Know about GRE's new exam pattern? Don't worry, we do! Here's a mock for it

Table of Content

    GRE Exam Pattern 2023: Computer vs Paper Based Format

    So, it turns out Indians are not just top contributors to the global population, but also are among the top GRE test takers! Yes, you read it right, over 70K Indian citizens take the GRE test every year, making India the 2nd highest test-taking country across the globe! 

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

    GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is conducted every year by ETS (Educational Testing Service). The exam is meant for students willing to study in English-speaking countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc. And, if you are also to join the “Indian GRE test takers club” this year or the next; you should know about the GRE paper pattern. 

    On a serious note, getting to know the GRE pattern is the most important step to begin with 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 GRE 2023?


    GRE Exam Pattern 2023 

    There are two types of GRE exams conducted- the GRE General Test, and the GRE Subject Test. Further, 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. 

    A little bird told us that you’re interested in the GRE General test, and here we have everything that you must know about what exactly the GRE exam pattern 2023 looks like. Also, if you are interested in the GRE Subject Test, you might want to give this a read: GRE General vs GRE Subject Test

    So, simply put, the GRE Test format is divided into three main categories, and is offered as 2 sections for each category:

    • GRE Verbal Reasoning: One of the most competitive sections, VRdeals 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. d. River

    • GRE Quantitative Reasoning: 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. b. 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 & Unscored Sections: Both of these sections are experimental sections and are not scored. These sections are mixed in between scored sections, and are put as an experiment designed to understand the test-taker’s ability. 

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

    And, the total GRE test time required to complete all of these 3 sections is 225 minutes or 3 hours and 45 minutes, which is damn too long! But, haven’t you heard- "Practice makes a man perfect!”.  

    Mastering such a long duration can only be possible through rigorously cracking mock tests, and practising 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 actually taken till date? And, how many times have you analysed the taken tests to find that silver lining of improvement? 

    If you have taken a mock test before, then it 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!

    Here, check this link out to access a 30-minutes 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 coming up with a makeover of GRE. This is a major change after a long time, and this it's all about making YOUR test experience better!

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

    Here are 6 major changes that are gonna take place in GRE test structure:

    1. It will be less than 2 hours long, from the current 4 hours long.
    2. It will have 46 fewer Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning questions, helping reduce test-taking fatigue. Since the total number of questions are reduced, each question will have more weightage in the final score.
    3. “Analyze an Argument” essay task will be eliminated, leaving only one Analytical Writing essay i.e. “Analyze an Issue” essay task, versus two in the current version. You will be scored in this section on the basis of just one essay now.
    4. The unscored section aka the experimental section will also be eliminated.
    5. The scheduled break which was after 2 hours will be eliminated. Test takers can opt for an unscheduled break but timer won’t stop during this.
    6. Official GRE scores will be delivered faster within 8-10 days vs the current 10-15 days.

    Old GRE Exam format

    gre pattern

    New GRE Exam format



    Estimated Timing

    Analytical Writing

    1 section, 1 essay Task

    30 minutes

    Quantitative Reasoning

    2 sections, 27 questions total

    47 minutes

    Verbal Reasoning

    2 sections, 27 questions total

    41 minutes


    1 hour, 58 minutes

    Comparison between Old vs New GRE Structure


    Current GRE General Test Questions

    Current GRE General Test Total Time

    Shorter GRE General Test Questions

    Shorter 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

    47 minutes

    Verbal Reasoning

    40 questions

    60 minutes

    27 questions

    41 minutes

    Unscored Section





    Scheduled Break*


    10 minutes





    3 hours, 45 minutes


    1 hour, 58 minutes

    However, some of the basics are not gonna change. Such as -

    1. The test will still measure the same skills and feature the same question types.
    2. Nothing changes for you in terms of preparations.
    3. You still have the same time to answer one question on an average as the current format, as the number of questions have been reduced.
    4. GRE Scores Validity and acceptability of the test remains the same.
    5. Shorter test is still section level adaptive.
    6. GRE fees also remain the same.

    If you want to take the older version then book a slot on or before 20th September, and if you want to give the new format a go, then follow the same registration process just select any slot 22nd September onwards.

    If you have already booked a slot after 22nd September, and want to take the current version then you can simply reschedule the test from your ETS account.

    Computer vs Paper GRE Pattern 

    A little bird also told us to clearly differentiate between the GRE Exam Pattern for computer-based and paper-based tests, and here we are at your service: 

    GRE-Computer Based Exam
    Sections  Duration  No. of Sections  No. of Questions 
    Verbal Reasoning  30 minutes  2 20
    Analytical Writing  60 minutes  1 2
    Quantitative Reasoning  35 minutes  2 20
    Research  Variable  1 Variable 
    Unscored  Variable  1 Variable 
    Total  3 hours 45 minutes  7 82 

    GRE-Paper Based Exam
    Sections  Duration  No. of Sections  No. of Questions 
    Verbal Reasoning  35 minutes  2 25
    Analytical Writing  40 minutes  2 2
    Quantitative Reasoning  30 minutes  2 25
    Total  3 hours 30 minutes  6 102 

    Suggested: How are GRE Scores Calculated?

