What subjects are tested in the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, more often known as the GRE, is a test taken by students who aspire to earn a postgraduate degree from an institution in another country. It comes in two flavors: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. The course material for each examination is unique. The curriculum for the General Test of the GRE is divided into three sections: quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Your verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking abilities will be evaluated thoroughly.

On the other hand, the material covered by the GRE subject tests is geared toward determining a candidate's level of knowledge in various specialized areas, such as chemistry, physics, and others.

Students who aspire to earn a postgraduate degree from a school in another country are encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examination, also known as the GRE. It comes in two different forms: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. Every exam has its own unique set of requirements to cover. Quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills make up the three areas that make up the GRE General Test syllabus. This test's main objective is to assess your verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills.

On the other hand, the curriculum for the GRE subject tests is geared toward determining a candidate's level of knowledge in a variety of specialized areas, such as chemistry, physics, and others.

You may learn more about the GRE curriculum 2022 for both the general and topic exams you'll be taking in this post.

What's the difference between the GRE General Test and a GRE Subject Test?

People who want to get a Ph.D. or graduate abroad take the GRE general test. The GRE General Test has verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing sections. Grad schools all over the world accept the GRE general test. The GRE general test can be taken up to 5 times yearly, once every 21 days. The GRE general test is given on a computer.

GRE subject tests are taken by people who want to show how good they are in certain areas. You can take a GRE subject test in Biology, Maths, Chemistry, Literature, Physics, or Psychology. In addition to the other academic requirements, the GRE subject test is sometimes needed to graduate from the best colleges. A GRE topic test can only be taken three times a year. The GRE subject test is given on paper.

What Is the General Test for the GRE?

The General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized examination developed and managed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), sometimes known as ETS. It aims to evaluate a candidate's overall intellectual preparedness for graduate school. To be considered for admission to certain graduate schools, applicants must take the general test and a GRE Subject Test. This test evaluates the candidate's technical knowledge about a particular field of studies, such as mathematics, physics, or psychology.

GRE Syllabus

Verbal reasoning, critical thinking, analytical writing skills, and quantitative reasoning are all assessed throughout the GRE's curriculum. Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning comprise most of the curriculum's three main components. The GRE can be completed on a computer or on paper, and the examination format varies depending on which option you choose. Students who intend to get their graduate degrees in a country other than their home country are the ones who typically take the test that is administered on a computer.

Test Pattern for the computer-based test 

1. Verbal Reasoning: 60 minutes and has two sections – 40 questions.

2. Quantitative Reasoning: 70 minutes and has two sections – 40 questions

3. Analytical Writing: 60 minutes and has 1 section – two tasks

The format of the GRE that is given on a computer consists of three sections: one for verbal reasoning, one for quantitative reasoning, each with 20 questions, and one portion for analytical writing, which consists of two activities that are timed individually. The computer-delivered version of the GRE will take three hours and forty-five minutes of your time.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Test Outline

In the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE, your capacity for interpreting particular words, passages as a whole, and phrases will be evaluated. The syllabus tests how well you understand the connections between terms and ideas.

Determine the author's assumptions and point of view, evaluate and infer inferences from the discourse, and comprehend several levels of meaning, including metaphorical, literal, and the author's intended meaning.

List of the topics covered in GRE Verbal Reasoning: 

  1. Modifiers and Parallelism
  2. Idioms and Idiomatic expressions
  3. Verb tense
  4. Pronoun Agreement
  5. Subject-Verb Agreement
  6. Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns

The GRE verbal Syllabus is divided into three parts:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion

Reading Comprehension: The reading comprehension questions consist of one to four or five paragraphs, and the texts cover three distinct topic areas: humanities, natural science, and social science (Business). This section evaluates your comprehension of what you are reading. The exam contains approx. Ten passages. Before answering the questions, you must thoroughly read and comprehend the passage. Also, do not be disheartened if you discover a passage that is new to you. It depends on how effectively you comprehend and answer the questions. In addition, you should not rely on outside knowledge but answer questions based on the passage's information. Remember that all questions can be answered using the passage's information.

Sentence Equivalence: Your ability to finish a paragraph with just partial information is tested in this stage. There are two grammatically proper ways to finish the phrase, both of which convey the same idea. Your answer choice gives you a logical, stylistic, and grammatically coherent sentence. The words that have the same meaning may not be the right response.

Text Completion: It evaluates your capacity to construct a whole image from the text. Your vocabulary is tested in both the sentence equivalence and text completion exercises. However, knowing the terms won't enable you to ace this test. You must comprehend the significance as well.

GRE Quantitative Reasoning Test Outline

Your capacity to use mathematical models to solve issues is tested on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning part. You must be able to comprehend, evaluate, and interpret quantitative data. Applying fundamental elementary knowledge and math, geometry, data analysis, and algebra abilities can help you ace this section.

An on-screen calculator is available. A calculator will be available at the exam center if you take the test on paper.

Topics in GRE Quantitative reasoning

Arithmetic: Property and types of integer, Power and roots, Statistics, Estimation, Number properties, Percentage, Exponents and Roots, Ratio and proportions, Simple and Compound Interest, Arithmetic Operations.

