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    GRE Exam Pattern 2024: Computer vs Paper-Based Format

    Do you know India is among the top GRE test takers, with over 70,000 Indian citizens taking the test every year, making India the second-highest test-taking country in the world?

    (P.S.: The above statistic should not startle you, but they do speak volumes about the rising competition for the limited number of seats at top global universities.)

    The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is conducted every year by ETS (Educational Testing Service). The exam is designed for students who plan to study in English-speaking countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. If you are planning to join the “Indian GRE test takers club” this year or next, you should be familiar with the GRE paper pattern.

    On a serious note, getting to know the GRE pattern is the most important step in beginning your GRE preparations. So, let’s cut to the chase and break down the GRE exam pattern as you keep on reading!

    Suggested: How to Register for the GRE 2024? 

    GRE Exam Pattern 2024

    There are two types of GRE exams offered: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based test and a paper-based test. The GRE Subject Test, on the other hand, is only offered as a paper-based test.

    We heard that you’re interested in the GRE General Test, so here’s everything you need to know about the GRE exam pattern for 2024. If you’re interested in the GRE Subject Test, you may want to read this: GRE General vs. GRE Subject Test.

    The GRE exam format is divided into three main sections, each with two parts:

    • GRE Verbal Reasoning: One of the most competitive sections, verbal reasoning deals with your understanding of complex English. 

    For instance, answer this for us: “Hill” is related to “mountains” in the same way ”stream” is related to

    1. Avalanche 
    2. Canal 
    3. Glacier 
    4. River

    Answer: (4) River

    • GRE Quantitative Reasoning: It checks your mathematical aptitude. Try your hands on this very popular question:

    A survey of 100 individuals revealed that 96% are actively using Instagram, and 85% are active on their Pinterest accounts. If 83% of the surveyed individuals have both Instagram and Pinterest accounts, what percentage of these individuals do not use Instagram or Pinterest?

    1. 1%
    2. 2%
    3. 3%
    4. 4%

    Answer: (2) 2%

    • GRE Analytical Writing Assessment: This particular section carves out your personality traits in terms of your written and verbal communication. 

    Suggested: Top GRE AWA Topics

    In addition to these 3 sections, there are also 2 variable sections:

    • Research and Unscored Sections: These sections are not scored and are mixed in between scored sections as part of an experiment to understand the test-takers ability. 

    Did you know most of your scored questions were at some point someone else’s unscored questions?

    In addition, the total GRE test time required to complete all three sections is 225 minutes, or 3 hours and 45 minutes, which is very long. But, haven’t you heard—“Practice makes perfect!”

    Mastering such a long duration can only be possible through rigorously cracking mock tests and practicing sectional tests to understand and build the necessary temperament for acing the exam! Not only does it sharpen your skills in your areas of strength, but it also gives a deeper insight into the areas that require more work!

    So, the question for any dedicated GRE aspirant like yourself is, How many GRE mocks have you taken to date? How many times have you analyzed the tests taken to find that silver lining of improvement?

    If you have taken a mock test before, then now is the right time to access an adaptive test series that replicates the actual test day environment. But, my friend, if you are yet to access the necessary resources, mock tests, and everything else, we have a one-stop solution for everything that you need to crack the GRE like a pro!

    Check out this link to access a 30-minute FREE GRE diagnostic test from Yocket Prep and get a taste of what cohesive test preparation for beating the competition looks like!

    GRE Old vs. New Test Structure

    After a recent change in the TOEFL structure, ETS is planning a makeover of the GRE. This is a major change after a long time, which is all about making your test experience better!

    Starting September 22, 2023, the duration of the GRE General Test will be reduced by half, making it the world’s shortest test of general skills for admission to graduate programs—shorter than the GMAT and the LSAT!

    Here are six major changes that are going to take place in the GRE test structure:

    • The new GRE will be less than 2 hours long, compared to the current 4 hours. 
    • It will have 46 fewer Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning questions, helping to reduce test-taking fatigue. Because the total number of questions is reduced, each question will have more weight in the final score.
    • The “Analyze an Argument” essay task will be eliminated, leaving only one Analytical Writing essay task, the “Analyze an Issue” essay task, compared to two in the current version. Test takers will now be scored in this section based on just one essay.
    • The unscored section, also known as the experimental section, will also be eliminated. 
    • The scheduled break after 2 hours will also be eliminated. Test takers may opt for an unscheduled break, but the timer will not stop during this time.
    • Official GRE scores will be delivered faster, within 8–10 days, compared to the current 10-15 days.

