The Graduate Record Examination is a Standardized test that measures verbal, mathematical and analytical skills. It is intended to help the graduate schools (of all fields other than business) assess the potential of applicants for advanced study . Nearly 2300 universities in the US require GREŽ scores from each applicant.
The GRE tests the fundamental skills - Reasoning and Comprehension included - and does not require any subject-specific theoretical study. (This is true only for the General GRE Test, and not the GRE Subject, which is required by certain universities. In this section, we mean the General GRE Test whenever we refer to the GRE Test)
The test is designed in such a way that it would be unlike any other test you would have taken at school or college. First, the test has no question paper or answer sheets, nor does it have the same set of questions for all the examinees. Further, it does not give you the option of not answering a question (unless, of course, you run out of time at the end). All this because the GRE Test is an entirely Computer based test - the keyboard and mouse do the work of a pen or pencil. The test is scored out of 1600 (in multiples of 10).
The GRE Test is only one of several parameters which the graduate schools look at to determine the selection of an applicant. A high score alone does not translate into an admission offer from a great school. But the test can be looked upon as the first major hurdle to be cleared in the process of getting admission into a Graduate school of your choice.