The GRE math subject exam is one of the GRE subject tests, which basically tests the capability and potentiality of a student’s mathematical skills and abilities so as to get admission into prestigious graduate schools of the USA.

The GRE math subject test, which is a standardized test, when taken along with the GRE general test actually helps those candidates who would want to pursue higher studies in the field of mathematics and related fields connected with math. There are many schools in the USA wherein they accept the subject test scores. It is like an added advantage which makes the candidate stand distinct from others. But it would be a smart move to check and double check whether the University, you prefer accepts the subject test scores.

Please note that this test is not a replacement for GRE general test, but instead can be taken along with the general test giving extra footage highlighting your skills and knowledge in the math subject.

Totally there would be about 66 questions with a time limit of 2 hours and 50 minutes. All are multiple choice questions with five choices to pick from. It has only one section, unlike the GRE general test which has many sections.


The GRE math subject test too is being handled by the ETS (Educational Testing Service). GRE Math Subject Test from ETS.

Difference between GRE general math and subject math test:

There are definitely some differences between the two tests. Students must not get confused with the two math tests.

  1. The math section of GRE general test checks the abilities of the candidate’s understanding and application of basic mathematics not higher than high school level. General math test paper includes basic concepts like algebra, arithmetic, probability, etc., but the math subject exam tests a candidate’s in-depth knowledge of math concepts. It includes higher concepts like calculus, differential equations, etc.
  2. On a comparative note with the GRE general exam, which is taken on computers, this test is purely a Paper-based examination. Since it is not computer-based, the score of the preceding question does not reflect on the difficulty of the succession question. This is one of the advantages of using a paper based test, as the questions are fixed for everybody and do not change with the person’s answering ability.
  3. There is negative marking in GRE math subject test whereas there is no such scoring in the general math test.
  4. No multiple sections as in general test and so no breaks offered in between.

Need for subject test scores:

  1. Apart from the master’s degree, people who apply for the doctorate program would definitely require subject test scores, say for engineering, statistics, obviously higher studies in mathematics, etc.
  2. Some prestigious schools say like Stanford University, University of Notre Dame, etc. always ask for subject test scores.

Test score range:

For one correct answer, the score increases by one point and for every wrong answer, it decrements by1/4 marks. Once the total score is calculated for the 66 questions, it gets converted to a scaled score in the range of 200 to 990 points.

The students must be careful in answering the questions as there is negative marking as mentioned above. Therefore it would be a wise gesture to leave it blank rather than to fill it up with guessed answers.

Once the scores are ready, it would be available online. The scores stay valid for up to 5 years of time starting from the test date.

Using the ScoreSelect feature, the best scores or all scores would be sent to the Universities as per the candidate’s wish. More on ScoreSelect from ETS.

Once a request for the scores is made, it takes minimum 5 working days for processing. Therefore, if the validity period’s expiration is nearing, make the requisition for scores way before, say at least a week to maximum three weeks in advance.

Good and bad test scores:

A good score would be above 770 to 850/990 with a percentile of 75 to 90 and on an average basis, around 700 for admission into the Ph.D. programs. More than the score, it is the top 10 percentile, which is considered as best score and bottom 10 percentile as low-grade scores . Generally, the schools opt for the top ones. Check out with the schools for their cutoff percentiles as ETS does not categorize the scores as the best and worst ones. The bad ones could be in the range of 100s.

Find more on GRE Math Subject Test Scaled scores and Percentiles chart

Varsity tutors offer free GRE math subject test prep courses. Practice tests for GRE Math Subject Tests from Varsity Tutors.

Check out this link for any doubts and questions on GRE math subject test,

Test centers:

There are GRE math subject test centers all over the world. Before registering, do check out for the date and the test centers near your location. Paper based test center list

Registration process:

The GRE math subject test is conducted three times a year, during the months of

  • September
  • October
  • April

But only one subject test is allowed on a particular day. For 2017-18, the registration opened on July 1st, 2017 and ended on March 2, 2018. The registration for GRE math subject test ends one month before the test date, April 14th, 2018.

There is a late registration facility available too, which has an extended period of a week with late fees of $25 extra and is available only online.

Registration is a very simple process which can be done either online or through regular mail.

Online registration:

An ETS account needs to be opened. If there is an account that has been already opened for GRE general test, then the same account ID can be used.

A very important point to remember is the name used while registration must be exactly the same as the name in the identification document that the candidate carries with her/him while attending the test.

