What you need to know about the GRE

Student taking the Graduate Record Examinations revised General Test.

The GRE is a test that is used to assess your ability to succeed in business or graduate school. Combined with an undergraduate record of study and letters of recommendation, it can be used for admission purposes and qualification for monetary assistance, such as fellowships and grants.

The GRE tests the 3 subject areas listed below and is divided into 6 sections.The Analytical Writing section is always given first, with the remaining sections following it, in random order. Among these last 5 sections, there will be 2 sections each of Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, plus one of the following:

  • an unscored section that is not labeled as such. It could be any of the last 5 sections

  • a section labeled “Research” that is always at the end of the test.

Neither of these last 2 sections affect your score in any way.

What are the costs?

The current fee for taking the GRE is listed as $195 worldwide. Late registration and rescheduling a GRE test require substantial fees, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and be sure you can attend the test date you choose.

What should I bring?

A valid, original photo ID, with your name printed exactly as it is on your registration. See this link from the official GRE website for specific ID requirements.

Computer version: Your ETS (Educational Testing Service) admission voucher, if you requested and received one.

Paper version: Your admission ticket.

Clothing that can be adjusted for any inside conditions. (Dressing in thin layers would be a good idea.)

For the paper version only, bring three or four sharpened No. 2 or HB pencils and an effective eraser. No mechanical pens or pencils are permitted.

Do not bring:

A calculator. One will be furnished for your use. It will be either an online calculator or a testing service issued device.

Any electronic device, including cell phone or digital watch. You may be subject to a body scan that will detect any such device.

Paper of any kind.

An excess of personal items. You will be assigned a place for personal belongings outside the testing room and the space will be limited.

What kind of job can I get?

Graduate school can be an important part of establishing a productive career. Study beyond traditional college could enable you to be considered for positions above the entry-level jobs usually available to applicants with a 4-year degree. Today, some jobs even require a graduate degree for any type of employment. In any case, completing post-graduate study certainly has the potential to open additional career doors for you.

Am I eligible?

The GRE computer-delivered test may be taken once every 21 days for up to five different test sessions within a 12-month period. The paper version of the GRE may be taken as often as it is available.

Why does it matter?

A good score on the GRE can be the ticket for entry into the graduate school of your choice. Completion of your graduate school study has the potential of leading to increased professional recognition and the establishment of professional credibility in your field. Completing an advanced degree can also lead to a greater sense of personal accomplishment.

What salary can I expect?

A graduate degree has the power to boost your income considerably. According to U.S. News and World Report, graduate study can enable a person to make up to 30% more in annual salary, with the average salary for such an employee averaging around $55,242. There is also increased potential for advancement opportunities once you are employed. For more details, see this:

When is it available?

The GRE is given at many locations around the world. You must register in order to make an appointment for the test location and session you choose. Registration may be completed online and there is more information about this process on the official Educational Testing Service website .

The paper version of the test is only offered in places where the computer version is not available. See list of these locations here .

Tips & Tricks

Take time to review specific skills covered in each of the sections of the GRE. Be sure you are practicing these concepts at a graduate level of difficulty.

Time Allowed

It is a good idea to plan to be at the testing location for a total of about 4 1/2 hours. This would include arriving about 30 minutes early. The computer version of the GRE requires a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break after the third section. The GRE paper version lasts for 3 hours and 30 minutes and includes a 10-minute break after the second section.

Additional notes: At the end of your test session, you can designate which institutions will receive your scores. If you choose to wait for your test results before making this decision, you will need to pay a fee of $27 for each recipient and submit a separate request at a later date.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!