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The GRE® Subject Tests

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Test Content and Structure

The GRE Subject Tests are administered in a paper-delivered format. Total testing time is 2 hours and 50 minutes. There are no separately timed sections.

View the content of each Subject Test.

Overview

  • 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 the International System (SI) of 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 test takers may associate a particular question with one field, whereas other test takers 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 test takers.
  • Consequently, the emphases of the four fields indicated in the following outline of material covered by the test should not be considered definitive.

Content areas

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

Download the practice book

See the free practice book for a closer look at the Chemistry test and the topics tested within each content area, as well as a full-length practice test you can use to prepare for the test.
 

Overview

  • The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level.
  • Approximately 50% of the questions involve calculus and its applications — subject matter that is assumed to be common to the backgrounds of almost all mathematics majors.
  • About 25% 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.

Content areas

  • Calculus: 50%
  • Algebra: 25%
  • Additional Topics: 25%

Download the practice book

See the free practice book for a closer look at the Mathematics test and the topics tested within each content area, as well as a full-length practice test you can use to prepare for the test.
 

Overview

  • The test consists of approximately 100 5-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 3 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.
  • The Physics Test yields three subscores in addition to the total score: (1) Classical Mechanics, (2) Electromagnetism, and (3) Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics. 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.

Content areas

  • 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%

Those taking the test should be familiar with certain mathematical methods and their applications in physics. Such mathematical methods include single and multivariate calculus, coordinate systems (rectangular, cylindrical and spherical), vector algebra and vector differential operators, Fourier series, partial differential equations, boundary value problems, matrices and determinants, and functions of complex variables. These methods may appear in the test in the context of various content categories as well as occasional questions concerning only mathematics in the specialized topics category above.
 

Download the practice book

See the free practice book for a closer look at the Physics test and the topics tested within each content area, as well as a full-length practice test you can use to prepare for the test.
 

Overview

  • The test consists of approximately 205 multiple-choice questions. Each question in the test has five options from which the test taker 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 test adheres to the terminology, criteria and classifications referred to in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
  • The test yields six subscores in addition to the total score: (1) Biological, (2) Cognitive, (3) Social, (4) Developmental, (5) Clinical, and (6) Measurement/Methodology/Other.

Content areas

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

Download the practice book

See the free practice book for a closer look at the Psychology test and the topics tested within each content area, as well as a full-length practice test you can use to prepare for the test.