GRE 2020: Eligibility, Fees, Syllabus

A prerequisite for admission into many graduate programs at universities across the world, the GRE is an important standardized test. This article draws from official sources to tell you all that you need to know about it

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, commonly known as the GRE is a standardised test that is required for admission into many MS, MBA and PhD programs worldwide. It is delivered online and in-person multiple times a year. It is managed and administered by ETS, a private non-profit educational testing and assessment organization.

Latest News about GRE

ETS is currently offering test-takers, who are unable to travel to test-centres due to public health concerns, the opportunity to take the GRE from home. The GRE General Test at Home is identical to the one taken at a test centre. The only difference is that it is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU. 

At home administrations are currently available around the clock every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday through June 30, 2020. You can make an appointment to take the test as early as 24 hours after registering.

To be eligible for taking the test from home, you should fulfill the following requirements:

  • You should be located in a country where GRE at Home is currently being offered. Note that you can take the test from home only if is currently available to take in every country where the computer-based test is available.
  • Your computer must meet the equipment requirements and ProctorU checks. Moreover, you will need to install the ETS Test browser to take the test.
  • You must arrange for a quiet room where you can’t be disturbed for the duration of the test.

You can check further requirements here

GRE 2020 Eligibility and Requirements

ETS has not specified any specific age limits or other requirements for taking the GRE. However, all test-takers are expected to possess an undergraduate degree. This too, is not an enforced requirement. The GRE can be taken by anyone who aspires to go to graduate school, across fields of study. Each year, around 2 million people take the test.

The GRE is usually a prerequisite for admissions into most US and Canada MS, MBA and PhD programs. However, there are exceptions. Many programs don’t require the GRE in a range of disciplines. Additionally, certain programs allow you to waive the GRE requirement under certain circumstances.

Note: A GRE score isn’t mandatory to apply to most European and Australian universities. For these universities, undergraduate GPA matters more and is given more weight.

Here’s a comprehensive list of universities and organizations which accept the GRE for

GRE 2020 Test Pattern

The GRE comes in two different formats; a General Test, and subject-specific tests.

GRE General Test

It is roughly a 4-hour long test split between three sections: Analytical Writing (AWA), Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Quantitative Reasoning (QR). Both the verbal and quant sections have a scoring ranging between 130 to 170, and the Writing section is graded on a scale from 0.0 to 6.0, in 0.5-point increments.

Here’s what each section measures:

  • Verbal Reasoning — Measures your ability to analyze and draw conclusions from discourse, reason from incomplete data, understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author’s intent, summarize text, distinguish major from minor points, understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts, and understand relationships among words and among concepts. 
  • Quantitative Reasoning — Measures your ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information, solve problems using mathematical models, and apply the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.
  • Analytical Writing — Measures your critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to articulate and support complex ideas with relevant reasons and examples, and examine claims and accompanying evidence. There is an emphasis on analytical writing skills.

GRE General Test Structure (Computer Based)



Allotted Time

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)

One “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task

30 minutes per task

Verbal Reasoning

(Two sections)

20 questions per section

30 minutes per task

Quantitative Reasoning

(Two sections)

20 questions per section

35 minutes per section







The Unscored and Research sections don’t count towards your score. They’re included for testing to put in future exams and research purposes respectively.

GRE Subject Tests

The GRE Subject Tests measure your knowledge of a particular field of study.The Subject Tests can help you stand out from other applicants by emphasizing your knowledge and skill level in a specific area.

Each test takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete.

You can choose to take a Subject Test if you have an undergraduate major or extensive background in one of these six disciplines:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Note: You can only take the GRE Subject Tests on Paper. Each test has a unique syllabus. You can check it out on this webpage

GRE 2020 Important Dates

The GRE General Test is available at more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries. In most regions of the world, the computer-delivered test is available on a continuous basis throughout the year. However, the paper-delivered test is available up to two times a year in November and February.

The Subject Tests are given at paper-delivered test centers worldwide three times a year, in September, October and April.

You can check the dates for the General and Subject tests here

GRE 2020 Test Fees

The GRE General Test costs $205, which is roughly ₹15,000. On the other hand, each GRE Subject Test Costs $150, which is around ₹11,300.

The GRE also has many other Special Handling Fees. These include:



Late registration fee (paper-delivered test online registration only)


Standby testing (paper-delivered test only)


Rescheduling fee 


Changing your test center


Changing your Subject Test


How to prepare for GRE?

The definition of a ‘good score’ depends on the programs and universities you are applying to. Here’s a breakdown of scores and ranges 

We’ve put together a list of GRE Resources for you here

Website: GRE

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