GRE -Test Pattern & Sample Questions

The exam pattern for GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests obviously are different.

  • The computer-based test is the most common GRE General Test format, but the paper-based format is available at test centres where Computer-based GRE test is not present. In India, only the computer-based test is available for the GRE General Test.
  • However, the GRE Subject Test is available only in the paper-based format.


The Subject tests are conducted only at centers that have paper-delivered tests, and are held only three times a year. {GRE 2016 Exam Dates & Centres in India: Check out the 2016 - 2017 dates when GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are available in various Indian cities.}

Application Forms Now Available

Test pattern & structure - GRE General Test

The GRE General test has three sections: Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. Analytical Writing Assessment measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills. The two parts of this section are "Analyze an Issue" and "Analyze an Argument." The Quantitative Reasoning section tests basic math skills with data interpretation, algebra, probability and statistics. Verbal Reasoning tests analysis skills, comprehension of points in a text and understanding of texts, sentences and words.

The computer-based test takes about three hours and 45 minutes. There are six total sections, and Analytical Writing is the first. There is a one-minute break between each test section. Midway through the testing session, an on-screen message will inform you of the opportunity to take a 10-minute break. Section timing will not stop if you take an unscheduled break.

An unidentified verbal or quantitative experimental section will appear in any order after the analytical writing section. It is not counted as part of your score. Treat all sections as though they are scored, since you will not know which one is unscored.

Quantitative Reasoning section

The section tests a level of maths that is comparable to Class 10 mathematics, with questions on number systems, percentages, fractions and decimals, algebra (including quadratic equations), geometry (including basic coordinate geometry), ratio and proportion, area and volume of two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures, and probability. This list is not exhaustive, questions beyond these topics may also be asked. Question types for this section are numeric entry, multiple-choice and quantitative comparison.

Each Quantitative Reasoning section has 20 questions to be completed within 35 minutes.

Verbal Reasoning section

The verbal section requires a good vocabulary, basic skills in correct English and reasoning and analysis skills. The questions consist of three types: sentence equivalence, text completion and reading comprehension. The three types are intermingled, with no fixed number for each type.

Each Verbal Reasoning section has 20 questions to be completed within 30 minutes.

Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section

The writing assessment section requires writing two short essays. The first is the issue task, in which students analyze the issue presented and explain their views on it. For the issue task, test takers may choose one of two essay topics. Thirty minutes is allocated for essay completion.

The second essay is "Analysis of an Argument," in which a given argument must be critically analyzed and evaluated. The argument task does not offer a choice of topics. Time allotted for this essay is 30 minutes.

Test pattern & structure - GRE Subject Test

The GRE Subject Tests are available only in the paper-based format. The total duration of the test is 2 hours, 50 minutes. There won't be any separately timed sections within the test. Further details about each subject test:

1. Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

2. Biology

  • There will be around 190 MCQs with 5 options
  • The questions will be from 3 main topics: cellular and molecular biology (33-34%), organismal biology (33-34%), and ecology and evolution (33-34%)



3. Chemistry

4. Literature in English

  • This subject test would have around 230 questions on poetry, drama, biography, the essay, the short story, the novel, criticism, literary theory and the history of the language

  • The scope of the literature (in English) tested would vary from the British Isles, the US, other parts of the world. There can also be questions on major works (for eg. the Bible) translated from other languages.

  • The type of questions asked would be: Literary Analysis (40–55%), Identification (15–20%), Cultural and Historical Contexts (20–25%) and History & Theory of Literary Criticism (10–15%)
  • AIIMS 2013 MBBS question paperClick to view sample questions ( 1 actual, full-length test with answers)


5. Mathematics

6. Physics

  • There will be at least 100 five-choice MCQs that will test your grasp of the fundamental principles of physics taught in the 3 years of undergraduate study

  • Classical Mechanics — 20%, Electromagnetism — 18%, Optics And Wave Phenomena — 9%, Thermodynamics And Statistical Mechanics — 10%, Quantum Mechanics — 12%, Atomic Physics — 10%, Special Relativity — 6%, Laboratory Methods — 6%, And Other Specialized Topics — 9%
  • AIIMS 2013 MBBS question paperClick to view sample questions ( 1 actual, full-length test with answers)

7. Psychology

Subscribe to our Newsletter
×