Is the GRE test hard? Test yourself with these GRE practice questions

Tyler York
GRE practice questions

GRE Practice Questions

Looking for GRE practice questions? You’ve come to the right place. In this article we explain the types of questions you’ll see on the GRE, and then follow it up with some GRE sample questions so you can see how well you’d score. We’ve embedded these questions throughout this post and included their answers at the end. If you’re looking for a proven GRE course with more practice exam questions than you could ever take, head on over to Achievable GRE to see why students trust us to help them reach their target scores.

The key in getting your target score on the GRE test is preparing well for it. Focus on going through practice exams with questions that are aligned with what you can expect on the actual test. By doing rounds of practice questions, you can also prepare for time management, given that the time constraints per section is the usual challenge that most test takers find hard to overcome. 

So how hard is the GRE exam? Is preparing for the exam equally hard? Let’s dive into the different test sections through this practice exam guide. Look out for the Sample Questions in purple font.

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The GRE Test Scope

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section assesses a test taker’s ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.

This section of the GRE test is categorized into three different types of questions:

Reading Comprehension

Quick Overview

The questions on Reading Comprehension are lifted from topics ranging from the physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, business, arts and humanities and everyday topics and are based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and nonacademic.

Question Types

So when reviewing for this section of your GRE Verbal practice test, it is important to note that the Reading Comprehension questions come in:

  • Multiple-choice — Select One Answer Choice wherein there is only one required answer to provide out of all the choices provided
  • Multiple-choice — Select One or More Answer Choices wherein the passage contains one or more correct answers, to which the choices should all be correct
  • Select-in-Passage — Select the sentence in the passage that meets a certain description

Sample Question Types

Test takers can expect these type of questions on the Reading Comprehension part:

  • The passage is primarily concerned with…?
  • The passage addresses which of the following issues…?
  • Select the sentence that distinguishes…

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Text Completion

Quick Overview

The questions on Text Completion assess the ability of reading interpretation and evaluation, by omitting crucial words from short passages and use the remaining information in the passage for selecting words or short phrases to complete and create a coherent, meaningful whole context/idea.

Question Types

From the name itself, test takers are to fill in the blanks to complete the text from a passage that is composed of one to five sentences. If there is only one blank, there will be five answer choices; if there are two or three blanks, there will be three answer choices per blank. The answer choices function independently (although the context of one may be relevant for the others) and there is a single correct answer per blank. 

Sample Question

When preparing for the GRE Verbal practice test, you should expect several text completion questions – here’s an example (source: Achievable GRE):

The newspaper seems to resort to (i)___________ tricks for stalling and postponing corrections to its flawed content. Such tactics make it nearly impossible for readers to glean an accurate understanding of the situation. Perhaps this understanding is what the publisher hopes to (ii)___________.

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
(A) dilatory(D) undertake
(B) nefarious(E) skirt
(C) administrative(F) accomplish

Answer: (A) dilatory and (E) skirt

If the newspaper is stalling and postponing correction, then it must be resorting to stalling and postponing tricks. This maps very closely onto dilatory, which means something like intended to cause delay. While nefarious pairs nicely with tricks, it’s a little too extreme here, so we’d pass up on this PAT answer. Moving forward, we learn that these tactics make it nearly impossible for something to happen. And since the newspaper is the one using these tricks, this could be its intention (strengthened by the same-direction trigger perhaps). So we can assume that it hopes to make understanding nearly impossible (i.e., unlikely to occur). Only skirt – in the sense of avoid – remotely makes sense.

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Sentence Equivalence

Quick Overview

The final question type in the GRE Verbal practice test is the Sentence Equivalence, which assesses the ability to reach a conclusion about how a passage should be completed on the basis of partial information and focusing on the meaning of the completed whole. 

Question Types

The Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank and six choices. From these choices, you must select two from the answer choices that lead to a complete, coherent sentence while producing sentences that mean the same thing as a whole context. 

Sample Question

Biologists found that the jellyfish displays the first key hallmark of sleep. This is a reversible _________ state, basically a period of low activity distinguishable from a coma or hibernation by its mutability.

A. Amorphous
B. Nocturnal
C. Dormant
D. Quiescent
E. Endogenous
F. Predator

Answer: (C) dormant and (D) quiescent

There is only one synonym pair in this answer bank: quiescent & dormant (inactive). So this would be a freebie, provided our vocabulary is on point. (If not, Achievable GRE has 1,500+ vocabulary words!) However, it also aligns closely with the deep structure of the problem, namely: when there is a blank closely followed by a comma, what comes after the comma is almost always the key word for the blank. In this case, a low activity period is basically a low activity state. So we would be looking for words that mean something like low activity – and our identified synonym pair fits the bill nicely. PAT answers here include nocturnal (i.e., sleep) and amorphous (i.e., jellyfish).

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Quantitative Reasoning

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section applies the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis, wherein a big emphasis is placed on quantitative reasoning skills.This section assesses the test taker’s ability to understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information, and solve problems using mathematical models.

To prepare well for this section in the GRE exam, you must take note of its four different question types and practice solving each variant in turn.

