How Long is the GRE?

How Long is the GRE? Discover the duration of the GRE exam and explore everything you need to know about how long the GRE test takes. 

Get insights into the different sections, time allocation, and tips for managing your time effectively.

How Long is the GRE?

Introduction to GRE

Are you planning to pursue graduate studies and wondering about the time commitment required for the GRE? Look no further! 

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the question, "How long is the GRE?" and provide you with all the essential information you need to know. 

Whether you are just starting your GRE preparation or you're curious about the time allocation for each section, we've got you covered. Let's dive in!

How Long is the GRE?

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for admission to various graduate programs.

The total duration of the GRE exam is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

This includes the time for the Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning sections.

Analytical Writing (AW) Section

The Analytical Writing section consists of two tasks: an Analyze an Issue task and an Analyze an Argument task. Each task allows 30 minutes for completion. You will be required to express your thoughts coherently and develop persuasive arguments within the given time frame.

Verbal Reasoning (VR) Section

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to understand and analyze written material, evaluate arguments, and identify relationships among various components of sentences and paragraphs. This section comprises two sections with approximately 20 questions in each. You will have 30 minutes for each section, making a total of 60 minutes for the Verbal Reasoning section.

Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Section

The Quantitative Reasoning section evaluates your mathematical skills and your ability to interpret and analyze quantitative information. Similar to the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning section consists of two sections with around 20 questions each. You will be allotted 35 minutes for each section, amounting to 70 minutes for the Quantitative Reasoning section.

Unscored and Research Sections

Apart from the Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning sections, the GRE may include an unscored section or a research section. 

These sections are not timed, and their inclusion is for research purposes only. 

You won't be able to differentiate between the unscored and scored sections, so it is important to perform your best throughout the exam.

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Managing Your Time Effectively

To maximize your score and complete each section within the allocated time, it is crucial to manage your time effectively during the GRE. 

Here are some tips to help you make the most of the time you have:

1. Practice Time Management:

 Prioritize time management during your preparation. 

Take timed practice tests to simulate the actual exam conditions and get accustomed to the pace required for each section.

2. Familiarize Yourself with the Format:

 Understand the structure and format of each section, including the number of questions and time available. 

This will help you plan your approach and allocate time accordingly.

3. Skip and Return: 

If you encounter a challenging question, don't get stuck. 

Mark it and move on to the next one. You can always return to it later if time permits.

4. Eliminate Answer Choices Strategically:

 In the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections, use the process of elimination to narrow down the options and improve your chances of selecting the correct answer efficiently.

5. Keep Track of Time: 

Regularly check the time during each section to ensure you are progressing at an appropriate pace. 

This will help you avoid rushing towards the end or spending too much time on a single question.

6. Practice Time-Saving Techniques: 

Learn and practice time-saving strategies for different question types. 

For example, in the Quantitative Reasoning section, utilize approximation techniques or estimation to save valuable time.

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FAQs about the GRE Duration

1. How long is the GRE with breaks?

The GRE does not have scheduled breaks. However, you are allowed to take one 10-minute break between sections if needed. 

This break is optional, and the time taken during the break will count toward your total test time.

2. Can I take longer breaks during the GRE?

You are allowed to take longer breaks, but the clock will continue to run during this time. 

It is advisable to use breaks judiciously to prevent wasting valuable test time.

3. What happens if I run out of time during a section?

If you run out of time during a section, the computer will automatically move you to the next section. 

It is important to manage your time effectively to avoid leaving questions unanswered.

4. Can I go back to a previous section once it is completed?

No, you cannot go back to a previous section once you have finished it. Each section is timed separately, and once the time for a section elapses, you cannot revisit it.

5. Is the time allocation the same for all test takers?

Yes, the time allocation is the same for all test takers. The duration of the GRE is standardized to ensure fairness and consistency across all administrations.

6. Can I finish the GRE earlier if I complete all the questions?

No, you cannot finish the GRE earlier, even if you complete all the questions before the allotted time. 

You must wait until the section time elapses before moving on to the next section.


Understanding the duration of the GRE is essential for effective exam preparation. By knowing how long each section takes and employing efficient time management strategies, you can tackle the GRE with confidence. 

Remember to practice time management during your preparation, familiarize yourself with the format, and utilize time-saving techniques. 

With proper planning and practice, you can make the most of the time available and maximize your GRE score.