GRE Syllabus

GRE Syllabus

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standard test that is required 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 Law colleges, schools/universities 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 syllabus as well as useful tips to help you crack the exam.

What Does the GRE Exam Entail?

Before exploring the GRE exam syllabus, it is important to understand the structure of the test. The GRE exam is conducted through both, online [computer-based] and offline modes. The computer-based exam is adaptive in nature, this implies that the computer will judge your performance and adjust the level of difficulty according to your answers. Furthermore, there are 2 types of tests in GRE, Subject-Based and General Test, the syllabus of which have been given a rundown in the following paragraphs.

GRE Exam Pattern

GRE Subject Test Syllabus

GRE SubjectsSyllabus
BIologyGenetics and Molecular Biology
Cell Structure and Functions
Structure, Functions, Reproduction, and Organisation of Animals
Diversity of Life
Structure, Functions, Reproduction, and Organisation of Plants
Ecology and Evolution
ChemistryOrganic, Inorganic, Analytical, and Physical Chemistry
English LiteratureLiterary Criticism: History and Theory
Analysis
Historical and Cultural Significance
Literary Identification
MathematicsAlgebra, Calculus, Sequence and Series, Probability, Set Theory, Statistics, Geometry, etc.
PhysicsClassical and Quantum Mechanics
Electromagnetism
Thermodynamics
Wave Optics
Atomic Physics
Relativity
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Mathematical Methods
PsychologyBiological, Social, Cognitive, Clinical, and Developmental Psychology

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GRE General Test Syllabus

Now that you are familiar with what this exam entails, let us understand the GRE syllabus of the General Test comprehensively.

Verbal Reasoning

This section assesses the test-taker’s ability to comprehend passages, make sense of complex sentence structures, and how well a candidate can make 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. Furthermore having a stronghold over English vocabulary words will also help you score well in the exam. Within the verbal reasoning section, questions fall under three sub-categories.

  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion
  • Comprehension

Quantitative Reasoning

Questions related to the analysis of quantitative data and basic mathematics fall under the section of quantitative reasoning. In this, questions are asked in the form of MCQs [One/Multiple correct answers] and Comparison based. The GRE syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning can be narrowed down to the following topics.

TopicsGRE Syllabus
AlgebraFunctions
Equations
Inequalities
Quadratic Equations
Word Problems
Graphs of Functions
Simplifications
Coordinate Geometry
InterceptsSlopes
GeometryLines, Angles, triangles
Quadrilaterals, Polygons
Pythagoras Theorem
Three-dimensional Geometry
Area and Perimeter
ArithematicNumbers and integers
Divisibility
Factorization
Percentages and Ratios
Number Line
Exponents and Roots
Decimal System
Sequences
Probability and StatisticsMean, Median, Mode
Standard Deviation
Frequency Distributions
Compound Events
Random Variables
Probability Distributions
Permutation Combinations
Data InterpretationTables
Lines
Graphs
Analysis of data in forms of bar diagrams, pie charts, scatter diagrams, etc.

 Analytical Writing Section

As per the GRE syllabus of this section, the candidates are asked to write two essays, one each on an “issue” and an “argument”. Through the essays, examiners aim to evaluate skills of 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.

How to Prepare for GRE?

Understanding the GRE syllabus and pattern is important to ace the test. However, one must also implement some tips and tricks to improve performance and increase the accuracy. Here are some tips and tricks on how to score well in the GRE exam.

Important Tips for Verbal Section!

  • Distinguish the main argument from the auxiliary ones.
  • Do not get flustered by any unfamiliar data. 
  • Understand the writer’s orientation.
  • Solve GRE sample papers to increase accuracy and speed

Analytical Writing

  • 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.

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Avoid unnecessary calculations. 
  • Try to simplify the equation.
  • Memorise the mensuration formulas in order to increase the speed.
  • Break down word problems into small units.


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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