The computer-based GRE General Test consists of six sections. The first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal sections, two quantitative sections, and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order. The experimental section does not count towards the final score but is not distinguished from the scored sections. The GRE is section-level adaptive in that the computer selects the second section based on the performance on the first section. Unlike on the computer adaptive test prior to August 2011, the examinee is free to skip back and forth within sections. The entire testing procedure lasts about 3 hours 45 minutes. One minute breaks are offered after each section and a 10 minute break after the third section.
The paper-based GRE General Test consists of six sections and is only available in areas where computer-based testing is unavailable. The analytical writing is split up into two sections, one section for each issue and argument task. The next four sections consist of two verbal and two quantitative sections in varying order. There is no experimental section on the paper-based test.
The computer-based verbal sections assess reading comprehension, critical reasoning and vocabulary usage. The verbal test is scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments (Before August 2011 the scale was 200–800, in 10-point increments). In a typical examination, each verbal section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. Each verbal section consists of about 6 text completion, 4 sentence equivalence, and 10 critical reading questions. The changes in 2011 include a reduced emphasis on rote vocabulary knowledge and the elimination of antonyms and analogies. Text completion items have replaced sentence completions and new reading question types allowing for the selection of multiple answers were added.
The computer-based quantitative sections assess basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. The quantitative test is scored on a scale of 130–170, in 1-point increments (Before August 2011 the scale was 200–800, in 10-point increments). In a typical examination, each quantitative section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. Each quantitative section consists of about 8 quantitative comparisons, 9 problem solving items, and 3 data interpretation questions. The changes in 2011 include the addition of numeric entry items requiring the examinee to fill in a blank and multiple-choice items requiring the examinee to select multiple correct responses.