Quantitative Comparison

Quick Overview

From the name itself, the Quantitative Comparison questions will require you to choose and compare two quantities — Quantity A and Quantity B. 

Question Types

Given the two quantities provided, the question will then ask you to determine which of the statements provided best describes the comparison:

Quantity A is greater.

Quantity B is greater.

The two quantities are equal.

The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

The answer choices are always the same for every quantitative comparison question so it’s easy to keep them straight.

Sample Question

Given: x > 0

Quantity A = (x5)(x4)

Quantity B = (x2)2

Choose from the statements below:

  • Quantity A is greater.
  • Quantity B is greater.
  • The two quantities are equal.
  • The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Answer: At first glance, this looks like a pretty simple question using the rules of exponents. 5 + 4 = 9, versus 2 * 2 = 4 – so Quantity A is bigger, right?

But as with many GRE problems, the devil is in details – in this case, the exception to the typical case that still falls within the parameters of the problem. In this problem, if x > 0 but also x < 1, then you actually could have Quantity B be greater than Quantity A.

Therefore, the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

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Multiple Choice – Select One and Select One or More

Quick Overview

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section of the exam also includes a set of multiple choice questions, categorized based on those which require you to choose one answer from the options provided; and another that has one or more correct answers. Since you are allowed to use a basic calculator, be sure to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used keys and symbols too. 

Question Types

Questions in this section of the GRE exam are divided into one answer and one or more answers. 

While selecting one answer from the choices is more straightforward, it is important to remember in your practice exam that the multiple choice with more than one answer requires the test taker to choose a certain number of answer choices or not. If the question does not specify how many answer choices to select, select all that apply. There is no credit given unless all of the correct choices required are selected. 

Sample Questions

  1. Select one correct answer

The area of an equilateral triangle, in square meters, is equal to 2 times its perimeter, in meters. What is the length of one of its sides?

A. 4√2
B. 4√3
C. 8√3
D. 10√3
E. 12√3

Answer: The correct answer is Choice C,  8√3. The key is this problem is recalling the equations for the area and perimeter of an equilateral triangle. 

A = (x^2 * √3)/4

P = 3x

From there, just combine the two in an equation and solve. If you want to see step-by-step walkthroughs of math for practice gre quant questions, you should check out Achievable GRE.

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  1. Select one or more correct answer

In a school class, there are at least 2 times as many boys as girls. On the most recent test, the boys’ average was 74, and the girls’ average was 92. Which of the following could have been the average test score for the entire class?

A. 76
B. 78
C. 80
D. 82
E. 84
F. 86

Answer: The correct answer consists of Choices A (76), B (78), and C (80). The key to this problem is recognizing that there are more boys than girls, and the boys’ average is lower than the girls’ average. With an infinite amount of students, the class average would stabilize at the boys average of 74, so that’s the lower bound. Conversely, the highest class average would be with the least number of boys, i.e. 1 girl and 2 boys. This would make for a total class score of 1*92 + 2*74=240 points, divided by 3 students, meaning a maximum class average of 240/3=80. Therefore, all choices between 74 and 80 are correct.

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Numeric Entry

Quick Overview

The Numeric Entry questions in the GRE exam requires answers either in a single answer box or as a fraction in two separate boxes — one for the numerator and one for the denominator. 

Question Types

Questions in this section of the GRE exam are looking for a specific answer, so be sure to answer the question that is being asked and double-check if you have rounded off your numerical answer to the required degree of accuracy. 

Sample Question

At Miller Industries, 50% of the employees are men, and 10% of the men are scientists. If two employees are to be selected randomly from among the 1500 employees on the company roster, what is the probability that both employees will be male scientists?

Round your answer to the nearest tenth of a percent.

Answer: Having 1500 employees and 50% men means there are 750 male employees. And if 10% of the men are scientists, there are 75 male scientists. The probability of picking a male scientist the first time is 75/1500, and now with one less male scientist in the pool, the probability of picking a second one is 74/1499. We need both these events to occur, so we multiply the probabilities.

(75/1500) * (74/1499) = (5550/2248500)

Since this is a numeric question asking to be rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, we just have to be careful with the answer format when we divide it out: 0.2%.

And guess what?

At Achievable, we know that practice makes perfect especially for mathematical problems, so here are more GRE practice questions you can answer on the Quantitative Reasoning section. These additional questions will also help you further assess if you are still finding the GRE test hard or not. 

Remember to check the bottom to see if you got all the answers correct!

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GRE Practice Questions – Quant Quiz

GRE quiz: Average problems

Monroe has taken 5 algebra tests this semester. If he gets a 87 on their next test, it will raise their average (arithmetic mean) by 6 points. What is Monroe’s average now?

A. 45
B. 51
C. 57
D. 63

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GRE quiz: Age problems

Armani is now 16 years older than Rio. 8 years ago, Armani’s age was 5 times Rio’s age. How old is Armani now?

A. 28
B. 30
C. 32
D. 34
E. 36

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GRE quiz: Ratio problems

Charleston is planting a flower garden composed of roses, tulips, and daffodils in a ratio of 2:2:4. If they plan to plant 112 flowers, how many more daffodils will they plant than roses?

