Overview of Question Types on the GRE

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Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:09 am

There are 3 main sections in the GRE General Test. These sections include Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Each section is designed to test your general intelligence and is not at all related to your expertise in a chosen field of study. In fact, some would say that the General Test is much more relevant than the chosen field of study.

Verbal Reasoning:

Conduct an analysis of a piece of discourse and derive conclusions from it.
Use reasoning skills with help from insufficient data.
Determine the writer or author’s perspective or assumptions from reading the written content.
Understand different kinds of meanings such as figurative meaning, literal meaning, and intended meaning.
Identify significant points and distinguish them from less significant points.
Make sense of textual structure and also summarize the given text.
Understand the meanings of specific words, sentences, and whole paragraphs.
Understand the connection between words and concepts/ideas.

The Quantitative Test:

Interpret quantitative data or information and then analyze it.
Find solutions to problems using mathematics.
Implement mathematical systems such as algebra, arithmetic, data interpretation, and geometry to solve problems.
A calculator is usually provided during this part of the General GRE Test.

The Analytical Writing Test:

Articulate or explain ideas fluently.
Support these ideas with the help of examples and reasoning skills.
Analyze claims and their related evidence.
Discuss coherently and with focus.
Manage the various core aspects of written English.
The entire purpose of the Analytical Writing Section is to help you showcase your skills in responding appropriately to a given task.

GRE Question Structure

There are two particular types of GRE General Tests. One is the Computer-Delivered Test, and the other is the Paper-Delivered Test. The following breaks down what you can expect from each type.

The Paper-Delivered Test:
Time: The time given is 3 hours and 30 minutes for the entire test. The test contains a total of 6 sections with a 10-minute break provided after the completion of the second section.
Time per section: Each test is provided with a particular time limit. The Analytical Writing Test is divided into 2 sections. Each section must be answered in 30 minutes. The first section involves the analysis of a problem while the second one involves the analysis of an argument. Similarly, the Verbal Reasoning Test is divided into two sections with a total of 25 questions per section. The time provided is 35 minutes for each section. As for the Quantitative Analysis Test, there are two sections again with 25 questions each. The time provided for each section is 40 minutes.
Order of the tests: The Analytical Writing Test is always the first part of the GRE General Exam. However, the other two tests may arrive in any order.
Candidates are allowed to skip and return to questions in the sections provided under Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The answers can also be changed if needed.

The Computer-Delivered Test:

Time: The time provided for the Computer-Delivered GRE General Test is 3 hours and 45 minutes. There are 6 sections in the test with a 10-minute break being provided after the completion of the third section.
Time per section: The Analytical Writing Tests contains a single section that is divided into 2 separate tasks. Each task must be completed in 30 minutes. The first task is to analyze a problem, and the other is to analyze an argument. Similarly, the Verbal Reasoning Test has 2 sections with 20 questions each. The time allotted per section is 30 minutes. The Quantitative Reasoning Test has 2 sections with 20 questions each and a 35-minute time limit per section.
Extra sections: There will be an Unscored Section or a Research Section provided, too. The Research Section will usually turn up right at the end of the test. The Research Section is provided for ETS’s (Educational Testing Service) research purposes, while the Unscored Section helps ETS try out questions that may be incorporated into the GRE General Test in the future. The Unscored Section also helps ETS compare the scores between earlier and newer editions of the test.
Order of the tests: The Analytical Writing Test is always the first, while the others may appear in any order. This is why even the Research Section or the Unscored Section must be treated as scored sections, in order to complete the test on time.
Questions can be skipped and returned to later, for which you are provided with ‘Mark’ and ‘Review’ features for each question. Answers can also be edited and corrected, if required.

The Scoring System for the GRE

The scores of the GRE General Test are valid for up to 5 years from the date of testing, after which you must take part in the test again if needed. These are the following scoring patterns for the GRE General Test:

Verbal Reasoning: 130-170 with an increment of 1 point.
Quantitative Reasoning: 130-170 with an increment of 1 point.
Analytical Writing: 0 to 6 points with an increment of half a point.
Sections that go unanswered will be marked as ‘NS’ or ‘No Score’. The scoring processes for the Computer-Delivered Test and Paper-Delivered Tests are similar. First, a raw score is calculated for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning Sections based on the number of correct answers given. The number of questions with the right answers and the statistical aspects of the questions are factored into the raw score, as well. So two candidates who give the right answers to the same number of questions end up with varying scores, which is explained by the complexity of the questions each of the candidates answered.

The raw score is then is scaled to the final score using the method of equating. The final score is then fixed to reflect the differences in the complexity of the questions that appeared in different versions of the test.

As for the Analytical Writing Test, scoring is carried out by two readers who assess the answers based on writing skills and critical thinking abilities. Minor grammatical errors are usually overlooked; however, serious ones end up affecting the overall score. The readers score answers on a 0-to-6-point scale with half point increments. The average for both reader scores is calculated and rounded off to the closest 1.5 points, resulting in the final score for the Analytical Writing Test. If there is a wide difference between the scores provided by the first two readers, then the test is evaluated by a third reader.

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