The name issue is no joke, as the student may not be either allowed inside the exam hall or the scores could get canceled if found later on after the GRE math test is over.

There is a video on how to register; please check out Video tutorialand for the transcript of the video


For registering through mail, download the application form in pdf form here, fill up the form and mail it to the address mentioned in the downloaded form.


US $150.

Late fees:

US $25.

For more details on fees details, check out the web link.

Disability accommodation:

Please check out Disability accommodation details for subject tests from ETS.

GRE Math Test Syllabus:

The test covers almost all the areas of the math subject ranging from calculus, algebra, geometry, statistics, etc.

About half of the total percentage of questions that would be 50%, say around 33 questions, are from calculus which includes,

  1. Calculus.
    1. Preliminary calculus.
    2. Multivariate calculus.
  2. Coordinate geometry
  3. Trigonometry.
  4. Differential equations.

Of the remaining 50%, 25% is from algebra

  1. Elementary algebra: It tests the basic knowledge acquired by the candidate right from the high school.
  2. Linear algebra.
    1. Matrix algebra.
    2. Linear equations
    3. Linear transformations.
    4. Vector spaces.
    5. Polynomials.
    6. Eigenvalues.
    7. Eigen vectors.
  3. Abstract algebra.
    1. Group theory.
    2. Theory of rings and modules.
    3. Field theory.
    4. Number theory.

And the remaining percentage of another 25% would be from

  1. Probability.
  2. Statistics.
  3. Numbers and functions
  4. Topology.
  5. Discrete math which includes
    1. Algorithms.
    2. Set theory.
    3. Graph theory.
  6. Numerical analysis.

Test preparation:

Practice makes a person perfect; therefore, the best key to success is practice, especially with mathematics. With more practice definitely there will be an increase in the GRE math subject test scores. The GRE subject math test would definitely not be hard for someone who has practiced well. With more hours of practice, there will definitely be an increase in the scores.

One of the best ways to prepare for the GRE math subject test would be to revise whatever was taught in the college level, and also have a quick look into the high school math books for basic algebra.

GRE math subject test books:

The books listed below are available on Amazon with a highly slashed price tag.

  • Cracking the GRE mathematics subject test 4th edition

  • The book comes with a 23% discount. It has been prepared by the experts from the prestigious Princeton Review who have been in the run for more than three and a half decades, say from 1981 onward.


    It is a decent good book as its team consists of highly efficient authors.


    The problem with this book is that some chapters do not have enough data.

  • GRE mathematics subject test Gr0568 and Gr 9768 solutions

  • The book is an excellent help to the aspiring GRE math test students.


    The process of solving the problems are highly elaborate, say, in a very detailed manner. It is ideal to be used as a reference book, especially for theorems from calculus.


    At times, students find it difficult to understand.

  • GRE mathematics subject test solutions Gr1268, Gr 0568 and Gr 9768

  • This book is a very good reference book with pictorial representation of graphs wherever required.


    Same as above.



  • GRE Practicing to Take the Mathematics Test by ETS

  • It is an excellent practice workbook which has all the necessary details required for a GRE math subject test aspirant.


    There are only quite a few books available for the students appearing for the math subject exam and this book is definitely one among the few.


    Some feel that there are many questions in the book which are available online for free.

  • Schaum’s outline of calculus

  • It has lots of problems with their solutions, many practice questions with examples.


    One of the ideal books for GRE math subject test aspirants.


    A common fault is that it has some errors in them.

  • Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Beginning Calculus:

  • It is available online in pdf format which is absolutely free of cost.

  • GRE mathematics (GRE test preparation) 5th edition

  • It has lots of practice problems and in-depth explanation for very difficult questions.


    This is a high standard book for students



Grading Princeton Review:

Princeton Review has been helping and tutoring students for nearly more than three decades ranging from a simple homework to GRE, GMAT, CMAT tests, etc. The list is really very long offering tuitions, publishing books, etc. They are based in New York and critics have made charges against them that the final test scores do not match with what has actually been advertised.

But still, it is a well-established service-oriented organization guiding students with their exams.

Answering the question paper:

A smart way of handling the question paper would be to choose most familiar and confident questions first, then not so difficult ones and then if time permits the students can try their hands on the hard and most difficult ones. All the questions carry equal marks; therefore, it would be a smart gesture to attempt familiar ones first.