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GRE quiz: Translation problems

If 1/8 of a given number is 24 greater than 1/12 of the same number, then what is 9 less than 1/2 of that number?

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GRE quiz: Work problems

John, Paul, and Ringo can each paint a house individually in 2 days, 5 days, and 8 days, respectively. Working together, how many days would it take the three workers to paint 10 houses?

A. 8.12
B. 9.62
C. 10.12
D. 11.62
E. 12.12

Remember, the Answers are explained below.

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GRE Analytical Writing
APhoto by Manny Pantoja on Unsplash

Analytical Writing

The toughest aspect of the Analytical Writing section is finishing each essay in the 30 minute window.

Since the Analytical Writing measure tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills, you should focus on practicing issue and argument analysis on broad and timely topics. 

Quick Overview

The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks:

“Analyze an Issue” task

For the “Analyze an Issue” task, you are given 30 minutes to present your opinion based on the prompt provided. During your GRE practice exam, you must focus on providing your evaluation and argument with reasons and examples. 

“Analyze an Argument” task

With 30 minutes also allotted for this task, it will require you to evaluate a given argument based on its logical soundness. During your practice exam, you must focus on building the logical soundness of your argument to make it stronger. 

The two tasks are complementary in that one requires you to construct your own argument by taking a position and providing evidence supporting your views on an issue, and the other requires you to evaluate someone else’s argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides.

Sample Questions

Issue Task:

The truest measure of success is what an individual is able to accomplish.

Write a response in which you indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the above statement. Be sure to support your position with appropriate reasons and/or examples.

Argument Task:

The following is an internal bulletin released by the Chairman of the Board of Directors at MicroStar.

“Ever since Paul Browning was promoted to CEO of MicroStar one year ago, the company has been in an unmitigated downward spiral. Not only has Browning overseen the most ruinous fiscal year in the history of the company, but he has also seen exceptionally high turnover among his direct reports. This functionally constitutes a vote of no confidence on the part of his employees, who are seeking better opportunities elsewhere. On the other hand, Eiko Kanazawa, MicroStar’s current head of marketing, has successfully conducted her division through its most productive year to date, while coming in significantly under budget at the same time. Therefore, the Board should replace Browning with Kanazawa as CEO of MicroStar as soon as possible.”

Write a response in which you evaluate the explicit and/or implicit assumptions in the presented argument. Make sure to discuss how the argument would be impacted by the confirmation and/or disconfirmation of these assumptions.

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Achievable GRE

So is the GRE test hard or not? It won’t be if you prepare well and practice with the right study guides. If you’re serious about wanting to achieve your target score, buy our full course for only $299.

Our comprehensive GRE course has everything you need to ace the test, including:

  • An easy-to-read online textbook teaching necessary strategies, complete with practice questions and detailed step-by-step explanations
  • Literally infinite GRE quantitative practice questions and full-length quantitative GRE practice exams, generated with random text and values from our extensive template bank of 120+ quantitative question types.
  • 200+ high-quality hand-crafted Verbal / Reading Comprehension questions.
  • 1500+ vocabulary words, grouped into semantic clusters to help you learn vocab in less time
  • Instant grading of Issue essays and Argument essays, with ten prompts

The whole course is smartphone-friendly, so you can study anywhere or on-the-go. Ditch that old-fashioned GRE practice test pdf and upgrade to more modern test prep.

Looking for an alternative to Kaplan GRE prep? See why more students are choosing Achievable GRE to help them reach their target scores.

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Here are the answers to those practice questions earlier. Check if you got all of them correct!

GRE quiz: Average problems

Monroe has taken 5 algebra tests this semester. If they get a 87 on their next test, it will raise their average (arithmetic mean) by 6 points. What is Monroe’s average now?

A. 45
B. 51
C. 57
D. 63

Answer: B) 51

Learn how to solve this:

https://app.achievable.me/study/gre/learn/average-problems

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GRE quiz: Age problems

Armani is now 16 years older than Rio. 8 years ago, Armani’s age was 5 times Rio’s age. How old is Armani now?

A. 28
B. 30
C. 32
D. 34
E. 36

Answer: A) 28

Learn how to solve this:

https://app.achievable.me/study/gre/learn/age-problems

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GRE quiz: Ratio problems

Charleston is planting a flower garden composed of roses, tulips, and daffodils in a ratio of 2:2:4. If they plan to plant 112 flowers, how many more daffodils will they plant than roses?

Answer: 28

Learn how to solve this:

https://app.achievable.me/study/gre/learn/ratio-problems

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GRE quiz: Translation problems

If 1/8 of a given number is 24 greater than 1/12 of the same number, then what is 9 less than 1/2 of that number?

Answer: 279

Learn how to solve this:

https://app.achievable.me/study/gre/learn/translation-problems

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GRE quiz: Work problems

John, Paul, and Ringo can each paint a house individually in 2 days, 5 days, and 8 days, respectively. Working together, how many days would it take the three workers to paint 10 houses?

A. 8.12
B. 9.62
C. 10.12
D. 11.62
E. 12.12

Answer: E) 12.12

Learn how to solve this:

https://app.achievable.me/study/gre/learn/work-problems

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