What is Included on the Chemistry GRE&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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The chemistry Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) includes questions related to four different chemistry disciplines. These disciplines are analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. The chemistry GRE® consists of 130 multiple-choice questions.

GRE® tests are taken by students looking to pursue graduate degrees in specific fields. A general GRE® test is offered, and subject-specific tests are also available. These subject specific tests provide candidates with the ability to demonstrate knowledge in a specific field, such as chemistry, mathematics, or biology.

Candidates taking the chemistry GRE® test, or any GRE® test, are under strict restrictions and time limits. Test takers are limited to two hours and fifty minutes to complete the GRE® test for chemistry. Students must also pre-register and pay any necessary fees prior to the testing date.

Analytical chemistry questions make up approximately 15 percent of the test questions. This section includes questions based on the use of statistics, various instrumental methods, and homogeneous and heterogeneous equilibria. Test questions may be related to the application of this knowledge to environmental or radiochemical processes.

Inorganic chemistry makes up approximately 25 percent of the test questions. It includes subjects such as general chemistry, covalent molecular structures, and the concepts of acids and bases. Test questions can be based on various elements, compounds, and nuclear chemistry.


Making up approximately 30 percent of the test, organic chemistry questions center around several principles related to the particular field of organic chemistry. This includes test questions related to alkenes, alkanes, and dienes. Test questions in this section will also focus on organometallics, reactive intermediates, and polymers.

The final 30 percent of the test is the section on physical chemistry. Physical chemistry questions on the chemistry GRE® test deal with thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, and dynamics. This includes chemical potential, atomic and molecular structure, and chemical kinetics.

Those taking the test can find several helpful tools in the test booklet. A periodic table is provided for review and reference. Calculators should not be needed, as test questions are structured so that candidates rely primarily on basic mathematics. If logarithms are necessary, they will be included within the text of the question.

Practice tests are available and should be taken before attempting the actual chemistry GRE®. The practice test booklet can also give advice on answering difficult questions. These practice tests can also identify areas where additional study may be necessary before attempting the actual test.


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