GRE SUBJECT TEST

GRE SUBJECT TEST DEFINED

GRE Test Scores provide Graduate and Business Schools around the world with an objective and common measure for evaluating and comparing the qualifications of applicants with differing educational and cultural backgrounds. GRE scores are used by admissions and fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records, including grades and recommendations, and other qualifications for graduate-level study.

GRE Test takers may opt to take the GRE revised General Test and / or a GRE Subject Test, depending on their circumstances, intentions and institutional requirements.

The GRE Subject Tests can help you stand out from other applicants by emphasizing your knowledge and skill level in a specific area. If you're majoring in one of these subjects, you might want to take a Subject Test in addition to the GRE revised General Test. Subject Tests may not be required by schools, but they're a great way to distinguish yourself and show you're serious about your studies and your future.

GRE SUBJECT  TEST  SYLLABUS

Each Subject Test is intended for students who have extensive background in one of these eight disciplines:

BIOCHEMISTRY, CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

  • The test consists of approximately 175 multiple-choice questions, a number of which are grouped in sets toward the end of the test and based on descriptions of laboratory situations, diagrams or experimental results.
  • The content of the test is organized into three major areas: biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology and genetics. In addition to the total score, a subscore in each of these subfield areas is reported. Because these three disciplines are basic to the study of all organisms, test questions encompass both eukaryotes and prokaryotes.
  • Throughout the test, there is an emphasis on questions requiring problem-solving skills (including mathematical calculations that do not require the use of a calculator) as well as content knowledge.
  • While only two content areas in the following outline specifically mention methodology, questions on methodology and data interpretation are included in all sections.
  • In developing questions for the test, the test development committee considers both the content of typical courses taken by undergraduates and the knowledge and abilities required for graduate work in the fields related to the test.
  • Because of the diversity of undergraduate curricula, few examinees will have encountered all of the topics in the content outline. Consequently, no examinee should expect to be able to answer all questions on the edition of the test he or she takes.
  • The three subscore areas are interrelated. Because of these interrelationships, individual questions or sets of questions may test more than one content area. Therefore, the relative emphases of the three areas in the following outline should not be considered definitive. Likewise, the topics listed are not intended to be all-inclusive but, rather, representative of the typical undergraduate experience.

I. BIOCHEMISTRY — 36%
II. CELL BIOLOGY — 28%
III. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS — 36

BIOLOGY

  • The test consists of approximately 200 five-choice questions, a number of which are grouped in sets toward the end of the test and are based on descriptions of laboratory and field situations, diagrams or experimental results.
  • The content of the test is organized into three major areas: cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology and ecology and evolution. Approximately equal weight is given to each of these three areas. In addition to the total score, a subscore in each of these subfield areas is reported. Subject area subdivisions indicated by Arabic numerals may not contain equal numbers of questions.

The approximate distribution of questions by content category is shown below.

I. CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (33–34%)
A.     Cellular Structure and Function (16–17%)
B.     Genetics and Molecular Biology (16–17%)
II. ORGANISMAL BIOLOGY (33–34%)

  • Animal Structure, Function and Organization (10%)
  • Animal Reproduction and Development (6%)
  • Plant Structure, Function and Organization, with Emphasis on Flowering Plants (7%)
  • Plant Reproduction, Growth and Development, with Emphasis on Flowering Plants (5%)
  • Diversity of Life (6%)

III. ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION (33–34%)

  • Ecology (16–17%)
  • Evolution (16–17%)

CHEMISTRY

  • The test consists of approximately 130 multiple-choice questions.
  • A periodic table is printed in the test booklet as well as a table of information presenting various physical constants and a few conversion factors among SI units. Whenever necessary, additional values of physical constants are printed with the text of the question.
  • Test questions are constructed to simplify mathematical manipulations. As a result, neither calculators nor tables of logarithms are needed. If the solution to a problem requires the use of logarithms, the necessary values are included with the question.
  • The content of the test emphasizes the four fields into which chemistry has been traditionally divided and some interrelationships among the fields. Because of these interrelationships, individual questions may test more than one field of chemistry.
  • Some examinees may associate a particular question with one field, whereas other examinees may have encountered the same material in a different field. For example, the knowledge necessary to answer some questions classified as testing organic chemistry may well have been acquired in analytical chemistry courses by some examinees.
  • Consequently, the emphases of the four fields indicated in the following outline of material covered by the test should not be considered definitive.

I. ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY — 15%
II. INORGANIC CHEMISTRY — 25%
III. ORGANIC CHEMISTRY — 30%
IV. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY — 30%

COMPUTER SCIENCE

  • The test consists of approximately 70 multiple-choice questions, some of which are grouped in sets and based on such materials as diagrams, graphs and program fragments.
  • The approximate distribution of questions in each edition of the test according to content categories is indicated by the following outline.
  • The percentages given are approximate; actual percentages will vary slightly from one edition of the test to another.

I. SOFTWARE SYSTEMS AND METHODOLOGY — 40%
II. COMPUTER ORGANIZATION AND ARCHITECTURE — 15%
III. THEORY AND MATHEMATICAL BACKGROUND — 40%
IV. OTHER TOPICS — 5%

LITERATURE IN ENGLISH

  • Each edition of the test consists of approximately 230 questions on poetry, drama, biography, the essay, the short story, the novel, criticism, literary theory and the history of the language.
  • Some questions are based on short works reprinted in their entirety, some on excerpts from longer works.
  • The test draws on literature in English from the British Isles, the United States and other parts of the world. It also contains a few questions on major works, including the Bible, translated from other languages.
  • The test emphasizes authors, works, genres and movements. The questions may be somewhat arbitrarily classified into two groups: factual and critical.
  • The factual questions may require a student to identify characteristics of literary or critical movements, to assign a literary work to the period in which it was written, to identify a writer or work described in a brief critical comment, or to determine the period or author of a work on the basis of the style and content of a short excerpt.
  • The critical questions test the ability to read a literary text perceptively. Students are asked to examine a given passage of prose or poetry and to answer questions about meaning, form and structure, literary techniques, and various aspects of language.

The approximate distribution of questions according to content categories is indicated by the following outline.

Literary Analysis (40 – 55%)
Identification (15 – 20%)
Cultural and Historical Contexts (20 – 25%)
History and Theory of Literary Criticism (10 – 15%)

The literary-historical scope of the test follows the distribution below.

I. Continental, Classical, and Comparative Literature through 1925

5–10%

II. British Literature to 1660 (including Milton)

25–30%

III. British Literature 1660–1925

25–35%

IV. American Literature through 1925

15–25%

V. American, British, and World Literatures after 1925

20–30%

 

MATHEMATICS

  • The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the questions involve calculus and its applications — subject matter that can be assumed to be common to the backgrounds of almost all mathematics majors.
  • About 25 percent of the questions in the test are in elementary algebra, linear algebra, abstract algebra and number theory. The remaining questions deal with other areas of mathematics currently studied by undergraduates in many institutions.

The following content descriptions may assist students in preparing for the test. The percents given are estimates; actual percents will vary somewhat from one edition of the test to another.

CALCULUS — 50%
ALGEBRA — 25%
ADDITIONAL TOPICS — 25%

PHYSICS

  • The test consists of approximately 100 five-choice questions, some of which are grouped in sets and based on such materials as diagrams, graphs, experimental data and descriptions of physical situations.
  • The aim of the test is to determine the extent of the examinees' grasp of fundamental principles and their ability to apply these principles in the solution of problems.
  • Most test questions can be answered on the basis of a mastery of the first three years of undergraduate physics.
  • The International System (SI) of units is used predominantly in the test. A table of information representing various physical constants and a few conversion factors among SI units is presented in the test book.
  • The approximate percentages of the test on the major content topics have been set by the committee of examiners, with input from a nationwide survey of undergraduate physics curricula. The percentages reflect the committee's determination of the relative emphasis placed on each topic in a typical undergraduate program. These percentages are given below along with the major subtopics included in each content category. In each category, the subtopics are listed roughly in order of decreasing importance for inclusion in the test.
  • Nearly all the questions in the test will relate to material in this listing; however, there may be occasional questions on other topics not explicitly listed here.

