Comparing the Computer-Delivered and Paper-Based GRE Tests

By Berry Mathew

If you’re looking to take the GRE, you may be wondering which version of the test you should go with: computer-delivered or paper-based. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the key differences between them before making your decision. Let’s take a look at how these two tests compare and what factors should be considered when deciding which one is right for you.

Format Differences

The most obvious difference between the two versions of the GRE is the format in which they are taken. The computer-delivered version is administered on computers at testing centers, while the paper-based version is administered on paper at selected locations around the world. The computer-delivered test consists of multiple choice questions, while the paper-based option includes both multiple choice questions and essay responses.

Test Content Differences

The content of both tests is identical; however, there are some subtle differences in how it is presented. The computer-delivered version includes drag and drop questions that require you to move words or phrases around to complete a sentence or solve a problem. These types of questions are not included in the paper-based version. Additionally, the structure of some sections on the paper-based test may differ slightly from those found on its computerized counterpart. For example, instead of a Verbal Reasoning section, there may be separate Reading Comprehension and Text Completion sections.

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Test Length Differences

The length of each test depends on how many questions you answer correctly; however, generally speaking, there are more sections on the paper-based test than on its computerized counterpart. This means that if you’re taking the paper version, it’s likely that your test will take longer than if you were taking it on a computer. However, this also means that if you’re taking it electronically, your test will likely be shorter as fewer sections need to be completed in order for your results to be calculated accurately.

Ultimately, when deciding which version of the GRE exam is right for you—computer or paper—it comes down to personal preference and comfort level with technology. Consider all aspects listed here before making your decision so that you can make an informed choice that best suits your needs and goals for taking this important standardized test. Furthermore, if you are currently preparing for the GRE, consider taking a prep course to help you study. Achievable offers comprehensive GRE test prep to prepare you for the GRE, so be sure to check out Achievable’s website to get started. Good luck on the road ahead!