GRE Exam Duration: Check section-wise GRE Exam duration

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 03, 2023 2:36 PM IST

One of the more important aspects of your preparation for the exam should be knowing the GRE exam duration. Each of the sections and tasks of the GRE exam is further allocated different time periods for test takers to answer the different answers. As per exam policies, the GRE exam takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete all the sections and tasks.

Test-takers will be given one hour to attempt the Analytical Writing Assessment of the GRE exam, 1 hour for the GRE Verbal Reasoning and 70 minutes for GRE Quantitative Reasoning. Commonly, the GRE exam may also include an unscored section along with an appropriate time given for candidates to take a break between sections.

GRE Exam Duration and Structure

The GRE duration is 3 hours and 45 minutes for computer-based GRE (at Home and at a Test Centre). This timing is allotted to include all the GRE sections and breaks in between the sections. The sequence of the GRE exam is such that the analytical writing section needs to be attempted at first, after which the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections come in no specific sequence. In addition, an identified research section comes at the end of the GRE exam

While discussing GRE duration, you must know that GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is taken by those who wish to pursue a master's, a specialised master's in business, an MBA, a law degree, or a doctorate from any country in the world. Your undergraduate records, recommendation letters, and other requirements for graduate-level study are supplemented by your GRE scores in the admissions or fellowship selection process. 

GRE scores give schools a standard yardstick for evaluating all applicants. Thousands of graduate, business, and law schools recognise the GRE General Test as a prerequisite for granting admission to masters.

Highlights of GRE Duration

Let us now walk you through the different sections of the GRE and an estimate of the time required to attempt the GRE exam:

Types of GRE Tasks

GRE Duration Allotted

Biographical Information

Around 10 minutes

Issue Essay and Argumentative Essay

30 minutes each

2 Verbal Reasoning sections

30 minutes each

2 Quantitative Reasoning sections

30 minutes each

Unscored Experimental Section 

30-35 minutes

1 Break 

10 minutes

Possible Research Section


Selection of Schools/ Programs

5 minutes

Accept Scores

1 minute

Receive Scores

1 minute

Get Expert Guidance to Manage GRE Time! 

Computer Based GRE Duration vs Paper Based GRE Duration

Though it is difficult to accurately ascertain the GRE duration for each section, be it in the computer-based or paper-based mode, we have listed down the time taken for various sections. You must note that the GRE paper-based exam is not available for Indian aspirants. Look at the comparison between computer-based GRE duration and paper-based GRE duration below:

GRE Sections

GRE Computer-based Duration

GRE Paper-based Duration

Analytical Writing

1 hour

1 hour



10 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

30+30 minutes

35+35 minutes


10 minutes


Quantitative Reasoning


40+40 minutes


30-35 minutes


How Many Hours is GRE Exam?

As mentioned above the GRE takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. It has six sections, and the third section is followed by a 10-minute break. Apart from that, around 45 minutes are required for an administrative procedure which includes confirming the identity of candidates, getting them seated and setting up the assigned computer.

Following are the sections in GRE and the recommended time to complete them:

Biographical Information

The test's initial portion asks for all of your biographical data. If you submit this, programmes that purchased your name from ETS will start sending you mail. You can check a box that instructs ETS not to share your information if you do not want them to sell your name or do not want to spend the time answering their inquiries. It is recommended to devote roughly 10 minutes to this part.

The Essays

The GRE's scored portion begins with two consecutive essays. The first is the Issue Essay where you will be required to make a compelling case for your position on a topic. The next is an Argument Essay where you will be asked to analyse the logic of another author's argument. Each essay has a 30-minute time limit.

Multiple-Choice Sections

There will be a total of five multiple-choice sections (MCQs), out of which only four will be taken into consideration. The fifth section is an "experimental" one. It is important to remember that the math, verbal, and experimental sections can appear in any order. At the end of the exam, you will know whether the experimental section was math or verbally based on the number of math or verbal sections. That said, you will not know which section will not count toward your score.

It is advised to spend about 30-35 minutes on each multiple-choice section.

GRE Breaks

You are given 1 minute between sections except for the second multiple-choice section when you get a 10-minute break.

