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GRE Exam Syllabus : General Test Pattern 2018 – 2019

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A plethora of universities and colleges in the US, Canada, UK, and other countries ask for Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores before giving admissions to their graduate-level courses. Hence it is necessary to go through GRE exam syllabus and general test pattern before investing time and energy.  The standards which GRE follows is global and requires exhaustive command in all the necessary aptitudes.

GRE Exam Syllabus at a Glance

GRE is divided into three parts: Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing. Following are the insights of the test which one must know before turning from aspirant to a determined candidate.


The verbal section tests reading comprehension and vocabulary. Questions are of the type “what two sentences have the same meaning?” or “fill in the blank with the correct word to complete the sentence” and likewise. This section ranges from 130-170. As this section is computer maintained, no two candidates will get the same exact test. This implies that there would be a distinction between the order of question and choices combination as per participant’s performance in GRE’s verbal section. The vocabulary used in the test is very formal, so you need to prepare voracious vocabulary by marking every typical word you come across.


The Quantitative section is a mix of high school math, statistics, mental calculations, geometry, and reasoning. Again, this test is scored from 130 to 170 points and is computer based. Things to remember is, if you have done your graduation in science majors then you must not have touched this type of elementary mathematics in a long time, whereas if you are a non-science majors chances are that you haven’t even touched mathematics at all. Keeping GRE in mind, as an aspirant you need to relearn the high school mathematics again. Don’t worry it is a quick task.


The Analytical Writing section consists of two essays that as a GRE applicant you need to write in 30 minutes each, based on a question or arguments given in the exam. Your written texts are then scored from 1 to 6 by a panel of two judges. The name of the section clearly indicates that it tests your analytical abilities. Keeping this mind lets get things straight, you can’t prepare in advance for the essay questions, so you have very limited time to put together a good series of arguments, you also cannot use any dictionary or other resources to check your spelling, grammar, or just facts that you want to include in your essays. However, you are still evaluated on proper spelling, proper grammar and syntax. The text you write is completely impromptu. The only key to achieve good is, be open to nearly everything which intervenes your senses. Analytical Writing Section is a deciding factor between the good and the better.

GRE Exam Syllabus 2018 – Verbal Reasoning :

The verbal reasoning section comprises of three types of questions- Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence. As per the GRE syllabus 2018, the Verbal Reasoning section measures a candidate’s ability to:

  • Analyse and draw conclusions
  • Understand and add value to incomplete data
  • Identify the   perception of the author
  • Identify vital points and differentiate between relevant, and irrelevant points;
  • Understand and summarise the structure of a text
  • Understand the given words, sentences and entire texts
  • Ability to focus on the meaning of the entire sentence
  • Understand relationships among words and among concepts

List of topics in GRE Verbal Reasoning Syllabus

Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives

  • Verb Tense
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism

GRE Exam Syllabus 2018 – Quantitative Reasoning :

The Quantitative Reasoning section of GRE test evaluates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Understand and analyze quantitative information
  • Solve problems using mathematical models
  • Interpret quantitative information appropriately
  • Apply basic mathematical skills and concepts of Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Data Interpretation.

List of topics in GRE Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus

Here are some concepts that will be tested in the GRE quantitative section. It has a lot of overlap between the basic topics tested in the GMAT exam. So you’ll find that the preparation can help you for both tests.

  • Maths Formulas List
  • Number properties
  • Order of operations
  • Percentage
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Profit and loss
  • Simple and compound interest
  • Speed, distance and time
  • Permutation & combination
  • Linear equations
  • Quadratic equations
  • Sets Theory
  • Statistics: Average, Median, Mode, Range, Standard deviation
  • Powers and roots
  • Probability
  • Pipes, cisterns, work, time
  • Lines and angles
  • Triangles
  • Polygon
  • Quadrilateral
  • Circles
  • Co-ordinate geometry
  • Volume and surface area

GRE Exam Syllabus 2018 – Analytical Writing :

The Analytical Writing section of GRE exam evaluates a candidate’s ability to:

  • Articulate complex ideas effectively and with clarity
  • Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • Examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • Sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion

How to register?

You must register online to take the GRE in advance of your test date; walk-in GRE registration at test centers is not accepted. The GRE is administered by ETS and given at Prometric testing centers.

What is the Frequency, Duration, and Fees?

You can appear in the test on most weekdays and weekends year-round. The Duration of the test is 3 hours, 45 minutes, whereas it costs around $205.

How is the GRE scored?

GRE test-takers will receive three separate scores, one for each section. Math and Verbal GRE scores fall on a scale of 130–170. Analytical Writing scores range from 0–6. Some test takers will also see an additional experimental math or verbal section. It will not be included in the final score.

Do GRE test scores expire?

Yes, GRE score remains valid only for five years.

Educational Testing Service

ETS- Educational Testing Service is a GRE exam conducting body. It has prescribed two sets of GRE 2018 Syllabus. The test is conducted in two formats, GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The GRE Syllabus 2018 is entirely different for both General GRE and Subject GRE tests.

The difference

GRE General test measures a candidate’s

  • Verbal reasoning ability
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical writing skills

GRE Subject Test evaluates the candidate’s expertise in specific fields like

  • Biology
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • And other subjects

The difference in both the formats is reflected in the GRE test pattern. Also, both the tests use different yardsticks to measure the candidate’s proficiency. While the GRE general test is scored on a scale of 130-170, the subjects tests are scored on a 200-990 scale. In this article, candidates can check the complete GRE Syllabus of all the three sections.

Note: GRE test-takers will receive three separate scores, one for each section. Math and Verbal GRE scores fall on a scale of 130–170. Analytical Writing scores range from 0–6. Some test takers will also see an additional experimental math or verbal section, which will not be included in the final score.

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