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%

PSYCHOLOGY

  • Most editions of the test consist of approximately 205 multiple-choice questions. Each question in the test has five options from which the examinee is to select the one option that is the correct or best answer to the question.
  • Some of the stimulus materials, such as a description of an experiment or a graph, may serve as the basis for several questions.
  • The questions in the Psychology Test are drawn from the core of knowledge most commonly encountered in courses offered at the undergraduate level within the broadly defined field of psychology.
  • A question may require recalling factual information, analyzing relationships, applying principles, drawing conclusions from data and/or evaluating a research design.

The Psychology Test yields two subscores in addition to the total score. Although the test offers only two subscores, there are questions in three content categories:

  • Experimental or natural science oriented (about 40 percent of the questions), including learning, language, memory, thinking, sensation and perception, and physiological psychology/behavioral neuroscience. They contribute to the experimental psychology subscore and the total score.
  • Social or social science oriented (about 43 percent of the questions). These questions are distributed among the fields of clinical and abnormal lifespan development, personality and social psychology. They contribute to the social psychology subscore and the total score.
  • General (about 17 percent of the questions), including the history of psychology, applied psychology, psychometrics, research design and statistics. They contribute to the total score only.

I. EXPERIMENTAL SUBSCORE — 40%
II. SOCIAL SUBSCORE — 43%
III. OTHER AREAS — 17%

REGISTER FOR A GRE SUBJECT TEST

Paper-based Subject Tests are offered at different test centers worldwide. You can register for a Subject Test online or by Mail. Register early to receive your free test preparation materials in time to prepare for the test.

By Web

  • Online Registration — You will need to create or have a My GRE Account to Register Online. Accepted forms of payment include: Credit/Debit Card (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa), E-Check (drawn against U.S. bank accounts only) 

Note: Not available to examinees testing in Nigeria.

By Mail

  • Mail registration — credit/debit card/money order/certified check (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa).
  • Download and complete the registration form (PDF) found in the GRE® Bulletin and mail the completed form with payment to the address printed on the form. The form must be received at ETS by the registration deadline. Allow four weeks for processing. Registration forms cannot be faxed.

FEES FOR TESTS AND RELATED SERVICES

Standard Test Administration
Subject Tests United States, U.S. Territories and Puerto Rico $140
Subject Tests all other locations $160
Special Handling Requests
Late Registration Fee (Online Registration Only) $25
Standby Testing $50
Rescheduling Fee $50
Changing your Test Center or Subject Test $50
Additional Services
Scores by Phone $12
Additional Score Report (ASR) Requests — Per Recipient $23
Paper-Based Test Hand Scoring $30
Score Reinstatement Fee $30
ETS Personal Potential Index (ETS PPI) Evaluation Report, Per Report $20
GRE Search Service Candidate Profile Listing FREE
My Credentials Vault SM Service Subscription — 1 Year $19

 

Fees are subject to change without notice. The above amounts are exclusive of any Value Added or similar taxes. Any tax is payable in addition to the amounts quoted.

Accepted Forms of Payment

  • Credit/debit card (American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard or Visa).
  • Note: Any Debit/Check Card branded with one of the five accepted credit card logos can also be processed. ETS reserves the right to add or remove online payment methods at its own discretion and without notice.
  • PayPal Service
  • E-Check Service
  • Money Order/Certified Check/Voucher
  • UNESCO Coupons
  • Western Union Quick PaySM — when completing the form, use the following under "Pay To": Company Name: Educational Testing Service; Company Code: GREPROGRAM NJ; Country: USA. Include your original Western Union Quick Pay Receipt with your form. Copies or facsimiles WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED as valid payment.

Other Forms of Payment

Payments may also be made by check. Make payable to ETS-GRE. If paying by check, please note the following:

  • Bank Name and its Address should be preprinted on the face of the Check.
  • Check must have a preprinted Check Number.
  • Check must include preprinted Candidate or Payee Name and Address.
  • Check Date CANNOT be over 90 days old.
  • New Bank Account starter checks missing the preprinted name and address are not acceptable.