    Now that you know the basic GRE exam pattern for both paper-based and computer-based GRE tests, let us give you a brief overview of how both of these differ from each other. 

    • Section-Adaptive in Nature: One major difference between each of these is that the Computer-based test is test adaptive in nature, meaning your performance in the first section determines your difficulty level in the second section. 
    • Type of Questions: Another difference is that the GRE paper based exam does not have Reading Comprehension questions. 
    • Flexibility: On the contrary, both types of GRE tests will offer you the flexibility of choosing which questions and sections to answer first. You can also skip and change your answers as much as you like.  
    • On-Screen Calculator: For the computer-based exam, you will have an on-screen calculator unlike an ETS calculator for the paper-based exam. 

    It is also essential to know that the GRE-Computer based exam can be taken anytime of the year unlike the GRE-paper based exam which can be taken thrice a year-in the months of October, November and February. 

    Format of GRE at Home Exam

    The GRE at Home exam came recently into picture because of the global pandemic- COVID-19. Through this particular form of GRE, lakhs of students were able to pursue their standardised exam at the ease of their homes. And even you can too, for the GRE test format is exactly the same as we have mentioned in the sections above. 

    Also, now that things are back to normal this is a not-so-popular format and most top universities across the world have stopped using it. 

    Suggested: GRE at Home Requirements 2023

    You can take the GRE-at-home exam anytime through the night or day, 7 days a week. The length, duration, and at home GRE pattern is the same as the main GRE exam. Also, note that a live Proctor will be watching you while you take your exam. 

    GRE Subject Test Format 2023

    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: 

    The 2 hours and 50 minutes long 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 2023
    Discipline  No. of Questions  Top Content Picks 
    Mathematics  86 Algebra Calculus Number Theory Probability and Statistics Discrete Mathematics Real Analysis 
    Chemistry  130 Physical Chemistry Organic Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry 
    Physics  100 Classical and Quantum Mechanics Electromagnetism Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Special Relativity Atomic Physics 
    GRE Psychology  205 Biological Cognitive Social Clinical Developmental Methodologies/ Measurement

    Prepare for GRE with Yocket Prep

    Choosing the right strategy with proven results can definitely help you achieve your desired GRE scores. And this is how Yocket Prep and Yocket Prep+ can help you turn your weaknesses into your strengths: 

    Ross and Rachel are preparing for their GRE exams. Rachel (playing smart as always) got Ross the Yocket Prep plan, and Yocket Prep+ for herself! Let us see what all did they both get: 

    With literally so many features (focussed and prioritised GRE learning, mock tests, full-length GRE tests, instant section-wise analysis, solutions for weak areas) isn’t it evident how Rachel and Ross will be able to ace their GRE exams with Yocket? 

    Avail Yocket Prep+ (and become like your favourite Ross & Rachel) to enter a world full of personalised GRE preparation strategies, planning, adaptive full length mock tests, section-wise analysis, and put a rest to all your queries without constantly changing tabs on your browser! 

    Sample GRE Pattern 

    Now that a great amount of information has already been provided on the GRE Exam Pattern 2023, let us also give you a glimpse of some sample questions to demonstrate the GRE paper pattern more thoroughly. 

    Starting with Reading Comprehension:

    Question 1 to 3 are based on this 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  by 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. 

    1. 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 of Glass’s representation as a composer of classical music
    5. Whether it has caused certain of Glass’s works to be derivative in quality 

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

    Answer. Question 1- (E), Question 2- the last sentence of the passage

    Next, Sentence Completion:

    It was her view that the country’s problems had been __________ by foreign technocrats, so that to ask for such assistance again would be counterproductive. 

    1. Ameliorated 
    2. Ascertained
    3. Diagnosed
    4. Exacerbated
    5. Overlooked
    6. Worsened

    Answer. Choice D and F

    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 car350 miles?

    1. $10
    2. $20
    3. $30
    4. $40
    5. $50

    Answer. Option C ($30)

    Suggested: GRE Quantitative Syllabus 2023

    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. 

    Suggested: Tips to Ace GRE Text Completion

    You can also always take consultation from our Yocket Study Abroad Experts if you might stumble at any stage of your entire study abroad process. Also, why keep the good things just for yourself, huh? Share this blog with your friends, family, co-workers, and whoever you think is striving their best to study abroad!

    Frequently Asked Questions about GRE Paper Pattern 2023

    1. What is the GRE at Home test pattern?

    Ans. The GRE at home test pattern is exactly the same as the GRE-computer based test. 

    2. What are the 3 main sections in the GRE Exam pattern? 

    Ans. The 3 main sections in the GRE exam pattern are- verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. 

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

    Ans. The 2 optional sections in the GRE paper pattern are- research and unscored sections. 

    4. Do we get research questions along with the unscored Verbal or Quantitative sections in GRE? 

    Ans. No, you either get an unscored section of Verbal or Quant 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.

    5. GRE computer based test or GRE paper based test- which is more popular? 

    Ans. Fancying the computer-based test, 98% of the applicants cater to the GRE exam online.


    A test-taking platform that helps for GRE® preparation online.


    © 2023 Yocket Prep. All rights reserved.

    GRE® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS). This website is not endorsed or approved by ETS.