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New GRE Format 2012

The New GRE is still an infant. At only seven months, the new GRE is still an unknown to many. People wonder whether both sections have changed, whether antonyms are still lingering about, and whether there really are questions in which there is more than one correct answer.

Below I will answer these questions (and more) regarding the format of the new GRE. Specifically, I’ve taken the ten most frequently asked questions for this long test and put them in one place.


1. How many sections are there, and how many question are there on each section?

There are two verbal sections, with roughly 20 questions each. There are two math sections, with roughly 20 questions each.


2. How long do you get for each section?

You will have 35 minutes to complete each math section. You will get 30 minutes to complete each verbal section.


3. Can you skip questions, and if so how do you come back to them?

You can skip questions on the new GRE, in both the math and verbal sections. The new GRE has a scroll function, which allows you to flag a question so you can easily come back to it at a later point in time. Indeed, there is a separate screen in which you can click on any of the 20 questions on the section. That way you don’t have to go back and forth sequentially between questions, which would take a long time.


4. Do the questions become difficult if you answer each one correctly?

No. Questions within a section differed on the old GRE. On the new GRE, the questions you get on a section are fixed, regardless of whether you answer them correctly or incorrectly. Using the scroll function above you can answer any question in any order.

The GRE is adaptive, but only between sections. This makes the new GRE a section-adaptive test.


5. How does the new GRE adapt between sections?

Depending on the number of questions you correctly answer on your first math or verbal section, will determine the second verbal or math section you get. You can get an easy section (if you didn’t do well on the first section), a medium section (this is consistent with the Powerprep II software), or a difficult section (if you did very well on the first math/verbal section).


6. What is the experimental section? Will it be graded?

You may get an experimental section when you take the New GRE. This section may come first, it may come last. There is no way of determining which section was the experimental section. However, if you had three verbal sections on the actual test, then one of them was an experimental section.

This section will not be graded. Nonetheless, do not try to guess which section this is. If you are wrong, the consequences will be catastrophic on your score.


7. What are the new question types on the verbal?

The verbal section will have about four to five Sentence Equivalence questions. There will be about six Text Completions. A Text Completion can have one, two, or three possible blanks. To get any credit for the question, each of the blanks must be correct.

The rest of the questions will be Reading Comprehension questions. A new question type in the Reading Comprehension sections requires you to evaluate a logical argument, which is usually presented as a short paragraph.


8. What are the new question types on the math?

The math section will include Numeric Entry – you must enter your answer into a box. There are NO answer choices. There will also be question type in which you will have to select any one of three answer choices (meaning all three could be correct).


9. Which questions have multiple answer choices/multiple correct answers?

The only questions on the verbal that will have multiple correct answers are Sentence Equivalence questions. (Text Completions will only have one correct answer for each blank). Sentence Equivalence questions will always have EXACTLY two correct answers.

In Reading Comprehension you will usually have one or two questions per section that will have three answer choices. Any of these three answer choices (meaning one, two, or all) can be correct.

In addition to the question type mentioned in #8, the quantitative section will contain a question or two in which you have to select all of the answers that apply. Sometimes this question can have as many as 10 possible answer choices, making a lucky guess highly unlikely.


10. What about the essays?

The essays are almost identical, save for one major difference: the Issue Task now has a time limit of 30 minutes versus that of 45 minutes for the old test. The Argument task still has a limit of 30 minutes.

And if you’re still wondering about specifics of the test, check out our free GRE Guide!

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40 Responses to New GRE Format 2012

  1. Rachel July 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    I am studying to take the GRE towards mid-August, and I have a set of the 3rd edition Manhattan GRE Prep books. However the 4th edition of the Manhattan GRE Prep are available, is there enough of a difference between the 3rd and 4th edition to warrant getting a new set?


    • Clemmonsdogpark Test Prep Expert
      Clemmonsdogpark Test Prep Expert July 7, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      Hi Rachel,

      If you already have a set for the 3rd edition, I would not worry about getting the newest version. There is still plenty of good material to use in the set you already have. No need to update! 🙂

  2. Taylor December 28, 2015 at 7:25 am #

    Somebody told me that in order to get a perfect score on the new GRE Quant, you have to answer all of the questions in less than 30 minutes or something (you’re not allowed to use your full time). Is this true?

    • Clemmonsdogpark Test Prep Expert
      Clemmonsdogpark Test Prep Expert February 1, 2016 at 6:42 am #

      Hi Taylor!

      I know this is late to reply to you, but hopefully this response helps others. The length of time spent on the GRE does not factor into your score. Some students get perfect scores but spend the entire 30 or 35 minute section in an effort to check questions they are unsure about, or they carefully spend a fixed amount of time on each question. Just worry about doing the right work and selecting the correct answers–the time is not your enemy! 🙂

  3. Xiong Shuyi August 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Hi, Chris

    I’m just starting my GRE prep. You said that the new GRE is section-adaptive, and there’s a scroll function and a separate screen that allow me to get back to previous questions. So I am wondering if I can get back to some question that is in the previous section. For exemple, I’ve done the verbal section1, and started doing the verbal section2, can I get back to verbal section1 to change a certain answer?

