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GRE 2021 Exam Dates, Registration, Syllabus, Score Validity and Official Guide

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Sayantani Barman

Study Abroad Expert | Updated On - Sep 30, 2021

GRE or Graduate Record Examinations is the entrance exam taken to pursue postgraduate studies in English-speaking nations. Due to circumstantial hazards caused by COVID-19, candidates can make GRE registration at home, an alternative to testing center delivered exam. GRE exam pattern tests the verbal, quant, and analytical writing skills of a candidate. The verbal and quant sections are calculated on a scale of 130 to 170 each. The total GRE score range is 260-340. GRE AWA is calculated in a range of 0.0-6.0. Top universities require a GRE score of 150 to 160 for both verbal and quant. GRE fee 2021 in India is INR 15,800. Top business schools of the world accept GRE scores for MBA programs now apart from GMAT scores. Candidates get GRE exam dates for general tests all around the year and for the subject tests, GRE exam dates are fixed on September, October, and April. Now candidates can book GRE with their AADHAR card details as ID proof.  

Note: Most universities made GRE score submission optional. It is advised for candidates to check the requirements before applying. GRE Scholarships are also available in university as per the score secured. 

Also, Check GMAT vs GRE

GRE 2021 Highlights

GRE seems more difficult than ACT or SAT as the questions are designed for candidates who have completed their undergraduate. GRE verbal reasoning tests vocabulary through challenging reading passages, text completion, and sentence equivalence questions. GRE quant is comparatively easier than other competitive exams. The purpose of taking the GRE is to check the candidate’s level of academic excellence in undergraduate subjects. Few points to remember before writing GRE:

  • Whether your selected course requires GRE as a requirement
  • Is there any kind of fellowships for merit-based applicants or GRE Scholarships for funding the course program?
  • Have you shortlisted the course or doctoral research to pursue?
  • Is your grad school GPA score eligible for applying for further studies?

If you assume a good GRE score is a myth then you have to make a detailed analysis and comparison of the grad schools you are dreaming to apply. Quant and Verbal sections of the exam are scaled on a range between 130-170. The average GRE score for Verbal Reasoning happens to be 151 and that of GRE Quantitative Reasoning is 154. Apart from grad schools, business schools and law schools also accept GRE scores. Also, the GRE exam helps you to secure a merit-based scholarship for grad school. GRE can be taken across the world once in 21 days. Candidates can take the exam maximum of 5 times a year. The score validity for GRE is 5 years.

GRE Exam Pattern 2021

GRE Exam Pattern for both versions is different. GRE exam pattern for the computer-based exam is adaptive in nature. GRE General Test format has 3 different sections namely, GRE analytical writing assessment, GRE verbal reasoning, and GRE quantitative reasoning. All these sections have 2 subsections. The total time duration for GRE General Test is 3 hours 45 minutes. The three main sections of the GRE general test are as follows:

GRE Analytical Writing  

GRE Analytical Writing is always the first section of the test which comprises two types of questions. Analyze an Issue and Analyze an Argument are two types of tasks asked in this section. Candidates get 60 minutes to attempt two sections of GRE analytical writing in which they are required to analyze the logical soundness of the argument. You can go through GRE AWA Practice Papers for further practice.

GRE Verbal Reasoning

Candidates find GRE verbal reasoning section difficult for its tricky question types. Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence are three types of questions asked in this section. Verb Tense, Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions, Pronoun Agreement, Subject-Verb Agreement, etc, are some of the topics that are included under the GRE verbal syllabus. Candidates have to attempt 40 questions in 60 minutes.

Also, Check GRE Verbal Practice Papers

GRE Quantitative Reasoning

 With little practice, GRE quantitative reasoning can actually change the scorecard of the candidates. Quantitative comparison, Problem-solving, and Data interpretation comprise GRE quant syllabus. GRE Quantitative Reasoning contains questions that are modeled in real-life settings or completely in mathematical settings. Candidates have to attempt 40 questions in 70 minutes.

Also, Check GRE Quant Practice Papers

The GRE verbal section is comparatively easier than what the Power Prep series comprises, and candidates can actually score higher than what they generally obtain during the PowerPrep practice tests. Whereas, the GRE quant section’s first part is harder than what PowerPrep’s first part offers. Also, the last part of PowerPrep’s quant section is harder than what the actual test offers. From actual test-takers, it has been concluded that the GRE quant section, though might appear easy but is actually tricky. In fact, the experimental quant section is even harder.

