GRE Exam Pattern 2023: Check Section-wise Computer / Paper Based Format Here


Rahul Singha

Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

Updated on Sep 4, 2023 03:02 IST

GRE Exam Pattern 2023: The GRE exam pattern consists of Analytical Writing – one section made up of two tasks, Verbal Reasoning – two sections with 20 questions in each section, and Quantitative Reasoning – two sections with 20 questions in each section. Conducted by ETS, the GRE exam is one the most widely recognized graduate exams for candidates looking to pursue graduate studies abroad. Writing the GRE test can be stressful given the duration and length of the GRE pattern. Hence, the trick is to start your GRE preparation early to be able to ace all sections of the GRE test. Read on as we tell our readers all about the GRE Exam Pattern and the nuances of the GRE Exam. For the uninformed, the GRE paper pattern is divided into three main sections, namely, Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The total time given to complete the exam is three hours and thirty minutes (3 hours 45 minutes = 225 mins) for the computer-based GRE General Test. 

GRE Exam Pattern 2023 - Latest Update

This section of the GRE test would cover any latest developments revolving around the GRE Exam for the benefit of candidates who are planning to appear for their GRE test.

ETS GRE Exam to shorten to just under 2 hours starting September 22, 2023

One of the most widely accepted tests for graduates and professional courses, the GRE exam which is currently just under 4 hours will be shortened to just under 2 hours starting September 22, 2023, as notified by ETS - the conducting body of the GRE exam. The shorter version of the GRE General Test, starting on September 22, 2023, will have 26 fewer Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning questions and only one Analytical Writing essay helping reduce test-taking fatigue. This new change will make the GRE exam (approx 2hrs) shorter than the GMAT exam (3hrs 7mins), GMAT Focus Edition (2hrs 15mins) and LSAT (approx 3hrs). 

Sections GRE Exam Pattern (current) GRE Exam Pattern ( wef September 22, 2023)
GRE Analytical Writing

1 section, 2 essay tasks

60 minutes

1 section, 1 essay task

30 minutes

GRE Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections, 40 questions total

70 minutes

2 sections, 27 questions total

47 minutes

GRE Verbal Reasoning

2 sections, 40 questions total

60 minutes

2 sections, 27 questions total

41 minutes

Unscored Section Varies


Research Varies


Total GRE Duration 3 hours 45 minutes

1 hour 58 minutes

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GRE Exam Pattern 2023

GRE Computer Based vs GRE Paper-Based Pattern: Candidates should note that while the GRE exam pattern is available in both GRE Computer-based mode and GRE Paper-based mode, however, candidates taking the GRE test from India can only appear from the GRE Computer-based module. The GRE paper-based module is only applicable to places that have limitations to the use of computers. Know lets us know how the GRE formats differ from one another.

In response to the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19, ETS (Educational Testing Service) in their endeavour to make the GRE exam more accessible has launched the GRE at Home facilitywhere students can take the GRE exam from the safety of their homes. ETS has also allowed candidates to use their Aadhar Cards as part of their student ID starting July 1, 2021, during the GRE registration process. Candidates can know more about the GRE test as they read along. 

Computer-based GRE Pattern

For the computer-based GRE paper pattern, each of these GRE sections is further divided into two sub-sections with forty questions in total (Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning). Analytical Writing has only one section that contains two tasks with a time duration of one hour. Apart from these main sections, there are two other variable sections included in the computer-based pattern exam. This section is followed by a ten-minute break after the Quantitative Reasoning part is complete. However, these two variable sections- The unscored and Research section- are not included in the final GRE Scores.

