The GRE General Test tests the general verbal, mathematical and analytical skills developed in a student during his undergraduate education. It is a good measure of how a child is comprehensively, but it does not say anything about the subject specific capabilities of a student. In case a student has to take up a particular subject in graduation then the scores of the general test do not help the admission authorities in determining the merits of the student. For this purpose the Subject Tests come in handy. These tests quantify the abilities of a student pertaining to specific subjects andthey are administered for eight subjects.
The Chemistry test of GRE is meant for examining what potential a student has for undertaking studies in chemistry at the graduation level. In order to register for a Chemistry subject test you will have to find a center in which the paper based test is administered, since the subject tests are only administered in the paper based format. You must register for the test as soon as you make up your mind as the test centers fill up quickly. Furthermore, it is only when you register for the test that you will be in a frame of mind to prepare for the test. Before you start with the preparation it is vital to know the format and the syllabus of the Chemistry subject test.
In this test there are 136 multiple choice questions. These questions are related with four main fields of chemistry: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. Questions of analytical chemistry make up 15% of the test and the main topics related with this are data acquisition and use of statistics, solutions and standardization, homogeneous equilibria, heterogeneous equilibria, instrumental methods, environmental applications and radiochemical methods.
Questions of inorganic chemistry constitute 25% of the test and the main topics covered under this classification are general chemistry, ionic substances, covalent molecular substances, metals and semiconductors, concepts of acids and bases, chemistry of the main group elements, chemistry of the transition elements and special topics including organometallic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry, applied solid-state chemistry and environmental chemistry.
Questions of organic chemistry constitutes 30% of the test and the main topics under this are structure, bonding and nomenclature, functional groups, reaction mechanisms, reactive intermediates, organometallics and special topics including resonance, molecular orbital theory, catalysis, acid-base theory, carbon acidity, aromaticity, antiaromaticity, macromolecules, lipids, amino acids, peptides, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, terpenes, asymmetric synthesis, orbital symmetry and polymers
Questions based on physical chemistry make up 30% of the test and cover thermodynamics, quantum chemistry and applications to spectroscopy and dynamics.
Once you are aware of the topics of the GRE Chemistry test it is simpler for you to plan your preparation strategies. You must first of all decide what you are eligible to do and what your strengths and limitations are. Also think about how much of preparation you need, how clear your concepts are and how thoroughly you shall have to study. Correspondingly, you can choose to either study yourself or attend some coaching classes for the Chemistry test.
If you study on your own then you must look for sources which cover all the topics of the latest syllabus. Settle for a source which has adequate explanations which are clear enough for you to comprehend. You can buy books or download the required topics. While you prepare you must focus on the fact that the types of questions which appear in the test are objective and not subjective. Hence you shall have to go through the minutest details of the subject matter. Also you will have to memorize the nitty-gritty. Chemistry requires a lot of learning and for the multiple choice questions you shall have to concentrate on exactness. The answer choices in multiple choice questions are generally very similar. A slight confusion can lead to the wrong answer. There are many concepts which can be confusing and thus you need to know the trivial details. Invest a good amount for time everyday in studying.
In case you plan to join some coaching classes for Chemistry subject test then your job becomes slightly easier. You do not have to bother about the syllabus, planning, taking practice tests and all. The experts in the subject at the institute shall give you personal attention and will take out the best in you. You shall be given systematic training through classroom teaching, home tasks, workshops, revision tests and practice tests. The teachers can also be approached in case you have doubts or are facing problems in some subject area. Since you attend classes with a number of other students you shall get a better idea of where you stand in the competition. Your syllabus shall be covered in time and you shall be given extensive practice after that. There will be practice tests administered to you which will be on the same lines as the real Chemistry test. You can even avail the option of studying online or hiring a private tutor. But if you plan to enroll into a coaching institution you shall have to shell a good amount of money!
Remember that you need to take a sufficient number of practice tests for the this subject test. A large number of books have a few practice tests printed in them. Also you can download some tests from websites that offer them for free. A practice test will give you a feel of the real test and you are better prepared when you have to appear for the real test. In addition you must go through the testing instructions before reporting to a test center. This way you shall avoid last minute confusion at the test center.
Since the Chemistry subject test is in the paper format it is easy for you to navigate through the paper. You can start with the questions which are easy and then take up the difficult questions. Read every question with full concentration, ponder over it, mark the answer confidently and then forget about it. Deliberate on each question so that you don’t have to get back to it again. This will save you time. Further, all the questions in the test are of equal weightage, so you must endeavor to answer the ones which you know carefully and correctly.
In the test booklet of this test the periodic table and some conversion factors among SI units are mentioned. Further, if physical constants are required they shall be written along with the related questions. In case some logarithmic values are required for calculations, they shall be mentioned along with the corresponding questions.
Your scores in the Chemistry subject test are calculated in a two step procedure. The raw scores are calculated first and then the scaled scores. The raw score is the difference between the number of correct questions and one fourth of the questions answered incorrectly. This raw score is then converted into scaled score. The scaled scores are within limits of 200 and 990. On an average, a student scores between 490 and 910 in this test. In addition the percentiles are also reported. A percentile score indicates the percentage of students who score less than the corresponding scaled score. Say your percentile in the Chemistry test is 89. It means that 89% of the total examinees scored lesser than you. The percentile scores are very important for admission authorities to determine how competent a student is in comparison with others who appear for the same test. Obviously it becomes a better indicator of your performance.
In case you do not perform well in the first attempt of the test, you can apply for a retest. You must register early enough to be able to take the retest of the Chemistry subject test. Your scores should reach the colleges before the admissions start. Hence you must plan to take the test well in advance and keep three-four months for the preparation. Apart from hard work, planning each and every step should see you through the college of your choice.