GRE: Test Logistics

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is required for admission to graduate school and increasingly accepted as a substitute for the GMAT for admission to business school

Computer- or Paper-Based Test Format

The computer-based test uses Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT), which adjusts the difficulty of questions from section to section based on your performance. If you do well on one section, the next one will be harder; if don’t do as well on that first section, the next section will be easier. The Paper-Based test is only available in areas of the world where the Computer-Based test is not available. The paper-based test is not adaptive.

Duration: Computer-based: 3 hours, 45 minutes; Paper-based: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Scoring Scale: 260-340 (verbal + quantitative) + Writing Score (0-6)

  • Verbal Reasoning score (130-170), Quantitative Reasoning score (130-170), Writing Score (0-6)
  • 90th percentile = 326

Test Structure

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) (2 prompts)
    • “Issue Task”: Take a position on an issue
    • “Argument Task”: Take a position on an argument
  • Verbal Reasoning (2 sections)
    • Computer-based test: 20 questions and 30 minutes per section
    • Paper-based test: 25 questions and 35 minutes per section
  • Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections)
    • Computer-based: 20 questions, 35 minutes per section (on-screen calculator provided)
    • Paper-based: 25 questions, 40 minutes per section (test center will provide calculators)
    • Geometric figures not necessarily drawn to scale; coordinate systems (xy-planes, number lines) and graphical data (bar, circle, and line graphs) are drawn to scale
  • Unscored Experimental Section (Computer-based test only, 30-35 min)
    • Unidentified (so you won’t know it’s unscored); can be Quantitative or Verbal
    • Used to gather data for future GRE tests, can appear in any order after Analytical Writing
    • May be replaced by Research Section (unscored, identified section at end of exam)

Scoring on the AWA Section

  • You’ll receive one composite score for the writing section (0-6, half-point increments)
  • Scorers assess for (1) critical thinking and analytical skills and (2) grammar and writing mechanics
  • Computer-based: each essay scored both by a trained reader and by computerized “e-rater”
  • Paper-based: each essay scored by 2 trained readers (you receive the average of those scores)

Registration, Rescheduling, and Cancellation Fees

  • GRE Registration Fee: $205 (Fee Reduction Certificates available based on financial need)
  • Cancellation: 1/2 registration fee refunded If you cancel no later than 4 days before test day
  • Rescheduling/Location Change: registration refunded & $50 fee if received no later than 4 days before test day

Planning for Test Day

  • Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before scheduled test time
  • Bring an original, valid form of photo I.D.
  • Paper-based test only: bring pencils and erasers (pens, mechanical pencils NOT permitted)
  • Test center will provide scratch paper to use during the test and to return at the end of day

Getting & Sending Scores


  • Computer-based: view Verbal and Quantitative scores at the end of exam; complete scores, including AWA, available in My GRE Account 10-15 days after your test date
  • Paper-based GRE: scores available in My GRE Account 6 weeks after your test date


  • Four free score reports included in test registration fee (to graduate schools or fellowships)
  • Additional score reports for a fee of $27 per recipient
  • You may submit scores from only your most RECENT exam, from SOME exams, or from ALL exams

Retaking the GRE

  • You can retake the computer-based test every 21 days, up to 5 times within a 12-month period
  • You can retake the paper-based test as often as it’s offered
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