Miscellaneous Sponsored Technology

General Overview of GRE Test Prep

Image courtesy Pixabay

GRE is an acronym for the Graduate Record Examination which is a general test managed by Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is important to note that ETS is a non-profit organization established for an educational progress. The examination is usually used for the assessment of Verbal and Quantitative aptitudes of students as prerequisite for admission into many graduate educational programs. Currently in the USA for instance, this exam is section-level adaptive and computer based. There are different attributes of the adaptive test that makes it different from a regular paper and a pen testing method. However, the test is designed in such a way that students taking it can get the same experience and scores in the computer based exam as they would when taking the paper and pen exam format. Prepaway.com is an excellent resource for preparing using Prep Away: GRE Free Practice Test, Sample Exam Questions, Study Guide And Online Training Course from this site. 

Important Facts about GRE Test

The exam is made up of three different scaled scores computed from five different sections of scores. These include:

  • Analytical Writing Essays
  • Two different Quantitative Reasoning Sections
  • Two Different Verbal Reasoning Sections

It is important to note that the Analytical Writing section is usually the first in the exam, followed by one Quantitative section, and one Verbal section. At the end of these sections, the students are allowed a ten minute’s break and at the resumption of the exam, the second set of Quantitative and Verbal sections will be administered. During the test, the candidates might also be given some identified or unidentified research questions that are generally not part of the exam scores. Let us now look at each of these sections in details to help you in your exam prep.

Analytical Writing (AW) Section

The AW section is designed to test the real life skill needed to perform excellently well during your graduate program. This skill is known as a writing skill. Each of the essay sections is scored between zero and six on half point raise. Your scores are usually depended on the quality of your English in the written form, as well as the strength of the argument put forward in your writing. Generally, your scores will be averaged to achieve your actual score. 

The Analytical Writing section is made up of two different essays. There is the Analyze an Issue exam task which takes about thirty minutes to complete. In this segment, the exam takers are given prompts and they are expected to respond on the subject matter of the prompts. The prompts come in the form of declarative statements and the candidates are expected to agree or disagree in part or in whole with the statement. The test takers are also required to construct a well articulated essay with a concise view point and relevant instances to back up their points.

There is also the Analyze an Argument Exam task that focuses on your ability to deconstruct and analyze a given argument. The argument is usually given as a prompt which comes in the form of a short paragraph that draws specific conclusions on a particular topic. The test takers are expected to identify the specific errors in the logic and reasoning of the paragraph. The time allocated to this part of the exam is also thirty minutes and the scoring method might not be in the same line as the Quantitative and Verbal reasoning scoring.

Quantitative Reasoning Section

There are two different Quantitative Reasoning sections and they contain 20 questions each. The applicants have 35 minutes to complete this section. The two types of Quantitative Reasoning in this section are Quantitative Comparison and Problem Solving. These two types of questions cover different mathematical subjects, such as geometry, algebra, arithmetic, and word problems. There are also some questions that center on data interpretation where the candidates will be required to analyze specific information shown in a graph. 

The Problem Solving section presents a problematic scenario which requires that you carry out one of three different tasks:

  1. Select one or more choice answers from a group of answers.
  2. Select right answer from a group of five choice answers.
  3. Provide your own answer choice based on calculations.

The Quantitative Comparison section provides two columns: A and B. There might be some information offered on each of the column. The task is to compare the two columns and provide appropriate answers to the questions. The exam takers are asked to decide whether one column is larger than another, whether both are equal, or if the relationship between them varies.

Verbal Reasoning Section

There are two categories of Verbal Reasoning sections on the GRE exam. Each of the sections is designed with 20 questions and the candidates are allowed 30 minutes to complete the test. There are three general types of questions you will be exposed to during your exam, and they:

  • Text Completion types of questions are designed with a paragraph or sentence that has blank space(s). The answers are expected to fill the blank spaces. It is important that the exam taker uses the tone and structure of the sentences to choose the correct answers. The answers must be stylistic and logical. There are usually contexts to work with when answering questions on Text Completion. 
  • Sentence Equivalent is a question type designed with a single sentence with one blank space and up to six choices of answers. The exam takers are expected to choose two of the answers that give sentences with the same meaning. There are also specific contexts to work with when answering Sentence Equivalent questions. 
  • Reading Comprehension section presents the candidate with writing passage of one or many paragraphs length focusing on any type of discipline. Disciplines that subject matters can be drawn from include social sciences, humanities, or sciences. The candidates will be asked questions on the passage. Some of the questions will have global focus which means you have to understand the whole passage. There are some other questions that will require you read over the passage again to get specific insight to answer them.


It is very important that the test takers focus on each of these segments during the exam prep period and don’t think about covering all bases before the scheduled examination. To start off your exam prep, you might want to get your PowerScore GRE Course to help you in the preparation process.

About the author


Tim Van Divort