  4. ve August 22, 2014 at 5:24 am #

    Hello Chris!

    I’ve heard some talk about GRE format being changed for 2015.How far is this true? some clarification on this matter would be great.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 22, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Hi Ve,

      Wow! This is the first I’m hearing of any changes to the GRE. I can’t seem to find anything online either. Where did you hear this from?

  5. Chris June 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I’m wondering if the unofficial scores on the screen will be the same as the ones in the official report. Is there any chance that these numbers will differ, and if so, by how much?
    Thanks for your help

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 26, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Chris,

      From what I’ve heard the scores should not differ at all. If they do–because of a process called equating–they will do so by very little. So if you got 165 on Verbal, it wouldn’t suddenly fall to a 161, or probably even a 163.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Ajaj March 29, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Hi ..

    Gulf University asking for GRE Quant score only . so is there any way i can skip writing and verbal section when m taking exam .
    Is there any possibility if m nt attempting any of verbal section or skip to save time .
    IN Beginning can i skip Writing section ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele March 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Hi Ajaj,

      You can definitely skip the Writing and Verbal section. If all your school requires is the Quant…you may want to follow up with the school and make sure they are okay with that plan.

      Good luck!

  7. Naresh August 30, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Hi Chris,

    As new Gre is section adaptive, and the the second section will be depends on the performance of the first section I have a question which is causing some dread to me.

    I’m good at Quant but not as good in Verbal so if I get math section as my first section I’ll do good and my expected score will be in good bracket. but what if I get verbal section and do not do well and then easy maths section and score cent percentile (in 2nd section)..?

    Please help me.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      Hi Naresh,

      While I think your concern is a totally valid one, ultimately it is totally a psychological one. So if you go in overly worried about this happening, then it is more likely to happen. Instead you should go in confident in your quant skills, knowing that regardless of how you perform on the verbal section–whether or not that section precedes a quant section–you will do well in Quant no matter what.

      Hope that helps dispel the anxiety :).

  8. Andrew August 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Hi Chris, I just took GRE. The unofficial score was 155V, 170M. I’m an international applicant, plan to study electrical engineering. Will the final score be exactly the same as the unofficial one? And will my verbal (was aiming for 160V) hurt my chance of admission at Stanford, Berkeley? I’m thinking of retaking it, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it. I figure might be a better strategy to focus on other parts of application, rather than studying GRE for another month. Advice? Thanks….


  9. esra July 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm #


    Has there been a blog post on how the maths questions are levelled out in the GRE? I mean which topics appear the most- and should I expect one question at least for sure (in each section) for every topic? I have two weeks left, so am asking this a bit late but am still curious.

    thank you

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Esra,

      That is a great question! I don’t think I’ve actually ever posted something on that, but I definitely intend to now :). Real quick. You will get a few geometry, a few exponents, a few long word problems with percents. A couple of questions using FOIL method. A couple of coordinate geometry questions. Maybe one probability question. Beyond that, the GRE can throw in an interest, combinations, series, or set problem.

      Hope that helps!

  10. Aj July 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    hi Chris..really appreciate your work here. I`ll be applying for Ms Economics for fall 2013..for a long time i was under the impression that GMAT will be the required test for this program as they say GMAT is THE TEST for B-schools..however after some research i found out that most universities list GRE as the standardized test requirement. Now if they say GRE is they mean that they just DONT accept GMAT? Im not aiming for an MBA. Can you please guide me which test to take?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 24, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      Hi AJ,

      Yes, GMAT is only for B-school/MBA. For MS Econ. you must take the GRE.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  11. Jay July 17, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    My profile is as below:
    Class 10: 84.625%
    Class 12: 83.4%
    B.Tech in Computer Science
    DGPA: 8.59
    I’m currently employed with an IT company, wish to sit for my GRE this december.
    I hope to get around 150 – 160 in both Verbal and Quants.
    What are my chances and which colleges can I get into with my profile?

  12. Avinash July 14, 2012 at 5:42 am #


    I have been searching for a good site to practice quant questions for revised GRE. But to my dismay I haven’t stumbled upon one till now. Could you please help me in this regard.

    I would like to have tons of questions on all the topics in GRE Quant to practice for. A website for that or a would suffice.

    Thanks a lot for your help in advance.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      For practice questions you can try out our site for free as part of our trial membership. Otherwise, I don’t think there is really much out there beyond the free by ETS:

      Hope that helps!

  13. angela July 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Hello! When I took the SAT I remember you didn’t have to answer all of the questions, so basically if you didn’t know it you didn’t have to answer it…is this the same for the GRE?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      HI Angela,

      The SAT is slightly different – you are penalized for guessing. On the GRE this isn’t the case. So guess away :).

