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Graduate Record Examination ( GRE ) FAQ's




Graduate programs and business schools use GRE® scores to evaluate your readiness for graduate-level work. The GRE General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study.


Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically the test taker's ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively

Verbal Reasoning — Measures reading comprehension skills and verbal and analogical reasoning skills, focusing on the test taker's ability to analyze and evaluate written material

Quantitative Reasoning — Measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis


Who Takes It and Why?

Each year, about 675,000 prospective graduate school applicants from approximately 230 countries take the GRE General Test. Applicants come from varying educational backgrounds and countries, and the GRE General Test provides the only common measure for comparing their qualifications.


GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate study.


Where Do People Take It?

The GRE General Test is offered year-round at computer-based test centers in most locations. It is offered at paper-based test centers in areas of the world where computer-based testing is not available. See which format is available in your area.


Who Accepts It?

The GRE General Test is accepted at thousands of graduate and business schools as well as departments and divisions within these schools.


 What is the price of the GRE General Test?

See Fees for Tests and Related Services.


Which graduate and business school institutions accept GRE scores?

See the complete list of institutions (PDF) using GRE scores and their official ETS code number.


Which MBA programs accept GRE scores?

A rapidly growing list of MBA programs, including many top-ranked global MBA programs, accept GRE scores. View the most current list of business schools accepting GRE scores for MBA admissions.


Where can I get additional information about the GRE General Test?

The GRE program participates in student fairs around the world. These fairs provide an opportunity to talk directly with a representative. Check our listing for upcoming events.


Does ETS offer any services to help match graduate students with the schools that are right for them?

Yes. You can register for the free GRE® Search Service, a database of more than 450,000 prospective graduate students that is searched by thousands of graduate and business school recruiters, including those at the most prestigious institutions. If you match the recruitment profile of a participating institution, you may be sent information on its programs, admissions requirements, scholarships and fellowships.




Does the GRE® General Test measure knowledge in any specific disciplines?

The GRE General Test measures a student's verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills — disciplines that are not specific to any individual field of study, but essential for all and important for success in graduate or business school.

What is the Analytical Writing section like?

The Analytical Writing section consists of two analytical writing tasks: a 45-minute "Present Your Perspective on an Issue" task and a 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task.


Are there examples of what the essay questions look like?

Yes. See "Issue" topics and "Argument" topics. In addition, scored sample essays with commentary from GRE® readers are available for the "Issue" task and the "Argument" task.


How does the Analytical Writing section differ from the Verbal section of the GRE General Test?

Because the Analytical Writing section is a performance test, you must organize and articulate your own ideas as you discuss a complex issue as well as explain the logical soundness of an argument you have just read. The Verbal section of the GRE General Test measures reading comprehension, and verbal and analogical reasoning skills in a multiple-choice format.


While the Verbal section measures your ability to understand complex ideas expressed in written passages and in the relationships between words, the Analytical Writing section measures your ability to articulate and support ideas and to analyze arguments.


How does the Analytical Writing section differ from the TOEFL® Test of Written English™ (TWE®)?

The TOEFL Writing and GRE Analytical Writing measures are intended to measure different sets of skills. The TOEFL Writing section contains two writing tasks: an independent task asks test takers to support an opinion in writing, and an integrated task that asks test takers to write responses that integrate and organize information from a reading passage and a lecture. These writing tasks are not designed to measure higher levels of critical thinking and analytical writing, but center instead on candidates' composition skills and command of English vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and syntax with some analysis and synthesis of material. Therefore, scores on the two tests are not comparable.


Because the TOEFL test emphasizes fundamental writing and comprehension skills, the TOEFL score can supplement an Analytical Writing score by helping faculty determine whether a low score on the GRE Analytical Writing measure is due to lack of familiarity with English or lack of ability to produce and analyze logical arguments.


What level of math content is included in the GRE General Test?

The GRE General Test uses the foundations of high school math to test quantitative reasoning. The test material measures your ability to understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis; to reason quantitatively; and to solve problems in a quantitative setting.

What is the ETS® Personal Potential Index?

The GRE Program offers the ETS® Personal Potential Index (ETS® PPI), a web-based evaluation system. ETS PPI provides information on the personal attributes that have been identified through research as critical for success in graduate and business school, such as knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organization, and ethics and integrity.

Applicants who register for the GRE General Test can send four free ETS PPI evaluation reports to graduate and professional schools at no extra charge. Learn moreatwww.ets.org/ppi.


How is the GRE General Test administered?

The GRE General Test is administered in a secure testing environment on a continuous basis at computer-based test centers in most locations around the world. In addition, the paper-based General Test is administered up to three times per year in regions of the world where the computer-based test is not available


How does the computer-based GRE General Test work?

The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE General Test are adaptive tests. They are tailored to your performance level and provide precise information about your abilities using fewer test questions than traditional paper-based tests. On the Analytical Writing section, the two writing tasks are displayed on the computer, and you must type your essay responses. For more details see: What to Expect.


How can test takers be compared if the test is tailored to the individual?

Each computer-based test meets established specifications, including the types of questions asked and the subject matter presented. The statistical characteristics of the questions answered correctly and incorrectly, including difficulty level, are taken into account in the calculation of scores. Therefore, it is appropriate to compare scores of different test takers even though they received different questions.


Are scores earned on the computer-based GRE General Test comparable to scores earned on the paper-based test?

