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The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for applying to MS, MA and Ph D programs in graduate schools worldwide. Additionally, some B-schools have started accepting GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores for their MBA programs although the equivalence of scores is not clear yet. The GRE General Test is a common parameter judging aspirants from varying educational and cultural backgrounds for all universities.

Apart from the GRE score, schools also review Undergraduate GPA, Letters of Recommendation, duration and quality of work experience (if required) and Statement of Purpose (SOP) or essays. Officially, the GRE score is valid for 5 years but a fresh score could be demanded by premier universities after every 3 years. One can take the exam once in a month and maximum five times in a year. A computer-adaptive computer-based test, the GRE is conducted by Educational Testing Services (ETS).



The GRE is available year-round and on demand, which offers test takers greater flexibility in scheduling. One can also re-schedule the exam date before 3 calendar days to the test. It is important to note that the GRE can only be given once in a month and not more than 5 times in a year and if multiple tests are taken, universities take the best of the scores of all tests taken in last 5 years. The advantage of taking a GRE is that scores can be cancelled before they are viewed, if a candidate thinks he did not have a great exam. Alternatively, using the ScoreSelectSM facility, you can choose which university should receive which score out of your multiple GRE attempts.


The Educational Testing Service, or ETS, founded the GRE in 1949. Based in Princeton, New Jersey, the ETS is a not-for-profit membership association that primarily develops standardized tests for K-12 and higher education institutions, as well as international tests such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Over the years, the number of GRE takers has increased to cross 655,000 takers worldwide in 2012.


The duration of the exam is a three hour and forty five minutes. Multiple choice questions covering Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are asked. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

Analytical Writing Assessment (1 section with 2 separately timed tasks) -Analysis of Issue and Analysis of an Argument which is to be completed in 60 minutes (30 minutes each).

The Verbal Reasoning (2 sections) has 3 types of questions, Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence. There are 20 questions in each section to be completed in 30 minutes each.

The Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections) has quantitative comparison questions, multiple choice questions- select one answer choice, multiple choice questions- select 2 answer choice, and numeric entry questions. There are 20 questions in each section to be completed in 35 minutes each.

The Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order.


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