GRE has a paper-based test format and the table below holds the details of the GRE paper-based exam: 

Sections Number of Questions Allotted Time
Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks) One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task 30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning (Two sections) 20 questions per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections) 20 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Unidentified Unscored Section Varies Varies
Identified Research Section Varies Varies

Apart from GRE general test, GRE has another test - the GRE subject test. This test is designed to check the knowledge of the candidates on their preferred subject. 6 subjects are included in the GRE subject test - Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, English Literature, Psychology, and Biology. Aspirants take GRE subject test to make their applications outstanding by showing deep knowledge about a specific subject. ETS provides GRE practice books for each subject as study material. GRE Subject tests are available only in the paper-based format of GRE and these tests are available thrice a year – in September, October, and April. Scores are measured on a scale of 200-990 with 10-point increments. The total time for the test is 2 hours and 50 minutes and there are no individually timed sections. Most candidates who aim to pursue higher studies at the postgraduate level take the GRE Subject Test.


Percentage of Candidates Pursuing GRE at Post Graduate Level

In this above-mentioned picture, it is observed mostly people from life sciences background appear for this subject test is comparatively higher. Students prefer to study science subjects from abroad due to huge scholarships available on specific subjects. 

GRE Score 2021

GRE Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are scored on the GRE score range of 130-170 with 1 point increment. The GRE score range for Analytical Reasoning is measured on a scale of 0-6 with a half-point increment. If any question remains unattempted then no Score (NS) will be stated. As per the data collected from ETS between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019, the mean score for GRE General Test are as follows:

Sections Number of Test Takers Mean
Verbal Reasoning 1640350 150.37
Quantitative Reasoning 1643587 153.39
Analytical Writing 1635221 3.58

In GRE Subject Test, all these 6 subject tests are scored on a scale of 200-290 with 10 point increments. Biology and Psychology have a subscore range of 20-99 score scale with 1 point increment. As per the data collected from ETS between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019, GRE mean score for Subject Test are as follows

Subjects Number of Test Takers Mean
Biology 3644 665
Chemistry 8897 689
Literature in English 3370 542
Mathematics 15664 664
Physics 21065 714
Psychology 12556 619

Check GRE Score Report

GRE Scaled Score percentiles for General Test

The below-mentioned table below explains the score v/s percentile scale for GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning as follows

GRE Verbal & Quantitative score in Percentile

Similarly for GRE Analytical Writing, score percentile is measured in the following table

GRE Analytical Score

GRE Score Report

Your GRE score report contains the following information:

  • Contact details like phone, name, email id
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Preferred graduate major
  • GRE test dates
  • GRE test score and the percentile score
  • Authorized score recipients

How to Send GRE Score?

After receiving the score, candidates will get the Scoreselect option to send test scores GRE to the graduate schools where they want to pursue any course. This Scoreselect option is available in both General and Subject Tests. After getting a good score on GRE, it is completely dependent on the candidates whether to send it to the university or not. After the test day, you need to pay a fee to send your scores and you can choose from the following options:

  • Most Recent: Send your scores from your most recent test.
  • All: Send your scores from all test administrations in the last five years.
  • Any: Send your scores from one or as many test administrations as you like from the last five years.

GRE Cutoff 2021

GRE cutoff ranges from 150 to 165 in top universities like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, University of California – Berkeley. The GRE cutoff 2021 depends on what college and program course you are choosing. GRE consists of three sections:

  • GRE verbal (130-170 score scale)
  • GRE quantitative reasoning (130-170 score scale)
  • GRE Analytical Writing (0-5 score scale)

To get admitted to the top universities in the US to study MS or Ph.D. an overall goal score of 320+ and 4.5 in GRE AWA is required. GRE cutoff of some of the top universities are:

Top Universities Verbal (Average Score) Quant (Average Score)
MIT 158 162
Stanford University 159 165
UC Berkeley 154 160
Imperial College, London 162 167
Oxford University 160+ 160+
London School of Economics 163 163
Illinois Urbana Champaign 154 162
Carnegie Mellon University 160 162
Georgia Tech 155 161
UCLA 155 167
University of Virginia 163 166

GRE Eligibility 2021

There are no specific GRE exam eligibility criteria regarding age or educational qualifications. The only two things that candidates need to be concerned about is – Having a Passport if you are an Indian, and successfully finishing the undergraduate degree. 

GRE Registration 2021

You can complete GRE Registration online easily by making an ETS account at Firstly, you have to find out the accessible GRE exam centers and the available time slots for booking the test. ETS makes an easy GRE login account for easy accessibility. GRE exam fees will be paid via credit or debit card. Candidates can make GRE Registration via phone by calling 1-800-473-2255. All necessary information will be given over a call. GRE exam fee payment can be processed via JCB, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Candidates can also register for GRE via mail. You have to send the completed GRE registration form to the address mentioned on the website. The application form must reach the address at least 3 weeks before the chosen test date.

