Although the revised GRE General test still checks the fundamental skills (including the reasoning and comprehension) and does not require any subject-specific theoretical knowledge, it has definitely become more challenging! However, the revised test is friendlier and more flexible since it even provides an onscreen calculator to help you with the quantitative reasoning section. Usage of computers is allowed for the Paper Based GRE General test. The test has three distinct sections: Quantitative Section, Verbal Section and Analytical Writing Assessment Section. The grading scale ranges from 130-170. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a multiple choice standardised exam that is designed to measure the verbal, analytical and quantitative skills of the examinee. As mentioned, there are two types: General and Subject GRE. The GRE General Test is required by most graduate schools and GRE Subject Tests (in 17 specific areas, e.g. Psychology, Biology, Chemistry) are often required for a Master's and graduate school (Ph.D.) admission.
The GRE test patterns have been recently revised in 2011. Read this article on GRE test pattern and content to get an idea.
GRE Test Pattern
- There are two sections included under this part. Each section contains 25 questions on mathematics that need to be completed in 40 minutes. The difficulty level of questions is comparable to a typical Class X syllabus which covers basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis. But the focus lies on data interpretation and real-life scenarios.
- Major topics include number systems, percentages, fractions & decimals, algebra (including quadratic equations), geometry (including basic coordinate geometry), ratio & proportion, area & volume of 2-D and 3-D figures and probability.
- There is multiple choice questions which include some that have more than one correct answer and require you to select all of the correct answers from the choices provided. The numeric entry questions requires you to enter your answers in a box and an onscreen calculator that makes computation simple.
- There are two sections included under the verbal part and each section contains 25 questions to be attempted in 35 minutes.
- This section evaluates your ability to analyze written material and synthesize information obtained from it. Also, it tests your capacity to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize the connection between words and concepts.
- The verbal section requires good vocabulary levels and basic skills of grammatically correct English, coupled with reasoning and analysis.
- The questions here consist of three types: sentence equivalence, text completion and reading comprehension. Text completion tests your ability to interpret, evaluate and reason from the reading. Sentence equivalence questions estimates how you reach a conclusion about the completion of a sentence while focusing on the meaning of the whole sentence. Reading comprehension judges your ability to analyze and draw conclusions from a passage and summarize the text.
Analytical Writing Assessment
- The writing assessment section requires you to write two short essays.
- one, where you evaluate a logical argument from the issue presented in front of you. The other, where you express your views on a critical issue. The time allotted is 30 minutes.
- Now, the second essay where you need to analyze an argument requires the expression of your take on the subject. This task does not offer a choice of topics; the computer will present you with a single topic selected from the topic pool. The time allotted is again 30 minutes.
- The section measures your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It also assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not necessarily evaluate any specific content knowledge.
The changes to these three sections incorporated in the GRE test paper is the kind of tasks and thinking you'll be expected to do in graduate school. Thus, GRE provides more reliable results to the schools considering you for admission than your mark sheets!