  14. Kirk July 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm #


    I have recently purchased Clemmonsdogpark’s premium program, the Barron’s New GRE Book 19th edition, along with the Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE (I also have the old 3500 wordlist from Barron’s). I have read mixed reviews about how important the Barron’s Wordlist is for the new GRE. Some say to only go through the top 800 words in the essentials book and to not waste time with the 3500 List, others say “it is still a good idea”. I am curious what your opinion is on this ? Do you think it is even important at all?
    Thanks for your time,


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Hi Kirk,

      The Revised GRE is a very different exam, vocab wise. Instead of devouring thousands of words, you are much better off understanding how words work in context. Unfortunately, Barron’s 3500 word lists give vague definitions and short, choppy sentences.

      The Barron’s 800 words is a good place to start, but you definitely want to build off of that. To elaborate on how, we at Clemmonsdogpark have come up with the vocab ebook, which is also filled with other helpful tidbits.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  15. rana July 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    pattern of new gre and IELTS which is score,cut off marks?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Hi Rana,

      I am not sure I understand your question. If you are asking what the lowest possible score is for the New GRE, it depends on the institution. As for IELTS, we don’t deal with that test. Sorry :).

  16. Atif April 30, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    sir soon i have to prepare for gre ..what should should be my first goal to start the preparation????

  17. Mayur April 23, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I think i got you wrong here.It’s for paper based test and you have mentioned for online test.Right ?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      Yes, I know – it’s very confusing :).

      But yes, that number is for the paper-based test not the online-test :).

  18. Sunny March 15, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I have been reading articles and watching videos on magoosh, and I find your blog excellent for GRE prep. Recently, I have taken the GRE test on 12th march and got a score of 155 V and 169 M. I am happy with my math score but really disappointed with my verbal score which equates to meagre 69 %ile. I can not improve my verbal score being an international student. People around me are urging to retake GRE to better my verbal score. Please suggest me what should I do. BTW I am planning to apply for PhD in Bioengineering.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      Hi Sunny,

      Congrats on your scores. A 155V for an international student is amazing. I wish I knew for sure, but perhaps admission committees (at least some) take into account international student’s verbal scores.

      Your Quant is very high, and as long as you have a strong application–and you spend time burnishing your application–your verbal score shouldn’t hurt too much.

      If you really feel you can do better (though you implied you reached your potential), then definitely give it another try, learning even more words and reading even more passages. But I think your time may be better spent on your application.

      I hope that was somewhat helpful, and please let me know if you have any other questions :).

      • Sunny March 17, 2012 at 7:42 am #

        Thanks for your quick reply. I think I can not surpass my previous verbal score as I could not even read the whole passages in such a short time. The answer choices in passages were very confusing as they had only subtle nuances which i could not discern. In verbal, I found text completion and sentence equivalence to be a cake as I had cram a lot of words and learnt word etymologies. I think i have to be content with my score as giving 4 hours of test is stressful to me. One more thing, if I get high TOEFL score, can it redeem my average GRE verbal score? Thanks again for your comforting advice.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris March 19, 2012 at 11:54 am #

          Hi Sunny,

          It sounds like taking the GRE again really wouldn’t be worth it. If for any reason you change your mind, practice Reading Comp passages from LSAT – they are very complex and nuanced, and so will prepare you for the actual exam.

          As for a high TOEFL score, I believe that schools take this into account. Again, I do not know for sure as I’ve heard inconsistent reports on this issue. Perhaps some programs weigh TOEFL scores and other’s don’t. Calling/emailing the program may be one way of finding out. If that doesn’t work you can always post on, or see if someone has already figured out the answer to this question.

          Best of luck 🙂

  19. Julia Campos March 15, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    I am subscribed to you rmagoosh. But also bought th OG for the 90 days plan A for beginners. I am trying to follow the video explanations of the OG that you have but they do not match the questions in the book.
    The arithmetic review is on page 219 to 221 and did not find those answers. The tests start with triangles in a circle page 330, but they do not match.
    How can I have the pages of your explanations in the book?
    Thank you so much.

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette March 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi, Julia

      These are the explanations you’re talking about, right?:

      1. We don’t have explanations for the “concept-related” questions at the end of the intro sections. The book includes answers for these– for the ones on pg. 219, the answers are on 220-221.

      2. The practice tests actually start on page 309 (Section 3: Verbal Reasoning), and the video explanations for them start halfway down the video explanations page– look for the “Part 8: Practice Test, Section 3: Verbal Reasoning” section.

      Does that help? Let me know if you have any trouble matching up the questions in the book to our explanations. Thanks!


  20. Riyadh March 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for your explanation.

    One thing regarding the point system. it says a range from 130-170. Does it mean in extreme bad case if my answers are all incorrect (but at least completed both section) will i get minimum of 130 score?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Hi Riyadh,

      Yes, it looks like you can’t get below a 130. Though I can’t imagine anyone answering every question incorrectly. That’s almost as hard as answering every question correctly. 🙂

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