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GRE Exam Syllabus & Paper Pattern

gre syllabus

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE®) is the first step in planning to study abroad for a master’s or graduate degree. Exam results are also accepted for admission to MBA and some law courses abroad. A thorough and detailed understanding of the GRE syllabus and exam pattern breakdown can increase your chances of scoring highly.

The GRE is a prerequisite for admission to most universities in countries such as the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Singapore. It has prescribed two sets of GRE syllabus as the test is administered in two formats; GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The purpose of the GRE is quite different for both the general GRE and the subject GRE. While the GRE General test program measures a candidate’s ability in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The GRE subject test program assesses the candidate’s knowledge in specific areas such as chemistry, psychology, mathematics, and others. Both the GRE tests use different criteria to measure a candidate’s qualifications. The GRE General Test is scored on a 130-170 scale, while the Subject Tests are scored on a 200-990 scale.

Do you know what will be included in the GRE syllabus? What question you will be asked from which section? Don’t worry! This post will give you a brief about the GRE syllabus.

Highlights of the GRE Exam

The GRE seems more difficult than the ACT or SAT because the questions are designed for candidates who have completed an undergraduate degree. The purpose of taking the GRE is to test a candidate’s level of academic performance in undergraduate subjects.

A few points to keep in mind before taking the GRE:

  • Whether your chosen course requires the GRE or other tests like the ACT
  • Are there any merit-based applicant scholarships or GRE scholarships to fund the course program?
  • Have you been shortlisted for a course or Ph.D.?
  • Can I apply for further study based on my graduate GPA?

If you believe that a good GRE score is a myth, you need to do a detailed analysis and comparison of the graduate schools you dream of attending. The quantitative and verbal sections of the exam are scored in the range of 130-170. The average GRE Verbal Reasoning score is 151 and the GRE Quantitative Reasoning score is 154. Applicants may take the exam a maximum of 5 times per year. The GRE score is valid for 5 years.

GRE Exam Format

The GRE exam has two test formats – the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The GRE syllabus is different for everyone.

  1. GRE General Test: The General Test is a standardized exam that tests students’ verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.
  2. GRE Subject Test: More specific college courses may require the GRE Subject Test, as the GRE Subject Test focuses on evaluating a candidate’s experience in specific areas.

Difference between the two

GRE General TestGRE Subject Test
3 sections: GRE quant, GRE verbal, and GRE AWANo section – a test of one single subject and its different areas
GRE subjects are conducted on:
Literature in English
Conducted in both computer-based and paper-delivered modesConducted only in a paper-based mode
Conducted throughout the yearConducted thrice a year: April, September, and October
Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutesDuration: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Fee: US$226 to US$255Fee: US$150
Number of questions: 82Number of questions: 66-230
Question types: MCQ and descriptive or essay questionsQuestion types: MCQ
Score range: 260-340Score range: 200-990
Tests analytical knowledgeTests the knowledge of the specific subject

GRE exam pattern Computer-based Test

The computer-based GRE General Test has 80 questions and 2 tasks for the Analytical Writing section. The Analytical Writing Score (0-6 points) does not affect the overall score out of 340 points (Quantitative 170 + Verbal 170).

GRE General Test SectionsNo. of PartsNo. of Tasks/QuestionsDuration (Minutes)Maximum Score
Quantitative Reasoning24070170
Verbal Reasoning24060170
Analytical Writing12600-6 Points

GRE General Test Pattern – Paper-based Test

The paper-based GRE General Test has 100 questions and 2 tasks for the Analytical Writing section. The Analytical Writing Score (0-6 points) does not affect the overall score out of 340 points (Quantitative 170 + Verbal 170).

GRE General Test SectionsNo. of PartsNo. of Tasks/QuestionsDuration (Minutes)Maximum Score
Quantitative Reasoning25080170
Verbal Reasoning25070170
Analytical Writing22600-6 Points

GRE Exam Syllabus 2023 – General Test

  • The GRE syllabus for General Test is curated to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.
  • The GRE composite score ranges from 400 to 1600 and is drawn from the 2 multiple-choice sections (verbal reasoning & quantitative reasoning). The writing section does not get factored into the composite score.
  • GRE General Tests are computer-delivered. In most regions of the world, it is conducted throughout the year. A paper format test is administered in November & February in areas where the computer format isn’t a possibility.
GRE Exam PatternNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
GRE Analytical Writing Section Question type: Analyze an Issue task and Analyze an Argument task.1 + 1 (One “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task)60 mins (30 minutes per task)
GRE Quantitative Reasoning Question type: Quantitative Comparison Questions, Multiple-choice Questions, and Numeric Entry Questions20 + 20 (Two sections with 20 questions per section)70 mins (35 minutes per section)
GRE Verbal Reasoning Section Question type: Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence.20 + 20 (Two sections with 20 questions per section)60 mins (30 minutes per section)  