    Old GRE Exam Format


    gre pattern

    New GRE Exam Format


    Total Number of Questions

    Allotted Time

    Analytical Writing (One section)

    One “Analyze an Issue” task

    30 minutes

    Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)

    Section 1: 12 questions

    Section 2: 15 questions

    Section 1: 18 minutes

    Section 2: 23 minutes

    Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)

    Section 1: 12 questions

    Section 2: 15 questions

    Section 1: 21 minutes

    Section 2: 26 minutes

    The total duration of the exam is 1 hour 58 minutes.

    Comparison between Old and New GRE Structures


    Old GRE General Test Question Pattern

    Old GRE General Test Total Time

    New GRE General Test Question Pattern

    New GRE General Test Total Time

    Analytical Writing

    2 essay tasks

    60 minutes

    1 essay task

    30 minutes

    Quantitative Reasoning

    40 questions

    70 minutes

    27 questions

    41 minutes

    Verbal Reasoning

    40 questions

    60 minutes

    27 questions

    47 minutes

    Unscored Section





    Scheduled Break*


    10 minutes





    3 Hours 45 Minutes


    1 Hour 58 Minutes

    However, the following key elements of the GRE will not change:

    • The test will still measure the same skills and feature the same question types.
    • Your preparation strategy remains the same.
    • You still have the same time to answer each question as in the current format, as the number of questions has been reduced.
    • The GRE score remains valid and acceptable for graduate schools.
    • The shorter test is still section-adaptive.
    • GRE fees remain the same.

    To schedule the older version of the GRE, book a slot on or before September 20th. To schedule the new format, follow the same registration process and select any slot on or after September 22nd. If you have already booked a slot after September 22nd and want to take the current version, you can reschedule the test from your ETS account.

    Computer vs. Paper GRE Pattern

    A little bird told us to differentiate between the GRE exam pattern for computer-based and paper-based tests. So here we are to help you with that.

    GRE-Computer-Based Exam



    No. of Sections

    No. of Questions

    Verbal Reasoning

    30 minutes



    Analytical Writing

    60 minutes



    Quantitative Reasoning

    35 minutes












    3 Hours 45 Minutes 



    GRE-Paper-Based Exam



    No. of Sections

    No. of Questions

    Verbal Reasoning

    35 minutes



    Analytical Writing

    40 minutes



    Quantitative Reasoning

    30 minutes




    3 Hours 30 Minutes



    Suggested: How are GRE Scores Calculated?

    Here is a brief overview of the key differences between the paper-based and computer-based GRE tests:

    • Section-adaptive: The computer-based test is section-adaptive, which means that the difficulty of the second section is based on your performance in the first section. The paper-based test is not section-adaptive.
    • Types of questions: The paper-based GRE does not have Reading Comprehension questions. The computer-based GRE does have Reading Comprehension questions.
    • Flexibility: Both types of GRE tests offer you the flexibility of choosing which questions and sections to answer first, and you can skip and change your answers as much as you like.
    • On-screen calculator: The computer-based exam provides an on-screen calculator. The paper-based exam provides an ETS calculator.

    Note: The GRE computer-based exam can be taken any time of the year, unlike the paper-based GRE, which can only be taken three times a year, in October, November, and February.

    Format of GRE at Home Exam

    The GRE at Home exam was recently introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It allowed lakhs of students to take the standardized exam from the comfort of their homes. The GRE test format is identical to the one described in the previous sections.

    Now that things are returning to normal, the GRE at Home exam is less popular, and most top universities around the world have stopped accepting it.

    Also Read: GRE at Home Requirements

    You can take the GRE At-Home Test 24/7, 7 days a week. The length, duration, and format of the At-Home Test are the same as the main GRE exam. A live proctor will monitor your test session.

    GRE Subject Test Format 2024

    The second choice of most students willing to study abroad like you is to take the GRE Subject Test instead of its counterpart. If you wish to demonstrate your excellence in a specific subject, there is no better exam than the GRE-Subject Test. Rather than getting a holistic overview in terms of aptitude and the English language, the GRE subject test will help universities know your abilities in the subject you wish to major in.

