Quick Facts about the GRE Exam

Posted on October 14, 2011 | Filed in GRE

General Information

  • It’s about three-hours long and you can take it at any one of many test centers in the United States at any time, or even around the world up to five or six times a year– but you can only take it once a month, and up to five times per twelve-month period.
  • If you take it multiple times, all your scores will be evaluated by the admissions officers for your chosen programs.
  • Some programs will put greater weight on the higher score and be more impressed by a significant increase in score than two similar scores.
  • Other programs will choose to judge applicants by the highest scores in each section.
  • Averaging scores is uncommon.

Scoring and Registration

  • The test is computer-adaptive, and leaving questions blank is very detrimental to your score.
  • You will score anywhere between 400 and 1600.
  • The national mean GRE score is about 462 in Verbal, 584 in Quantitative and 4 for the writing assessment.
  •  GRE registration occurs on a first-come, first-served basis at ETS.org.
  • Do expect to register at least a week in advance of your test date.
  • The GRE registration fee in the US is $160 as of January 1, 2010, and ETS will reduce this fee in special circumstances.
  • The fee is higher in China, Hong Kong, India and other non-US test locations.
  •  It has typically gone up $10 in price every year.

Big Changes to the GRE

  • On August 1, 2011 drastic changes in scoring, design, and test content were implemented.
  • Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning will shift from a 200-800 score scale measured in 10-point increments, to a 130-170 score scale in 1-point increments.
  •  Why? Scores will be more accurate to the abilities of the test taker and no longer overstate small differences between examinees.

Technology Changes

  • Recent technology changes which have an affect on the design of the test.
  •  New response formats such as increased data entry
  • A tag for review option which allows you to skip a difficult question and return to it later without affecting your score,
  • A preview and review capacity that enables you to scan ahead in the section you are working on, edit features so that you may change an answer after submitting it while working on the same section, and an on-screen calculator for the math portion of the test.

Content Changes

  • Here is some information into how the content of the three major sections of the GRE has changed.
  • The Verbal section will eliminate all questions on antonyms and analogies
  • The Quantitative section will place greater emphasis on computation and analysis of data that is likely to relate to real-life scenarios
  • The Analytical Writing will still have two parts, including a question for logical analysis and personal opinion, the questions themselves will be more focused, ultimately allowing the raters to know the answer wasn’t memorized, but was actually written in response to the question.


  • You must reschedule or cancel your test no later than three full days before your appointment (not including the day of your test or the day of your request) or your test fee will be forfeited.
  • If you cancel your test no later than three full days prior to your test date, you will receive a refund equivalent to half of the original test fee.  Otherwise, you will receive no refund.
  • If you wish to change your test center, contact the GRE® Program by the registration deadline.
  • The fee for changing your test center is $50.
  • Center changes cannot be guaranteed but will be made as space permits.
  • You cannot reschedule between sites served by different Regional Registration Centers.

Score Reports

  • Requested score reports are sent to schools within 10-15 days after the exam
  • All non-cancelled GRE testing administrations will be listed (and usable) in your ETS record for 5 years
  •  You cannot cancel reporting a score to ETS after viewing it. At the end of your GRE administration, you will report your scores to ETS, and you can choose to submit your scores directly to up to four institutions without additional cost
  • For any additional score reports, the cost is $23 per report.
  • You cannot send your multiple choice scores without the writing scores. You scores are valid for five years.
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