If you are opting for GRE general at-home exam then you should have the required computer and testing setting. Tablets or mobile devices are not allowed, and your PC needs to have windows operating system 8 or 10. In the case of MAC, Mac OS X® 10.5 or higher is recommended. Candidates should also check if the ETS browser and ProctorU system are running successfully 

GRE Exam Fee 2021

GRE Exam Fee for the general test is $213 whereas for GRE fee for the subject tests is $150. The GRE rescheduling fee is US$50. GRE general test cost differs by location. For registration and other services like cancellation, rescheduling amounts are paid in US dollars. 

GRE Preparation Tips 2021

Candidates pursue different kinds of classroom or in-person courses for GRE preparation. Usually, the candidates take around 2-4 months before the scheduled date. To perform the best, candidates must target the score first. Few GRE preparation tips to help you during your preparations:

  • Always keep calm and come back to questions you couldn't solve in the end;
  • Self-preparation is one of the most fruitful techniques for GRE practice. Get a survey of the best kind of  GRE Prep Books, practice papers for GRE. Self-preparation will enhance self-motivation all the time.
  • Get your hands on authentic study materials and practice papers.
  • Take crash courses online will help in getting updated study materials. This in turn will help to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Hire a personal tutor to get regular feedback on the status of your preparation.
  • Know details about the syllabus and exam pattern of GRE.
  • Candidates can mix and match their preparation materials like books, CDs, videos, sample questions, and webinars. 
  • Taking regular mock tests will help in effective preparation. It will evaluate the readiness of your preparation.
  • Making a proper study plan will help in monitoring the growth status of the candidates in terms of readiness.
  • Understand the contextual meaning of the GRE words
  • Reading different types of analytical non-fiction works will help candidates
  • While solving sentence equivalence and text completion questions, go through the passage thoroughly before answering the questions
  • Enroll yourself in top GRE coachings like Manya, Jamboree, IMS, and more. 


Question. What is the paper pattern for the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test?

Answer. Exam Pattern for Quantitative Reasoning section of GRE is as follows:

  • Number and duration of sections: Two sections of 35 minutes each.
  • Number of Questions: 20 questions in each section.
  • Question Type: Quantitative Comparison, Multiple choice, Numeric Entry
  • Score Scale:130–170, reported in one-point increments 

Question. What is the score select option for the GRE General Test?

Answer. With the help of score selection, you can retake the test and send only the scores you want your schools to see. It works in the following way:

Decide on Test Day: When you get your score on the test day, you can choose not to send your score at this time or you can use any of the following options:

  • Most Recent option: Send your scores from your current test date.
  • All options: Send your scores from all test dates in the last five years. 

Decide After Test Day: At any time, you can send additional score reports for a fee and select from the following available options:

  • Most Recent option: Send your scores from your most recent test date.
  • All options: Send your scores from all test dates in the last five years.
  • Any option: Send your scores from one or as many test dates as you like from the last five years.

The schools you designate will only see the scores you selected to send them. There will be no special indication if you have taken additional GRE tests. 

Question. What should be the gap between two GRE attempts?

Answer. You can take the computer-delivered GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously.

Question. What is the validity period of the GRE score?

Answer. The validity period of a GRE score is 5 years from the day of the exam.

Question. How are GRE subject tests scored?

Answer. The first raw score is calculated based on your correct answers. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers. The raw score is further converted into a scaled score through the process of Equating. Equating balances the minor variations in difficulty level among different test editions. 

Question. In what all subjects are GRE subject tests available?

Answer. GRE Subject test is available in the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Literature in English
  • Psychology
  • Physics

Question. Can I use a calculator in GRE General Test?

Answer. An on-screen calculator shall be present during the Quantitative reasoning section of the GRE General computer-delivered test. For paper-delivered format, a calculator shall be provided at the test center.

Question. When can I take GRE general test in paper-delivered format?

Answer. In areas of the world where the computer-delivered test is not available, the test is available in a paper-delivered format up to three times a year in October, November, and February.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


How long is GRE conducted for in both overall and sectional?
sinbad chongtham

The GRE General Test is conducted for 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are three sections in the GRE General test paper, viz Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The Analytical Writing section is conducted for 60 minutes and the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are allotted 60 and 70 minutes respectively. 

