GRE Exam Syllabus

GRE Exam Syllabus

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standard test which is a universal requirement for getting admission into master’s programmes at reputed international universities. The comprehensive nature of the exam makes it a befitting measure for evaluating problem-solving, critical thinking and comprehension abilities. It tests a candidate’s skills across three sections, namely, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. As a result, it is used by various universities/schools of Business, Law, Economics, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Public Policy, International Relations, to name a few. Let’s take a look at all the important elements of GRE exam syllabus as well as useful tips to help you crack the exam.

Structure of the GRE Exam Syllabus

Before exploring the GRE exam syllabus, it is important to understand the structure of the test. The GRE exam is a computer-based exam that is adaptive in nature, this implies that the computer will judge your performance and adjust the level of difficulty according to your answers. The exam is divided into three sections, these include- verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. 

Sections in the GRE Exam Syllabus

Below are the major details about the sections that comprise the GRE exam syllabus:

Verbal Reasoning

This section assesses the test-taker’s ability to comprehend passages and make sense of complex sentence structures. The paper version has 50 questions while the computer one has 40. These questions examine how good a candidate is with the analysis of concepts and making well-grounded judgements and conclusions. They evaluate the ability to understand different meanings i.e., figurative and literal, along with sentence tones and author’s inclinations. Within the verbal reasoning section, questions fall under three sub-categories.

  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion
  • Comprehension

A major requirement for all the above sections is having quite an extensive vocabulary. Almost all questions in the Verbal Reasoning section will make use of difficult words, so it is strongly advised to focus on expanding one’s vocabulary as much as one can.

Also Read: 50 Difficult Words with Meanings for GMAT and GRE Preparation

Tips:

  • Distinguish the main argument from the auxiliary ones.
  • Do not get flustered by any unfamiliar data. 
  • Understand the writer’s orientation.

Quantitative Reasoning

Questions related to the analysis of quantitative data and basic mathematics fall under the section of quantitative reasoning. Also using a calculator is allowed in the exam.

The GRE Exam syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning can be narrowed down to:

Algebra

  • Functions
  • Equations 
  • Inequalities
  • Quadratic Equations 
  • Word Problems
  • Graphs of Functions
  • Simplifications
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Intercepts
  • Slopes

Arithmetic

  • Numbers and integers 
  • Divisibility
  • Factorization
  • Percentages
  • Ratio
  • Number Line
  • Exponents and Roots
  • Decimal System
  • Sequences

Probability and Statistics

  • Mean
  • Median 
  • Mode
  • Standard Deviation
  • Frequency Distributions
  • Compound Events 
  • Random Variables
  • Probability Distributions
  • Permutation 
  • Combinations

Geometry

  • Lines
  • Angles
  • triangles
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Polygons
  • Pythagoras Theorem
  • Three-dimensional Geometry
  • Area
  • Perimeter

Data Interpretation

  • Tables
  • Lines
  • Graphs
  • Analysis of data in forms of bar diagram, pie charts, scatter diagrams, etc.

Also Read: Data Interpretation Tricks for GMAT/GRE

Types of questions include:

  • Numeric Entry Questions
  • Multiple Choice Questions: One Correct Answer
  • Multiple Choice Questions: Multiple Correct Answers
  • Quantitative Comparison Questions

Tips:

  • Avoid unnecessary calculations. 
  • Try to simplify the equation.
  • Break down word problems into small units.

 Analytical Writing Section

Candidates are asked to write two essays, one each on an “issue” and an “argument”. Through the essays, examiners aim to evaluate skills of analytical writing, explanation techniques, sentence design and formation, articulation and development of complex ideas and arguments.

  • Analyze an “Issue” Essay

In this task, candidates present their views on a prescribed issue of common interest. The topic is generally a loose claim that can be explored from many perspectives. The candidates need to analyse and write upon this issue from their own perspective. The essay must have strong points that support a given perspective in a clear and crisp manner. There is no correct answer so candidates are free to explore and put forward their case.

  • Analyze an “Argument” Essay

This section contains a short passage mentioning a particular argument, its reasons, causes or effects. The test-takers are required to critically examine the arguments made in the passage, deconstruct and read between the lines. Furthermore, the proof’s validity with respect to the argument made, the evidence presented and the writer’s inclination should also be explored.

Tips:

  • Read from the start to end thoroughly.
  • Try to know the central issue of the “issue” or “argument” given.
  • Look for assumptions taken by the writer and analyse it.

Also Read: 


The GRE exam syllabus is vast, complicated and demanding. The questions asked are tricky and more often try to lead you to wrong answers. It takes a well-developed plan along with consistent effort to get a score above par. Let our Leverage Edu experts mentor you in all the sections of the GRE to help you ace the exam with flying colors.

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