Geometry: Lines and Angles, Circles, Triangle, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Three-dimensional figures, Area, Perimeter, Volume, Angle Measurements

Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics such as Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, etc., Interpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs; scatter plots, etc., Probability, Permutation and Combination, Venn Diagrams, Sets Theory

Algebra: Exponents, Algebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying, Equations and inequalities, Linear and Quadratic inequalities, Linear Equations, Quadratic equations, Word Problems, Speed, distance, and Time, Profit and Loss, Coordinate geometry

GRE Analytical Writing Test Outline

Your analytical writing and critical thinking abilities are evaluated in this area.

The GRE Analytical Writing part tests how well you can efficiently communicate difficult ideas. Are you able to back them up with appropriate arguments and examples? It calls on you to give targeted responses based on the tasks given.

The GRE analytical writing syllabus consists of two sections:

Analyze & Argument: To do this, you must analyze a given argument per stated guidelines.

Analyze & Issue: To do this, you must offer a solution to the general interest problem and detailed guidelines for how to solve it.

The assignments on the GRE Analytical Writing part include a wide range of subjects, including the humanities, physical sciences, and visual arts. You don't have to be an authority in any one field. No matter your field of study or interest, you will be able to grasp the work.

Subject Tests on the GRE

Subject tests on the GRE are content-based examinations that evaluate a candidate's level of expertise in a particular academic topic, such as biology or psychology. Each one is geared toward students who have majored in the subject matter of the exam in question or have studied it in great depth. A person interested in attending graduate school might take a math subject test to exhibit their mathematical skills to graduate schools in subjects such as computer science and economics, which need a high level of numerical competence.

According to the "GRE Topic Tests" section of the ETS website, taking subject tests can help students who are interested in attending graduate school "stand out from other applicants" by proving their "knowledge and ability level" within a specific academic field. These are the six categories for which there is an available topic test:


There are about 130 multiple-choice questions in the exam. The test booklet includes a periodic table, an information table with several physical constants, and a few conversion factors between SI units. Additional physical constant values are presented along with the question text as needed. Mathematical operations are made simpler in test questions. Therefore, neither calculators nor logarithm tables are required. The required values are provided with the question if using logarithms is necessary to solve an issue. The test's content highlights the four traditional divisions of chemistry into fields and some interrelationships among the areas. Individual questions may test more than one area of chemistry because of these interrelationships. Some test-takers might link a certain question to one field, while others might have come across the same information in a different field. For instance, some test takers may have learned the information required to respond to several questions labeled as testing organic chemistry in analytical chemistry classes. Therefore, the emphasis on the four fields listed in the following summary of the test's subject matter should not be taken as being set in stone.

Content Specifications

1. Mathematics

The test comprises roughly 66 multiple-choice questions that are taken from undergraduate courses that are frequently offered. Calculus and its applications are a topic that is presumed to be familiar to practically all mathematics majors' backgrounds in about half of the problems. In the exam, problems from elementary algebra, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and number theory make up about 25% of the total questions. The remaining inquiries relate to different branches of mathematics that many schools' undergraduate students currently study.

2. Physics 

The test includes 100 multiple-choice questions based on diagrams, graphs, experimental data, and physical scenarios. The examination measures examinees' understanding of fundamental ideas and their ability to apply them to problem-solving. Most test questions can be answered with first-year physics knowledge.

The test uses SI units. The test book has a table of physical constants and SI conversion factors.

The committee of examiners calculated the test's estimated percentages based on a nationwide study of the college physics curriculum. The percentages indicate the committee's determination of each topic's relative importance in an undergraduate degree. These percentages and key subtopics are listed below. In each category, subtopics are given in decreasing test significance.

Nearly all test questions will be on this list, but some may be on other topics.

The April 2022 Physics Test will have three subscores: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and atomic physics. Subscore questions are not set apart and labeled individually; nonetheless, numerous questions from the same content area may appear consecutively.

  • Classical Mechanics — 20%
  • Electromagnetism — 18%
  • Thermodynamics And Statistical Mechanics — 10%
  • Quantum Mechanics — 12%
  • Atomic Physics — 10%
  • Special Relativity — 6%
  • Laboratory Methods — 6%
  • Specialized Topics — 9%


It has 205 multiple-choice questions. Each exam question offers five possibilities, and the test taker must choose the proper one. Some stimulus items, such as an experiment description or a graph, may be used for any inquiries. The Psychology Test questions come from undergraduate psychology classes. A question may demand factual memory, relationship analysis, principle application, data interpretation, or research design evaluation.

  • BIOLOGICAL (17–21%)
  • COGNITIVE (17–24%)
  • SOCIAL (12–14%)
  • DEVELOPMENTAL (12–14%)
  • CLINICAL (15–19%)

Final Thoughts 

The curriculum for the GRE General Test is generally broken up into three areas: Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. You can take the GRE General Test in two ways: Computer-delivered or paper-delivered format. Reading Comprehension, Sentence Equivalence, and Text Completion are the three subtopics that make up the GRE Syllabus for the Verbal Reasoning section. This section discusses various issues, including but not limited to: idioms and idiomatic expressions, modifiers and parallelism, and verb tenses. Your capability to answer issues by employing mathematical models will be evaluated as part of the quantitative reasoning section of the GRE test. Calculus, geometry, and statistical analysis are some of the topics that will be discussed. The assignments for the Analytical Writing Section of the curriculum are titled "Analyze and issue" and "Analyze and argument," respectively. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Subject Test covers six different areas of study: chemistry, physics, biology, literature in English, mathematics, and psychology.