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GRE® Psychology Test Subscores

The GRE® Psychology Test measures achievement in the field of psychology and helps departments evaluate applicants' readiness for graduate school. The test measures content taught in undergraduate programs that is important for graduate study in the discipline. The GRE Psychology Test is offered worldwide three times a year (September, October, and April).

To better meet the needs of graduate-level psychology programs, the GRE Program at ETS revised the subscore information reported to score recipients on the GRE Psychology Test with test editions administered beginning in September 2017. In addition to the total test score, six new subscores are reported in place of the two previous subscores (i.e., Social and Experimental). The six subscores are:

  1. Biological
  2. Cognitive
  3. Social
  4. Developmental
  5. Clinical
  6. Measurement/Methodology/Other

Subscores 1–4 above correspond to areas in which the new standards of accreditation require evidence of competence in discipline-specific knowledge, as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation. Reporting the new subscores was the result of discussions with ETS and a task force comprised of representatives from the broader psychology education and training community including the Council of Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) that was convened by the APA Board of Educational Affairs. The new subscores are designed to provide information on four of the six discipline-specific knowledge domains in the APA Standards of Accreditation.

Content of the GRE Psychology Test

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. Detailed test specifications are available in the GRE® Psychology Test Fact Sheet.

Using Scores on the GRE Psychology Test

The total score on the GRE Psychology Test can be used for graduate admissions purposes. The new subscores are intended to provide psychology departments with information about their applicants' strengths and weaknesses and can be used for guidance and placement purposes; the subscores should not be used for graduate admissions purposes. Note also that the subscores should not be used as the sole criteria for guidance or placement purposes; the subscores should be used with other criteria (e.g., achievement in an undergraduate course) for the best results. See the GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores for more information.

The GRE Program encourages directors of graduate psychology programs to review the test specifications for the GRE Psychology Test to ensure that the content of the GRE Psychology Test is related to the coursework in their programs.

Note that for GRE Psychology Tests taken prior to September 2017, the two prior subscores (Social and Experimental) are reported. All GRE scores are reportable for five years.

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