What Types of Questions Are on the GRE

By Ron Woldoff, Joseph Kraynak

When you know the GRE’s structure and scoring system, you can build your strategies around them. With this guidance, you’re better equipped to avoid surprises that may throw you off your game.

In each section of the GRE, the questions are worth the same number of points, and within that section, they don’t become more or less difficult based on your performance. However, on the computer version of the exam, your performance on the Math or Verbal section determines the overall difficulty level of the next Math or Verbal section. For example, if you do extremely well on the first Math section, the GRE makes the second Math section harder. Even if you don’t get many questions right in the second Math section, your score may be higher than the score of someone who answers more easier questions correctly, because GRE scoring accommodates for the difficulty level of the questions.

So exactly what types of questions and how many of each type can you expect to run into on the GRE? Check out the table for the answers.

GRE Breakdown by Question Type
Type of Question Approximate Number of Questions
Per Math Section (20 questions each)
Multiple-choice with exactly one correct answer 6
Multiple-choice with one or more correct answers 2
Fill-in-the-blank with the correct answer 2
Data Interpretation (based on graphs) 3
Quantitative Comparisons 7
Per Verbal Section (20 questions each)
Text Completion 6
Sentence Equivalence 4
Argument Analysis 2
Reading Comprehension 8

These question types are mixed throughout their respective sections, so you may encounter them in any order. Sometimes the software groups similar questions at the beginning or the end. For example, if you’re halfway through a Verbal section and haven’t seen a Text Completion question, you soon will.