skip to main content skip to footer


The GRE® Subject Tests

Stand out from other applicants

Select a step to learn more about your GRE® Subject Test journey.


Strategies and Tips for the GRE Subject Tests

Preparation for the test will depend on the amount of time you have available and your personal preferences for how to prepare. At a minimum, before you take a GRE Subject Test, you should know what to expect from the test, including the administrative procedures, types of questions and directions, approximate number of questions, and amount of time for each section.

Before test day

Download the Bulletin

The administrative procedures include registration and appointment scheduling, date, time, test center location, cost, score-reporting procedures and availability of special testing arrangements. Download the GRE® Information Bulletin (PDF)(2024-25) for a complete look at the procedures.

Become familiar with the test

Download the Subject Test practice book to familiarize yourself with the test content and question types. Pay special attention to the directions when taking the practice test. If you thoroughly understand the directions, you’ll have more time during the test to focus on the questions themselves.

Make sure you know the subject matter

GRE Subject Test questions are designed to measure skills and knowledge gained over a long period of time. Although you might increase your scores to some extent through preparation a few weeks or months before you take the test, last-minute cramming is unlikely to be of further help. In addition to downloading the practice book, a general review of your college courses is probably the best preparation for the test. However, the test covers a broad range of subject matter and no one is expected to be familiar with every question.

Test-taking strategies

Use the mark and review feature

When taking a GRE Subject Test, you can skip questions you might have difficulty answering. The testing software allows you to:

  • use the "mark and review" feature to mark questions you would like to revisit during the test
  • view a complete list of all the questions in the test, so you can see the questions you’ve answered and those you've marked for review
  • review questions you've already answered and change your answers, provided you still have time remaining in the test

Here’s an example of the review screen.


An example of the review screen is shown


The review screen is intended to help you keep track of your progress on the test. Don’t spend too much time on it, as this takes away from the time you have to read and answer the test questions.

Answer every question

Your scores are determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. Nothing is subtracted from your scores for incorrect answers. To maximize your scores, it’s best to answer every question.

Pay attention to time

Total testing time is 2 hours and 50 minutes for the GRE Mathematics Test and 2 hours for the GRE Physics Test and GRE Psychology Test. Read the test directions carefully and work as rapidly as you can without being careless. Since no question carries greater weight than any other, don’t waste time pondering individual questions you find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.

Use your note-taking materials

If testing at a test center, you’ll receive a supply of scratch paper before you begin the test. If you need more during the test, ask the test administrator.

If testing at home, you may not take notes on regular paper, for security purposes. You may use one of the following:

  • One small desktop white board with erasable marker
  • One sheet of paper inside a transparent sheet protector, with an erasable marker. Pencils and pens are not permitted.

At the end of the test, you will need to show the proctor that all notes have been erased.

Don’t take unscheduled breaks

There are no breaks in a GRE Subject Test administration. Timing won’t stop if you take an unscheduled break at a test center, so you should proceed with your test without interruption once it begins. Unscheduled breaks are not permitted during an at home test.