GRE Syllabus 2024: Your Ultimate Guide

Updated on: Feb 22, 2024

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standard competitive assessment that measures the academic and practical skills of international students planning to pursue their postgraduate studies abroad. 

Several educational institutions accept the GRE syllabus in countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia. The exam is also accepted in the UK but is optional in most cases. You can check your desired university’s requirements before applying for the GRE, as some institutions have made the exams optional.

The GRE exam syllabus is developed to measure a student’s ability in critical thinking and problem-solving in general or a specific field of study. Before we move on to the GRE exam syllabus, it is essential for you to learn about the types of GRE.

How many types of GRE exams are there?

There are two types of GRE Exams,

  • GRE General test
  • GRE Subject test

Let’s dive into the GRE exam syllabus for General and Subject tests.

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GRE syllabus 2024

GRE General test

The GRE syllabus for the General test measures your ability and knowledge in analytical writing, quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. The syllabus also includes an unscored and research section in the computer-based version. Here’s the syllabus of the General test.

GRE General test syllabus

SectionTasksTypes of questionsTotal duration
Analytical writing21. Analyse an issue 
2. Analyse an argument
1 hour
Quantitative reasoning2 sets with 20 questions each1. Quantitative comparative questions 
2. Multiple Choice Questions (One correct answer) 
3. Multiple Choice Questions (More than one correct answer) 
4. Numeric entry
1 hour
Verbal reasoning2 sets with 20 questions each1. Reading comprehension 
2. Text completion 
3. Sentence equivalence
1 hour 10 minutes

GRE General test syllabus 1: Analytical Writing

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • No. of questions: 2

The GRE syllabus for analytical writing tests a student's ability to create an argument with examples, evidence and explanations.

You should write a response to a topic of your interest (analyse an issue). You also answer questions about a short passage of writing (analyse an argument). You have 30 minutes to complete each task.

1. Analyse an issue

In this section, you will be given an issue statement in a paragraph. You then have to write a response about the provided topic.

You should clearly express your own thoughts and show your understanding of different views and ideas about the issue in the text.

2. Analyse an argument

You will be given a short passage in which the author presents an argument with evidence. You have to read and explain the writer's opinion. You must also assess the evidence and reasoning in the passage and explain how impactful it is.

GRE General test syllabus 2: Quantitative Reasoning

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • No. of questions: 40

The GRE syllabus requires you to answer mathematical questions in the quantitative reasoning section. This part of the exam has four question types.

  • Quantitative comparison
  • Multiple-choice (one correct answer)
  • Multiple-choice (one or more correct answers)
  • Numeric entry

The questions can be independent or part of a series of questions based on a set of data. You also have an on-screen calculator to help them solve the problems. Students taking the paper exam are provided with a calculator. Let's have a detailed look at the types of questions under the quantitative reasoning section.

1. Quantitative comparison

You will be shown two maths problems, images or equations. They are called 'Quantity A' and 'Quantity B'. You have to select a statement from four options that suit best in comparison to the quantities.

For each question, students can also work out the answers to each equation using a calculator or pen and paper before answering.

2. Multiple choice questions

The questions include a sum, equation or image, and you must choose the correct answer from five options.

There is another type of multiple-choice question in the GRE exam syllabus where you have to choose one or more correct answers. Here, you are given a worded maths question or problem, and the options include a set of possible solutions.

3. Numeric entry

Numeric entry questions require you to calculate a given sum shown on the screen in the section. Answers can be given as a number—if one box is displayed—or a fraction if two boxes are shown. You may be asked to round your number in some questions.

You can use calculators to support any working out when completing these answers. In some cases, you will have to reduce fractions to the lowest terms to fit in the answer box provided.

GRE General test syllabus 3: Verbal Reasoning

  • Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • No. of questions: 40

The verbal reasoning section of the GRE exam syllabus has three question types.

  • Reading comprehension
  • Text completion
  • Sentence equivalence

While the reading comprehension section has two sets of questions, the text completion and sentence equivalence sections are independent of the comprehension part.

You will be given a short text for each section to read and respond with multiple-choice answers. However, the types of responses are different based on each part of the test.

1. Reading comprehension

The reading comprehension section comprises two sets. You have to read a short passage, between one and five paragraphs and respond with answers.

The text passages can be about one of these subjects: humanities, social sciences (including business), or natural science.

This section mostly includes multiple-choice and text-selection questions. The multiple-choice questions vary; some answers require one choice from a given list. Other questions have one to three correct answers; extra credit is available for these types.

