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What to Expect During the GRE® General Test

The following information applies whether you are taking your test at home or at a test center.

The overall testing time for the GRE® General Test is about three hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections, one of which is an unidentified/unscored section. The Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward your score. An identified research section that is not scored may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test.

Analytical Writing Section

On the Analytical Writing section, you will have two separately timed writing tasks. The two writing tasks are delivered on the computer, and you must type your essay responses.

The testing software uses an elementary word processor developed by ETS so that test takers familiar with a specific commercial word-processing software do not have an advantage or disadvantage. The software contains the following functionalities: inserting text, deleting text, cut and paste, undoing the previous action and scrolling.

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Sections

The questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures have a variety of formats. Some require you to select a single answer choice; others require you to select one or more answer choices, and yet others require you to enter a numeric answer. Make sure when answering a question that you understand what response is required. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are section-level adaptive. The computer selects the second section of a measure based on your performance on the first section. An on-screen calculator will be provided at the test center for use during the Quantitative Reasoning sections.

In the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, you are free to skip questions that you might have difficulty answering. The testing software has "mark" and "review" features that enable you to mark questions you would like to revisit during the time provided to work on that section. The testing software also lets you view a complete list of all the questions in the section on which you are working, indicates whether you have answered each question and identifies the questions you have marked for review.

Your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores will be determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from a score if you answer a question incorrectly. Therefore, to maximize your scores, it is best to answer every question.