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Roshan Sunthar

Updated on 19-05-2023

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GRE Syllabus 2023

GRE Syllabus 2023

Students pursuing higher education must take GRE. The Graduate Records Examinations or GRE assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills through three sections: GRE Verbal Reasoning, GRE Quantitative Reasoning and GRE Analytical Writing. GRE conducted by ETS comprises two formats: GRE General and GRE Subject Test. To obtain a good score, it's essential to study the entire syllabus, including exam patterns (paper-based/computer-delivered), preparation books, etc. This post provides the GRE Syllabus section-wise for both formats.

Please note that, in the post Covid-19, ETS has initiated the GRE at Home facility for students to take up GRE at their convenience. For those who need the safety of their homes, ETS allows them to do so by using their Aadhar Cards as part of their student ID. It was started on July 1, 2021, while doing the GRE registration process.

Download GRE Syllabus PDF.

Table of Contents

GRE Test Formats

The GRE test formats are of two types: GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests. Both these test formats measure different skills.

  • GRE General Test - The GRE General Test is a standard computer-delivered test, testing your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. 
  • GRE Subject Tests - For specific courses, GRE Subject Tests measure your extensive knowledge of any of the subjects. It supplements your college undergraduate records and other academic qualifications.

GRE Syllabus 2023

The GRE Syllabus 2023 includes mainly the GRE writing syllabus, GRE verbal syllabus, and GRE quant syllabus. 

GRE Exam Pattern Question Types Number of Questions Allocated Time Score Range
GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
  • Analyse an Issue task
  • Analyse an Argument task
1 + 1 = 2 60 minutes (30 minutes per task) 0-6 (in 0.5 point increment)
GRE Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Text Completion
  • Sentence Equivalence
20 + 20 = 40 60 minutes (30 minutes per section) 130-170 (in 1 point increment)
GRE Quantitative Reasoning
  • Quantitative Comparison
  • Multiple-choice
  • Numeric Entry
20 + 20 = 40 70 minutes (35 minutes per section) 130-170 (in 1 point increment)

GRE Syllabus for Verbal Reasoning Section

The verbal reasoning section assesses the test taker's ability to analyse the essay and understand the meaning of words, sentence structure, and relationships between words and concepts. And to know the reason behind incomplete data, conclude from the author’s assumptions/ perspective. Then finally, select the important and relevant points, summarise and write them. This GRE verbal reasoning section contains 40 questions from 3 question types, 60 minutes time, and a score range of 130 - 170 (1 point increment).

gre syllabus for verbal reasoning

GRE Verbal Reasoning Syllabus involves three types of questions:

Reading Comprehension:

It measures the candidate's ability to understand the meaning of individual words and sentences, distinguish between major and minor points, understand the structure of a text, give alternative explanations, and draw conclusions from the information.

Text Completion:

It tests the ability to select words or short phrases from the information in the passage to fill in the three blanks and produce a coherent, meaningful passage. 

Sentence Equivalence:

It assesses the ability to conclude a passage based on partial information. Since sentence equivalence questions contain a single sentence with a blank, you must fill the blank by identifying one of the two choices that lead to a complete, coherent sentence.

In addition to that, the following topics are included:

  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Verb Tense
  • Basic Sentence Structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Parallelism

To cover all these topics in detail, you need to get the best books for GRE Verbal.

GRE Syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning Section

The quantitative reasoning section assesses the candidate’s ability to understand, interpret and analyse quantitative information, use basic mathematical skills & concepts of algebra, arithmetic, probability, geometry, and statistics, and finally, find solutions using elementary mathematical models. This GRE quantitative reasoning section contains 40 questions from 4 question types, 70 minutes to complete and a score range of 130 - 170 (in 1 point increment).

gre syllabus for quantitative reasoning

GRE Quantitative Reasoning syllabus includes four different question types:

Quantitative Comparison Questions:

This question requires the candidate to compare two quantities and select any one of the statements given that best describes the comparison. 

Multiple-choice Questions - Select One Answer Choice:

This multiple-choice question asks the candidate to choose any one answer choice from a list of five choices.

Multiple-choice Questions - Select One or More Answer Choices:

This multiple-choice type of question requires the candidate to select one or more answer choices from a list of choices. To answer correctly, avoiding lengthy calculations might be helpful. 

