Graduate Record Examinations
Graduate Record Examinations

GRE Syllabus 2023: Section-Wise Content of GRE General and Subject Test

The GRE syllabus is of profound importance for applicants planning to appear for the GRE exam. Aligning one’s preparation with the prescribed syllabus can help maximize the result. Check to know the detailed syllabus for GRE tests.
GRE Syllabus 2023

GRE Syllabus 2023

GRE Syllabus 2023: Graduate Record Examinations, commonly known as GRE, is a widely recognized standardized test that is an admission requirement for various competitive colleges. The exam is mostly taken by applicants planning to pursue higher education abroad for graduate and doctoral programs. Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS,) the test aims to measure the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing skills of candidates. Revolving around these sections, specific Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Language components make up the GRE's content. Put simply, applicants are tested on their critical thinking abilities which are needed for graduate schools. 

Also check: GRE Pattern 2023

Many schools have given a GRE waiver, making admissions without a GRE score possible. Yet, the test is mandatory to get enrolled into dream colleges like Yale University, Harvard University, UC Berkeley, and Imperial College amongst others. Moreover, a strong score in GRE can help make a candidate’s application stand out from others. Hence, it is essential to align the test preparation with the GRE syllabus and pattern along with GRE Books to maximize the result and get the aimed score. This can be done when students are familiar with the GRE section-wise syllabus. 

Check: GRE Preparation Tips

GRE Syllabus 2023

ETS provides candidates with two testing options, which are: GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. Candidates will be given the option to select between these testing formats when registering for the exam. It's crucial to know which test will be best for each applicant. The admissions process will be made simpler by selecting the appropriate test following the admission requirements of the targeted university.

Candidates should choose the GRE subject test if they plan to apply for specialized programs like Masters in Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, etc. While those wanting to pursue more general programs, such as MBA and MS, should take the GRE General Test. Continue reading to know the detailed syllabus for both GRE General and Subject Test.

GRE Syllabus 2023: General Test Syllabus

The challenging graduate programs offered today, such as those in business and law, are closely reflected by the GRE General Test. It examines students' Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Critical Thinking, and Analytical Writing abilities—skills that have been developed over time and are relevant to various academic fields and not limited to just one. 

The General Test covers:



Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence

Quantitative Reasoning

Data Interpretation, Numeric Entry, Quantitative Comparison, Data Analysis, Basic Mathematical skills, elementary mathematical concepts,  quantitative methods

Analytical Writing

Analyze an Argument Task, Analyze an Issue Task

Read on to understand each section in detail.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Syllabus 2023

There are various formats for Verbal Reasoning problems, all of which are covered in-depth below. The majority of the problems require students to read passages and answer questions accordingly based on the given passages. For the second half, students must complete and interpret existing sentences, elaborated sentences, or paragraphs.

In the Verbal Reasoning segment, applicants are assessed on their ability to:

  • Analyze and examine the given content 
  • Combine information from the written material
  • evaluate the connections between sentence elements
  • identify connections between concepts and words

The key areas that are covered in this section and their particular syllabus include:

GRE Reading Comprehension Syllabus

This area tests a wide range of abilities of candidates which are necessary to understand the kind of content found and taught in graduate schools. Some of those abilities comprise-

Comprehending  the meaning of individual sentences and words

Interpretation of detailed paragraphs

Differentiating between minor and major points

Summarizing Passages

Drawing conclusions from the provided information

Comprehending the structure of the given text

Identifying assumptions and perceptions

Analyzing strengths and weaknesses of sentences

Developing alternative explanations

Completing incomplete Data

These tasks can be successfully mastered if candidates:

  • Ask questions
  • Reflect on the relationship of a particular text to other texts and information
  • Formulate and evaluate hypotheses 
  • Actively engage with the text

There are roughly 10 passages in this segment. Each passage will have one to six questions associated with it. The majority are one paragraph long, although one or two are longer. Passages are based on content from both academic and non-academic books and journals and are taken from Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Business, and everyday topics.

