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GRE Exam - Overview

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Studying for the GRE exam

Overview of the GRE

The GRE revised General Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills - skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all.

Click on the links below to review each of the three GRE test sections:

i. Verbal Reasoning

ii. Quantitative Reasoning

iii. Analytical Writing

GRE lessons with Dr. Donnelly

Private GRE tutoring and one-on-one intensive GRE test preparation courses are available in-person with Dr. Donnelly at our comfortable office located at 1460 Broadway, Suite 15017 here in Manhattan.

Also, due to popular demand, Dr. Donnelly also offers online GRE lessons via Skype for those students who live outside of the New York City area.

With his outstanding academic credentials and over 18 years of private tutoring and teaching experience at all levels, Dr. Donnelly is considered by many leading educators to be one of the most experienced and qualified private GRE tutors in the country.

Contact Dr. Donnelly

For information on rates and availability or to set up a free consultation, please contact Dr. Donnelly at:

Over the years, Dr. Donnelly has helped literally hundreds of students to improve their GRE scores significantly and to achieve their graduate school goals. We are confident that he can do the same for you.

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Overview of the Revised GRE Test


Most weekdays and weekends, year-round


GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested

i. Verbal Reasoning scores are reported on a 130 - 170 score scale, in 1-point increments.

ii. Quantitative Reasoning scores are reported on a 130 - 170 score scale, in 1-point increments.

iii. Analytical Writing scores are reported on a 0 - 6 score scale, in half-point increments.


The overall testing time for the computer-based GRE revised General Test is about three hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.




The revised GRE exam features:

i. A new test-taker friendly design for the computer-based test that lets you edit or change your answers, skip questions and more, all within a section.

ii. An on-screen calculator.

iii. New types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, many featuring real-life scenarios that reflect the kind of thinking you'll do in today's demanding graduate and business school programs.

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Structure of the computer-based GRE test


The Analytical Writing section of the GRE test contains two separately timed essays each 30 minutes in duration:

i. Analysis of an Issue

This task assesses your ability to think critically about a topic of general interest and to clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Each issue statement makes a claim that you can discuss from various perspectives and apply to many different situations or conditions.

ii. Analysis of an Argument

You are presented with a brief passage in which the author makes a case for some course of action or interpretation of events by presenting claims backed by reasons and evidence. Your task is to discuss the logical soundness of the author's case according to the specific instructions by critically examining the line of reasoning and the use of evidence.

Skills Tested include:

i. Concise, effective communication of ideas

ii. Evaluation of claims and evidence

iii. Use of logical reasoning to support ideas

iv. Standard written English

VERBAL REASONING The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE test contains two sections each containing:

i. 30 multiple-choice questions per section

ii. 30 minutes per section

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE contains three types of questions.

i. Reading Comprehension

These questions are designed to test a wide range of abilities that are required in order to read and understand the kinds of prose commonly encountered in graduate school.

ii. Text Completion These questions omit crucial words from short passages and ask the test taker to use the remaining information in the passage as a basis for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent, meaningful whole.

iii. Sentence Equivalence

These questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank, and they ask you to find two choices that lead to a complete, coherent sentence while producing sentences that mean the same thing.




The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE test contains two sections each containing:

i. 20 multiple choice questions per section

ii. 35 minute per section

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE test has four types of questions.

1. Quantitative Comparison Questions

Questions of this type ask you to compare two quantities -Quantity A and Quantity B - and then determine which of the following statements describes the comparison:

i. Quantity A is greater.

ii. Quantity B is greater.

iii. The two quantities are equal.

iv. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

2. Multiple-choice Questions - Select One Answer Choice

These questions are multiple-choice questions that ask you to select only one answer choice from a list of five choices.

3. Multiple-choice Questions - Select One or More Answer Choices

These questions are multiple-choice questions that ask you to select one or more answer choices from a list of choices. A question may or may not specify the number of choices to select.

4. Numeric Entry Questions

Questions of this type ask you either to enter your answer as an integer or a decimal in a single answer box or to enter it as a fraction in two separate boxes - one for the numerator and one for the denominator.

Each question appears either independently as a discrete question or as part of a set of questions called a Data Interpretation set. All of the questions in a Data Interpretation set are based on the same data presented in tables, graphs or other displays of data.

You are allowed to use a basic calculator on the Quantitative Reasoning measure. For the computer-based test, the calculator is provided on-screen. For the paper-based test, a handheld calculator is provided at the test center.

UNSCORED SECTION An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward your score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. Questions in the unscored section are being tried out either for possible use in future tests or to ensure that scores on new editions of the test are comparable to scores from earlier editions.
RESEARCH SECTION An identified research section that does not count toward your score may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section are included for ETS research purposes.

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To learn more please contact Dr. Donnelly at

Tel: (917) 568-2473
Email dr.stuart.donnelly@gmail.com

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