Exam Format

GRE Exam Structure

The GRE has three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. At any point after the Analytical Writing section, two un-scored sections may also appear: one Verbal or Quantitative Reasoning section and one research section for the purpose of ETS statistical studies.

The Analytical Writing section is always the 1st section to appear on the test. There is one “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task. You are given 30 minutes per essay.

The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections can appear in any order following the Writing section. The number of questions in Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning vary from test to test. Remember that the new GRE is a section adaptive test. The first section of either the verbal or the quant section is like any other regular test i.e. everyone gets the same set of questions. The section adaptive algorithm impacts the questions you are given in the second section of either the verbal or the quant area. If you did very well in the first section of quantitative reasoning, you are likely to see harder questions in the second section of quantitative reasoning.






Analytical Writing  (Always the 1st Section)


One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task

30 minutes per essay

Verbal Reasoning (Two Sections)

Approximately 20 per section

  • Reading Comprehension (One Answer Multiple Choice, One or More Answer Multiple Choice, Select-in Passage)
  • Text Completion (Passages of one to five sentences with one to three blanks)
  • Sentence Equivalence (Single sentence, one blank, six answer choices)

30 minutes per section

Quantitative Reasoning (Two Sections)

Approximately 20 per section

  • One Answer Multiple Choice & One or More Answer Multiple Choice
  • Numeric Entry
  • Quantitative Comparison (NOTE: Data Interpretation Sets may appear in Multiple Choice (both types) OR Numeric Entry Section)

35 minutes per section

Unscored Sections (Two Types)


  • After the Analytical Writing Section, either a Verbal or Quantitative Reasoning Section may appear at any point
  • An unidentified Research Section, for the purpose of ETS research; the Research Section is also unscored and will appear at the end of the test.