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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 analytical writing is split up into two sections, one section for each issue and argument task.
According to ETS, the GRE aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning.
The content of the GRE consists of certain specific algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary sections.
Planned changes for the revised GRE included a longer testing time, a departure from computer-adaptive testing, a new grading scale, and an enhanced focus on reasoning skills and critical thinking for both the quantitative and qualitative sections.
The announcement cited concerns over the ability to provide clear and equal access to the new test after the planned changes as an explanation for the cancellation.
This format allows the examined person to freely move back and forth between questions within each section, and the testing software allows the user to "mark" questions within each section for later review if time remains.
The entire testing procedure lasts about 3 hours 45 minutes.
For a number of years before October 2002, the GRE had a separate Analytical Ability section which tested candidates on logical and analytical reasoning abilities.
This section was replaced by the Analytical Writing Assessment.
The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section. The experimental section does not count towards the final score but is not distinguished from the scored sections.
Unlike the computer adaptive test before August 2011, the GRE General Test is a multistage test, where the examinee's performance on earlier sections determines the difficulty of subsequent sections.