Is the GRE test Hard?

Since 2020, there has been a notable change in the difficulty level of the GRE. But exactly how hard is the GRE test in 2024? Based on feedback from thousands of students who appeared for the exam after using various famous resources recommended by top test scorers, we have found that the test is becoming increasingly difficult. Below are some essential reasons explaining why.

Quantitative Reasoning

Here are a few important ones related to the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section.

Outdated Study Material

The outdated study material is available. The official ETS book, aka the ‘ETS Big Book,’ was last published in 2016 & the oldest one being circulated was published in 2002. Several third-party study materials, including online GRE prep courses, are also similar & most companies don’t regularly update the content to reflect recent changes.

GRE Big Book

GRE questions are becoming trickier

Questions in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section have become trickier than those in preparation books and past exams. 

For example, in the real GRE, you can solve a question in 1.5 minutes, as shown in the sample video below.


ETS attempts to bring the GRE standard of difficulty at par with the GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, which is required for management and business programs. By doing this, the GRE has also become an accepted requirement for business schools.

GRE questions are now more time-consuming

In the recent exams, the questions have long prompts, requiring more time to understand each question. Each line of the questions must be carefully read, converted into an equation, and then used to find the final answer. The process is lengthy and stressful, making it difficult for students to solve each question in under 2 minutes.

Shorter Time

With the increasing level of difficulty and written length of each question, the test-taker also has to deal with the risk of having a much shorter time period required to solve the question. Time management is key, and in recent years, it has become increasingly challenging to keep up with the limited time given for each section.

How can one improve:

You can solve any question with clear concepts, strategy, and logic. Technically, you can solve each question in less than 2 minutes.

In order to do that, one must have a clear understanding of the maths concepts. It is important to remember that the GRE doesn’t expect you to work hard but work smart. It does not require advanced math concepts but a strong understanding of basic school-level mathematics.

Verbal Reasoning

The GRE Verbal Reasoning Section is set to determine how well test-takers can understand and evaluate written material and then create connections. The test taker should be able to decipher the structure and contents of the passage. 

Complex Passages:

In recent tests, GRE passages are more dense with complex sentences. 


In recent tests, the GRE is testing easier words. If you go through the wordlist mentioned on the ScholarDen website, you should be able to cover 95% of the vocabulary tested on the GRE wordlist. The word list is up to date on a regular basis.

How can one improve:

It has become even more critical for students to improve their understanding of complex sentence structures. The best way to do it is by being a ferocious reader; the more you read, the better you get. American academic articles are a good place to start; you must understand the context, structure, sentence relationships, and words.

If your English grammar concepts are weak, spend 20% of your preparation time on learning grammar rules. In addition, spend 20% of your preparation time on memorizing words. In addition, spent 60% time of prep time reading American Literature or newspaper articles.

If you have no idea how to approach your GRE preparation, you can refer to the FREE GRE MENTORING feature on Scholar Den and seek step-by-step guidance.

ScholarDen is one of the best online GRE prep courses, considering the recent exam’s growing difficulty. Students can practice through comprehensive official questions while also being able to gauge and improve their proficiency. 

Read on: Recent Changes in the GRE Test: New Shorter GRE


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