GRE Paper pattern for GRE Computer-based test

The GRE test format is as follows:

GRE Exam Pattern: Analytical Writing  Section

The GRE test format for GRE Analytical Writing includes two separately timed analytical writing tasks of thirty minutes each:

  • Analyze an Issue
  • Analyze an Argument

GRE Paper Pattern: GRE Question Sample for Analytical Writing

Sample Analyze an Issue task

Topic: 1

The effectiveness of a country's leaders is best measured by examining the well-being of that country's citizens.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position. For Response, Click Here

Topic: 2

The general welfare of a nation's people is a better indication of that nation's greatness than are the achievements of its rulers, artists, or scientists.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position. For Response, Click Here

GRE Paper Pattern: Sample Analyze an Argument task

Topic: 1

The following appeared as a letter to the editor from the owner of a skate shop in Central Plaza.

"Two years ago the city council voted to prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. They claimed that skateboard users were responsible for litter and vandalism that were keeping other visitors from coming to the plaza. In the past two years, however, there has been only a small increase in the number of visitors to Central Plaza, and litter and vandalism are still problematic. Skateboarding is permitted in Monroe Park, however, and there is no problem with litter or vandalism there. In order to restore Central Plaza to its former glory, then, we recommend that the city lift its prohibition on skateboarding in the plaza."

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation. For Response, Click Here

Topic: 2

The following appeared as part of an article in a Dillton newspaper.

"In an effort to bring new jobs to Dillton and stimulate the city's flagging economy, Dillton's city council voted last year to lower the city's corporate tax rate by 15 percent; at the same time, the city began offering generous relocation grants to any company that would move to Dillton. Since these changes went into effect, two new factories have opened in Dillton. Although the two factories employ more than 1,000 people, the unemployment rate in Dillton remains unchanged. The only clear explanation for this is that the new factories are staffed with out-of-town workers rather than Dillton residents."

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument. For Response, Click Here


GRE Exam Pattern: Quantitative Reasoning Section

The GRE test format for GRE Quantitative Reasoning includes two separately timed analytical writing tasks of thirty-five minutes each. The topics covered under GRE Quantitative Reasoning include:

  • basic mathematical skills
  • understanding of elementary mathematical concepts
  • ability to solve problems with quantitative methods
  • Subjects covered under the GRE Quantitative Reasoning (GRE Math Section) include
    • Algebra
    • Arithmetic
    • Data analysis
    • Geometry

GRE Question Sample for Quantitative Reasoning

GRE Paper Pattern: Sample 1: Which of the following numbers is farthest from the number 1 on the number line?

1. -10

2. -5

3. 0

4. 5

5. 10


Circling each of the answer choices in a sketch of the number line (Figure 1) shows that of the given numbers, -10 is the greatest distance from 1.

GRE Exam Pattern

Solve: GRE Quantitative Practice Test

GRE Exam Pattern: Verbal Reasoning Section

The GRE test format for Verbal Reasoning broadly consists of three different categories of questions that are divided into two sections of 30 minutes each and they are:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence

GRE Paper Pattern: GRE Question Sample for Verbal Reasoning

Sample 1: It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.

Explanation: The overall tone of the passage is clearly complementary. To understand what the author of the book is being complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is "obscure," since enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing. Choosing "obscure" clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with "obscure" is "overshadowed." Notice that trying to fill the first blank before filling in the second blank is hard — each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches "enormous gaps" and "sparseness of our observations," the best choice is "superficiality of our theories."Thus, the correct answer is Choice A (overshadowed), Choice E (obscure), and Choice I (superficiality of our theories). Solve: GRE Verbal Practice Test Note: The GRE sample questions above have been sourced from the official ETS website.

GRE Preparation Tips 2023: A lot of times candidates are not able to achieve their desired GRE marks. Candidates can tap into GRE preparation tips to understand GRE strategies to achieve good scores on the GRE test. Candidates can also take inspiration from our GRE Preparation Plan for 4 Weeks. Candidates looking for assistance on individual GRE sections can visit the pages mentioned below or indulge in a GRE Practice Test. Candidates should note that one of the most significant learning here is time management which only comes through the rigorous practice of GRE sample papers and mock tests. Even though one is aware of the GRE Syllabus and knows all the answers, failure to manage time can lead to an incomplete exam. This is where the importance of being familiar with the GRE test pattern is of utmost importance. Candidates can also check out coaching institutes that teach their students GRE prep tips to save time such as quick calculations, finger-tip formulas, and time management.

