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test

GRE Pattern – General Test

GRE test can be taken in two different forms:

  • GRE computer-based
  • GRE paper-based

Although both versions of the GRE are quite similar, there are many differences in both versions of GRE.

Apart from this, the GRE paper exam is not available for everyone. It is only available in those places where computer-based GRE test is unavailable. So you just can not choose the GRE paper exam. It depends upon the location you are taking the exam.

GRE General Test Pattern and Question Types

In the table below, the detailed GRE exam pattern for GRE general test is discussed.

Section nameNumber of SectionsNumber of questionsSub-areasTypes of questions
GRE quantitative reasoning220+20=40 questionsRatio and proportion
Profit and loss
Simple and compound interest
Speed, distance and time
Permutation & combination
Linear equations
Quadratic equations
Sets Theory
Powers and roots
Pipes, cisterns, work, time
Lines and angles
Coordinate geometry
Order of operations
Volume and surface area
Number properties
Quantitative Comparison Questions, 
Numeric Entry Questions
GRE verbal reasoning220+20=40 questions_Reading Comprehension
Text Completion
Sentence Equivalence
GRE analytical writing assessment21+1=2 questions_Analyzing an Issue
Analyzing an Argument

In the sub-areas of the GRE quantitative reasoning syllabus is given.

As per the ETS, the GRE exam pattern in the GRE general test:

  • Total number of MCQ questions is 80.
  • The total number of written questions is 2.
  • GRE verbal section has 3 types of questions which has a total of 3 to 5 options to choose from.
  • GRE verbal and GRE AWA demands a good vocabulary.
  • The major areas in GRE quant are algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis.
  • Only GRE analytical writing assessment has written questions. Other sections have MCQ questions.

Section-wise task focus for GRE general test

Section nameTask focus
Quantitative ReasoningFind out the important point
Understand the purpose of every word and its relation with topic
Conclude accordingly
Verbal ReasoningUsing mathematical formula
Solve mathematical problems, and equations
Analyze data
Solve arithmetic sums and also understand geometrical patterns
Analyze quantitative information
Analytical WritingThink analytically
Representing ideas in words

GRE Pattern Subject Test

It is a paper-based exam and conducted only three times a year. This test is for those students who want a higher degree in a particular subject.

You can give the GRE subject test for the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Before December 2016, biochemistry was also a subject under the GRE subject exam, but after December 2016, it was excluded. 

Students can choose to take the exam for more than one subject. They only have to pay for every single subject they choose.

Students can take the exam in April, September, and October months, but Indian students can take the exam in October month only.

Subject Test GRE Exam Pattern and Question Types

SubjectsNumber of QuestionsSub-sections
Biology190Cellular and Molecular Biology
Organismal Biology
Ecology and Evolution
Chemistry130Analytical Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Physical Chemistry
English230Literary Analysis
Cultural and Historical Contexts
History and the Theory of Literary Criticism
Algebra (Linear, abstract, elementary algebra, and number theory)
Discrete Mathematics
Real Analysis
Probability and Statistics
Additional Mathematics
Physics100Classical Mechanics
Optics and Wave Phenomena
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Quantum Mechanics
Atomic Physics
Special Relativity
Laboratory Methods
Specialized Topics just like Nuclear and Particle Physics, etc.
Measurement or Methodology


In this blog, we have discussed the GRE exam pattern.

Before describing the pattern for the exam, we have provided a brief introduction to GRE and GRE syllabus.

We also provided detail of the total test duration for the exam.

We have given pattern detail for both GRE general and GRE subject tests.

We hope we have cleared all your queries related to the GRE exam pattern. For more blogs like it, keep visiting our site.


Is GRE negative marking?

Your score is not deducted for wrong answers. It is best to answer every question if you want to improve your scores on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning tests.

Is a passport mandatory for GRE?

The only kind of id that GRE facilities will accept is a passport. At testing places in India, even a driver’s license or another form of identification is not allowed. A passport number is not required to register for the GRE online, though. GRE appointments can be made without a passport.