Payments that are not made in U.S. dollars must be made in the following acceptable currencies at the Telegraphic Transfer Selling (TTS) exchange rate of the U.S. dollar equivalent:

  • British pound
  • Canadian dollar
  • Euro
  • Japanese yen

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Subject Tests are offered?

The GRE Subject Tests include Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology.

Who accepts GRE Subject Tests?

GRE Subject Test scores are accepted by thousands of graduate schools, including individual departments or divisions within these schools. Although the scores may not be a requirement for admission to a particular program, admissions committees are likely to consider the scores if they are submitted. It's best to contact the admissions office or department you're interested in and see exactly what they're looking for.

Why is it a good idea to take a GRE Subject Test?

Taking a GRE® Subject Test tests your knowledge of specific subjects and can help you stand out from other applicants. If you're majoring in — or have extensive background in — a specific area, you might want to take a Subject Test in addition to the General Test. Subject Tests may not be required by schools, but they're a great way to distinguish yourself.

When are the GRE Subject Tests offered?

The Subject Tests are offered in October, November and April.

How do I register for a GRE Subject Test?

You can register for a GRE Subject Test online or by mail.

What is the price of a GRE Subject Test?

GRE Subject Test fees range from US$140 to US$160.

When do I receive my admission ticket?

You should receive your admission ticket by mail approximately three weeks after you register. You can also view and print your ticket online with your My GRE Account. If you do not receive your admission ticket at least 10 days before the test date, please print your ticket or contact ETS immediately to confirm your test center assignment.

How do I correct errors on my ticket or change my score recipients?

Fill out the correction stub attached to your ticket and mail it to ETS-GRE at the address printed on the ticket. You may also make your correction by e-mail. Your request must be received no later than the Friday before the test date for which you are registered.

How can I prepare for a GRE Subject Test?

When you register for a GRE Subject Test, you will be sent a free Subject Test Practice Book. Each book includes one actual Subject Test and answer key, test-taking strategies and information to help you understand the scoring. You can also download each test's practice book.

What do I need to take to the test center?

Take your admission ticket, your valid photo Identification (ID), three or four sharpened soft-lead (No. 2 or HB) pencils and a good eraser. Mechanical pencils and pens are not permitted.

What if I've lost my ID (driver's license, passport, etc.)?

You will not be admitted to test without a valid photo ID.

How much time should I plan to be at the test center?

Plan to be at the test center up to three-and-a-half hours. Report to the test center no later than 8:30 a.m. If you arrive late, you might not be admitted and your test fee will be forfeited.

How are the Subject Tests scored?

Scoring of the Subject Test is a two-step process. First, the raw score is computed. This is the number of questions you answered correctly minus one-fourth the number of questions you answered incorrectly. Then the raw score is converted to a scaled score to account for differences in difficulty among the different test editions. For more information, see How the Test is Scored.

What scores are reported?

For each test that you take, you will receive a total score on a 200 – 990 score scale, in 10-point increments. The Biochemistry; Cell and Molecular Biology; Biology; and Psychology Tests also yield subscores on a 20 – 99 score scale, in one-point increments. Both current scores and scores from the five years prior to the current testing year are included in your cumulative score report.

When are scores reported?

Score reports from paper-based tests will be mailed approximately six weeks after the test date.

How does the GRE Program recommend that departments use my scores on the GRE Subject Tests?

The GRE Board has developed Score Use Guidelines that summarize the considerations for appropriate use of GRE test scores.

How do I order additional score reports?

You can order additional score reports online or by phone, mail or fax.

Can I view scores online?

Yes. You can view your scores online free of charge. You will need to create a My GRE Account to use this service. The View Scores Online service is available approximately six weeks after your Subject Test date.

Can I cancel my scores?

At the end of the test, you will be given the option of cancelling your scores. Although you have the option of cancelling your scores, consider very carefully before doing so. Your scores will be reported to GRE score recipients only at your request. If you cancel your scores, they will NOT be reported to you or any score recipients and no refund will be made. Canceled scores are not added to your permanent record. If you wish to take the test again, you must reregister and submit another test payment.

 



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