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Basics: GRE® Test Format

Test format

The analytical writing section is always first. Test-takers have 30 minutes for their analysis of an issue prompt and 30 minutes for analysis of an argument. The sections that follow can appear in any order. You'll have two 30-minute verbal sections consisting of 20 problems each and two 35-minute quantitative sections consisting of 20 problems each. There can also be an unscored, experimental section mimicking either verbal or quant. It will be impossible to tell which is which, so approach every section as if it counts.

Section-Adaptive Format

Except in a few regions of the world where the technology isn't available, the GRE® is administered on a computer. Once you have completed the Analytical Writing section, you will get either a verbal or quantitative section. You will then have a set amount of time (30 or 35 minutes depending on the type of section) to complete that section. Your performance on the first verbal section will determine the difficulty level of your second verbal section, and your performance on your first quantitative section will determine the difficulty level of your second quantitative section. Scoring will not be based on a simple question of right versus wrong answers, but will be partially based on the difficulty level of the questions you receive. This format provides you with a chance to work on a section freely. You will also have the ability to mark and review your answers before submitting them so long as you stay within the section time limit. While hours vary among testing centers, the exam is administered throughout the year. In contrast, the paper-based subject tests are only given 3 times each year, in October, November, and April.

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