Usage of calculators:

During the test, an ETS calculator will be provided and personal calculators will not be allowed inside the test center. Therefore, do not take calculators or any other electronic devices into the examination hall, as the candidate could get expelled if found otherwise.

It is a very regular ordinary calculator that is being provided by the ETS and not scientific. But it is always a good practice to workout using the scratch paper space provided along with the question paper than depend on calculators. Use calculators for complicated subtractions, divisions, etc and not for every simple arithmetic calculations.


Just because the content syllabus of the paper is vast and the books reviews are a bit scary, that does not mean the paper is going to be tough and difficult. For a pupil who has mastered mathematics since high school, this multiple choice question test would be definitely interesting and confidently challenging.

After all, math is a very interesting subject provided the person has a strong knowledge over the basic ideas and concepts. This test is just to judge the fundamental and also in-depth knowledge of the candidate.

Other subject tests:

Apart from mathematics, there are other subject tests too like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, and English literature. Click here to know more on them .

When you register for the Mathematics subject test of GRE you will have to look for a center in which paper tests are administered. Such centers are limited and tend to get filled early. Moreover a large number of students appear for the Mathematics subject test and hence it is likely that you do not get a seat at the center of your choice. Hence keep two centers on mind in case it is required. Furthermore, if you register well in advance then you are at ease and have enough time to mentally prepare yourself for the test. Then on you can plan well about what mode of preparation you should apply and you shall have sufficient time for revision. You can either register through the internet or by mail. On registering for this subject test you shall be provided with free test practice material.

After the registration comes the preparation for the test. It is vital that some 3-4 months be devoted to it. Though the test aims at judging the knowledge and capabilities of students which they are supposed to have developed over years of schooling, practicing for the test can considerably improve your score, especially since mathematics can only be mastered through practice. Also the subject is such that one can considerably improve his performance and hence score, if properly guided. Clarification of simple concepts and methods can help arrive at the correct answer. The Mathematics test is such that the answer options are generally very similar. The test setters are aware of the mistakes that the examinees tend to make and they calculate the wrong answers accordingly. Hence, if you make a mistake it is likely that you find your wrong answer as one of the options. Be mindful of this important point.

In case you are confident about your capabilities you can go ahead and prepare on your own. Get hold of a few good books, search the net for free resources, take ample practice and mock tests and you shall be able to prepare well.

Else you should look for a source which suits your requirements. There are basically four means of preparation that one can choose from: books, online courses, classroom coaching and software. Each of these means has its inherent merits and demerits and you must thoroughly analyze each option before taking a decision. You cannot afford to change from one source of preparation to another. Apart from the monetary losses involved in doing so, a lot of time is also wasted. Moreover do not switch to another source within two to three days of starting your preparation; take time to see if the source is really worthless before deciding to switch to another source.

Preparing for the  test does not just mean that you are able to solve problems. It also means that you build up your confidence in your capabilities. Confidence plays a very important role in any exam and more so in mathematics tests. If you get stuck at a point and cannot make a breakthrough you might tend to panic. Sometimes it takes mere confidence to tackle such situations. If you lose your cool, you are likely to make mistakes in the questions ahead as well. Endeavour to avoid such situations.

While you attempt the Mathematics test you shall be provided with extra space for the rough work. Moreover the  test is administered in the paper format. This makes it easy for you to go back and forth according to your preferences to attempt the test. Some students prefer to attempt the easier questions before moving on to the difficult ones. This method is particularly helpful while attempting the Mathematics test because all the questions carry equal marks. But in the bargain it is likely that you miss out on some questions or fill in the answers wrongly in the answer sheet. Moreover, you will waste time in deciding which question is easy and which is difficult. Hence you must be conscious of these facts while deciding whether you want to approach the questions sequentially or in a random order.

Your scores in the  test are calculated in two stages. The scaled scores are based on the raw scores. One fourth of the total number of questions answered incorrectly is subtracted from the total number of questions answered correctly. This gives the raw score, which is then converted into scaled score. The scaled scores are within limits of 200 and 990. On an average, a student scores between 440 and 810. In addition to these scores, 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 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 capable a student is in comparison with others who appear for the same test. Thus it becomes a better indicator of your performance.

In case you are unhappy with your scores, you can retake the test. For this you will have to register again and it might leave you will less or no time for sending scores to colleges before admissions close. Also it has been observed that most retests do not yield the desired increase in scores. Hence it is advised that you give it your best shot in the very first go. So, prepare yourself well for the first test itself rather than investing your time, energy and money again.


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