What are the Different GRE&Reg; Subject Tests?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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There are many different GRE® subject tests that can be taken along with the Graduate Record Examination® (GRE®) general test. These tests are taken by students looking to enter certain specific fields of study in graduate school, and not all schools require these tests. Some of the most common subject tests are in science, with specific tests available in chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science. There are also some GRE® subject tests available in mathematics, literature in English, and psychology; these subject tests are organized into sections that cover different aspects of these subjects.

GRE® subject tests are tests taken in addition to the GRE® general test that focus more extensively on specific subjects. Many graduate schools require the GRE® general test be taken by prospective students, and use the scores for this test in addition to transcripts and letters of recommendation when considering potential students. Some schools also require that students complete one or more GRE® subject tests prior to admittance. This usually depends on the particular needs and requirements of a school, and the test or tests taken by a prospective student usually relates directly to his or her field of study.


Some of the most common GRE® subject tests are those in the different fields of science. There are two subject tests that may need to be taken for students of biology or medicine. The biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology test covers various aspects of microbiology and lab procedures. The biology subject test covers microbiology, organismal biology, ecology and evolution. There are also GRE® subject tests in chemistry and physics, which often include mathematical work and a strong understanding of the foundational aspects of these subjects.

GRE® subject tests in mathematics and computer science are also available for graduate students. The test in mathematics covers a number of different areas of math, with a strong focus on calculus and algebra, as well as questions regarding graphing and statistics. Students who are going to take the subject test in computer science should have experience with programming, data organization, memory management, and the mathematics behind many computer systems.

There are also GRE® subject tests available for literature in English and psychology. The literature in English test covers a wide range of English literature, including poetry and prose, from both British and American writers. Questions on the psychology subject test cover cognitive processes such as language and memory, use of different diagnostic methods, and an overview of various ethical issues inherent to psychology.


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