Research Section

You may also have an unscored research section at the end of the test that will only be used to help develop and test GRE questions. You have the option of skipping it if you so desire.

Timing Tips for GRE

Any timed test will create some measure of anxiety. To be confident on test day, use these GRE timing strategies:

Accuracy is Preferable to Speed

Slow down and concentrate on accumulating as many points as possible. Trying to work quickly leads to thoughtless blunders and poorer grades. Apart from that, do not allow the paucity of time to push you to make blunders. 

Take Everything in

Answer the questions that you know you can answer correctly. This implies that you must allow yourself to see every question. After all, question 30 may be the simplest on the test for you.

Make a Note of it and Go on

If a question does not come to you right away, it does not always mean that you cannot answer it. In the Reading Comprehension questions, for example, you may struggle with a question that deals with the passage's core theme. You may have even eliminated some response options. Don't quit up just yet! If you've spent time and effort on a particular question, mark it and move on.

If You are Stuck, Try Another Question

If you are stuck on a GRE math question, take a break. Do a few other issues to divert your attention away from the problem question, and then return to it.

Use Breaks Wisely

You should grab a quick snack during this time to refuel yourself. You can also stretch your body to let the blood flow. 

Wish to Get a Perfect Score in GRE?

FAQs on GRE Exam Duration

What is GRE at Home duration?

GRE at Home duration is 3 hours and 45 minutes long. It is the same as the GRE at a Test Centre. Students are provided with a ten-minute break in between the six sections of the GRE exam. Also, an unscored portion appears at the end of the exam and it also takes around 30 to 35 minutes to complete.

What is the GRE duration per section?

The GRE duration per section is 30 to 40 minutes. Each of the three parts of the GRE exam has two sections which come in a random sequence. Along with this, a ten-minute break is provided to the candidates following the third section. One-minute breaks are also provided between the remaining sections during which candidates must remain in their seats.

What is the GRE duration for GRE Analytical section?

The GRE duration for GRE Analytical section is one hour. It consists of two tasks, one is to analyse an argument according to the given instructions and the other is to analyse an issue by developing an argument with reasons and examples. Each of the essays allotted 30 minutes to complete. 

What is the GRE duration for GRE Quantitative section?

The GRE duration for GRE quantitative section is 35 minutes for each of the two sections. The total time allotted for the GRE quant section is 1 hour and 20 minutes where basic mathematical skills, elementary mathematical concepts and the ability to reason and solve mathematical problems are tested.

What is the GRE duration for GRE verbal reasoning section?

The GRE duration for GRE verbal reasoning is 30 minutes per section. A total of 1 hour is allotted to complete the GRE verbal section in which questions based on reading comprehension, sentence completion and sentence equivalence that analyse, evaluate and synthesize information are asked. The second part requires students to read, interpret and finish the given sentences.

What is the GRE duration for GRE unscored experimental section?

The GRE duration for GRE unscored experimental section is 30 to 35 minutes. It might be an extra verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning section. It is generally unscored and can appear any time randomly once the test takers complete the GRE analytical writing assessment section.

What is the GRE duration for completing formalities in the GRE test centres?

The GRE duration for completing formalities in the GRE test centres related to administrative and logistic issues is 40-45 minutes. This extra time is required apart from the 3 hours and 45 minutes of GRE exam time. The identity proofs of the candidates are checked and seating arrangements are made during this time. 

What is the GRE duration for cancelling/accepting your GRE scores?

The GRE duration for cancelling or accepting your GRE scores is one minute. Test takers are provided with an opportunity to cancel their GRE scores before they see them. It is not wise to cancel the GRE scores as you will never be able to see your scores again. So, students mostly accept their GRE scores.

What is the GRE duration for collecting personal information?

The GRE duration for collecting the personal information of candidates is around ten minutes. Here all your personal data will be collected by ETS to sell them and you will start receiving emails from programs that will buy your data. You can even simply choose to not waste time answering the questions and can click the box telling ETS not to share your information.

What are some strategies to manage GRE duration?

Some of the effective strategies to manage GRE duration are to focus on increasing the accuracy of answers. Also, you should not waste your time pondering over a question that does not come to you. In this way, you can end up saving time to attempt other questions that can help you to score well.

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