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[Updated 2021]GRE Syllabus – Section-wise syllabus for general and subject test

GRE or the graduate record examination is taken by students who aspire to pursue a postgraduate degree from a university abroad. It has two test formats:

  1. GRE General 
  2. GRE Subject Test 

The GRE syllabus for each test is different. The GRE General Test is the standard exam that tests students Quantitative reasoning, Verbal reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Analytical writing skills. 

On the other hand, the GRE subject test focuses on evaluating the candidate’s expertise in specific fields such as Chemistry, physics, etc. 

Here is a brief overview:

Exam NameGRE
Exam FormatGRE General Test and GRE Subject Test
Conducted byETS – Educational testing service
GRE FeesGeneral test – $250, except India, Turkey, China, Australia, and Nigeria. Subject Test – $150 worldwide
Mode of ExamComputer and paper-based
GRE General TestsAnalytical Writing, Quantitative reasoning, and Verbal reasoning
GRE Subject TestsFour disciplines – Chemistry, Mathematics,  physics, and psychology
GRE contact+91-1244517127 or 000-800-100-4072. Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. IST Email: GRESupport4India@ets.org

In this article, we provide you information on the GRE syllabus 2021 for the general and subject tests. 

Did know you can even take the GMAT if you planning to pursue your MBA abroad? Check out this article on GRE vs. GMAT, that can help you decide which test is better for you in 2021. You can also watch this video:

GRE Syllabus 2021

GRE Syllabus – General Test 2021

The GRE Syllabus is broadly divided into three sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. You can take computer-based or paper-based GRE testing, and the Test pattern for each is different. Generally, the computer-based exam is taken by students who want to pursue their graduate degrees abroad. 

GRE General Test Pattern for computer-delivered test:

GRE sections DurationNo. of sections
Verbal Reasoning 60 minutes 2 sections – 40 questions
Quantitative Reasoning 70 minutes 2 sections – 40 questions
Analytical Writing 60 minutes 1 section – two tasks
Unscored Varies Varies
Research VariesVaries

The test pattern for the computer-delivered GRE exam has two sections of Verbal and Quant Reasoning with 20 questions per section and one section with two separately timed tasks in Analytical writing. The total time you will spend on the GRE Computer-delivered test is 3 hours 45 mins.

GRE General Test pattern for paper-delivered test:

GRE sections No. of Sections Duration
Verbal Reasoning 2 sections – 50 questions70 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 2 sections – 50 questions80 minutes
Analytical Writing 2 sections – 2 tasks 60 minutes
Unscored NANA
Research NANA

On the other hand, the Paper-delivered exam has two sections of Analytical Writing, Quantitative, and Verbal Reasoning. The analytical writing section has one task each, whereas Quantitative and Verbal reasoning has 25 questions per section.

The total time you will spend on the GRE Paper-delivered test is 3 hours 30 minutes.

The time taken for the unscored/research section varies.

GRE General Exam pattern

Check out the latest GRE Exam pattern 2021 for general test in detail here. 

Note: The GRE Exam is broadly divided into three sections Verbal, Quant, and Analytical Writing sections. However, only Quantitative and Verbal reasoning scores add up to your GRE Scores.

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GRE Syllabus for Verbal Reasoning

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to understand the meanings of words, entire texts, and sentences. It measures your understanding of relationships among terms and concepts.

You need to analyze and draw conclusions from the discourse, identify the author’s assumptions/perspective, and understand multiple levels of meaning, such as figurative, literal, and author’s intent.

List of the topics covered in GRE Verbal Reasoning: 

  1. Modifiers and Parallelism
  2. Idioms and Idiomatic expressions
  3. Verb tense
  4. Pronoun Agreement
  5. Subject-Verb Agreement
  6. Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns

The GRE verbal Syllabus is divided into three parts:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion

The reading comprehension questions consist of one to four or five paragraphs, and the passages are based on three different subject matter areas – humanities, natural science, and social science (Business).

The section tests your ability to understand what you are reading.

The exam contains approx. 10 passages. You need to read and analyze the passage carefully before answering any questions. Also, do not be discouraged if you encounter an unfamiliar passage.

It is about how well you can understand and answer the questions. Besides, you should not rely on outside knowledge and answer each question based on the information provided in the passage.

Remember: All the questions can be answered based on the information provided in the passage.

This section tests your ability to complete a paragraph based on incomplete information. You need to choose two ways to complete the sentence that have the same meaning while also being grammatically correct.

Note: Your answer choice gives you a sentence that is logically, stylistically, and grammatically coherent. The correct answer might not be the words that mean the same thing.

It measures your ability to form a complete picture from the text presented. Both Sentence equivalence and text completion test your grasp of vocabulary. However, just knowing the words will not help you ace this section. You need to understand the meaning too.

Learn about the types of questions asked in GRE verbal reasoning section 2021. 

GRE Syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning section

GRE Syllabus Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus

The GRE Quant Reasoning section tests your ability to solve problems using mathematical models. You are required to understand, analyze, and interpret quantitative information. To ace this section, you need to apply basic elementary concepts and skills of arithmetic, geometry, data analysis, and algebra.

You can use an on-screen calculator. However, if you are taking the paper-delivered test, a calculator will be provided at the test center.