GRE Paper-based Exam Pattern 2023: The paper-based exam includes two sub-sections of each of the main categories- Analytical Writing, Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning. The analytical writing part contains two tasks with a duration of one hour (60 mins). Verbal and Quantitative reasoning each contains two sections and 50 questions with a maximum time limit of 60 and 70 minutes, consequently. The variable sections of Unscored and Research are not included in the paper-based exam. While the GRE Pattern may change from time to time generally, the crux of the format remains the same. Currently, the following is the exam pattern that aspirants can look forward to. Note: GRE paper-based exam is held in places where the GRE computer-based test is not conducted due to technology restraints. Students applying for the GRE computer-based exam can only appear up to five times in a year and not more than that.

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GRE Subject Test Pattern 2023

Candidates looking to understand the GRE Subject Test pattern can know more about the same here. This article solely focuses on the GRE paper pattern of the GRE general test. It is important to pay attention to the GRE format of the paper as well as keep an eye on the time dedicated to each section. As there are certain variable sections added as well in the exams, you can expect the exam to go on a bit longer than expected. It is best not to get anxious or restless while writing the exam as it will only make you more stressed. A calm and alert mind is the best way to approach this exam. If you have more questions regarding the GRE format or the GRE paper pattern feel free to get in touch with us in the comments below.

Related Reads

When to start preparing for GRE? 

GRE prep tips: Analytical Writing

GRE prep tips: Quantitative section

GRE prep tips: Verbal Reasoning section

Download this guide to read it offline

Tell Us About Yourself
When do you plan to start?
Have you given any study abroad exam?

GRE 2023 Preparation Tips

Prepare for GRE: If money is a consideration and one is quite confident of being able to prepare well without supervision, then self-study may be the better option to prepare for GRE. You could save money on personal tuition and classes, but you need to keep in mind other factors too. To be able to study on your own effectively, you need a few good books and resources for GRE, along with motivation and self-discipline. Candidates can also check out our customized 4-week GRE Preparation plan to better their GRE Exam performance. On the other hand, if time is a constraint and one needs professional guidance to ensure a competitive edge in GRE exam preparation, then coaching classes are the better option. You will have access to a better resource of study materials and will have a team of experts guiding you. Your time will be better managed as being regular in classes will become part of your routine. Moreover, being around other students will increase their motivation levels. Candidates could also check out our take on Reasons Why You Should Choose Online GRE Prep. Try your hand at GRE Practice papers to self-evaluate your understanding of the GRE.

Strategy for preparing for GRE

GRE preparation strategy: Candidates looking to prepare for their GRE exam can check out our detailed preparation guide on the various sections in GRE. Candidates can also benefit from downloadable sample GRE questions for the benefit of the test taker.

Related Reads

GRE Sections

Paper-based GRE Pattern

Computer-based GRE Pattern


No. of Sections


No. of Sections


Analytical Writing

2 sections- 2 tasks

60 minutes

1 section- two tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections- 50 questions

70 minutes

2 section- 40 questions

60 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections- 50 questions

80 minutes

2 section- 40 questions

70 minutes











GRE Exam Pattern 2023 FAQs

What is the GRE Exam pattern?

As mentioned in the article above, the GRE exam pattern consists of Analytical Writing – one section made up of two tasks, Verbal Reasoning – two sections with 20 questions in each section, and Quantitative Reasoning – two sections with 20 questions in each section.

How is the GRE exam scored?

The Analytical Writing section is scored between 0-6 in half-point increments, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are scored between 130-170 points with 1-point increments.

Is the GRE test hard to pass?

No. Candidates should note that the exam has been designed to test the candidates’ academic awareness. Hence, a candidate who is well prepared would crack the GRE test.