GRE Quant Syllabus

The topics covered in the GRE exam syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning are


  • Prime Number
  • Integers
  • Rational Number
  • Types of Fractions
  • Proper
  • Improper
  • Mixed
  • Adding and Subtracting Fractions
  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
  • Comparing Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Terminating Decimals
  • Infinite Repeating Decimals
  • Real Numbers
  • Percentages & Interest
  • Multiplication Table
  • Squares and Square Roots
  • Powers of 2&3
  • Cubes and Cube Roots
  • Powers of 10
  • Factorials


  • Sets
  • Arithmetic Mean
  • Mode
  • Median
  • Range
  • Standard Deviation


  • Basic Concepts
  • Linear Equations
  • Equations & Inequalities
  • Exponents & Roots
  • Quadratic Equations


  • Properties of Angles
  • Triangles
  • Equation of a Line
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Polygons
  • Circles
  • Polygons Inscribed in Circles
  • 3-D Figures
  • Properties of Similar Figures
  • Extending or Adding Lines


  • Dependent and Independent Events
  • 2 Overlapping Events
  • 3 Overlapping Events


  • Permutations
  • Combinations
  • Identical Objects
  • Circular Arrangements

GRE Syllabus for Verbal Reasoning

Following are topics covered in GRE exam syllabus for Verbal Reasoning:

English usage

  • Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives
  • Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
  • Verb Tense
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Parallelism

Rhetorical skills

Analyze & make conclusions based on written material

Compare & contrast the relationships between words and concepts

GRE Exam Syllabus for Analytical Writing

Following are topics covered in GRE exam syllabus for Analytical Writing:

  • Grammar
  • Argument Formulation
  • Writing Ability
  • English Usage
  • Examples used to support an argument

This section aims to measure your ability to:

  • Support ideas with relevant reasons & examples
  • Articulate complex ideas clearly & effectively
  • Sustain well-focused & coherent discussion-making
  • Examine claims & accompanying evidence
  • Control the elements of standard written English.

gre exam syllabus

GRE Subject Test Syllabus

In this section, we will discuss the detailed GRE syllabus for CSE or syllabus for the GRE exam to help you in GRE preparation:

GRE Maths Syllabus


  • Differential & integral calculus of one and of several variables
  • Connections with coordinate geometry, trigonometry, differential equations


  • Linear algebra
  • matrix algebra,
  • systems of linear equations,
  • vector spaces,
  • linear transformations,
  • characteristic polynomials,
  • eigenvalues & eigenvectors
  • Abstract algebra and number theory
  • group theory
  • theory of rings and modules
  • field theory
  • number theory


  • Introductory real analysis:
  • Sequences and series of numbers and functions,
  • Continuity
  • Differentiability
  • Integrability
  • Discrete mathematics
  • Set theory
  • Logic
  • Combinatorics
  • Graph theory
  • Algorithms
  • General topology
  • Geometry
  • Complex variables
  • Probability / statistics

GRE Chemistry Syllabus


  • Data Acquisition and Use of Statistics
  • Solutions and Standardization
  • Acid-base, oxidation-reduction, complexometry
  • Gravimetric analysis, solubility, precipitation titrations, chemical separations
  • Electrochemical methods, spectroscopic methods, chromatographic methods, thermal methods, calibration of instruments
  • Environmental Applications
  • Radiochemical Methods


  • Periodic trends, oxidation states, nuclear chemistry
  • Covalent Molecules
  • Metals and Semiconductors
  • Acids & Bases
  • Main Group Elements
  • Transition Elements
  • Organometallic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry, solid-state chemistry, environmental chemistry


  • Structure, Bonding and Nomenclature
  • Functional Groups
  • Reaction Mechanisms
  • Reactive Intermediates
  • Organometallics
  • Resonance, molecular orbital theory, carbon acidity, lipids, amino acids, peptides, carbohydrates, nucleic acids


  • Thermodynamics
  • Quantum Chemistry & Applications to Spectroscopy
  • Chemical kinetics, solution & liquid dynamics, photochemistry

