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GRE 2012 Exam

A graduate or business degree can give you a big advantage in your future career. An important step towards achieving that goal — and the path to thousands of graduate and business programs all over the world — is to take the GRE General Test.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has been developed to evaluate the verbal, analytical and mathematical skills of the candidates. The exam is developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) based in the US. ETS has been working for more than 60 years to design tests that help to advance quality and equity in education worldwide. The ETS has come up with some new changes in the exam pattern to make it more students friendly. Now the new pattern will allow the college to evaluate their perspective students in better way.

GRE is a standardized test to evaluate the skills of the aspirants. The format of the exam is common for all. The difficulty level of exam will remain same for every student. The score of this standardized test helps the graduate schools (conducting courses other than business related studies) to measure the advance study potential of their perspective students.

The GRE® Board oversees GRE test, services and research in consultation with its committees. It establishes all policies for the GRE® Program, which ETS® administers.

Included in your test registration fee, ETS will send your GRE scores to four universities chosen by you. Additional score reports can be ordered for a small fee. Scores for the GRE revised General Test include

  • Total GRE score – Maximum marks allotted are 340
  • Sectional scores (for verbal and quantitative sections) – Maximum marks allotted are 170 for each section.
  • Analytical writing assessment score: It is scored separately on a scale of 0-6 based on the overall impact of the essays written by a student.
  • % below: This represents the percentage of examinees who appeared in GRE exams in the most recent 3-year period and scored less than you.

Important: The test scores of the test are valid for five years.

New changes in the GRE revised General Test

ETS has improved the test in many significant ways to give students a better test experience and to better demonstrate your skills and readiness for graduate-level work:

  • A new test-taker friendly design: In this new format the computer-based test allows students to edit or change their answer and skip questions, all within a section, and use an on-screen calculator.
  • New types of questions: In the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning section, many questions are based on real-life scenario that reflect the kind of thinking students will do in today’s demanding graduate and business school programmes.
  • Special savings of 50% when you take the GRE revised General Test: ETS has come up with an exciting offer to attract students to choose this new exam. If you take this exam between August 1 and September 30, 2011, you can save 50% off your test fee when you take this revised test.
  • Important score reporting information you need to know: If you take the GRE revised General Test during the special discount period of August-September 2011, your scores will be sent by mid-November. However, if you need your scores before November, you need to take the current test before August.

Revised General Test Format

Verbal Reasoning section Quantitative Reasoning Analytical Writing
Reading Comprehension,Text Completion,Sentence Equivalence.Reading Comprehension questions appear in sets; Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions are independent. Questions on data interpretation and real-life scenarios, with multiple-choice and numeric entry answers One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task

GRE Test Versions

There are two versions of GRE Test:

  • GRE General Test, and
  • GRE Subject Test.

GRE General Test

This test is open to all candidates, irrespective of their age or educational background. Generally taken by prospective graduate and business school students, this test measures verbal reasoning, analytical writing, critical writing and quantitative reasoning skills of a candidate.


GRE Subject test

This version of GRE exam assesses candidates’ knowledge level and accomplishments in a specific field of study. Unlike the GRE General test, this test is available only thrice in a year and can be taken only as the paper-based test.

GRE scores of this test are often required for doctoral programmes in the US, though some universities require the GRE Subject test scores for Masters-level programmes too.

The eight subjects in which the GRE subject test is presently conducted are:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology,
  • Biology,
  • Chemistry,
  • Computer Science,
  • English Literature,
  • Mathematics,
  • Physics, and
  • Psychology.

GRE Exam Format

Total time allotted for:

  • Computer-adaptive test: 3 ¾ hours
  • Paper-based test: 3 ¾ hours

Analytical writing section always appears first in the test, followed by Verbal, Quantitative and Unidentified (if applicable) sections in any order. If there is a Research section, it always appears at the end of the test.


Test format for computer-based test:
Section No. of Question Time Allotted
Analytical Writing One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task 30 minutes
Analytical Writing 1 Argument Task 30 minutes
Verbal Approximately 20 questions per section 30 minutes
Quantitative Approximately 20 questions per section 35 minutes
Unidentified Variable Variable
Research Variable Variable
Test format for paper-based test:
Section No. of Question Time Allotted
Analytical Writing One "Analyze an Issue" task 30 minutes
Analytical Writing One "Analyze an Argument" task 30 minutes
Verbal (2 sections) 25 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Quantitative (2 sections) 25 questions per section 40 minutes per section

GRE 2012 Exam - Tips & Strategies for improved GRE Score

  • Before you appear in this test know the sections of the test, the type of questions asked in each section, how many questions are asked in a particular section and the time allotted for each section.
  • Attempt as many GRE practice tests and GRE sample tests as possible, as they will familiarize with the general level of the questions that are asked in GRE exam and the directions for questions.
  • Read the instruction carefully before attempting a question in the actual test.
  • In the Analytical Writing assessment section, there are two questions one is "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task, analyze the issue and write your views on it. But, don’t start writing pros and cons of the issue. Since, it is your views that have been asked for, be specific and write only about your viewpoints.
  • The second essay in the Writing Assessment section is the Argument task. It does not offer any choice. You will be given a topic, which you have to critically analyze and evaluate and determine whether it is well-reasoned or not.
  • GRE tries to adjust the test according to the level of the candidate. The first few questions are of medium level. If you answer it correctly, you will be asked harder questions. The incorrect answer will lead you to easier questions.
  • In this new pattern of computer adaptive test, it allows students to edit or change their answer and skip questions, all within a section, and use an on-screen calculator.
  • Optimizing time is very important in GRE. You should be aware how much time you can devote on one question. You need to set your pace right. Rushing or sticking to a question for too long will cost you valuable scores.
  • Sometimes, you will find a question similar to what has already been asked in the test or in another section of the test. However, often these questions have substantial or subtle modifications and require different answer. So, pay close attention to the wording of each question before you decide on an answer.
  • Lastly, you may consider canceling the test scores immediately after taking the GRE exam or quit the exam, so that the scores do not get noted in your permanent record. Unfortunately, you have to do it before you can see the test scores and the fees of the exam will not be refunded. This will also mean that you will have to gain register for the exam and pay the fee, to be able to re-take the exam and send the GRE scores to your chosen universities.
  • If you do cancel your GRE scores, this will be noted in your official GRE score report.

It is not allowed to cancel the scores of only one section of the test.