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GRE Syllabus. Section wise what is tested?

What is the GRE Syllabus? Topics tested in the GRE exam in 2024

Are you ready to embark on your journey towards conquering the Graduate Record Examination, which is the full form of GRE? This comprehensive standardized test is a vital component of the graduate school admissions process for many institutions worldwide.  The GRE exam assesses a candidate’s readiness for the rigors of graduate-level studies by evaluating their verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

Bookmark this blog as it will serve as a one-stop guide for all things GRE. We’ll delve into the specific content tested as part of the GRE syllabus for each section the GRE exam – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). Additionally, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria for taking the GRE General Test and provide some practical preparation tips to help you conquer the GRE exam syllabus on your path to higher education. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a clear understanding of what the GRE test syllabus entails and be well-equipped to develop an effective GRE study plan to achieve your target score.

GRE General Test in 2024: What’s this test all about?

The GRE General Test is designed to measure your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills, which are deemed essential for success in graduate-level academic programs. Unlike the GRE Subject Tests, which focus on specific fields of study such as psychology, physics, or mathematics, the GRE General Test syllabus assesses your overall academic readiness for graduate school, regardless of your intended field of study.

New Shorter GRE: Test Structure and Syllabus

In September 2023, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) implemented significant changes to the GRE General Test, resulting in a shorter and more streamlined exam experience. Although the syllabus of GRE has not changed much in the shorter GRE, the test has become more test-taker friendly. 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):
    • One timed essay task: “Analyze an Issue” (30 minutes)
  • Verbal Reasoning:
    • Two sections, with a total of 27 questions 
    • Question types: Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning:
    • Two sections, with a total of 27 questions
    • Question types: Quantitative Comparison, Multiple-choice (one or more answers), and Numeric Entry.

By understanding the revised structure of the GRE General Test, you can focus your study efforts on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections and develop an effective preparation strategy, focusing on key parts of the GRE exam syllabus, to maximize your performance on test day. So let us deep dive into each of these sections now. 

What is the GRE Syllabus for GRE Verbal Reasoning?

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section is designed to assess your ability to analyze and draw conclusions from complex passages, as well as your vocabulary skills. Let’s break down the section in more detail.

Section Structure: The Verbal Reasoning section consists of two segments, the first containing 12 questions and the second containing 15 questions. The first section needs to be answered in 18 minutes and the second in 23 minutes. The GRE English syllabus includes three main question types:

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Text Completion
  3. Sentence Equivalence
Question Types:
  1. Reading Comprehension: The passages are of varying lengths (short to long) followed by questions testing your ability to understand the information given and answer the questions that follow. As per the GRE test syllabus, the questions following the passages can be of different types
  • Multiple Choice Questions (Select One Answer Choice): These questions require you to select the best answer from a list of five options based on the information provided in the passage.
  • Multiple Choice Questions (Select One or More Answer Choices): These questions ask you to select all the correct answers from a list of three to five options. There may be one, two, or three correct answers.
  • Select-in-Passage Questions: These questions require you to click on the sentence in the passage that meets a specific description or answers the question.
Abilities Tested in GRE Verbal:

The focus of the GRE syllabus is to ensure that the GRE Verbal Reasoning section evaluates your abilities in these core areas:

  • Vocabulary Understanding words in context, including nuanced meanings.
  • Reading Comprehension: Analyzing and understanding complex written passages on a range of subjects (social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and even everyday topics). Skills tested include:
    • Identifying the main idea
    • Summarizing key points
    • Making inferences
    • Understanding the author’s tone and purpose
    • Analyzing the structure of the text
  • Critical Reasoning: Evaluating arguments and their logical structure.

Scoring: The scores for the Verbal section are computed on a scale of 130-170 and contributes 50% of the total score on a scale of 260-340. For an Indian test taker, having a score range of 155+ in the GRE Verbal section is competitive.

What is the Quantitative Reasoning in GRE like? What is the GRE Syllabus for Quant?

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section is designed to assess your problem-solving abilities and understanding of mathematical concepts. Let’s explore syllabus of GRE for this section in greater detail.

Section Structure:

The Quantitative Reasoning section consists of two segments. The first section has 12 questions to be answered in 21 minutes and 15 questions to be answered in 26 minutes. This section includes four main question types:

1. Quantitative Comparison Questions
2. Multiple Choice (Select One Answer Choice) Questions
3. Multiple Choice (Select One or More Answer Choices) Questions
4. Numeric Entry Questions

Question Types:

1. Quantitative Comparison:
– These questions present two quantities, labeled as Quantity A and Quantity B. You must compare the two quantities and select one of four answer choices: Quantity A is greater, Quantity B is greater, the two quantities are equal, or the relationship cannot be determined based on the given information. This question type id unique to the GRE syllabus. 

2. Multiple Choice (Select One Answer Choice):
– These questions require you to select the best answer from a list of five options.

3. Multiple Choice (Select One or More Answer Choices):
– These questions ask you to select all the correct answers from a list of three to five options. There may be one or more correct answers.

4. Numeric Entry:
– These questions require you to enter your answer as an integer, decimal, or fraction in a single answer box or fill in two answer boxes to enter a ratio.

Scoring: Based on your answering of the questions from this GRE syllabus, the scores for the Quant section are computed on a scale of 130-170 and contributes 50% of the total score on a scale of 260-340. In the GRE Quant section, if your score range is 165+,  you have a competitive score for an Indian test taker.

