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What's on the GRE?


Welcome to this video in which we are going to talk about the GRE test format, as in what to expect in terms of the sections that you will encounter on test day and the length of those sections. Here is an overview. First off, there is something called the AWA section. That stands for analytical writing assessment.

You really don't have to memorize that. What you do need to know is that when you see a reference to AWA, think, yeah, this is the essay. You will also have quantitative reasoning broken out into two sections, and verbal reasoning, which is also broken out into two sections, and that's it. But you're probably wondering how much time you have to spend working through all of this.

Here's what you'll see on test day. The essay is always first, and you'll spend 30 minutes composing an issue essay that's going to ask you to weigh in on one of the topics that humans have been debating since pretty much the beginning of time. For quantitative reasoning, the first section is 12 questions and 21 minutes. The second section is 15 questions and 26 minutes.

Keep this difference in mind when you are developing your section pacing plans, which we will, of course, discuss in later lessons. For verbal reasoning, the first section is 12 questions and 18 minutes, the second section is 15 questions and 23 minutes. When all is said and done, the total amount of time allotted to take the GRE clocks in at 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Let's go over a few other facts. As mentioned before, you will spend the first 30 minutes of your exam writing the issue essay. After that, the order is random. You could either get the first math or first verbal section. Let's say, for example, that your first section after the AWA is math section one.

That could be followed by Verbal Section 2 or Math Section 2. Similarly, if your first section is Verbal 1, that could immediately be followed by Verbal Section 1, or Math Section 1. The moral of the story is that ETS, the people who write the GRE like to keep the section order pretty random, so be prepared to pivot or not. To cut back on overall test taking time as part of the changes to the GRE in September of 2023, ETS has removed the dreaded unscored experimental section.

That's a really good thing. Test takers of the past were basically acting like unpaid guinea pigs, but no more. Finally, when the test was longer, test takers were given the option to take a ten-minute break. With the shorter test, that option has been removed.

That's something to be sure to remember when you are taking practice tests. Don't allow yourself a break in practice that you will not be given during the actual exam. All right, that wraps up the format of the GRE. Thanks for watching this one, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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