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About the Test

Why take a GRE® Subject Test?

GRE® Subject Tests measure achievement in specific subject areas and are intended for students with extensive background in one of the disciplines detailed below. 

GRE® Subject Test scores are the perfect way to showcase your in-depth subject matter knowledge, which can help you stand out from other applicants. These scores are often considered along with your undergraduate record, recommendation letters and GRE® General Test scores, providing another way for graduate or business schools to evaluate your qualifications.

As with the GRE® General Test, you can take the GRE® Subject Tests more than once; then with the ScoreSelect® option, send only your best scores to schools. Find out more >


Biology

Content is evenly divided into three major areas: cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution.

Number of questions: Approximately 190 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution:

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (33–34%) includes cellular structure and function, and genetics
  • Organismal Biology (33–34%) includes animal and plant structure and development
  • Ecology and Evolution (33–34%) includes the principles of ecology, genetics and evolution

Test content description:

  • Some questions are grouped in sets and are based on descriptions of laboratory and field situations, diagrams or experimental results.
  • Many questions require problem-solving skills and analysis based on descriptions of laboratory and field situations, diagrams, or experimental results.

For more on the GRE® Biology Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Biology Test


Chemistry

The test measures knowledge of the four fields in which chemistry has been traditionally divided (Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry).

Number of questions: Approximately 130 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution: 

  • Analytical Chemistry – 15%
  • Inorganic Chemistry – 25%
  • Organic Chemistry – 30%
  • Physical Chemistry – 30%

Test content description:

  • The test questions are constructed to simplify mathematical manipulations, so calculators or logarithm tables are not needed.
  • For problems requiring the use of logarithms, the necessary values are included with the question.
  • The International System (SI) of units is used predominantly in the test.The test booklet contains a periodic table and a table with physical constants and conversion factors among SI units.

For more on the GRE® Chemistry Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Chemistry Test


Literature in English

The test consists of questions on poetry, drama, biography, the essay, the short story, the novel, criticism, literary theory and the history of the English language.

Number of questions: Approximately 230 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution:

  • Literary Analysis (40-55%) involves interpretation of selected passages of prose and poetry.
  • Identification (15-20%) includes questions on recognizing dates, authors or works by style and/or content.
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts (20-25%) includes questions on literary, cultural and intellectual history, as well as identifying an author or work through biographical information.
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism (10-15%) includes questions testing knowledge of various critical and theoretical approaches.

Test content description:

  • Some questions are based on short works reprinted in their entirety, some on excerpts from longer works.
  • The test emphasizes authors, works, genres, and movements.

For more on the GRE® Literature in English Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Literature in English Test


Mathematics

The questions consist of calculus and its applications, algebra and other mathematics topics.

Number of questions: Approximately 66 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution:

  • Calculus (50%) tests knowledge of differential and integral calculus.
  • Algebra (25%) includes questions on elementary, linear and abstract algebra.
  • Additional Topics (25%) includes introductory real analysis, discrete mathematics, geometry, statistics and more.

Test content description:

  • Questions test the students’ ability to recall information, understand fundamental concepts and apply those concepts in various situations.

For more on the GRE® Mathematics Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Mathematics Test


Physics

The test focuses on the fundamental principles of physics and applying these principles to solve problems.

Number of questions: Approximately 100 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution:

  • Classical Mechanics – 20%
  • Electromagnetism – 18%
  • Optics and Wave Phenomena – 9%
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics – 10%
  • Quantum Mechanics – 12%
  • Atomic Physics – 10%
  • Special Relativity – 6%
  • Laboratory Methods – 6%
  • Specialized Topics – 9%

Test content description:

  • Some questions are grouped in sets and based on diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.
  • Most of the questions are based on topics from the first three years of undergraduate physics.
  • The International System (SI) of units is used predominantly in the test. The test booklet contains a periodic table and a table with physical constants and conversion factors among SI units.

For more on the GRE® Physics Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Physics Test


Psychology

The questions are drawn from the core of knowledge most commonly encountered in courses offered at the undergraduate level within the broadly defined field of psychology.

Number of questions: 205 multiple-choice questions
Test content distribution:

  • Biological (17-21%)
  • Cognitive (17-24%)
  • Social (12-14%)
  • Developmental (12-14%)
  • Clinical (15-19%)
  • Measurement/Methodology/Other (15-19%)

Test content description:

  • The questions require recalling factual information, analyzing relationships, applying principles, drawing conclusions from data, and/or evaluating a research design.
  • Some of the stimulus materials, such as a description of an experiment or a graph, may serve as the basis for several questions.

For more on the GRE® Psychology Test, visit ets.org/gre.
Download prep material for the GRE® Psychology Test


GRE® Subject Test FAQs

Have questions about GRE® Subject Tests? Find answers to the most commonly asked questions here.
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FREE Official Prep for GRE® Subject Tests

To help you do your best, we offer FREE, official prep material within each GRE® Subject Test section.
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Test Dates & Locations

GRE® Subject Tests are given at paper-delivered test centers worldwide three times a year in the months of April, September and October.
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