Please provide me the exam pattern for GRE General test.
sinbad chongtham

There are three sections in the GRE General test paper, viz Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning and candidates must attempt all the questions in 3 hours 45 minutes. There are two sub-sections for each section of the paper. There are 2 questions in the Analytical Writing and 40 questions each for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

ibashisha mukhim
What are the components of Quantitative Reasoning in General GRE paper?
sinbad chongtham

There are four main areas in the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test paper. The important topics for the respective areas are mentioned below.

Arithmetic: Properties, Integers, Divisibility, Factorization, Prime numbers, Remainders, Odd and even integers, Sequences of numbers, Decimal representation, Number line, Absolute value, Rate, Ratio, Arithmetic operations, Exponents and roots, Estimation, Percent.

Algebra: Exponents, Factoring, Simplifying algebraic expressions, Relations, Functions, Intercepts and slopes of lines, Equations and inequalities, Simultaneous equations and inequalities, Equations to solve word problems, Coordinate geometry, Graphs of Functions, Equations and inequalities, Linear and quadratic equations and inequalities.

Geometry: Parallel and perpendicular lines, Circles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals and other polygons, Congruent and similar figures, Three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, and volume, Pythagorean theorem, Angle measurement in degrees.

Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics such as- mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles, Interpretation of data in tables and graphs, Elementary probability, Counting methods, such as combinations, permutations, Venn diagrams.

ankita sasmal
What is the difference between computer based and paper based GRE examination?
sinbad chongtham

GRE examination is conducted in two modes, paper-based and computer-based. The main difference between the two modes of examination is that the paper-based examination is conducted for 210 minutes while the computer-based is conducted for 225 minutes. Besides this, the paper-based test does not have Reading Comprehension. Also, the number of Quant and Verbal questions for paper-based is 25 whereas that of computer-based is 20.  

What are the major differences between GRE general and subject tests?
sinbad chongtham

The major differences between the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are mentioned below.

Number of sections in the paper: 3 sections for General and only one section for the Subject test which can be selected from 6 subjects.

Mode of examination: Both paper-based and computer-based for General while Subject test is conducted in paper-based mode only.

Frequency of test: GRE General test is conducted throughout the year while GRE Subject test is conducted thrice a year in the month of April, September and October.

Application fee: USD 226 to USD 255 for GRE General and USD 150 per subject.

Number and type of questions: A total of 82 MCQs and Essay type questions for General paper while 66-230 questions for the Subject paper.

Duration: 225 minutes for General paper and 170 minutes for Subject paper.

Score range: 260-340 for General paper and 200-990 for Subject paper.

koyena biswas
What is the subject wise candidate ratio in GRE paper?
sinbad chongtham

The number of candidates who have appeared in the GRE Subject test is mentioned below.

Biology – 3644    
Chemistry – 8897    
Literature in English –  3370    
Mathematics – 15664    
Physics –  21065    
Psychology –  12556.

ambar ahirawar
How much time is allotted per section in GRE paper?
sinbad chongtham

There are three sections in the GRE General test paper. The total time allotted for the paper is 225 minutes. The time allotted for the respective sections is mentioned below.

Analytical Writing: 60 minutes

Verbal Reasoning: 60 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning: 70 minutes.

shiya devi
What are the main sections included in GRE paper?
sinbad chongtham

In the GRE General test paper, there are three sections, namely Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. However, there are no sections in the GRE Subject test paper and candidates have to select their subject of choice from Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. The GRE General paper is conducted for 3 hours and 45 minutes while the GRE Subject paper is conducted for 2 hours 50 minutes. 

How many times can candidates appear for GRE in a given year?
sinbad chongtham

A GRE aspirant can write the examination 5 times in a year. However, there must be a gap of at least 21 days between two consecutive tests. The GRE General Test is conducted throughout the year, however, the GRE Subject test is conducted only three times a year. The Subject tests are conducted in the month of April, September and October.

deep jyoti das
What is the sectional cut- off to be scored by candidates in GRE?

