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About the GRE

How to Improve your score

The GRE General Test measures skills that are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all. Hence the GRE Test features question types that closely reflect the thinking you’ll do — and the skills you need to succeed — in today's demanding graduate school programs.

Getting into the right graduate program at your top-choice school is highly competitive, so you'll need to prepare thoroughly for each section of the GRE.

The test design lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers and have the flexibility to choose which questions within a section you want to answer first. The GRE General Test is available in either computer-delivered or paper-delivered format.

Click on the links below to learn more:

  1. How to Improve your GRE Score
  2. Contact Dr. Donnelly about GRE lessons
  3. Read our GRE students' reviews
  4. How is the GRE Scored?
  5. The GRE - Section by Section
    1. Verbal Reasoning Section
    2. Quantitative Section
    3. Analytical Writing Section
AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Chemistry

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Dr. Donnelly can teach you the correct approach for each question on the GRE. This will significantly increase your chances of getting the required score to attend the grad school of your choice.

Private GRE tutoring with Dr. Donnelly is available online via Skype or Zoom or in person at his San Diego-based office or his Manhattan-based office in New York City (depending upon the time of year).

Over the years, Dr. Donnelly has helped hundreds of students to improve their GRE scores significantly and achieve their goal of getting accepted into a top-tier graduate program. We are confident that he can do the same for you.

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Overview of the GRE Exam

Exam Format and Structure


The GRE Exam

The overall testing time for the computer-delivered GRE® General Test is about three hours and 45 minutes. There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section. The GRE Test consists of two written essays and 58 questions. The revised GRE 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 thinking you'll do in today's demanding graduate and business school programs.

The GRE General Test contains three separate test areas:

Click the links above to learn more about each section.

How is the GRE Scored?

GRE Test scores range from 130 to 170 for the verbal and quantitative sections. The GRE analytical writing section is scored on a 0 to 6 scale. GRE tests all provide the ScoreSelect® option, which means you can take a GRE test once now or again in the future and only send the GRE test scores from whichever test date(s) you want schools to see.

Best of all, you always have five years to decide. You can also resit the test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days).

Verbal Reasoning Section of the GRE

Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE test last 30 minutes and has two sections, each containing 20 multiple-choice questions. There are three types of questions in this section.

i. Reading Comprehension

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

ii. Text Completion

The Text Completion 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

The Sentence Equivalence 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.

Qualitative Reasoning Section of the GRE

Quantitative Reasoning section of the GMAT

The Qualitative Reasoning section of the GRE has two sections, each lasting 35 minutes per section and containing 20 multiple-choice questions per section. Each question appears independently as a discrete question or part of a set of questions called a Data Interpretation set. All the questions in a Data Interpretation set are based on the same data presented in tables, graphs, or other data displays.

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

There are four types of questions:

1. Quantitative Comparison

The Quantitative Comparison questions 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 types of Multiple-choice Questions 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 types of Multiple-choice Questions 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

The Numeric Entry Questions 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.

Analytical Writing Section of the GRE

Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GRE

The Analytical Writing section of the GRE 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 clearly express your thoughts in writing. Each issue statement makes a claim you can discuss from various perspectives and apply to many 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