What is Included on the Psychology GRE&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Sarah Kay Moll
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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The Psychology GRE® is an exam designed to test knowledge of basic psychological concepts. It is used to evaluate students who are applying to a graduate program in psychology. This exam covers a wide range of psychological topics divided into three sections: experimental psychology, social psychology, and general psychology.

The questions on the Psychology GRE® test both memory and understanding of psychology concepts. Some questions test recall of simple facts, while others require an understanding of psychological principles. Other questions ask a test-taker to analyze data and draw conclusions, or evaluate a research design.

About 40% of the questions on the Psychology GRE® cover experimental psychology and natural science. This includes information about learning and conditioning, such as knowing the different types of conditioning or the psychological and neurological processes of learning. The natural science portion of this section covers neurology topics, both anatomy and physiology.

Brain processes such as thinking, memory, sensation, and perception are also covered on the Psychology GRE®. People taking this exam will need to have general knowledge of how the brain works, both psychologically and physiologically. The areas of the brain associated with memory and different types of sensation are another topic that may show up on the exam.


Another 40% of the questions on the Psychology GRE® deal with social psychology. This covers clinical and abnormal psychology, or the psychology of people with mental illnesses and neurological disorders. The test has questions about how to identify and treat these types of disorders, as well as questions about their causes.

The social psychology portion of the exam also covers lifespan development, or the psychological processes and factors that affect a person in different parts of his lifetime. Personality theories and principles may also show up on the social part of the Psychology GRE®. These questions may deal with psychological theories about personality, such as Lewis Goldberg’s “Big Five” theory of personality traits.

Social theories are another topic that can be found within the social psychology part of the test. Social theories are ways that psychologists explain certain principles of social behavior and thought. For example, questions may deal with different types of groups and how people behave differently in groups or individually.

The rest of the questions on the Psychology GRE® are general questions. The history of psychology is one topic that may show up on this part of the exam. Test-takers’ knowledge of different methods in psychology research are tested. These questions cover measurement tools in different branches of psychology.


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