Numeric Entry Questions:

This numeric entry question allows you enter your answer as an integer (Eg: 3, 4, 5,...) or a decimal (Eg: 0.15, 2.34, 9.2, ....) in a single answer box or as a fraction number in two different boxes (one box for numerator and one for the denominator).

Apart from that, there are also a list of topics included in the GRE Quant Syllabus as follows:

S No. Topics S No. Topics
1 Profit and loss 12 Statistics
2 Speed, Distance and Time 13 Probability
3 Ratio and Proportion 14 Volume and Surface Area
4 Permutation and Combination 15 Lines and Angles
5 Triangles 16 Polygon
6 Coordinate Geometry 17 Circles
7 Powers and Roots 18 Order of Operations
8 Linear Equations 19 Number Properties
9 Percentage 20 Pipes, Cisterns, Work, Time
10 Simple and Compound Interest 21 Quadratic Equations
11 Quadrilateral 22 Sets Theory

Don’t worry after seeing these topics. You can easily prepare for these topics using the best books for GRE Quant available in PDF and hard copies. 

GRE Syllabus for Analytical Writing (AWA) Section

The GRE analytical writing section measures the student's ability to comprehend complex ideas, support with relevant reasons/examples, review different claims with evidence, maintain a coherent, focused discussion and control over the aspects of standard written English. This GRE analytical writing section contains two (2) questions, 60 minutes time duration, and a score range of 0 - 6 (0.5 point increment).

gre syllabus for analytical writing

In the GRE syllabus for Analytical Writing (awa), two question types are included:

"Analyse an issue" task:

This task gives an opinion on an issue and requires you to analyse the issue, its complexities and develop an argument with supporting reasons and examples. You need to write a minimum of 500 - 600 words on general interest topics.

"Analyse an argument" task:

This task asks you to evaluate an argument, considering the logic behind the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents. You need to answer in at least 500 - 600 words in 30 minutes. 

To master these question types, use the best books for GRE Analytical Writing that offer useful tips and techniques. 

GRE Subject Tests Syllabus

The GRE Subject Tests are conducted only three times a year in a paper-delivered format. The time duration of the test is 2 hours and 50 minutes. The GRE Subject Tests Syllabus include the following disciplines that are intended to measure your knowledge in a particular subject:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology

Please note that this test is an additional qualification that can help you stand out from the other candidates.

GRE Chemistry Syllabus

Chemistry in the GRE Subject Tests consists of approximately 130 multiple-choice questions. It’s syllabus includes:

1. Analytical Chemistry - (It covers 15%)

  • Data Acquisition and use of Statistics
  • Instrumental Methods
  • Solutions and Standardization
  • Homogeneous Equilibria
  • Environmental Applications
  • Heterogeneous Equilibria
  • Radiochemical Methods

2. Inorganic Chemistry - (It covers 25%)

  • General Chemistry
  • Ionic Substances
  • Covalent Molecular Substances
  • Metals and Semiconductors
  • Concepts of Acids and Bases
  • Chemistry of the Main Group Elements
  • Chemistry of the Transition Elements
  • Other Special Topics

3. Organic Chemistry - (It covers 30%)

  • Structure, Bonding and Nomenclature
  • Reaction Mechanisms
  • Functional Groups
  • Organometallics
  • Other Special Topics

4. Physical Chemistry - (It covers 30%)

  • Quantum Chemistry and Applications to Spectroscopy
  • Thermodynamics
  • Dynamics

GRE Mathematics Syllabus

Mathematics syllabus or GRE Math syllabus in the GRE Subject Tests’ contains 50 percent from calculus and its applications, 25 percent from algebra, linear algebra, abstract algebra and number theory, and the remaining 25 percent from the other areas.

This subject contains approximately 66 multiple-choice questions that are taken from the following:

1. Calculus - (It covers 50%)

  • Differential and Integral Calculus
  • Calculus-based applications
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Differential Equations

2. Algebra - (It covers 25%)

  • Linear Algebra
  • Abstract Algebra
  • Number Theory
  • Elementary Algebra

3. Other Additional Topics (It covers 25%)

  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Introductory Real Analysis
  • Other Topics

GRE Physics Syllabus

Physics in the GRE Subject Tests’ consists of approximately 100 five-choice questions. The syllabus for this subject includes the following:

