Graduate Record Examinations
Graduate Record Examinations

GRE Pattern 2023: General and Subject Test Pattern for GRE Exam

Applicants preparing for the GRE exam are advised to align their preparation with the GRE pattern and syllabus. The pattern for GRE general and subject tests are different, check the structure of both these tests here.
GRE Pattern 2023

GRE Pattern 2023

GRE Pattern 2023: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has three main segments, which are: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. Apart from this, Educational Testing Service (ETS), the exam conducting body, provides candidates with two testing options that include GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. Additionally, candidates can choose between giving the test at a GRE test centre through a computer or paper-based mode, or even at home. It is essential that applicants understand the available testing options and carefully analyze which is the most suitable for them. 

Also check: GRE Syllabus 2023

GRE is a standardized test that determines the skill set of candidates needed to succeed in graduate-level programs abroad. It is one of the most recognized exams by various competitive universities worldwide. Hence, it is crucial to perform well on the test to get admitted into one’s dream school.

Various candidates planning to pursue their higher education abroad appear for the exam, but only a few get the desired GRE score. To get a strong score, candidates must thoroughly understand the GRE pattern and syllabus and align their preparation with it. Additionally, students must also utilise the recommended GRE Books and GRE Sample Papers while exam preparation. Continue reading to know the exact GRE General and Subject test pattern, test options, score format, and more.

GRE Pattern 2023

The GRE exam can be taken throughout the year according to the availability of slots at test centres and the candidate’s personal preference. Before applicants finalize the GRE date, they will have to decide which test to give between GRE General and Subject Test. Candidates who are planning to apply for specialized programs like Masters in Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, etc- should opt for the GRE subject Test. Whereas, students planning to pursue broader programs like MBA and MS amongst others should appear for the GRE General Test. 

After this decision is made, applicants must choose between giving the exam at a centre or at home. This choice should be made according to the convenience of students as both options have a similar pattern. Students must also decide between opting for a computer or paper-based mode of the exam. Note that all the choices should be made according to what would be most suitable for each applicant. 

As mentioned above, GRE is a standardized test that is 3 hours and 30 minutes long. It is an objective test wherein students will need to select the correct answer through a multiple-choice format. Except for the GRE AWA section, which would require candidates to write a detailed essay-pattern answer. The AWA section will have two questions with 30 minutes devoted to solving each of them. Moreover, the Verbal and Quantitative reasoning segments will be divided into two sections each. Continue reading to know the pattern of the GRE General and Subject Test.

GRE Pattern 2023: General Test Structure

The GRE General Test is a computer-delivered test. The Test contains two Analytical Writing sections, two Verbal Reasoning sections, and two Quantitative Reasoning sections. One can skip questions within a section, go back and change answers, and have the option to decide which questions within a section they wish to answer first due to its test-taker-friendly design.

The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning segments are adaptable at the section level. Each segment's initial sections are of average difficulty level. The overall performance in the first section of each section determines how challenging the second section will be.


Number of Questions

Allotted Time

Analytical Writing-One section with two separately timed tasks

2 Essay Questions

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



Number of Questions

Time Allotted To Complete Each Section

Analytical Writing

One “Analyze an Issue” Task and one “Analyze an Argument Task” 

30 minutes for each task

Quantitative Reasoning

20 x 2 sections = 40

35 mins x 2 = 1 hr 10 mins

Verbal Reasoning 

20 x 2 sections = 40

20 x 2 sections = 40

GRE Pattern 2023: Subject Test Structure

The GRE Subject Tests are conducted in a paper-based mode. Moreover, two hours and fifty minutes are allotted for the exam and there are no separately timed sections. Read on to know the subject-wise structure for this GRE Subject Test.

Psychology: There are about 205 multiple-choice questions in the exam. The test includes five answers for each question, and the test taker must pick the correct or best solution to the asked question. Recalling factual information, understanding relationships, applying principles, drawing inferences from data, and/or evaluating a research design may all be necessary to answer the given questions. The questions on the psychology test are taken from the collection of information that is taught in undergraduate psychology courses and from the broad field of psychology.

Maths: The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from subjects mostly taught at the undergraduate level. More or less 50% of the questions involve calculus and its applications. Various other topics that are common to the background of mathematics undergraduate-level curriculum can be asked. About 25% of the questions in the test are in linear algebra, abstract algebra, elementary algebra, and number theory.

Chemistry: The test consists of approximately 130 multiple-choice questions. Candidates will be provided with a periodic table in the test booklet for their reference. The four traditional divisions of chemistry and some interrelationships among the areas are highlighted in the test's content.