Although, The reading materials are selected from a wide range of fields and resources, so students can run upon unfamiliar content. Candidates should take note of how all the questions may be answered based on the details provided in the passage and no specific knowledge is needed to solve the asked questions. It is advisable to choose to save a passage for last if it appears particularly challenging.

Candidates will have to answer in the format of selecting a single answer, selecting a sentence from the passage, and selecting multiple correct answers. 

To maximize the result in this particular area of the Verbal Reasoning segment, applicants are advised to:

  • Analyze, interpret, and read the given passages carefully before attempting to answer
  • Understand what is exactly being asked
  • Do not rely on information or knowledge which is not provided in the passage, instead, Answer each question based on what is provided
  • Analyze the relationship between each sentence
  • Differentiate between main ideas from supporting ideas 
  • Do not provide personal opinion and strictly rely on the given information

GRE Text Completion Syllabus

In this segment, applicants are expected to carefully evaluate and interpret the text instead of just simply absorbing the provided information. Drawing conclusions and reasonings within the given sentences is essential to excel in this area of verbal reasoning. Text completion tasks put this skill to the test by leaving out keywords from brief sentences and asking students to choose words or brief phrases to fill in the gaps and produce a logical, meaningful conclusion.

The question structure of this segment is as follows:

  • Each given passage contains one to five sentences, with one to three blanks per sentence
  • If there are two or three blanks, it will have three answer choices.
  • If there is only one blank, there will be a total of five answer choices.
  • Each blank will only have a single correct answer
  • All answers will be independent, selecting one answer choice for a particular blank will not affect the answer choices students will select for another blank
  • Credit will not be given if answers are partially correct

To maximize the result in this particular area of the Verbal Reasoning segment, applicants are advised to:

  • Carefully understand the given passage
  • Identify phrases or words that seem significant
  • Try to fill in the blanks with phrases or words that seem to finish the statement, then match the answer with the given answer choices
  • It is not essential to fill in the initial blank at first, if it’s easier to start with one of the other blanks, then solve them first
  • In the end, make sure the passage is grammatically, logically, and stylistically sound

GRE Sentence Equivalence Syllabus

Just like the Text Completion segment, this area of verbal reasoning tests applicants’ ability to reach a logical conclusion based on how a passage should be shaped. sentence equivalence questions require students to choose between two options that result in sentences that are both complete and coherent and express the same idea. The questions will comprise a single sentence with just one blank.

Following is the question structure of this particular segment:

  • Every question will comprise just one blank in a single sentence
  • There will be six answer choices/options
  • Candidates will have to select two answer choices
  • Credit will not be given if answers are partially correct

Some tips for tackling such questions include:

  • Understand the given answer choices well as they may contain pairs of words that mean the same thing but do not fit concisely into the sentence.
  • Read and understand the given sentences carefully
  • Look out for significant words 
  • Students should fill in the blank with a word that seems appropriate to them and then match their answer with the two answer choices to draw a conclusion
  • The sentences should be grammatically and logically correct

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Syllabus

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures candidates’ quant skillset and assesses them on the following:

  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Elementary mathematical concepts
  • Ability to solve problems using quantitative methods

Many of the questions covered in this section are word problems that are required to be modelled and tackled mathematically. Most of the section covers high-school topics such as geometry and algebra and doesn’t include trigonometry, calculus, or other higher-level topics. Moreover, inferential statistics is not tested. There are four major content areas measured in this section, which are:



Arithmetic Topics

Arithmetic operations, exponents and roots, Arithmetic operations, exponents and roots, Sequences of numbers, ratios, rates, estimations etc, prime numbers, factorization, integers etc

Algebra Topics

setting up equations to solve word problems, solving simultaneous equations and inequalities, solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, relations, functions, equations and inequalities, operations with exponents, factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions, graphs, inequalities, equations, intercepts and slopes of lines

Geometry Topics

triangles, including isosceles, equilateral and 30°-60°-90° triangles, congruent and similar figures, 3-dimensional figures, Area, perimeter, volume, circle, quadrilaterals, parallel and perpendicular lines, the Pythagorean theorem, angle measurement in degrees, other polygons