Yes. ETS has conducted research studies indicating that these scores are comparable.


Do I need to be computer literate?

No. You can take the test even if you have little or no previous computer experience. The test requires only basic computer skills, and these are covered in the hands-on tutorial you must complete before beginning the official timed test. The tutorial lets you try out the functions of the computer (e.g., mouse, scrollbar) that you will need to use during the test. The tutorial is also included in the GRE Powerprep software.


What word processing software is used for the Analytical Writing section of the computer-based test? What tools does it have?

The GRE® Program uses an elementary word processor developed by ETS so that individuals familiar or unfamiliar with a specific commercial word processing software do not have an advantage or disadvantage. The ETS software contains the following functions:


inserting text

deleting text

cutting and pasting

undoing the previous action

Tools such as spell-checkers and grammar-checkers are not available in the ETS software, in large part to maintain fairness with regard to those examinees who handwrite their essays at paper-based administrations. You can practice writing essays using the word processor component of GRE Powerprep software.



How do I register for the computer-based GRE® General Test?

You can register for the computer-based GRE General Test online, by phone, by mail or fax. For more details see: Register for the Computer-based GRE General Test.


How do I register for the paper-based GRE General Test?

Paper-based administrations are offered only in areas of the world where computer-based testing is not available. You can register for the paper-based GRE General Test online or by mail. For more details see: Register for the Paper-based GRE General Test.


Where's my admission ticket?

If you are taking a computer-based test, you do not need an admission ticket. If you are taking a paper-based test, you should receive your admission ticket approximately three weeks after you register. You can also view and print your ticket online. If you do not receive your admission ticket at least 10 days before the test date, please print your ticket or contact ETS immediately to confirm your test center assignment.


What if I need to change the date or location of my test?

You can reschedule or cancel your test up until three days prior to your appointment. For computer-based testing, you can cancel or reschedule online. To change your test center, contact the GRE Program by the registration deadline. For more details see: Cancel or Change Your Registration.


What if I require accommodations?

ETS is committed to serving test takers with disabilities and health-related needs by providing services and reasonable accommodations that are appropriate given the purpose of the test. Nonstandard testing accommodations are available for test takers who meet ETS requirements. See Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs.


How are the sections of the GRE® General Test scored?

The processes for calculating reported scores for computer-based and paper-based tests are similar. In both cases, the number of correct answers is adjusted according to the difficulty level of the questions. Thus, the same number of correct responses on different test forms will not necessarily result in the same reported score.


With computer-based tests, you are given a set of questions with a difficulty level that is specifically designed to match your ability level. The process for calculating a score incorporates the statistical properties of the questions, as well as the number of questions you answer and answer correctly.


On paper-based tests, the differences in difficulty among test forms are relatively small and are adjusted through a process known as score equating. The number of questions answered is also figured into the calculation of the reported score because it limits the number that can be answered correctly.


For more detailed information see How the Test Is Scored.


Are examinees that use alternative ways of developing an argument scored fairly?

You may use any one of a variety of strategies to structure your essays. Readers are explicitly trained to accept any strategy in an essay that meets the essential requirements of the essay task — i.e., a response that provides the information required by the essay prompt.


What scores are reported?

Three scores are reported on the GRE General Test:


a Verbal Reasoning score reported on a 200 – 800 score scale, in 10-point increments

a Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a 200 – 800 score scale, in 10-point increments

an Analytical Writing score reported on a 0 – 6 score scale, in half-point increments

If you answer no questions at all in a section (Verbal, Quantitative or Analytical Writing), you receive a No Score (NS) for that section.


Descriptions of the analytical writing abilities characteristic of particular score levels are available in the GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores (PDF).


How does the GRE® Program recommend that departments use my scores on the GRE General Test?

The GRE® Board has developed Score Use Guidelines that summarize the considerations for appropriate use of GRE test scores.


My native language is not English. How does the GRE Program recommend that departments interpret my Analytical Writing score?

If your native language is not English (ESL) and you do not understand the task posed to you, your performance on all three sections of the GRE General Test will be affected. The GRE Program advises score users to consider a variety of pieces of information about ESL applicants, including TOEFL® and TWE® scores, to determine whether these students would be able to meet the department's requirements.


Should the Analytical Writing score be combined with the Verbal and Quantitative scores?

No. The GRE Program does not recommend combining the scores on any of the GRE General Test sections. Each section should be considered separately because it provides insight into a different aspect of your abilities.


How do I order additional score reports?

You can order additional score reports online, by phone, mail or fax. For additional information, see: Send Score Reports.


Can I view scores online?

Yes. You can now view your scores online free of charge. You will need to create or have a My GRE® Account to use this service.


For computer-based GRE General Test takers, the View Scores Online service is available approximately 15 days after your test date.

For paper-based GRE General Test takers, the View Scores Online service is available approximately six weeks after your test date.

Can I cancel my scores?

At the end of the test, you will be given the option of cancelling your scores. You cannot cancel your score for one section of the test and have the scores for the remaining sections reported. Although you have the option of cancelling your scores, consider very carefully before doing so. Your scores will be reported to GRE score recipients only at your request. If you cancel your scores, they will NOT be reported to you or any score recipients and no refund will be made. Canceled scores are not added to your permanent record. If you wish to take the test again, you must reregister and submit another test payment. Note that once you view your scores, you may not cancel them.

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