  • Classical Mechanics - (It covers 20%)
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics - (It covers 10%)
  • Quantum Mechanics - (It covers 12%)
  • Electromagnetism - (It covers 18%)
  • Special Relativity - (It covers 6%)
  • Laboratory Methods - (It covers 6%) 
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena - (It covers 9%)
  • Atomic Physics - (It covers 10%)
  • Other Specialised Topics - (It covers 9%)

GRE Psychology Syllabus

Psychology is one of the interesting subjects in the GRE Subject Tests. It approximately contains 205 multiple-choice questions. The Psychology subject includes:

1. Cognitive - (It covers 17 - 24%)

  • Language
  • Learning
  • Thinking
  • Memory

2. Developmental - (It covers 12 - 14%)

  • Emotion
  • Language
  • Learning, Intelligence
  • Perception and Cognition
  • Social, Personality
  • Socialization, Family and Cultural
  • Nature-Nurture
  • Physical and Motor
  • Theories, Applications and Issues

3. Measurement/Methodology/Others - (It covers 15 - 19%)

  • Measurement and Methodology
  • General

4. Biological - (It covers 17 - 21%)

  • Physiological/Behavioural Neuroscience
  • Sensation and Perception

5. Clinical - (It covers 15 - 19%)

  • Clinical and Abnormal
  • Personality

6. Social - (It covers 12 - 14%)

  • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships
  • Group and Intergroup Processes
  • Cultural or Gender Influences
  • Evolutionary Psychology, Altruism, and Aggression
  • Social Perception, Cognition, Attribution
  • Social Comparison
  • Emotion, Affect, and Motivation
  • Conformity, Influence, and Persuasion
  • Behaviour and Attitudes

GRE Biology Syllabus (Discontinued since May 2021)

In the GRE Subject Tests, the Biology Test was discontinued in May 2021. It is currently not conducted by ETS. This test comprises nearly 190 five-choice questions. The Biology syllabus includes:

  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Organismal Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology

GRE English (Literature) Syllabus

The Literature in English subject test consists of roughly 230 questions. It’s syllabus includes:

  • Identification
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism
  • Literary Analysis

Besides that, there are various sub-topics given like poetry, theatre, biography, literary theory, the essay, short story, linguistic history, novel and criticism. However, the Literature in English subject was discontinued in May 2021, similar to the Biology test.

GRE General Exam Pattern 2023

ETS outlined the GRE Exam pattern for 2023. To make this GRE test highly-focused and skill-oriented, ETS conducts the GRE that consists of 5 sections (1 unscored) and follows patterns and content as per the following table:

S No Sections No. of Questions Type of Questions GRE Score Range Duration Time in Minutes
1 Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections (20 questions each) 4 130 - 170 (1-point increment) 1 hour 10 minutes 35 (per section)
2 Verbal Reasoning 2 sections (20 questions each) 3 130 - 170
(1-point increment)
1 hour 30 (per section)
3 Analytical Writing (AWA) 2 Tasks 2 0 - 6
(0.5-point increment)
1 hour 30 (per task)
4 Unscored Varies NA NA Varies Varies
5 Research Varies NA NA Varies Varies

If you retake the GRE, you need to follow the same GRE Exam pattern. These scores are crucial for university admissions. 

GRE Test Pattern for Paper-Based Test

The paper-based GRE General test contains three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing. The total number of questions is 82 - 80 MCQs & 2 descriptives. The time duration is 3 hours and 45 minutes. Likewise, the GRE subject test consists of only MCQs, having 66-230 questions and the duration of this test is 2 hours and 50 minutes. In the paper-based test, unscored and research sections do not have the variable components. The GRE test pattern is as follows:

S No GRE Sections No. of Sections Question Types Time Duration
1 Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections (20 questions each) 4 35 (per section)
2 Verbal Reasoning 2 sections (20 questions each) 3 30 (per section)
3 Analytical Writing (AWA) 2 Tasks 2 30 (per task)
4 Unscored Varies NA Varies
5 Research Varies NA Varies

GRE Test Pattern for Computer-Delivered Test

The GRE Test Pattern for a computer-delivered test is similar to the paper-based test. However, in the computer-delivered test, after completing the GRE quantitative reasoning section, the test-taker can take a ten-minute break. Here, unscored and research sections do not have the variable components as they are not included in the final GRE scores.