There is no fixed cut-off for various sections in GRE. GRE cutoff ranges from 150 to 165 in top universities like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, University of California – Berkeley. The GRE cutoff 2021 depends on what college and program course you are choosing. In 2020, GRE verbal score 160-170 and GRE quant score of 160-170 with GRE AWA score 5.0-6.0 happens to be the top GRE score. To know the average cut-off, see GRE Cut-Off

kunal thakrar
Can our GRE application fee be refunded under any given situation?
sinbad chongtham

If a candidate who has registered for the GRE examination cancels his or her registration, the candidate will receive a partial refund of the registration fee. The approximate refund amount is UDS 102.5. The cancelation can be checked by visiting the official website of GRE. Candidates who have canceled their GRE registration are eligible to write the examination later. 

divakar sharma
How much is the application fee for GRE Subject examination?
sinbad chongtham

The GRE Subject Test fee for every candidate in the world is USD 150 per subject. In case, if a candidate wants to write the test for more than one subject, the candidate must pay the subject fee for the number of subjects. And after registration when a candidate wants to change the subject, the candidate can change the subject by paying a fee of USD 50 as the subject changing fee. 

shaik kabeer
How much is the fee for GRE General examination?
sinbad chongtham

The GRE General test registration fee varies from one country to another. In India, the GRE General test application fee is USD 213, which is approximately about INR 15700. The GRE General test registration fee for a few other countries is given below.

Australia  -  US$ 230
China  -  US$ 231.30
Nigeria  -  US$ 226
Turkey  -  US$ 255
Others  -  US$ 205

shreya sarkar
What are the mandatory documents required for GRE general and subjects exams?
sinbad chongtham

Candidates appearing in the GRE tests must have valid identity proofs issued by the Government of the respective countries. The id card must contain a clear photograph, full name and signature of the candidates. Candidates must bring the original id card as photocopies, soft copies or expired id cards are not accepted. 

tanishka shah
Can we attend GRE at home? What is the procedure for the same?
sinbad chongtham

Yes, ETS has introduced the feature to allow aspirants to take the GRE tests from home. The complete procedure for GRE at Home registration is mentioned below.

First, log in to your account
Go to your My GRE Home Page and then to Register/Find test Centers
Then go to the ‘Find Test Centers and Date’ option then select the ‘at-home option. During the ETS GRE registration of at-home exam, note that you will get the option if your country is eligible for it
Then get your email address verified 
Confirm the time zone
Select the GRE test date from the two-month period
Select the perfect time and register for the test
Finally, pay the GRE registration fee
You will receive a confirmation mail from ETS.

gouri kumari
How can we pay the GRE application fee? What is the mode of payment?
sinbad chongtham

There are five modes of payment of the GRE Application fee and the online mode of payment via credit/debit cards or PayPal is considered to be the easiest. The five modes of payment are mentioned below.

Credit/debit card: Candidates can pay through credit or debit cards branded with the logo of American Express, Discover, JCB, Master Card or Visa card.
PayPal: The candidate can also pay through this mode if suitable.
E-check service: Candidates have this option to pay as well but the service must be drawn against US banks only.
Money order/ certified check or voucher.
Western union quick pay service: candidates can choose PAY TO while completing their form. And then can pay the fee under Company Name: Educational Testing Service; Company Code: GREPROGRAM NJ; Country: the USA in which candidate must include his original Western Union Quick Pay Receipt.

neha thasale
Where are the GRE test centres located? Please provide a detailed list.
sinbad chongtham

There are more than 1000 GRE test centers across 160 countries in the world. In India, the test centers are available in all the major cities of the country. Candidates appearing for this examination have the option to select the preferred test center and date of examination. There are 14 GRE test centers in India and they are located in Allahabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Trivandrum, Mysore, Gurgaon, Coimbatore, and Chandigarh. You can check more information about the test centers from GRE Test Centers in India.

How can candidates register for GRE? How much is the application fee?
sinbad chongtham

There are five types of GRE registration, Online, Offline, Phone, Mail and Home registration. The registration process is different for each mode however, online registration is considered to be the best and easiest mode. The main steps included in the registration process are creating an account, filling out the personal details, selecting the GRE test date and center, and finally paying the GRE registration fee. The GRE registration fee is INR 15587. The registration fee can be paid in five different modes of payment.

sandesh kumar
What is the GRE cut- off per section of the paper?
sinbad chongtham

There are three sections in the GRE paper, Verbal, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. However, the GRE score primarily means the collected score of GRE verbal and GRE quant scores and these sections have a score range of 130 to 170. Since the competition is extremely high, candidates need to score high marks in order to get admission. The average score range considered for admission is mentioned below.

Verbal: 155-163
Quantitative Reasoning: 155-167
Analytical Writing: 4.5 - 5.0

How many sections are there in GRE paper and how many questions are asked in each?
sinbad chongtham

There are three sections in the GRE examination paper, they are Verbal, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. There are two main modes of the GRE examination viz Computer exam and Paper exam. The GRE general paper consists of 82 questions (80 MCQs and 2 Descriptive types). In the GRE subject paper, there will be 66 to 230 MCQs according to the respective subjects.