The text selection questions consist of choosing the correct word or sentence in the text that matches a given description. You can click on the selected word, phrase or sentence within the text to complete these questions.

2. Text completion

The text completion section in the GRE exam syllabus includes a passage one to five sentences long, with fill-in-the-blank questions within the text. You can answer the task by choosing the most appropriate word.

You are required to select the correct word that matches the context of the text from the list of answers provided. The possible solutions are listed in columns, such as Blank 1, Blank 2, and so on.

Each text completion question only has one correct answer. No extra credit is available for this part of the test.

3. Sentence equivalence

The sentence equivalence section includes one sentence per question, where you are required to fill in the blanks from a choice of six multiple-choice answers.

In this section, you must choose two options from the six words that best complete the sentence. The two words you select must have a similar meaning.

No extra credit is available in the sentence equivalence section. You can only select the two correct answers from the list of words provided.

GRE General test syllabus 4: Unscored and Research sections

  • Duration: Varies
  • No. of questions: Varies

The unscored and research section is also known as the GRE "experimental section." You can complete this section at any time after the analytical writing section. Currently, the unscored and research section can be part of the test's verbal or quantitative reasoning sections. 

You will not be informed when the experimental section of the test begins, and it appears like the other questions on the exam. Also, the scores from this section do not count towards your overall GRE test score.

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GRE Subject test

  • No. of questions - Varies with every field of study
  • Duration - 2 hours 50 minutes

The GRE exam syllabus for the Subject test varies with each field of study, but the exam duration remains the same. The syllabus focuses on your chosen subject and measures your knowledge of the same. The GRE syllabus for the Subject test version has the following disciplines of study.

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology

GRE syllabus 2024 for each field of study

Field of studyNo. of questionsAreas covered in exam (in%)

Classical mechanics: 20%

Electromagnetism: 18%

Optics and wave phenomena: 9%

Thermodynamics: 10%

Quantum mechanics: 12%

Atomic physics: 10%

Special relativity: 6%

Laboratory methods: 6%

Specialised topics: 9%


Analytical chemistry: 15%

Organic chemistry: 30%

Inorganic chemistry: 25%

Physical chemistry: 30%


Algebra: 25%

Calculus: 50%

Other topics: 25%


Biological: 17-21%

Developmental: 12-14%

Clinical: 15-19%

Social: 12-14%

Cognitive: 17-24%

Measurement or methodology or other: 15-19%

GRE syllabus 2024: Pro preparation tips

The GRE exam syllabus is considered one of the most difficult competitive exams. But with dedication and regular practice, you can easily ace the exam! Here are some of the best GRE preparation tips for the exam:

  • Set your goal and work on achieving it. After setting your goal, prepare yourself a schedule to study and work towards it. The goal will keep you motivated and prepare you well for the exam.
  • Familiarise yourself with the GRE exam syllabus and structure. Learn about the types of questions and the format for the same. This will help you efficiently study and prepare for the exam without obstacles.
  • Creating a study plan can streamline your preparation process, and you can study well for the exam. This will also ease your anxiety ahead of the exams as the planning will help you cover the GRE exam syllabus before the exam.
  • Make use of GRE study materials and online practice tests to prepare well for the exam. GRE syllabus books, practice papers, webinars and videos can help you better understand the pattern and syllabus. Understanding these major components of the exam will contribute to better performance during the exam.

Related: GRE Score Percentiles

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different sections of the GRE?

The GRE exam syllabus of the General test version consists of three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

The GRE exam syllabus for the Subject test varies with each field of study, focusing on the subject you choose and determining your level of knowledge. The Subject test version has the following disciplines of study: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Psychology.

How do I prepare for GRE exam?

The GRE syllabus is considered difficult among students, but with regular practice and studying, you can easily obtain good scores on the exam. Here are some pro tips you can follow while preparing for the GRE exam.

  • Set a goal
  • Start preparing at least 8 to 12 weeks before the exam
  • Prepare a study schedule
  • Familiarise yourself with the pattern and syllabus
  • Study with the help of GRE books, practice tests, online videos and webinars

Can I prepare for GRE without coaching?

You can prepare for the GRE syllabus without any coaching. Make use of online materials available and prepare with the help of their books, test materials and videos.

Can I do masters without GRE?

Some educational institutions abroad have made GRE results optional so you can pursue your postgraduate studies without the exam. You can verify with the institution if they require GRE scores for applying.

In which countries GRE is required?

The GRE exam is accepted for admission to educational institutions in the USA, Canada and Australia. The GRE scores are optional for universities in the UK.