Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a standardized test that is an admission requirement for many graduate schools, principally in the United States, but also in other English speaking countries. Created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (or ETS), this exam primarily focuses on testing abstract thinking skills in the areas of math, vocabulary and analytical writing. The GRE is typically a computer-based exam that is administered by selected qualified testing centers; however, paper-based exams are offered in areas of the world that lack the technological requirements. In the graduate school admission process, the level of emphasis that is placed upon GRE scores varies widely between schools and even departments within schools. The importance of a GRE score can range from being an important selection factor to being a mere admission formality.




Computer-based or paper-based standardized test.

Developer / administrator

Educational Testing Service

Knowledge / skills tested

Analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning.


Admissions to masters and doctoral degree programs in various universities.

Year started



About 3 hours and 45 minutes (includes 1-minute breaks after each section and a 10-minute break after third section).

Score / grade range

Analytical writing: 0.0 to 6.0 (in 0.5 point increments),
Verbal reasoning: 130 to 170 (in 1 point increments),
Quantitative reasoning: 130 to 170 (in 1 point increments).

Score / grade validity

5 years


Computer-based test: Multiple times a year (depends on availability of the test center).

Paper-based test: Up to 3 times a year in October, November and February. [1]

Restrictions on attempts

Computer-based test: Can be taken only once after 21 days from the day of exam in every year. (Applies even if candidate cancels scores on a test taken previously.)[2]

Paper-based test: Can be taken as often as it is offered. [2]

Countries / regions

About 700 test centers in more than 160 countries. [3]

(Paper-based test offered only in areas where computer-based testing is not available.) [1]



Annual no. of test takers

Increase Over 655,000 in 2012[4]

Prerequisites / eligibility criteria

No official prerequisite. Intended for bachelors degree graduates and undergraduate students who are about to graduate. Fluency in English assumed.


US$ 195[5]

(Limited offers of "Fee Reduction Program" for U.S. citizens or resident aliens who demonstrate financial need, and for national programs in USA that work with underrepresented groups. [6])

Scores / grades used by

Most graduate schools in USA, and some in other countries.