Topics Tested in GRE Quant:

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section covers a wide range of mathematical topics and the GRE Quant syllabus includes:

1. Arithmetic:
– Basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
Integers, fractions, decimals, and percentages
Ratio and proportion
– Powers and roots
Descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation)

2. Algebra:
– Algebraic expressions and equations
– Linear equations and inequalities
– Quadratic equations
– Functions and their graphs
– Sequences and series

3. Geometry:
Lines, angles, and triangles
– Circles, rectangles, and other polygons
– Three-dimensional figures (cubes, cylinders, spheres)
Coordinate geometry
– Trigonometry (sine, cosine, tangent, and their inverses)

4. Data Analysis:
– Interpreting graphical representation of data (bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, scatter plots)
– Probability and combinatorics
Permutations and combinations
Sets and Venn diagrams

It is important to note that the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section tests your ability to reason mathematically and solve problems using mathematical concepts, rather than just your knowledge of formulas and equations. To succeed in this section, you should focus on developing a strong foundation in the topics that are a part of the GRE syllabus, practice solving a variety of problem types, and learn to apply mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the on-screen calculator provided during the exam and developing efficient problem-solving strategies will help you manage your time effectively and maximize your performance on test day.

What is the AWA section in the GRE?

In the new, shorter GRE format introduced in September 2023, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section focuses on only one essay task – the Analyze an Issue.

Issue Task (30 minutes):
  • Test takers are presented with a brief statement on a general issue and are asked to write an essay expressing their perspective on the issue, supporting their position with relevant examples and reasons.

The Argument Task, which was part of the previous test pattern, has been removed from the revised GRE General Test and is not longer a part of the GRE test syllabus.

Scoring: The Issue Task essay is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 by two independent raters, and the final AWA score is the average of the two scores, rounded to the nearest half-point. If your score range is above 5 in GRE AWA, it is competitive.

Are there any eligibility criteria for taking the GRE Exam?

When it comes to taking the GRE, there are no specific eligibility criteria that test takers must meet. The GRE is open to all individuals who wish to pursue graduate-level education, regardless of their academic background, age, or nationality.

Here’s a breakdown of the eligibility details:

  • No Age Limit: There’s no minimum or maximum age requirement for taking the GRE.
  • No Educational Background Requirement: The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which conducts the GRE, doesn’t mandate a specific educational qualification for appearing in the GRE. However, it’s important to remember that universities you’re applying to might have their own GRE score requirements for admission to their graduate programs.

What You Will Need

  • Valid Passport: While registering for the GRE General Test, you’ll need to provide a valid passport as proof of identification at the test center. Please make sure that the passport is valid at least till the date of the exam. You have to carry your original passport to the exam center. Photocopies or scanned copies of your passport will not be accepted. You may not be able to take the exam at the scheduled appointment if you do not have an original, valid passport.

Wizako’s Expert Tips for GRE Wizards:

In order to crack this GRE syllabus and get a good score, Wizako recommends the following advice by our experts along with curated Wizako resources to get you there!

Develop a strategic GRE study plan:

  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses in each section of the GRE (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing) and allocate your study time accordingly. Check out out detailed GRE study plan video here

Strengthen your vocabulary and reading comprehension skills:

  • Regularly read academic texts, journals, and high-quality publications to expose yourself to a wide range of vocabulary and complex sentence structures. Have you checked our archives of Wizreads articles – which are curated articles for reading practice – posted every Wednesday? If not, you can find GRE Reading List articles and RC Practice Questions here

Master the fundamental concepts in Quantitative Reasoning:

  • Review key concepts in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis, focusing on the topics that are frequently tested on the GRE. This GRE Prep Quantitative Reasoning playlist on our YouTube channel can get you started on the basics of quant. 

Take multiple practice tests under realistic conditions:

  • Regularly take full-length practice tests to build your stamina, improve your time management skills, and familiarize yourself with the test format and question types. Why not start your prep with a free GRE diagnostic test?

Is there anything else to know about the GRE Syllabus?

Other than information addressed above, here are some frequently asked questions about the GRE Syllabus

FAQ 1: How difficult is the GRE Syllabus?

  • Answer: Difficulty is subjective and depends on your strengths and weaknesses. Generally, students with humanities backgrounds might find the GRE Quant section more challenging, while those with a STEM background may find the Verbal section tougher. The revised shorter test somewhat lessens the time pressure but doesn’t necessarily alter the underlying difficulty of the concepts tested.

FAQ 2: Is the GRE vocabulary very advanced?

  • Answer: Yes, the GRE Verbal section tests a wide range of vocabulary, including some relatively obscure words. However, a strong focus is placed on understanding words in context. It’s helpful to build a robust vocabulary, but equally important to develop your ability to analyze the nuances of language within sentences and passages.

FAQ 3: How long should I study for the GRE?

  • Answer: The ideal study duration varies significantly based on your current skill level, target score, and study style. On average, a dedicated study plan of 3-4 months is recommended for good results. However, some people might need less or more time depending on their individual circumstances.

FAQ #4: Is the GRE syllabus the same for all test-takers?

  • Answer: Absolutely! While the core syllabus remains the same, the GRE utilizes a large question bank. Each test-taker will encounter a slightly different combination of questions. Additionally, the GRE is a computer-adaptive test, meaning the difficulty of your second section in each subject area is determined by how well you performed in the first section.
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