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What is the GRE Test- Purpose, Eligibility, and How to Prepare

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Over the years, the popularity of the GRE among Indian students has surged remarkably. With the number of test-takers doubling from 56,782 in 2012–2013 to an impressive 114,647 in 2021–2022, the answer to "What is the GRE test?" should no longer be hidden from you.

In short, this surge reflects the increasing trend of students gearing up for admission to some of the most prestigious graduate programs in countries like the US, Australia, and Canada.

But what kind of test is it? What’s the main purpose of the GRE? How will I be eligible for the GRE? And what are the preparation techniques? Without further ado, let’s unveil the explanation of the turmoil surrounding this test.

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What is the GRE Test?

In one line, the GRE general test could be your gateway to global opportunities!

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a globally recognized test administered by the American Assessment Organization ETS (Educational Testing Service). The MCQ-based test has been designed for graduate and business school aspirants to assess their academic prowess for international studies.

In countries like Canada, the US, and Australia, it is a standardized measure adopted by most graduate and business schools to evaluate the test-takers' geometry, basic arithmetic, algebra, data analysis, and college-level vocabulary.

While your GRE score holds immense weight, remember it's just one piece of the puzzle!

Admissions officers delve into your holistic profile, considering factors like your GPA, work experience, and research accomplishments. While some programs just welcome GRE subject test scores.

GRE Exam Eligibility 2023

There are no specific eligibility criteria here. Like the MBA entrance exam CAT in India, age isn’t a barrier. But you must have an undergraduate degree in any domain. It really doesn’t matter if you are a student from the arts, sciences, or engineering streams; anybody can appear for the GRE and make it to their dream institute overseas.

The Exam Pattern and Three Sections of the GRE

The GRE test is a computer-based exam. The purpose of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is to serve as a standardized and objective assessment tool for graduate and business school admissions to assess candidates’ Verbal reasoning, Quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

And when it comes to the exam structure, These three are indeed the three main sections a GRE test-taker appears for.

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)

One "Analyze an Issue" task
One "Analyze an Argument" task

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

Analytical Writing Section

First up is the Analytical Writing section. Here's where your critical thinking and writing prowess will shine. You'll face two writing tasks, and you've got 30 minutes for each. Scored from 0 to 6 in half-point increments, this section puts your literary genius to the test.

Verbal Reasoning Section:

Next, we have the Verbal Reasoning section. This part gauges your reading and analysis skills, along with your vocabulary mastery. Two 30-minute verbal reasoning sections, each with 20 questions, await you. Scores range from 130 to 170 in one-point increments. You dive straight into passages and draw conclusions.

Quantitative Reasoning Domain 

Last but not least is quantitative reasoning. This section checks your problem-solving abilities in areas like data interpretation, algebra, geometry, and arithmetic. You've got two 35-minute quantitative reasoning sections, each with 20 questions. Scores go from 130 to 170 in one-point jumps.

But wait, there's more! A surprise awaits in some tests, where an additional verbal or quantitative reasoning section lurks (straight into the unscored section). In addition, candidates may also see sections like – Research (taken for ETS research causes).

How do I prepare for the GRE Test?

Now, let’s discuss how one can prepare for the GRE test to eventually make it into top graduate and B-school programs in Western cities. Here’s the step-by-step guide.

  1. Know where you stand: First of all, take a full-length GRE practice test to evaluate your current academic level. But don’t stop; identify areas that need work.

  2. Set your goals: Research the average GRE scores required to get into your dream graduate program, like an MBA, and set your target score accordingly. A 320 GRE score is referred to as a good GRE score.

  3. Craft a strategy: Choose the right prep course or book to craft a smart study plan tailored to your needs.

  4. Practice for technique: Focus on how you approach questions, not just the results. Mastering test-taking strategies is the key.

  5. Analyze and improve: Analyze your performance after practice tests and seek guidance from a GRE tutor to refine your approach.

With these steps, you'll be well-prepared and confident to conquer the GRE and secure your spot in the graduate program of your dreams!


The GRE test serves as an essential stepping stone for aspiring graduate and business school students worldwide. By understanding its purpose, exploring eligibility criteria, and delving into effective preparation strategies, you can embark on a rewarding and transformative experience. Remember, the GRE score is just one aspect of your application. Other academic achievements might also be checked here.

Stay informed, Stay ahead and stay inspired with MBA Rendezvous