How should you prepare for the GRE


If you are planning for admission in graduate programs in business and law in the USA or Canada, you will probably appear for GRE. It is a general test conducted by the Educational Testing Service and tests the basic skills of the candidates. In addition to the USA and Canada, the GRE score is applicable to various universities worldwide.

Candidates can take the test online at 1,000 test centres in more than 160 countries across the globe. Candidates can appear in the test anytime throughout the year, and in some parts of China, the test is available three times in a single month.    

The pattern of the test

The test comprises six sections, which count for the final score. The candidates must attempt these sections within 3 hours and 45 minutes. There is a 10 minutes break between each section. The names of the sections for GRE preparation, are as follows.

  • Analytical Reasoning with two tasks; ‘Analyze an issue’, ‘Analyze an Argument’. Candidates have 30 minutes to complete each task. 
  • Verbal reasoning with two sub-sections each having 30 minutes time limit.
  • Quantitative reasoning with sub-sections each having 35 minutes time limit.  

Sections included in the test

Let us understand these sections to help you with GRE preparations:

Analytic Writing – Both law and business personnel require communicating in writing. Thus this section tests the writing skills of candidates. Questions in this section require candidates to express complex information and ideas with relevant reasoning with ease of reading. Performing well in this section reflects that candidate has adequate writing skills required for the future.

Verbal Reasoning – The section emphasises on complex verbal skills of the candidates. Questions include incomplete data, indirect information, a combination of words and sentences. Candidates must be able to understand the meaning and conclude the information. Good performance in this section reflects the extraordinary knowledge of the candidate about words and language.

Quantitative Reasoning – Quantitative information is the key element in both the business and law professions. Therefore, this section aims to measure the ability to analysis this type of information. Questions in this section require candidates to analysis the quantitative information using the concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

Preparation strategies 

GRE tests the way you think in general. Thus GRE preparation requires the following strategies:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses to work on the weak areas and polish your strengths. 
  •  Attempt practice papers to become familiar with the types of questions you will have in the test. 
  • Since the test is conducted online, practicing previous papers also familiarize with various tools available for the test. 
  •  Understand the scoring so that you may practice the sections accordingly.
  •  ETS provide the study material for candidates in various formats. Go through the material to understand the test expectations and improve your score.

The special features of the test

The following two features make GRE different from most undergraduate tests:

  • It is the only graduate-level test where students are allowed to skip questions within the section and can change the answers by going back. Research has shown that candidates improve their scores by being able to change their answers. 
  • The Score Select option allows students to retake the test in case of low performance and select the score of their choice as the final score. However, some programs may require you to report your previous score along with your best score, in case of more than one attempt. It is therefore advised to appear for the test by preparing well and avoid multiple attempts.  

GRE preparation is more about managing time because it doesn’t test the candidates’ acquired skills but natural skills. Therefore, if you know the time duration and can budget the time, you can perform your best in the test. 

Check GRE sample papers for Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning & Analytical writing provided by ETS (Educational Trust Service) at  


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