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GRE Exam Structure

GRE Exam Structure

Discuss GRE Exam Structure within the GRE forums, part of the International MBA category; The exam consists of four sections. The first section is a writing section, while the other three are multiple-choice style. ...

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GRE Exam Structure
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Sunanda K. Chavan
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GRE Exam Structure - November 28th, 2011

The exam consists of four sections. The first section is a writing section, while the other three are multiple-choice style. One of the multiple choice style exams will test verbal skills, another will test quantitative skills and a third exam will be an experimental section that is not included in the reported score. The entire test procedure takes about 4 hours.


Verbal section

The verbal section consists of text completions, sentence equivalence and reading comprehension passages. Multiple-choice response sections are graded on a scale of 130 - 170, in 1-point increments. This section primarily tests vocabulary, and average scores in this section are substantially lower than those in the quantitative section.[7] In a typical examination, this section may consist of 20 questions, and 30 minutes may be allotted for it.

Quantitative section

The quantitative section, the other multiple-choice section, consists of problem solving and quantitative comparison questions that test high-school level mathematics. Multiple-choice response sections are graded on a scale of 200-800, in 10-point increments. In a typical examination, this section may consist of 28 questions, and test takers may be given 45 minutes to complete the section.[9] This section typically includes 14 quantitative comparison questions, 10 discrete quantitative questions (multiple-choice) and 4 data interpretation questions.

Analytical writing section

The analytical writing section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The essays are written on a computer using a word processing program specifically designed by ETS. The program allows only basic computer functions and does not contain a spell-checker or other advanced features. Each essay is scored by at least two readers on a six-point holistic scale. If the two scores are within one point, the average of the scores is taken. If the two scores differ by more than a point, a third reader examines the response.

Issue task

The test taker is given a topic upon which to write an essay. The time allowed for this essay is 30 minutes if taken after August 1 2011. Issue topics are selected from a pool of questions.

Argument task
The test taker will be given an "argument" and will be asked to write an essay that critiques the argument. Test takers are asked to consider the argument's logic and to make suggestions about how to improve the logic of the argument. Test takers are expected to address the logical flaws of the argument, not to provide a personal opinion on the subject. The time allotted for this essay is 30 minutes. Arguments are selected from a pool of topics.

Experimental section

The experimental section, which can be either a verbal, quantitative, or analytical writing task, contains new questions that ETS is considering for future use. Although the experimental section does not count toward the test-taker's score, it is unidentified and appears identical to the real (scored) part of the test. As test takers have no clear way of knowing which section is experimental, they are forced to complete this section. This section does not appear on all GRE examinations. Furthermore, an identified and unscored section of such experimental questions, asked for research purposes, can appear at the end of the test.
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