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Psychology Test


  • The test consists 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.
  • All GRE® Psychology Test editions given at Subject Test administrations adhere to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Editions of the Psychology Test administered in September 2017 and after will yield six subscores in addition to the total score:

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

For Psychology Test editions taken prior to September 2017, the two prior subscores (Experimental and Social) will continue to be reported on score reports to test takers and institutions.

Content Specifications

I. BIOLOGICAL (17–21%)

  1. Sensation and Perception (5–7%)
    1. Psychophysics, Signal Detection
    2. Attention
    3. Perceptual Organization
    4. Vision
    5. Audition
    6. Gustation
    7. Olfaction
    8. Somatosenses
    9. Vestibular and Kinesthetic Senses
    10. Theories, Applications and Issues
  2. Physiological/Behavioral Neuroscience (12–14%)
    1. Neurons
    2. Sensory Structures and Processes
    3. Motor Structures and Functions
    4. Central Structures and Processes
    5. Motivation, Arousal, Emotion
    6. Cognitive Neuroscience
    7. Neuromodulators and Drugs
    8. Hormonal Factors
    9. Comparative and Ethology
    10. States of Consciousness
    11. Theories, Applications and Issues

II. COGNITIVE (17–24%)

  1. Learning (3–5%)
    1. Classical Conditioning
    2. Instrumental Conditioning
    3. Observational Learning, Modeling
    4. Theories, Applications and Issues
  2. Language (3–4%)
    1. Units (phonemes, morphemes, phrases)
    2. Syntax
    3. Meaning
    4. Speech Perception and Processing
    5. Reading Processes
    6. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
    7. Bilingualism
    8. Theories, Applications and Issues
  3. Memory (7–9%)
    1. Working Memory
    2. Long-term Memory
    3. Types of Memory
    4. Memory Systems and Processes
    5. Theories, Applications and Issues
  4. Thinking (4–6%)
    1. Representation (Categorization, Imagery, Schemas, Scripts)
    2. Problem Solving
    3. Judgment and Decision-Making Processes
    4. Planning, Metacognition
    5. Intelligence
    6. Theories, Applications and Issues

III. SOCIAL (12–14%)

  1. Social Perception, Cognition, Attribution, Beliefs
  2. Attitudes and Behavior
  3. Social Comparison, Self
  4. Emotion, Affect, and Motivation
  5. Conformity, Influence, and Persuasion
  6. Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships
  7. Group and Intergroup Processes
  8. Cultural or Gender Influences
  9. Evolutionary Psychology, Altruism, and Aggression
  10. Theories, Applications and Issues


  1. Nature-Nurture
  2. Physical and Motor
  3. Perception and Cognition
  4. Language
  5. Learning, Intelligence
  6. Social, Personality
  7. Emotion
  8. Socialization, Family and Cultural
  9. Theories, Applications and Issues

V. CLINICAL (15–19%)

  1. Personality (3–5%)
    1. Theories
    2. Structure
    3. Personality and Behavior
    4. Applications and Issues
  2. Clinical and Abnormal (12–14%)
    1. Stress, Conflict, Coping
    2. Diagnostic Systems
    3. Assessment
    4. Causes and Development of Disorders
    5. Neurophysiological Factors
    6. Treatment of Disorders
    7. Epidemiology
    8. Prevention
    9. Health Psychology
    10. Cultural or Gender Issues
    11. Theories, Applications and Issues


    1. General (4–6%)
      1. History
      2. Industrial-Organizational
      3. Educational
    2. Measurement and Methodology (11–13%)
      1. Psychometrics, Test Construction, Reliability, Validity
      2. Research Designs
      3. Statistical Procedures
      4. Scientific Method and the Evaluation of Evidence
      5. Ethics and Legal Issues
      6. Analysis and Interpretation of Findings

The questions on which subscores are based are distributed throughout the test; they are not set aside and labeled separately, although several questions from a single content area may appear consecutively.

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