Data Analysis Topics

counting methods, probability distributions, and variables, elementary probability, frequency distributions, interpretation of data, conditional probability, and basic statistics (descriptive)


GRE Quantitative Reasoning Data Interpretation Sets and Question Types

This section deals with four major question types, which are:

  • Numeric Entry Questions
  • Multiple-choice Questions — Select One Answer Choice
  • Multiple-choice Questions — Select One or More than just one
  • Quantitative Comparison Questions

Numeric Entry Questions: These questions require students to provide their answer as a fraction in two different boxes, one for the numerator and one for the denominator, or as an integer or decimal in one answer box. Since answer choices are not provided, applicants must carefully answer the question that has been asked. Additionally, if students are asked to round the answer, make sure to round to the required degree of accuracy. For instance, if an answer of 46.7 is to be rounded to the nearest integer, you need to enter the number 47. After answering, examine the solution with the given information to make sure that it's reasonable and correct. 

Multiple-choice Questions (One answer choice:) These multiple-choice questions will require applicants to select only one answer choice from a list of five choices. If one’s solution does not match the answer choice then it is probably incorrect. Hence, make sure not to miss any important detail or misinterpret data. If needed, reevaluate the answer. In various cases, candidates will be asked which choices have certain properties, which is why examining the answer choices carefully is essential. Additionally, for problems that need approximations, scan the answer choices properly to see how close an approximation is needed. 

Multiple-choice Questions (Multiple answer choice:) These multiple-choice questions ask applicants to provide one or more answers from a list of given choices. The question may or may not specify the number of choices to select. Analyze whether the answer has to be determined based on a specific number of answer choices or all the provided choices. Knowing the least and greatest possible value may allow candidates to quickly determine the correct choices.

Quantitative Comparison Questions: Such questions will ask applicants to compare two quantities to draw conclusions. The quantities will be termed “Quantity A” and “Quantity B” The questions will be based on whether: The two quantities are equal, whether the relationship can be determined or not from the information given, and whether Quantity A is greater or Quantity B is greater. 

Data Interpretation Sets: Questions pertaining to data interpretation are grouped together and include: a graph, table, or another form of data presentation. Candidates are required to interpret or analyze the provided data in order to draw logical conclusions. Multiple-choice (single and multiple-answer choices) or Numeric Entry questions can be asked. It is advisable to briefly scan the given data instead of spending time to understand it thoroughly. Focus on the set which is needed to successfully answer the question. Pay attention to the units of measurement or orders of magnitude that are given in the titles and labels, the scales and axes graphs, and notes that clarify the data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the GRE syllabus different for the GRE General test and Subject test?

Yes, the syllabus for the GRE Subject test and General test is different in nature. As the subject test is more specialized and focuses on subjects such as psychology, physics, chemistry, and maths- the syllabus is based on these subjects. Whereas, the general test, which is more vast and used for admissions in courses like MS and MBA, has a comparatively vast syllabus including Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

What is the GRE Experimental section?

The section’s function is to act as a feedback section and as an ETS research tool. The questions on the upcoming tests will be determined by how candidates perform in this part. Simply put, ETS uses the experimental section as a tool for data collecting and as a way to modify the test over time. If a research component is included, it will be optional and available after the exam is finished.

What are the two tasks in GRE AWA?

The GRE AWA tasks include Analyzing the issue and Analyzing the argument tasks. Both tasks are descriptive in nature. Students are required to support or argue an assigned topic in the argument essay. Here, one must analyze the topic in question without offering any personal beliefs or views. If you maintain your point of view throughout an issue essay and provide examples and illustrations to support it,

Is GRE calculator use allowed?

ETS allows candidates an on-screen calculator to use while answering problems involving quantitative reasoning. This is due to the fact that drawing an answer from calculations can be a time-consuming procedure; however, by understanding the precise method and using a calculator, the solution can be easily achieved.

What types of questions will be asked in GRE verbal reasoning?

In GRE verbal reasoning section, candidates will be asked to tackle questions based on the areas of: Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence. To read more about the types of questions that will be asked in this particular section, check this article out.