S No GRE Sections No. of Sections  Question Types Time Duration
1 Quantitative Reasoning 2 section - 40 questions 4 70 minutes
2 Verbal Reasoning 2 section - 40 questions 3 60 minutes
3 Analytical Writing 1 section - 2 tasks 2 60 minutes
4 Unscored Varies NA Varies
5 Research Varies NA Varies

Summary

Knowing the entire "GRE Syllabus" is an important step before your preparation. Whether aspiring for graduate programs like Mechanical Engineering or Master’s in Computer Science (CSE), always complete the GRE Exam syllabus before the exam as it boosts your performance. Besides that, know the GRE requirement for MS in Canada, the US, Singapore, and other countries that accept GRE scores. All the best for your preparation and study abroad journey. 

FAQs

1. What is the syllabus of GRE?

GRE syllabus has GRE Analytical Writing, GRE Verbal Reasoning, and GRE Quantitative Reasoning, intended to measure your verbal reasoning ability, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The GRE score you get in the 3 hours and 45 minutes of exam is valid for five (5) years from the exam date.

2. Is GRE difficult exam?

Yes. The GRE is considered difficult by most people. They agree that the GRE is harder than the ACT and SAT but not as difficult as the MCAT or LSAT. Compared to GMAT, students wonder which is harder as many MBA programs accept both tests.

3. What is the eligibility for GRE?

Surprisingly, there is no eligibility criteria (age or qualification) required to write the GRE exam. To enter the examination centre, you must carry a valid ID proof. But before applying for the exam, you must check what the GRE score requirement is in the university where you’re planning to study for your master’s / doctoral degree.

4. Is GRE easier than GMAT?

Based on experts’ opinions, GRE is easier than GMAT, because GMAT contains a mathematics section that is tough compared to GRE. Whereas, GRE contains a verbal reasoning section, including reading comprehension, text completion and sentence equivalence questions that reduce the burden of the test-takers.

5. How much does the GRE cost?

The GRE exam cost for the GRE General Test is $205 for all countries except Nigeria, Turkey, China, Australia and India. In India, the GRE General Test’s registration fee is $213 (INR 15,800).

6. What is the GRE Exam pattern?

The GRE exam pattern for the GRE General Tests consists of three sections: GRE Quants, GRE Verbal and GRE Analytical Writing Assessment (awa). Similarly, the exam pattern for the GRE Subject Tests consists of four subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology. These two exam patterns are the same for paper-based and computer-delivered tests.

7. What is the GRE score validity?

If you take the GRE test (GRE General or GRE Subject), your GRE scores are reportable for five (5) years from your test date. If you want to know the validity period for different sections, courses, etc., you can read the GRE score validity that gives all the information you need. 

8. What is GRE test dates?

GRE test dates are flexible based on the student’s availability. Since millions take the GRE in more than 160 countries, ETS offers a variety of options for testing. You can choose the testing and date that suits you the best. The GRE General Test is mostly conducted as a computer-delivered test, however, if a specific location does not have access to computers, they can do paper-based tests. In India, GRE is a computer-delivered test conducted on all days throughout the year.

9. What is the GRE test score range?

The GRE General Test score range for Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning ranges from 130 to 170 in one-point increments. Likewise, the range of scores for the Analytical Writing (awa) section is 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

S No GRE Sections GRE Score Range
1 Quantitative Reasoning 130 - 170 (in 1-point increment)
2 Verbal Reasoning 130 - 170 (in 1-point increment)
3 Analytical Writing 0 - 6 (in 0.5-point increment)
4 Unscored Varies
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About Author Roshan Sunthar

Roshan Sunthar is a study abroad expert as well as a renowned writer and author in international education. His academic excellence and 5+ years of work experience give him in-depth knowledge of international standardised exams and test preparation in IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, PTE, SAT, etc. The study materials he prepares incorporate exam-like questions. He’s also an expert in writing Statement of Purposes (SOPs) and Letter of Recommendations (LORs) for college admissions. He usually spends his leisure time watching English classics and documentaries, travelling, etc.

More Articles Post by Roshan Sunthar

Kanan International is an IRCC-certified study abroad consultancy that offers reliable services, products, and solutions for students and education institutions. We support students throughout their study abroad journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence make us the go-to partner for expanding global horizons. The company provides coaching for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, and SAT exams and services like visa consultation, accommodation, scholarship assistance, and education loans.

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