New GRE

The new GRE has arrived. The following is a brief summary of the differences between the old GRE and the new (revised) GRE.

Click here for an even more in-depth downloadable pdf outlining the differences between the old GRE and new GRE.

Content

Old GRE

The verbal reasoning section of the old GRE tests your ability to analyze written material and understand the information presented (reading comprehension), identify relationships among different sentence parts (sentence completion), and comprehend relationships between words and concepts (analogies/antonyms).

The quantitative reasoning section of the old GRE tests your ability to understand the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis, reason in a quantitative way, and solve problems involving quantities.

The writing section consists of two topics: one “issue” topic and one “argument” topic.

New GRE

The content on the new GRE is more or less the same as the content on the current GRE; the main difference is that certain concepts are emphasized more than others.

On the verbal reasoning section, there will be significantly less focus on vocabulary out of context (no more analogies/antonyms) and more of a focus on “higher-level cognitive thinking,” which translates to critical reading.

On the quantitative reasoning section, there is a greater emphasis on data interpretation and real-life problem scenarios.

The writing section of the new GRE still consists of one “issue” topic and one “argument” topic.

Question Types

Old GRE

The verbal reasoning section of the old GRE has four main types of questions: sentence completion, analogies, reading comprehension, and antonyms.

The quantitative reasoning section has two question types: multiple choice and quantitative comparison.

The writing section is made of two topics: the “issue” topic on the writing section gives you two prompts from which to choose; the “argument” topic only has one prompt.

New GRE

The verbal reasoning section of the new GRE will have neither analogies nor antonyms. Instead, there will be more sentence completion questions and a new type of question called sentence equivalence, in which you must identify which two answer choices will give the sentence the same meaning. The reading comprehension questions will have two new question types. In addition to the traditional multiple choice questions, there will be multiple answer questions and sentence highlighting questions. Multiple answer questions are exactly what they sound like — of the three answer choices provided, one, two, or all three choices may be correct. Sentence highlighting questions will ask you to highlight the sentence in the passage where the answer is found.

The quantitative reasoning section of the new GRE will have two more question types in addition to multiple choice and quantitative comparisons. Multiple answer questions are just like they are on the verbal section — more than one answer may be right, and you must identify all correct answers. Numeric entry questions are similar to the numeric entry questions on the SAT — a box in which you must type in your numeric answer will be provided with the question.

The writing section of the new GRE is still composed of two topics, but each topic has only one prompt.

Testing Procedure

Old GRE

The old GRE is a computer-adaptive test (CAT). The CAT test is significantly different from a traditional pencil-and-paper test to which most people are accustomed. On a CAT test, you must answer each question as it comes up; you may not move ahead or go backward. Once you answer a question, you’re done with that question — there’s no going back! The computer will select the next question based on a few criteria, including the correctness of your answer, the difficulty level of the problem, and the problem type. Calculators are not permitted.

New GRE

The new GRE will be a computerized exam, and it will be adaptive, but it will adapt on the section level rather than on the question level. In other words, the computer will select the next section (not question) based on how you did on the previous section. On the new format, you will be able to skip a question or go back to change it later by using a new “mark and review” feature. A very basic (four arithmetic functions and square root) on-screen calculator is provided for you.

Format

Old GRE

Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing 1 “Issue” Topic 45 minutes
1 “Argument” Topic 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 30 questions 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 28 questions 45 minutes
Unscored1 Varies Varies
Research2 Varies Varies

1 An unidentified unscored section may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. It is not counted as part of your score.
2 An identified research section that is not scored may be included, and it is always at the end of the test.

New GRE

Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing 1 “Issue” Topic 30 minutes
1 “Argument” Topic 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning
(Two sections)
Approx. 20 questions each 30 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning
(Two sections)
Approx. 20 questions each 35 minutes
Unscored1 Varies Varies
Research2 Varies Varies

1 An unidentified unscored section may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section. It is not counted as part of your score.
2 An identified research section that is not scored may be included, and it is always at the end of the test.

Scoring

Old GRE

The highest score achievable on the old GRE is 1600. The score range for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections is 200-800. Scores are given in ten point increments. Scores are available immediately after the exam.

New GRE

The highest score achievable on the new GRE will be 340. The score range for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections is 130-170. Scores are given in one point increments. Scores are available immediately after the exam.