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Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

What is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

There are two types of GRE tests available: the GRE revised General Test and the GRE Subject Tests. Research the graduate programs to which you will apply and find out which GRE test is required for admission.

The GRE revised General Test is a three-hour and 45-minute, computer-based test for prospective graduate and business school applicants who are interested in pursuing a master's degree. The test is made up of three areas:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Analytical writing

The GRE Subject Tests are paper-based tests designed to measure your knowledge of a particular subject. Subject tests are available for the following disciplines:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

When should I sign up for the test?

The GRE revised General Test is available around the world throughout the year. Be sure to sign up early so you can take the test at a center most convenient for you. You can take the test every 21 days, not to exceed five times in a 12-month period.

GRE Subject Tests are given at designated paper-based testing centers three times per year. Visit the GRE website for specific dates and registration information.

What resources are available to help me prepare?

The GRE website provides test-preparation resources for both the GRE revised General Test and for the GRE Subject Tests. Resources available for the GRE General Test include POWERPREP®, which contains two practice tests that simulate the actual computer-based testing environment.

The Writing and Learning Commons can help students with the writing portion of the GRE so feel free to set up a writing-tutoring appointment and bring in your practice GRE prompts or a sample of your writing.  The Mathematics Tutoring Center can help you with the math portion of the GRE so feel free to come to our drop-in center with your sample problems.

Other test-preparation resources include:

  • ed2go online test prep. Western's Continuing and Professional Education program offers a number of low-cost, online test-preparation courses in cooperation with ed2go. Simply enter "GRE" in the search window to find available courses.
  • LearningExpress Library is a database accessible through Western's Library system. GRE-prep resources include analytical writing and quantitative reasoning practice tests and a vocabulary review.
  • Kaplan GRE online prep course.
  • The Princeton Review online test prep options.
  • Magoosh for help with vocabulary.


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