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GRE Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology


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Graduate Record Exam is meant to scrutinize students for admission into a graduation course. The test is of two types: GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. The General Test is meant to test the basic knowledge and skills of a student. This test does not quantify the abilities of students pertaining to any particular subject. The Subject tests do the job of evaluating the abilities of students in specific subjects.

There are in all eight subject tests that a student can choose from. The details of each subject test are given on the official website. In order to register for a Subject Test you will have to find a center in which the paper based test is administered. Once you register for the test you shall be provided with free test preparation materials. Also you can download the details of the test and practice tests from the official website for free!

Let us discuss the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Subject Test in detail. In this subject test there are 180 multiple choice questions to be completed in 170 minutes. The questions do not merely test your knowledge of subject content but also your ability to solve related problems. Consequently, some of the questions require calculations to be done, but there will not be any so tedious that you require a calculator. The questions will be related with laboratory situations, results of experiments and diagrams as well. Hence, only the knowledge of the content is not sufficient for the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test.


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The Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test is broadly based on three main content areas: Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Molecular Biology and Genetics. The questions related with Biochemistry constitute 36% of the test. The questions based on Cell Biology make up 28% of the test and the questions based on Molecular Biology and Genetics contribute 36% to the test. Since these three classifications can not be exclusive and independent of each other there shall be some questions in the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test which will be related with more than one of these content areas. However the scores of these three sections are reported separately, along with the total score.

The topics covered in the questions related with Biochemistry are Chemical and Physical Foundations, Biomolecules, Catalysis and Binding, Major Metabolic Pathways, Bioenergetics and Regulation and Integration of Metabolism. The topics covered in the Cell Biology and Molecular Biology portion are Cellular Compartments of Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes, Cell Surface and Communication, Cytoskeleton, Motility and Shape, Protein Synthesis and Processing and Cell Division, Differentiation, and Development. The subtopics under Molecular Biology and Genetics are Genetic Foundations, Chromatin and Chromosomes, Genomics, Genome Maintenance, Gene Expression, Gene Regulation in Prokaryotes, Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes and Bacteriophages and Animal and Plant Viruses. Apart from these main topics, separate questions based on methodology and data interpretation will also be asked in this subject test. The questions based on methodologies in this subject test Biochemistry section will cover Spectroscopy, Isotopes, Separation techniques and Immunotechniques. The questions based on methodologies in Cell Biology will cover Restriction maps, Nucleic acid blotting and hybridization, DNA cloning in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, Sequencing and analysis and Protein-nucleic acid interaction.

Though the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology subject test is based on the concepts that you have studied in your undergraduate days it is mandatory for you to prepare for it. It is probable that your concepts are not as clear and you need a thorough revision. The most obvious approach would be to refer to your old text books. They will contain most of the topics listed above. Make a note of all the required topics and their subtopics to check if you have the detailed subject matter. It should not surprise you if some topics are missing in your books. Owing to rapid advancements in the field of Biology and the frequent changes in the syllabi the text books soon become outdated. Look for the latest preparation books in the market and get the one which covers the latest syllabus in detail.

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