If you are planning on taking the GRE, ETS’s own website is a great place to start your test prep.
Starting with the ETS – GRE test basic information
You can find a lot of helpful information for the GRE test on the ETS webpage. The website includes information on:
- A breakdown of the GRE test format
- GRE review tools and practice tests
- Upcoming GRE test dates
- Current GRE costs and fees
- Test statistics (average GRE scores and percentiles)
- A list of schools that accept the GRE test
- Other helpful test resources
You might also be interested in the difference between the GRE and the GMAT.
Help understanding the GRE test sections
*Chart created by ETS
The GRE test is intended to measure a variety of skills that you have developed during your education and work experience. Most people will take the GRE General Test (which does not focus on specific fields of study).
The skills tested by the GRE are analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. You can find an explanation of each test section on the ETS website page Test Content and Structure.
Analytical Writing is the GRE test essay section. You will have to respond to two prompts, an “Analyze an Issue” task and an “Analyze an Argument” task, with 30 minutes to complete each task.
This section is scored 0.0-6.0 in 0.5 point increments.
Verbal reasoning is a multiple choice section. There are three types of questions:
- Reading Comprehension
- Text Completion
- Sentence Equivalence
This section scored from 130-170 in 1 point increments.
Quantitative reasoning is a multiple choice section. There are four types of questions:
- Quantitative Comparison Questions
- Multiple-choice Questions — Select One Answer Choice
- Multiple-choice Questions — Select One or More Answer Choices
- Numeric Entry Questions
This section is scored from 130-170 in 1 point increments
GRE Practice Tests and Study Resources
The ETS webpage has a lot of helpful resources for preparing to take the GRE. Most of these tools are free when you sign up for a GRE account.
On the POWERPREP page, you can find three levels of test prep help.
POWERPREP Test Preview Tool
This tool allows you to preview the format of the GRE test. You can see exactly how the test appears, the question types and formats, and the help resources that you will have available when taking the GRE.
You can start your test prep here without wasting one of the free practice tests.
This tool is also free with your GRE account. It includes two free full-length practice tests.
You have the option to take both tests under timed conditions or you can opt out of the timer for one of the tests.
These practice tests will give you simulated scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, but not for the Analytical Writing section.
POWERPREP PLUS Online
The “PLUS” part of this tool means that it is not free to use. If you decide to purchase the tool, then you can take two full-length practice tests and receive simulated scores for all three test sections.
The practice tests have never been used before, so you will find questions here that are not in found in other GRE review prep books and practice tests.
More Free GRE Test Prep Resources
You have a lot of options outside of ETS’s study tools to prepare for the GRE. Most of the paid online GRE study tools offer some free trial periods and practice tests too.
*Some of the links listed below are affiliate links for The Graduate School Site, which means that I will get paid a commission if you purchase something using the link. This commission will not increase your price for the service.
The links below are for free resources, so you will not need to purchase anything to benefit from these services.
Finding GRE Test Dates
The ETS webpage is also where you will schedule your GRE test date.
To find an upcoming GRE test date, start with Test Centers and Dates. Then click on “View test centers, test dates and seat availability.”
You will see the form page below.
Select a Test
In this menu, you choose between the GRE General Test and the available subject tests.
Most people take the GRE General test, but you should check the application requirements of the programs you are looking at before selecting this option.
Find test centers at or near this location
You can enter a full address in this field or only your zip code.
Find test dates within this two-month period
Use the arrows to scroll back and forth and choose the two month period when you want to take the test. The interface allows you to choose any month within the next year.
Restricted Reservation Code
If you have a restricted reservation code, then enter it in the box.
Find Available Test Centers and Dates
Click the button to see the available GRE test dates near you
On the next page, you will see a map with GRE test locations and a calendar showing available dates.
Select a date on the calendar that works for you and the list below will display all of the test centers with available seats on that date. The list will show the GRE test center’s name and its approximate distance from the address you entered.
When you find the date and test center that works best for you then select the “Show Test Times” button next to that test center. If that test time works for you, then select “Register” to sign up.
You will be taken to the ETS account page to login to your existing account or create a new one.
How to Cancel a GRE Test Registration
You can cancel or reschedule your GRE test registration inside your ETS account if your test date is more than 4 days away (or 10 days in China). Your GRE test cancellation will give you a 50% refund.
Rescheduling your GRE test date will incur a fee. You can find a list of the fees by region in this table on the ETS webpage. The rescheduling fee is under “Special Handling Requests.”
Currently, the GRE rescheduling fee is ~$50.
What Does the GRE Cost?
The cost of the GRE test registration tends to increase every couple of years. In 2012, the GRE fee was $175. In 2013, it increased to $185 and again in 2014, it increased to $195.
As of 2018, the GRE costs between $205 and $230 depending on the test country.
The registration fee may not be the only cost you will need to pay to the ETS.
Your GRE test registration fee allows you to send your scores to 4 institutions free of charge, but additional score reports cost $27 each.
If you think there is a problem with your GRE scores, then you can request a score review of any of the sections. Requesting a score review for the Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning sections costs $50 each, while a score review for the Analytical Writing section costs $60.
You can find the current fees and other costs for registering for the GRE test on the ETS’ GRE fee page.
GRE Test Score Statistics
*Chart from ETS Worldwide Test Taker Report 2016
The ETS shares statistics about the GRE in their Worldwide Test Taker Report.
This report includes current GRE percentiles and score averages broken down according to several factors including:
- Country of citizenship
- Current education level
- Intended graduate school major
- Undergraduate major
- Amount of work experience
- And other test taker characteristics
Which Schools Accept the GRE?
You can find the current list of schools that accept the GRE test reported on the ETS website.
Most non-MBA programs use the GRE test as part of their application process. Some MBA programs also accept the GRE test. The ETS has a separate list of these MBA programs.
Most business schools prefer the GMAT test over the GRE test, so check with your admissions advisor before deciding whether the GRE test will work for you.
Before grabbing a GRE review book or paid review program, check out the free help available through the ETS.
You can find plenty of information on the test structure, where and when the GRE test is available, the current GRE test cost, some GRE practice tests and review resources, and other useful items.
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