GRE 2020 Exam Pattern

Updated on
August 4, 2020

GRE 2020 Exam Pattern
Prepared by Higher Education Research Team 


Conducted by US-based Education Testing Service (ETS), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized, computer-based, multichoice exam accepted by all top US Universities for MBA, MS, Law and other graduate programs. GRE exam scores are accepted by more than 1,300 business schools including Harvard, Wharton, Chicago.


In this article, written for Indian students, you will get all the vital information on all aspects of GRE Exam Pattern. So, continue reading till the end.


GRE Exam Pattern 2020: Objective
GRE is designed to measures one’s command of quantitative ability like basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis as well as college-level vocabulary. More importantly, it measures your reasoning ability to analyse and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems.GRE syllabus and Pattern covers all these areas.


GRE 2020 Exam Pattern: Divided in 3 main sections:
Presently the GRE test pattern 2020 consists of following three sections

  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning

GRE Exam Pattern 2020: Key Highlights

Total Duration
3 hours 45 minutes
5 Sections (Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal Reasoning -2 sections, Quantitative Reasoning- 2 sections) + Unscored/ Research section -not scored)
No. Of Questions/Time limit
AWA – 2 Question / 30 Minutes each
QR (1) – 20 Questions / 35 Minutes
QR (2) – 20 Questions / 35 Minutes
VR (1) – 20 Questions / 30 Minutes
VR (2) – 20 Questions / 30 Minutes

Now let’s discuss each of the three sections from GRE 2020 Exam Pattern.


GRE Exam Pattern: Analytical Writing Section (AWA)
According to ETS, the Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

In this section you will get two tasks:

  • “Analyse an Issue” (express your views on a critical issue) task
  • “Analyse an Argument” (evaluate a logical argument) task

The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of general interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are expected to evaluate the issue, consider its intricacies and develop an argument (with logical reasons) and examples to support your views.


The Argument task requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. In this task, you will need to consider the “logical soundness” of the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents.


GRE Exam Pattern: Quantitative Reasoning Section
The Quantitative Reasoning section in the GRE exam pattern 2020, measures your ability to:

  • understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information
  • solve problems using mathematical models
  • apply basic skills and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis

This section includes an on-screen calculator, so you don’t have to worry about exact calculations.


This section covers concepts and questions from four areas:

  • Arithmetic: In the revised GRE exam pattern, the topics from this area include concepts such as estimation, percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation and sequences of numbers.It also includeproperties and types of integers, such as divisibility, factorization, prime numbers, remainders and odd and even integers; arithmetic operations, exponents and roots.
  • Algebra: Topics from this area include operations with exponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions; relations, functions, equations and inequalities; solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving simultaneous equations and inequalities; setting up equations to solve word problems; and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations and inequalities, intercepts and slopes of lines.
  • Geometry: This section in the GRE exam pattern, includes topics like parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles — including isosceles, equilateral and 30°-60°-90° triangles — quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean theorem and angle measurement in degrees.
  • Data analysis: GRE syllabus and pattern in this area include:
    • basic descriptive statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles and percentiles
    • interpretation of data in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar graphs
    • elementary probability
    • random variables and probability distributions, including normal distributions
    • counting methods, such as combinations, permutations and Venn diagrams

If you have done your Maths till 10thStandard well, you will be able to do well in this section. There are plenty of guides and courses available for GRE Preparation.


GRE Exam Pattern: Verbal Reasoning
The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions
  • reason from incomplete data
  • identify author's assumptions
  • understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative
  • distinguish major from minor or irrelevant points
  • abridgethe text
  • understand the structure of a textunderstand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts
  • understand relationships among words and among concepts

In this section the questions are presented as Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension question types. This section starts with the Text Completion question type which will include a passage composed of 1-5 sentences with 1-3 blanks. There are three or five (in case of a single blank) answer choices per blank. The Sentence Equivalence Questions consist of a single sentence, one blank, and six answer choices. These questions require you to select two of the answer choices. And, the Reading Comprehension Question type comprises of:

  • Multiple-choice Questions with – Select One Answer
  • Multiple-choice Questions with – Select One or More Answers
  • Select-in-Passage (click on the sentence in the passage that meets a certain description)

We hope this article was helpful in explain GRE Exam Pattern. Read more about GRE Exam and GRE Exam Preparation.

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