What's On The Test?

Analytical Writing

1 section with two tasks
1 “Analyze an Issue” task & 1 “Analyze an Argument” task
30 minutes per task

You have 2 separately timed essays to write, one where you express your views on a critical issue and one where you evaluate a logical argument.

For each essay task, you are given a topic and specific directions for responding to that topic.

Your responses will be evaluated on whether you can integrate critical thinking and analytical writing by fully addressing the tasks you are presented.

For more on Analytical Writing, including additional sample questions and tips, visit ets.org/gre.

SAMPLE ISSUE TASK

Following is a sample Issue task that you might see on the test:

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

See a sample response to this question here, including strategies and scoring.

SAMPLE ISSUE TASK

Following is a sample Issue task that you might see on the test:

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

See a sample response to this question here, including strategies and scoring.

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Verbal Reasoning

2 sections
20 questions per section
30 minutes per section

Question types:

Text Completion Questions
These questions include a passage composed of one to five sentences with one to three blanks. There are three answer choices per blank, or five answer choices if there is a single blank.

Reading Comprehension Questions

  • Multiple-choice Questions – Select One Answer
    Traditional multiple-choice questions with five answer choices, from which you must select one.
  • Multiple-choice Questions – Select One or More Answers
    These questions provide three answer choices and ask you to select all that are correct; one, two or all three of the answer choices may be correct. To gain credit for these questions, you must select all of the correct answers, and only those. There is no credit for partially correct answers.
  • Select-in-Passage
    These questions ask you to click on the sentence in the passage that meets a certain description. To answer the question, you choose one of the sentences and click on it (clicking anywhere on a sentence will highlight it).

Sentence Equivalence Questions
These questions consist of a single sentence, one blank, and six answer choices. These questions require you to select two of the answer choices. You receive no credit for partially correct answers.

For more on Verbal Reasoning, including additional sample questions and tips, visit ets.org/gre.

Text Completion Sample Question

For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.

Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
(A) overshadowed (D) enhance (G) plausibility of our hypotheses
(B) invalidated (E) obscure (H) certainty of our entitlement
(C) illuminated (F) underscore (I) superficiality of our theories

Explanation

The overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the author of the book is being complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is "obscure," since enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing. Choosing "obscure" clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with "obscure" is "overshadowed." Notice that trying to fill blank (i) without filling blank (ii) first is hard — each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches "enormous gaps" and "sparseness of our observations," the best choice is "superficiality of our theories."

Thus the correct answer is Choice A (overshadowed), Choice E (obscure) and Choice I (superficiality of our theories).

Text Completion Sample Question

For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

It is refreshing to read a book about our planet by an author who does not allow facts to be (i)__________ by politics: well aware of the political disputes about the effects of human activities on climate and biodiversity, this author does not permit them to (ii)__________ his comprehensive description of what we know about our biosphere. He emphasizes the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations, and the (iii)__________, calling attention to the many aspects of planetary evolution that must be better understood before we can accurately diagnose the condition of our planet.

Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
(A) overshadowed (D) enhance (G) plausibility of our hypotheses
(B) invalidated (E) obscure (H) certainty of our entitlement
(C) illuminated (F) underscore (I) superficiality of our theories

Explanation

The overall tone of the passage is clearly complimentary. To understand what the author of the book is being complimented on, it is useful to focus on the second blank. Here, we must determine what word would indicate something that the author is praised for not permitting. The only answer choice that fits the case is "obscure," since enhancing and underscoring are generally good things to do, not things one should refrain from doing. Choosing "obscure" clarifies the choice for the first blank; the only choice that fits well with "obscure" is "overshadowed." Notice that trying to fill blank (i) without filling blank (ii) first is hard — each choice has at least some initial plausibility. Since the third blank requires a phrase that matches "enormous gaps" and "sparseness of our observations," the best choice is "superficiality of our theories."

Thus the correct answer is Choice A (overshadowed), Choice E (obscure) and Choice I (superficiality of our theories).

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections
20 questions per section
35 minutes per section

Focuses on basic math skills and concepts (arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis). You may use an on-screen calculator in this section!

Question types:

Multiple-choice Questions – Select One Answer
Select only one answer from a list of five choices.

Multiple-choice Questions – Select One or More Answers
Select one or more answers from a list of choices. A question may or may not specify the number of choices to select.

Numeric Entry Questions
Enter your answer in a box instead of selecting an answer from a list.

Quantitative Comparison Questions
Compare two quantities and then choose the statement from a list that most accurately describes the comparison.

For more on Quantitative Reasoning, including additional sample questions and helpful strategies, visit ets.org/gre.

Quantitative Comparison Sample Question

Directions: Compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional information centered above the two quantities if such information is given, and select one of the following four answer choices:
(A) Quantity A is greater.
(B) Quantity B is greater.
(C) The two quantities are equal.
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Quantity A
The least prime number greater than
24
Quantity B
The greatest prime number less than
28

(A) Quantity A is greater.
(B) Quantity B is greater.
(C) The two quantities are equal.
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Explanation

For the integers greater than 24, note that 25, 26, 27, and 28 are not prime numbers, but 29 is a prime number, as are 31 and many other greater integers. Thus, 29 is the least prime number greater than 24, and Quantity A is 29. For the integers less than 28, note that 27, 26, 25, and 24 are not prime numbers, but 23 is a prime number, as are 19 and several other lesser integers. Thus, 23 is the greatest prime number less than 28, and Quantity B is 23. Thus, the correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater.

Quantitative Comparison Sample Question

Directions: Compare Quantity A and Quantity B, using additional information centered above the two quantities if such information is given, and select one of the following four answer choices:
(A) Quantity A is greater.
(B) Quantity B is greater.
(C) The two quantities are equal.
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Quantity A
The least prime number greater than
24
Quantity B
The greatest prime number less than
28

(A) Quantity A is greater.
(B) Quantity B is greater.
(C) The two quantities are equal.
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Explanation

For the integers greater than 24, note that 25, 26, 27, and 28 are not prime numbers, but 29 is a prime number, as are 31 and many other greater integers. Thus, 29 is the least prime number greater than 24, and Quantity A is 29. For the integers less than 28, note that 27, 26, 25, and 24 are not prime numbers, but 23 is a prime number, as are 19 and several other lesser integers. Thus, 23 is the greatest prime number less than 28, and Quantity B is 23. Thus, the correct answer is Choice A, Quantity A is greater.

Unscored Sections

Questions in this section are being tried out either for possible use in future tests or to ensure that scores on new test editions are comparable to scores on earlier editions. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order; therefore, you should treat each section as if it counts toward your score. 

An identified research section may be included in place of the unscored section. The questions for the research section are for ETS research purposes and don’t count as part of your score. This section will always appear at the end of the test.

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