Updated on - January 17th 2020 by Piyush Bhartiya


GRE Syllabus

The GRE test consists of 2 formats – General Test and Subject Test. Each format has a different syllabus. The General test examines the student’s analytical writing skills, quantitative and Verbal Reasoning. The subject test examines the candidate's knowledge on a particular subject they have pursued. It is a standard test.


GRE General Test Syllabus

The General Test includes verbal, writing and mathematics as part of its syllabus. This test is used to evaluate skills. The skills that are evaluated are analytical and reasoning.

Analytical Writing

Analytical writing assesses the candidate's ability to articulate their ideas concisely and coherently by using significant reasons with a well-focused approach and the use of Standard English writing. It is the art of comparing pieces of information and it is used to compare and contrast, assess or evaluate. It is an important part of the GRE test.  

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning assesses the candidate's ability to understand the words and its meaning, sentences and the complete structure of the given discourse. It tests their skills of drawing a coherent conclusion from incomplete data as well as the author's perspective. The following elements are covered in this section:

  • Verb and Tense
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Noun, Pronoun, and Adjective –Sentence Structure
  • Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism

 Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative reasoning assesses the candidate's ability to apply mathematical logic to geometry, algebra, arithmetic, statistics, and probability, to understand and analyze quantitative problems. It is an important part of the test as it tests the student’s logical ability and decision making skills which are really important. Topics covered under this section are :

  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Profit and Loss
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Speed, Time and Distance
  • Sets
  • Percentage
  • Number Properties
  • Powers and Roots
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Linear Equations
  • Pipes, Cisterns, Work and Time
  • Lines and Angles
  • Triangles
  • Polygons
  • Quadrilaterals
  • Circles
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Volume, Area, and Surface
  • Order of Operations


GRE Subject Test Syllabus

The Subject test is taken to assess the candidate's knowledge of the subject they specialize in. It includes Literature in English, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychology, Mathematics and Physics.


This test consists of 190 five-choice questions, and the syllabus covers the following parts :

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Organismal Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution



The test consists of 130 multiple-choice questions and includes the following sections :

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry


Literature in English

The test consists of 230 questions on poetry, short story, novel, biography, drama, essay, criticism, literary theory and history of the English language covering the following sections :

  • Literary Analysis
  • Identification
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism



The test consists of 66 multiple-choice questions covering the following parts :

  • Calculus
  • Algebra
  • Additional Topics



The test consists of 100 five-choice questions with the following content :

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Atomic Physics
  • Special Relativity
  • Laboratory Methods
  • Specialized Topics



The test consists of 205 multiple-choice questions covering the following parts :

  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Developmental
  • Clinical
  • Methodology/Measurement/Other


GRE Exam Pattern

GRE is a lengthy test. It has a duration of 3 hours and 30 minutes for the computer-based test. For the paper-delivery, 3 hours and 40 minutes. The test includes three sections – Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The pattern is not complex in nature. One easily understands and make a strategy to solve according to the pattern.


GRE General Test Pattern


No. Of Questions


Analytical Writing

2 Tasks

30 - minutes each

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

30 - minutes each section

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

35 - minutes each section

Research and Unscored




GRE Subject Test Pattern


No. Of Questions





Literature in English










1. What is the GRE general test?

The GRE General Test analyzes the candidate's analytical, verbal and quantitative skills.


2. Is there an age limit to appear for the general test?

There is no limitation of age to appear for the GRE General Test.


3. What is the GRE subject test?

The GRE Subject test measures the candidate's knowledge on the subject they specialize in.


4. What is the difference between the General Test and the Subject test?

The structure and candidate prerequisites are different for both the General and Subject test.


5. Which test should candidates opt for?

Many graduate programs often require the General test while the subject test is not. Therefore the general test is recommended.


6. How often is the GRE General Test conducted?

GRE General Test is held throughout the year and also on specific additional dates.


7. How often is the GRE Subject test conducted?

The GRE Subject test is paper-delivered and is conducted a year thrice.


8. Where are the GRE centers in India?

The GRE centers in India are Gandhinagar, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.


9. How many times can I retake the General Test and the Subject test?

The General test can be retaken five times a year while the subject test can be retaken retained as many times as one requires.


10. Does ETS provide any prep material for the General and Subject test?

Yes, ETS provides prep material for both the tests online on its official website.


11. Is there any scholarship provided to students appearing for the test?

No scholarship of any kind if provided to students, including top scorers.


12. How much time should be spent on preparation?

Anywhere between 1 to 3 months is essential for a good percentile.


13. Can GRE scores be viewed online?

Yes, GRE scores can be viewed online from your ETS account.


14. How can my scores be sent to institutions?

You can choose which institutions to send your scores while registering for the test.


15. What are the best GRE books?

Several ETS guides and Kaplan guides for GRE are available for preparation.


16. How much does the GRE test cost?

The GRE test costs $205.


17. How long is the GRE General Test?

The GRE General test lasts for about 3 hours and 45 minutes.


18. How long is the GRE Subject Test?

The GRE Subject test lasts for 2 hours and 50 minutes.


19. Can I use a calculator in the test?

No calculators can be used during the test.


20. Which test is better, GRE Subject test or GRE General Test?

Depending upon what you require for your graduate program, the GRE test must be taken accordingly.


Study Abroad Expert & Co-Founder @ AdmitKard

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing vertical for top MNCs and Indian business houses.