GRE Physics Syllabus








  • Data and error analyses
  • Electronics & instrumentation
  • Radiation detection
  • Counting statistics
  • Interaction of charged particles with matter
  • Lasers and optical interferometers
  • Dimensional analysis
  • Fundamental applications of probability & statistics


  • Nuclear & particle physics
  • Condensed matter
  • Astrophysics
  • Single and multivariate calculus
  • Coordinate systems (rectangular, cylindrical and spherical)
  • Vector algebra
  • Fourier series
  • Partial differential equations
  • Matrices and determinants

GRE Psychology Syllabus


  • Sensation & Perception
  • Physiological/Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Learning
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Thinking


  • Social Perception, Cognition, Attribution, Beliefs
  • Attitudes / Behavior
  • Emotion, Affect, / Motivation
  • Conformity, Influence, Persuasion
  • Interpersonal Attraction, Close Relationships
  • Group / Intergroup Processes
  • Cultural or Gender Influences
  • Evolutionary Psychology, Altruism, Aggression




GRE English Syllabus


  • Interpretation of passages of prose and poetry
  • recognition of conventions and genres
  • allusions and references
  • meaning and tone
  • grammatical structures and rhetorical strategies


  • Recognition of date, author or work by style and/or content


  • Knowledge of literary, cultural/intellectual history
  • Identification of author or work
  • Identification of details of character, plot, or setting of a work


  • Identification and analysis of the characteristics & methods of various critical / theoretical approaches.

Also, read: GMAT vs. GRE

gre syllabus 2022

Bonus Point- How to prepare for GRE exam

The last thing that will help you pass the GRE® is cramming. It is an intensive and extensive examination format that requires a reasonable amount of time and sincere effort from candidates. The suggested time frame for GRE® preparation is at least four to twelve weeks, depending on your speed and daily commitment to study. You can follow the tips below and plan your preparation accordingly:

  1. Know Your Baseline Score: Before you start, take a full practice test available online and see where you stand when you take the real test quickly. This will help you identify topics that need to be reworked.
  2. Set a target score: Make a shortlist of your potential universities and note the score you should achieve at them. This way, you will know your goal and can work towards achieving it.
  3. Plan your climb: It will take some research to come up with the perfect plan to help you climb from your baseline to your target. Check out the online reviews of successful students and choose the one that suits you best.
  4. Focus on technique: Apart from a result-oriented approach, you should pay attention to how you approach each question. Learn techniques to solve specific problems and work to improve them.
  5. Check your performance: Always analyze how you did on practice tests, and look for patterns in your mistakes and questions that you keep having trouble with. Eventually, you will see how useful it is.
  6. Increase your vocabulary: One way to increase your vocabulary is by reading academic journals and publications. The Internet will help you do this easily. Having a strong vocabulary will take you a long way in your GRE journey.


If you’re still unsure of where to start with the GRE syllabus or how to prepare for the GRE or what your strategies of GRE preparation should be, you can access help from expert Study Abroad Counsellors. They can guide you to draw up a winning strategy. Nevertheless, do you need some handholding to get you through this? How about a discussion with our expert career counsellors to study abroad with decades of experience concerning education in this field?

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Download practice books of each subject for the Subject Tests


What is the syllabus of the GRE?

The GRE exam syllabus measures the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills necessary for success in higher education. The GRE exam syllabus consists of three sections – GRE Analytical Writing, GRE Verbal Reasoning, and GRE Quantitative Reasoning.

How many times can I appear for the GRE exam?

Applicants may take the GRE General Test every 21 days, but no more than five times in any continuous 12-month period.

What is a good GRE score?

There is no such thing as a good GRE score. Each university will have its own GRE score, and students must score at or above the set score. Applicants should keep in mind that higher GRE scores automatically increase their chances of getting a place at the university and also make them favorites for any scholarships the university offers.

Does the GRE syllabus depend on the engineering syllabus?

The GRE syllabus does not have a specific study program. Everyone who attempts the GRE will have the same study plan.

How different is GRE and GMAT syllabus?

The most significant difference between the GMAT and the GRE is that the GRE is used for admission to various graduate programs, while the GMAT is only used for admission to business schools. The GRE has three main sections: Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

Is the GRE syllabus changed?

In August 2011, the GRE® program underwent major changes with the introduction of the revised GRE® exam pattern. This is considered the most significant change to the pattern since its inception. The exam now consists of two tests: the GRE® General Test and the GRE Subject Test.

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