Detailed analysis of GRE question structure

Exam: Test Prep GRE Test - Graduate Record Examination Test: Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing


The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is an exam taken by students to get admission in foreign colleges and universities, mostly in United States. The test is conducted and monitored by Education Testing Service. Initially around 1949 the test aimed to measure the verbal and quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking. These skills are attained by the students over a long period of time; it can’t be gained by studying a particular period of time in any school. The format of the exam is objective type having multiple choice questions, the scores of the test is a determining factor for the admission foreign graduate schools and the various department within schools. ETS had made some changes in august 2011 in the question pattern, making the exam more users friendly and less difficult in comparison to other exams. The changed pattern will make evaluation of students easier by the universities, enabling them to choose more deserving candidates. The new pattern is effective since august 2011. According to the GRE team this is largest change in the last 60 yrs of GRE history.

The revised pattern of GRE features questions that will reflect your thinking, and the skills that are needed to succeed in the graduate schools. The friendly design of the test enables you to sip questions within the section, allow back and forth for changing the answers and the freedom to choose which section you want to do first. The test of GRE includes three areas Verbal Ability, Analytical Writing Ability, and Quantitative Ability (Mathematics).

Verbal Ability

The verbal section consists of four kinds of questions Analogies, Antonyms, Sentence Completion, and Reading comprehension. The success of the students in this section depends on their vocabulary. The eve of the questions varies from easy to tough. Normally this section contains 30 questions; 7 analogies, 9 antonyms, 6 sentence completion, 8 reading comprehension, appearing in any order in the question paper. The section measures your skills in:

  • Analyzing and drawing conclusions from discourse finding reason from incomplete data indentifying assumptions or perspective of the author understanding meaning of multiple level
  • Section of important points differentiate between minor from major or relevant point, text summary, understanding the structure of the text
  • Understanding the meaning of sentences, words and texts , relationships between words and different concepts

In short, the section measures the ability of student to understand, read, and how they apply their reasoning skills. The student should read a lot of boos, newspaper, articles, editorials; this will help them to improve their skills. The section is allotted 30 minutes each of the two sections having 40 questions in total. The changed pattern now concentrates more on contextual use rather than on memorized subjects.

Quantitative Ability (Mathematics)

This section is normally referred as mathematical section. This comprises of questions from arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. The questions are from high school mathematics, so there is no need for advance knowledge of mathematics. The section contains around 28 questions from different sections like Quantitative Comparison, discrete Quantitative comparison and Data analysis. Generally the section tests your potential to:

  • Perceive quantitative information
  • Analyze and interpret quantitative knowledge
  • Solve basic math’s and elementary concepts of algebra, arithmetic,  geometry and data interpretation
  • Solve questions from real life scenarios

The section includes an on screen calculator which you can use for calculations, in case of online mode and if you opted for offline mode, the calculator will be provided at the test center. The section concentrates more, on the ability of student to solve reasoning and problem solving questions. Overall the section tests your time management, speed, consistency and accuracy of yours to solve the questions. The section is divided into two parts, which have in total of 40 questions which is allotted of 35 minutes each. The section is meant to score high in the given time. Although the pattern is changed, the syllabus remains as it was earlier. Hence, in depth knowledge, understanding of the concepts, and then implementing those, will ensure you to score good.  

Analytical Writing Ability

The Analytical Reasoning section is replaced by this section in October 2002. This new section tests the ability of students to analyze the problems and ability to write trough essays. This section examines your knowledge by following ways:

  • Communicate complex ideas clearly
  • Ideas supporting reasons with examples
  • We focused sustained discussion

This section wants you to give to the point answers to the given tasks, so that your skills can be measured accurately. The essay that you will be given will be related to public interest. You will be asked to describe your perspective on the given topic, you may support or argument on the topic. The discussion of yours should not sound vague and doubtful. You should prove your point strongly and through precise examples supporting your arguments or support towards the topic. The strong message in your answers will help you score high. The revised question pattern contains an Issue Task; you have to be very careful in answering the task, as you will not be allowed more than 15 minutes.

The question pattern has been changed by the GRE governing body, though the students can excel in the exam. The students should prepare we practice as questions as they can. The official site of GRE provides guide to preparation for the students which they can access any time. In case they fail to score well, they can retake the exam any other day to improve their score. The revised pattern will help you score well and have you admitted to the college of your dreams, you just have to study we and achieve your dreams.


Related IT Guides

  1. GRE Test exam questions
  2. 10 Tips to Do Well on the GRE
  3. An Inside Look at the Physics GRE
  4. Best majors for GRE scores in 2014
  5. Best Majors for the GRE in 2013
  6. Can GRE properly measure performance of a student in Grad school?