    The GRE Subject Exam is offered only through the paper-based medium in four disciplines:

    • GRE Chemistry 
    • GRE Mathematics
    • GRE Physics 
    • GRE Psychology

    The 2-hour, 50-minute GRE-subject test will give you a great opportunity to showcase excellence in a specific subject. Let us help you with the details of each through a tabulated form:

    GRE Subject Test 2024


    No. of Questions

    Top Content Picks



    Algebra, Calculus, Number Theory, Probability and Statistics, Discrete Mathematics, and Real Analysis 



    Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Inorganic Chemistry



    Classical and Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, Special Relativity, Atomic Physics



    Biological, Cognitive, Social, Clinical, and Developmental Methodologies and Measurement

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    Sample GRE Pattern

    Now that a great deal of information has already been provided on the GRE Exam Pattern 2024, let us also give you a glimpse of some sample questions to demonstrate the GRE paper pattern more thoroughly.

    Starting with Reading Comprehension:

    Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following passage.

    Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical compositions, an approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer Phillip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music in his compositions. Glassed based two symphonies on the music of rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno, but the symphonies’ sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of place in Glass’s classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the classics.

    Select only one answer choice.

    • The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass’s use of popular elements in his classical compositions?
    1. How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classic
    2. How it has affected the commercial success of Glass’s music
    3. Whether it has contributed to the revival of interest among other composers in using popular elements in their compositions
    4. Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass’s representation as a composer of classical music
    5. Whether it has caused certain of Glass’s works to be derivative in quality

    Answer: (5)

    1. Select the sentence that distinguishes between two ways of integrating rock and classical music.

    Answer: The last sentence of the passage.

    Next, Sentence Completion:

    1. It was her view that the country’s problems had been __________ by foreign technocrats, so asking for such assistance again would be counterproductive. 
    1. Ameliorated 
    2. Ascertained
    3. Diagnosed
    4. Exacerbated
    5. Overlooked
    6. Worsened

    Answer: (4) or (6)

    Quantitative Reasoning MCQs might look something like this:

    • A car got 33 miles per gallon using gasoline that cost $2.95 per gallon. Approximately what was the cost, in dollars, of the gasoline used in driving the car 350 miles?
    1. $10
    2. $20
    3. $30
    4. $40
    5. $50

    Answer: (3) $30

    Also Read: GRE Quantitative Syllabus

    Finally, here is a sample Analytical Writing question:

    A nation should require all its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.

    Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous, and explain how these examples shape your position.

    You can also always consult our Yocket Study Abroad Experts if you get stuck at any stage of your study abroad journey. And hey, why keep the good things to yourself? Share this blog with your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else you think might be interested in studying abroad!

    From the Desk of Yocket

    The GRE General Test is offered in two formats: computer-based and paper-based. Both formats have the same three sections: analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. However, there are some key differences between the two formats, as discussed already. But which format is better for you?

    • If you are comfortable using a computer and taking tests on a screen, then the computer-based GRE is a good option for you. The on-screen calculator can be a helpful tool, and the ability to skip and change questions easily can be beneficial.
    • If you prefer to take tests on paper, then the paper-based GRE is a good option for you. However, keep in mind that the paper-based GRE does not have select-in-passage questions, and you will need to bring your calculator. 

    Ultimately, the best way to decide which format is right for you is to consider your preferences and learning style.

    Frequently Asked Questions about the GRE Paper Pattern 2024

    Q 1: What is the GRE at Home test pattern?

    A: The GRE at-home test pattern is the same as the GRE computer-based test.

    Q 2: What are the three main sections in the GRE exam pattern?

    A: The three main sections in the GRE exam pattern are verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

    Q 3: What are the two optional sections in the GRE paper pattern?

    A: The two optional sections in the GRE paper pattern are the research and unscored sections.

    Q 4: Do we get research questions along with the unscored verbal or quantitative sections in the GRE?

    A: No, you either get an unscored section of verbal or quantitative reasoning or a research optional section at the end of the paper. The experimental section is just to affirm your answering capability. Whereas, the unscored research section is always optional. You might attend to it if you wish to.

    Q 5: GRE computer-based test or GRE paper-based test—which is more popular?

    A: Fancying the computer-based test, 98% of the applicants take the GRE exam online.


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