Topics in GRE Quantitative reasoning:

ArithmeticGeometryData AnalysisAlgebra
Property and types of integerLines and anglesDescriptive statistics such as Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, etc.Exponents
Power and rootsCirclesInterpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, etcAlgebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying
Statistics  TriangleProbabilityEquations and inequalities
EstimationQuadrilateralsPermutation and CombinationLinear and Quadratic inequalities
Number propertiesPolygonVenn DiagramsLinear Equations
PercentageThree-dimensional figuresSets TheoryQuadratic equations
Exponents and RootsArea, Perimeter, VolumeWord Problems
Ratio and proportionsAngle MeasurementsSpeed, distance, and Time
Simple and Compound InterestProfit and Loss
Arithmetic OperationsCoordinate geometry

Learn about the types of questions asked for GRE Quantitative reasoning section 2021. 

GRE Syllabus for Analytical Writing

GRE Syllabus for analytical writing

This section measures your analytical writing and critical thinking skills.

The GRE Analytical Writing section tests how well you can articulate complex ideas effectively and clearly. Are you able to support them with relevant examples and reasons? It requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented.

The GRE syllabus for analytical writing is divided into two tasks:

  1. Analyse and Argument: This requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions
  2. Analyze and Issue: This requires you to present an option on the issue of general interest with specific instructions on how to respond to that issue.

The tasks in the GRE Analytical Writing section is related to a broad range of topics such as fine arts, physical science, humanities, and more. You do not require knowledge on a specific topic. Regardless of your field of study or interests, you will be able to understand the task.

Learn more about the task mentioned above here with sample examples.

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GRE Subject Test Syllabus 2021 

The GRE syllabus for the subject test consists of four disciplines:

  1. Chemistry 
  2. Mathematics 
  3. Physics 
  4. Psychology 

The test consists of approx. 130 multiple-choice questions. The topics covered are:

  • Analytical chemistry (15%)
  • Inorganic chemistry (25%)
  • Organic chemistry (30%)
  • Physical Chemistry (30%)

The test consists of approx. 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from courses that are offered at the undergraduate level. The topics include:

  • Calculus (50%)
  • Algebra (25%)
  • Additional Topics (25%)

The test consists of approx. 100 five-choice questions, which are grouped in sets and based on materials such as graphs, diagrams, and experimental data. The topics include:

  • Classical mechanics (20%)
  • Electromagnetism (18%)
  • Optics and wave phenomena (9%)
  • Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)
  • Quantum mechanics (12%)
  • Atomic Physics (10%)
  • Special Relativity (6%)
  • Laboratory methods (6%)
  • Specialized topics (9%)

The test consists of approx. 205 multiple-choice questions. the topics include:

  • Biological (17-21%)
  • Cognitive (17-24%)
  • Social (12-14%)
  • Developmental (12-14%)
  • Clinical (15-19%)
  • Measurement/methodology/other (15-19%)

Take a look at the GRE subject test exam pattern here. 

Key TakeAways 

  • GRE General Test has broadly three sections: Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning
  • GRE General Test can be taken in two formats: Computer-delivered or paper-delivered format
  • The GRE Syllabus for the Verbal Reasoning section is divided into three parts: Reading comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Text completion. Some of the topics covered in this section are – Modifiers and Parallelism; Verb tense; Idioms and Idiomatic expressions
  • The GRE Syllabus for the quantitative reasoning section tests your ability to solve problems using mathematical models. Topics to cover are arithmetic, geometry, data analysis, and algebra
  • Analytical Writing Section syllabus is divided into two tasks: “Analyze and issue” and “Analyse and argument.”
  • The GRE Subject test has six disciplines – Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Literature in English, mathematics, and psychology

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FAQs – GRE Syllabus

What is GRE?

GRE or Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that provides schools with a standard measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications. GRE is one of the entrance exams that you take to get into a business school. Know all about GRE Exam

What is the GRE pattern for the general tests?

You can take either a computer-based or paper-based GRE general test. The GRE pattern for each is different. Both have three sections – GRE Quantitative reasoning, GRE Verbal, and Analytical writing. However, the number of questions and duration changes for each test format. Know the difference between the two formats here.

How many sections are there for GRE?

GRE General test has three sections:
1. Quantitative reasoning
2. Verbal reasoning
3. Analytical Writing
Unlike the GRE General Test, the GRE subject test does not have sections. You can take the subject test in four disciplines:
1. Physics
2. Psychology
3. Chemistry
4. Mathematics 

How much does the GRE Cost?

The GRE General Test costs $205 worldwide in 2021. However, it’s different for the following five countries:
1. Australia:$230
2. Nigeria: $226
3. Turkey: $255
4. China: $231.30
5. India: $213

Can I use a calculator for the Exam?

Yes. For computer-delivered testing on-screen calculator can be used and for paper-delivered testing, calculator will be provided at the test center.

What does the GRE Quantitative reasoning section test?

The GRE Quantitative reasoning section tests your ability to solve problems using mathematical models. It tests your concepts and skills in arithmetic, algebra, data analysis, and geometry.

What does the GRE Verbal reasoning section test?

The GRE Verbal reasoning section tests your grasp of vocabulary and how well you can understand the meaning of the sentences, words, or texts.

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