Physics: About 100 multiple-choice questions make up the test, some of which are divided into sets and are based on different formats including diagrams, graphs, experimental data, and descriptions of quantum sciences. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate how well the candidates understand fundamental concepts of Physics and how well they are able to use these concepts to solve problems. Knowledge of UG-level physics subjects will help students perform well in this exam.

To know more about the format and content of the subject offered in this specific GRE testing method, visit the official website of ETS.

GRE Pattern 2023: Computer Adaptation

Interested applicants may question what exactly is a Computer Adaptive Test. As mentioned above, the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE exam are adaptive in nature. Let us understand this concept with an example so that candidates have better clarity. 

For instance, if students score highly on the first Quantitative Reasoning section, the second Quantitative Reasoning section will be more difficult. The total number of questions correctly answered across the two sections, as well as the difficulty level of the sections, are taken into account when calculating the scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning assessments. Check below to know the number of questions and the time allotted to them for each section.

GRE Pattern 2023: Test Design Features

ETS has provided candidates with an advanced and adaptive design of the GRE exam. The test is carefully structured with various design features to make the exam-giving process easier for test-takers. Some of the specific GRE test features include: 

  • Preview and review capabilities in each section of the exam
  • Questions are marked with the "Mark" and "Review" features so candidates can skip them and come back to them later if they still have time in the section
  • The feature of changing of editing the already-answered questions within each section
  • Availability of an on-screen calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning segment

GRE Pattern: Score Format

The GRE exam is of 340 marks in total. GRE Subject and General Test have different scoring formats. Both of these structures are explained below:

GRE Subject Test Score Format

Each GRE Subject Test results in a final score that ranges from 200 to 990 in 10-point increments. The 200 to 990 score range is only substantially covered by each of the individual test scales. Additionally, the Physics and Psychology Tests produce subscores on a scale from 20 to 99, with each point representing 1 point. The 20 to 99 score range is only partly represented by each of the individual test subscore scales.

Unlike the GRE General Test, Subject Tests have specific exam dates. Students can take the GRE Subject tests three times a year. The official GRE Subject Test score (s) will be available in one's  ETS account approximately 5 weeks after the selected test date. Applicants will receive an email notification from ETS when the scores are available.

GRE General Test Score Format

Numerous graduate programs, including those in business and law, accept GRE General Test scores. After appearing for the general test, applicants will receive their personal scores 10–15 days following the exam date; one's official GRE General Test results will be accessible in their ETS account. This test provides candidates with scoring assistance service, which includes:

  • Score review for the Analytical Writing measure
  • Question-and-Answer Review Service (Available for US citizens only)
  • GRE Diagnostic Service, through this, one can learn how well you did on the test questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the exam.

GRE Syllabus 2023

Just like the exam pattern, the GRE syllabus is essential while preparing for the exam. Aligning the preparation with the pattern and syllabus will help candidates to perform well and obtain a strong GRE score. Similar to the pattern, the syllabus of the GRE differs for the General and Subject Tests. The general test will have a vast syllabus whereas the subject tests will have specified contents in each subject. Some of these contents include:


  • Algebra: 25%
  • Additional Topics: 25%
  • Calculus: 50%


  • Organic Chemistry: 30%
  • Physical Chemistry: 30%
  • Inorganic Chemistry: 25%
  • Analytical Chemistry: 15%


  • Atomic Physics: 10%
  • Special Relativity: 6%
  • Laboratory Methods: 6%
  • Specialized Topics: 9%
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena: 9%
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: 10%
  • Classical Mechanics: 20%
  • Electromagnetism: 18%
  • Quantum Mechanics: 12%


  • Cognitive (17–24%)
  • Biological (17–21%)
  • Clinical (15–19%)
  • Developmental (12–14%)
  • Social (12–14%)
  • Measurement/Methodology/Other (15–19%)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the prescribed five sections of GRE?

The GRE exam consists of three major sections which are Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. These sections are further divided into more segments. In total, the exam has two verbal sections, two quantitative sections, and 2 questions in GRE AWA. 

How many marks is GRE for?

The GRE has a 340 overall score. Similarly to this, the minimum GRE score is 260 and the maximum GRE score is 340.


What is the mode of the GRE exam?

GRE can be given in a computer or paper-based format. Although the paper-based exam is restricted to the subject test. Paper-based is only available in limited locations. In India, students can only opt for a computer-based mode if they are planning to appear for the general test. 

Is the exam pattern for GRE general and subject tests different?

Yes, the exam patterns for both testing options are different in nature. They have different sections, different numbers of questions, and even different scoring formats allotted to them.

Is GRE a computer adaptive test?

Yes, GRE is a computer-adaptive test. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning segments are adaptable at the section level. Each segment's initial sections are of average difficulty. The overall performance of the first section determines how challenging the second section will be.