Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. The GRE is owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test was established in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


According to ETS, the GRE aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning. The content of the GRE consists of certain specific algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary. The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at Prometric testing centres. In the graduate school admissions process, the level of emphasis that is placed upon GRE scores varies widely between schools and departments within schools. The importance of a GRE score can range from being a mere admission formality to an important selection factor.

The Graduate Record Examinations was “initiated in 1936 as a joint experiment in higher education by the graduate school deans of four eastern universities and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.”
The first universities to experiment the test on their students were Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University and Columbia University.



The computer-based GRE General Test consists of six sections. The first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order.



An examinee can miss one or more questions on a multiple-choice section and still receive a perfect score of 170. Likewise, even if no question is answered correctly, 130 is the lowest possible score.

Field-wise distribution of test takers is limited to those who earned their college degrees up to two years before the test date. ETS provides no score data for “non-traditional” students who have been out of school more than two years, although its own report “RR-99-16” indicated that 22% of all test takers in 1996 were over the age of 30.


GRE Subject Tests

In addition to the General Test, there are also six GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Biology; Chemistry; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. The length of each exam is 170 minutes.


Score Validity

The test scores are valid for five years from the date of publishing of the test-score. In case a student took the old GRE test four years back those scores are still valid when applying for a postgraduate course in the USA now.