Can a student prepare for GRE in a month?

Candidates are advised to prepare for the GRE exam before booking their GRE test slot. Hence, candidates who have appeared for their GRE before or who are well prepared for the GRE can use the one month for revision and appear for the GRE test. Others would definitely need a more substantial amount of time to be well versed in the exam.

Can a student crack the GRE without coaching?

Absolutely. Authentic study material from the official GRE website can be used to self-prepare for the GRE exams. Candidates are highly recommended to only source their study material from a trusted source, such as our preparation guide or the official GRE website.

What is the fee for GRE coaching?

Indian nationals would be required to pay US $213 to register for the GRE test. Special requests such as late registrations and rescheduling come with an additional cost as is mentioned in the article above.

Is the GRE test easy to crack?

For a candidate who is well versed with the GRE syllabus and who has prepared well for the GRE exam with total sincerity and enthusiasm would be able to crack the GRE without many hurdles.

Can I prepare GRE on my own?

Absolutely. Candidates wanting to appear for their GRE on their own can achieve qualifying scores or higher by simply being devoted to their cause to the end and taking information from verified sources such as the official GRE website or our preparatory guide.

What is a good GRE score?

There is no such thing as a good GRE score. Every university would have its own GRE Score cut-off and students are required to achieve scores equal or higher than the set grade. Candidates should note that higher GRE scores would automatically increase their chances of securing a seat in the university and also make them a front runner for any scholarships being offered by the university

Can I get a scholarship through GRE?

This is entirely upon the discretion of the organization. Candidates should note that ETS, the conducting body of the GRE test does not offer any scholarships. Universities and colleges do offer deserving candidates’ scholarships and grants and GRE scores could be an eligibility criterion for the same. 

What is the GRE score requirement for admission to Harvard University?




Reshmi Kadamati

7 months ago

hi i am architectural student so i need to join cullen university of space architecture college , i.e, university of houston , USA .

Reply to Reshmi Kadamati


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

6 months ago

Hello Reshmi. If you are looking for assistance with university admissions, do reach out to our team of Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors: You can know all about the University of Houston, here:



Akshat Mishra

8 months ago

Hey! The dates given for 2023 for gre 2023 are in Jan,Feb,Mar,Apr,May,June. What if I wish to appear in Sep-Oct? Will this be possible? Does ETS reveal new dates as the months pass by?

Reply to Akshat Mishra


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

6 months ago

Hello Akshat. Yes, GRE dates for September to December have been updated on our GRE exam dates page: Please feel free to go ahead with your GRE slot booking.


Navneet Kaur

9 months ago

Hie, there.I want to Crack the exam of gre for once so that I can commence my application procedure.I donot want to give the exam twice.I want to know the qualifying mark for the gre ?? I need admission in the university, if I have given the gre exam or attempted it.

Reply to Navneet Kaur


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

9 months ago

Hello Navneet. The GRE Cut off would be set by the university you are looking to apply to. However, note that the GRE Cut-off is the minimum score required for submitting your application to the university for admission. This does not guarantee your entry. You will need to score higher than the pres



Vempati Manasa

11 months ago

Hi is awa score in gre important. I got 1 mark in awa . will i get admission

Reply to Vempati Manasa


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

11 months ago

Hello Vempati. Candidates should understand that GRE scores are reported separately. So you would have a scaled score out of 170 for your GRE Verbal Reasoning Section, A scaled score out of 170 for your GRE Quantitative Reasoning section and a score out of 5.0 for your GRE Analytical writing sectio



Shruti Sharma

11 months ago

Hi, How can I book my gre exam slot for second attempt? And how much I have to pay for the same.

Reply to Shruti Sharma


Rahul SinghaStudy Abroad Expert

11 months ago

Hello Shruti. You need to visit the official website of the GRE exam and log in to your test taker account and register for the exam. The GRE exam fee would be the current fee of the GRE exam: US $213

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