GRE Subject Tests

What is GRE subject test

GRE subject tests are taken by the test takers to prove their intelligence and skills in a specific subject. The subjects featuring in the GRE subject test are,

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Literature in English
  • Physics
  • Psychology

In this context to be mentioned, the Computer science subject test has been discontinued from April 2013 onwards, and the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject testhas beendiscontinued from December 2016 onwards.

When you're planning to opt for higher education in a particular field of study, it is not always enough to sit for the GRE general test. The general GRE test examines your overall knowledge through a standardized test, While the GRE subject test, tries to track your performance in a specific subject. The subject test is important as through your subject test score you can show a grad school your aptitude in a specific subject. This would be an advantage for you at the time of applying as it would help you in standing out among those applicants who have only appeared for the general GRE test.

What is GRE general test?

GRE general test is a standardized test with three main sections, namely,

  • Analytical writing
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning

The general GRE test is a popular form of GRE test for students in order to enroll them in universities abroad.

How to prepare for GRE subject tests?

Here we’re providing you a brief guide about how to prepare for each of the subjects in GRE subject test. Keep reading.


The Chemistry subject test of GRE contains 130 multiple choice questions. There are four parts, namely,

  1. Inorganic Chemistry
  2. Organic Chemistry
  3. Physical Chemistry and
  4. Analytical Chemistry

Physical and Organic chemistry each occupies 30% part of the question paper. The inorganic part, on the other hand, occupies 25%, and Analytical part occupies only 15% of the question paper. In order to prepare for the test, you need to revise your college syllabus all over again and you would be good to go. And in order to prepare yourself in a better way you can take the GRE practice tests. These tests would help you in getting familiar with the question type.


This type of GRE subject test consists of around 190 multiple choice questions. There are three parts of the Biology subject test, namely;

  1. Cellular and Molecular Biology
  2. Ecology and Evolution and
  3. Organismal Biology

The three sections contain roughly 33% of the total number of questions each. Revisiting your college course is sufficient to prepare yourself for the Biology test. But prepare yourself better and to get an idea regarding the questions.


The Mathematics subject test contains around 65 to 66 multiple choice questions and there are three sections precisely; which are,

  1. Calculus
  2. Algebra
  3. Other topics

The Calculus part occupies 50% of the question paper while the other two sections cover 25% each. In order to score well in the Mathematics subject test, you need to revisit the topics which were taught to you at the undergraduate level of your college. The other topics section in this subject test covers topics like set theory, complex variables, probability and distribution, number theory, etc.

Literature in English

The English literature subject test of GRE comprises of around 230 questions, and these questions are asked from various poetries, biographies, dramas, novels, etc. The parts of the Literature subject test are;

  1. Literary Analysis
  2. Identification
  3. Culture
  4. History and theory of literary criticism

The literature subject test tries to examine your analytical and critical thinking ability and in order to score well in this subject test; you need to have core knowledge of British and American works of literature.


The Physics subject test of GRE contains around 100 multiple choice questions, and the questions are further divided into nine parts, namely;

  1. Classical mechanics
  2. Optics
  3. Electromagnetism
  4. Thermodynamics
  5. Quantum physics
  6. Special theory of relativity
  7. Atomic physics
  8. Laboratory methods
  9. Specialized topics

In order to score well in the Physics subject test, you need to study anything and everything covered in your three years of undergraduate level. In the specialized topics part, you can find questions from Nuclear and particle physics, Astrophysics, Crystal structure, etc.


There are six parts in the GRE Psychology question paper with a total of 205 questions. The sections are,

  1. Biological
  2. Cognitive
  3. Clinical
  4. Social
  5. Developmental
  6. Other topics

The GRE Psychology test tries to test a test taker's ability to analyze different types of relationships and therefore deriving the appropriate type of conclusions. The knowledge of college-level psychology is enough to crack the Psychology test.

You can take a look at these e-books available at the ETS official website which would guide you completely with elaborate knowledge about each of the subject tests. The URL is given below;

e-books for GRE Subject Tests from ETS

A generic tip to get a good score in all of the above subject tests is to study the syllabus of your undergraduate level thoroughly and for additional help consult the study materials mentioned above and visit the sites which offer free practice tests.

Why do you need an ETS account?

ETS is the organization which organizes the GRE subject test, and in order to register for the GRE subject test and to view your scores, you need to open an ETS account yourself. You can register for the GRE subject test.

In this context to be mentioned, if for any reason you want to change your name in your GRE account, you have the option to do that as well. All you have to do is just go the ETS official website and contact the ETS services.

While in the registration process, if you forget your password and in any case, your account gets locked, there is nothing to worry about. Once you click on the forgot password option, ETS would send your new password to your mail right away. Hence, it is very easy to unlock your GRE account.

Alternatively, if you want to reschedule the test date of GRE subject test, you can do that as well. In that case, you would have to change the date four days before the date of the test. The rescheduling would cost you $50. You can reschedule through the official ETS website or through mail or Fax. In the second case, don’t forget to mention your name, registration number, preferred test date and center.

How to register for GRE subject test?

The GRE subject registration can be done through online or email. For the online registration process, you need an ETS account. You need to put the information required on the online portal and you can pay through credit or debit cards, PayPal etc. The registration fee for GRE subject test is $150 and it is same for all the subjects. Alternatively, the GRE subject test registration can be done via email as well. In that case, you have to send the completed registration to the official email address of ETS. After the completion of the registration process, ETS would send you a confirmation mail. Know more about the GRE subject test registration process here.

The GRE subject tests are paper based, and these tests take place three times a year, in the months of April, September and October. You can choose your desired test center and the test dates that are available in the official ETS portal. When you’re choosing the test date, you must keep in mind the deadline of the grad school you’re willing to get in. Know more about subject test dates in the USA and in other parts of the world.

What is GRE Score select option?

The GRE score select option helps you in selecting the scores which you’re planning to send to the grad schools. For GRE subject test, you’ll have two choices. Either you can select the option which says not to send your scores when they are available. Or you can select the second option which lets you send your scores to grad schools for free. When you’re sending your scores, you can either send your most recent score or your best score from the last five years. In order to reprint your GRE score card, you need to pay $27.

How GRE subject tests are scored?

The GRE subject test scoring process is a little different from GRE general test. The subject tests are scored on a scale of 200 to 990 in 10-point increment. The GRE subject test scores are available in a test taker’s ETS account within a month of taking the exam. Once the scores are available, you would automatically receive an email notification. And after 10 to 12 days of the availability of the scores in your ETS account, the scores would also reach the grad schools selected by you at the time of registration. The scores of GRE subject test are valid for five years from the date of appearing for the test.

GRE score select option gives you an option through which you can either send your latest GRE score or send your best GRE score in the last five years. And it is advised that you send only your best GRE scores to the grad schools. In this context to be mentioned that GRE subject tests can be taken multiple times.

How to choose the grad schools which accept GRE subject test?

As mentioned above, the GRE score select option helps you to select your GRE subject test scores to your desired universities. Once you register for the GRE subject test, you would get an option to choose the grad schools where you want to send your GRE scores. Choose wisely as this has an important role to play in shaping up your future. You would have two options left with you.You can either select the option which lets you send your latest GRE score. Or you can opt for the option which lets you send your best score till date for sending to the grad schools. The grad schools would only be able to see the scores which you have selected to send, so make your selection wisely. You can send your scores to four grad schools for free. After that, for each application, you need to spend $27. To know about the various grad schools which accept the GRE subject test and about the various courses offered in these grad schools, visit the URLs mentioned below;