GRE

Comparing the GRE general and subject tests: which one is right for you?

By Edvoy• Published on: Feb 6, 2023
Comparing the GRE general and subject tests: which one is right for you?
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Are you considering taking the GRE to get into a graduate school program?

You may have heard of the GRE general test and the GRE subject tests and know that you have to take one of them, but you need to know which one is right for your situation.

Comparing the GRE general and subject tests can help you determine which is best for you and your academic goals.

In this guide, we will provide an overview of the GRE general and subject tests, the differences between them, and advice on which one is right for you.

Comparing the GRE general and subject tests

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a widely accepted standardized test for admission into graduate schools. It consists of two types of tests: GRE general and subject tests.

Both tests measure a student’s aptitude in a variety of areas, but there are some important differences between them to consider when deciding which one is right for you.

Purpose

The main difference between the GRE general and subject tests is their purpose. The GRE general test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study.

The GRE subject tests are designed to measure your knowledge and skills in the specific subject area rather than your ability to reason and analyze. The tests are available in nine subject areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. The questions are designed to assess your level of comprehension and mastery of the material.

Sections

The GRE general test consists of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, analyze relationships among parts of sentences, and identify relationships between words and concepts. The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to understand quantitative information, reason quantitatively, and solve problems in a quantitative setting. The Analytical Writing section tests your ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively in writing.

The GRE Subject Test is split into two sections: Subject Test and Analytical Writing. The Subject Test is designed to measure your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. The Analytical Writing section assesses your ability to analyze and evaluate written material.

Duration

The total duration for the GRE General Test is 3 hours and 45 minutes, broken down into three sections: Verbal Reasoning (2 sections, 30 minutes each), Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections, 35 minutes each), and Analytical Writing (1 section, 30 minutes).

The duration of the GRE Subject Test varies depending on which subject you are taking; however, it typically lasts for 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Cost

The cost of the GRE general test is US$205. It is offered year-round at Prometric Test Centers and is available in most countries.

The cost of the GRE subject test is US$150 and is offered three times a year in October, November and April.

Scoring

In the GRE general test, the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored on a scale from 130 to 170, in one-point increments. The Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale from 0 to 6, in half-point increments.

The GRE subject test is scored on a scale from 200 to 990, in 10-point increments. The total score is the sum of your scores in all the sections.

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Which one to choose: GRE general test or the GRE subject test?

Comparing the GRE General and Subject Tests is an important step for anyone considering taking one of the tests. It can be difficult to decide which one is right for you, as each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The GRE general test is a general test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. It is often required as part of the admissions process for many graduate and business schools. The GRE subject test is an optional test that measures your knowledge of a particular field of study. It is best suited for those with a strong background in a specific subject area, such as engineering, mathematics, physics, or biology.

If you are applying to a graduate program that requires a GRE score, the GRE general test is likely the best choice for you. It allows you to showcase your overall skills and knowledge and is designed to measure your potential for success in graduate school.

If you have extensive knowledge and experience in a specific subject area, taking the GRE subject test may be beneficial. This will demonstrate your expertise in the field and can be used to supplement your application. For example, if you are applying to an engineering program, taking the GRE subject test in engineering can demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the field.

When deciding which test is right for you, you must consider your goals and the requirements of the schools you are applying to. If you are looking to pursue a wide variety of graduate programs, the GRE General Test is a good choice. On the other hand, if you want to demonstrate your expertise in a specific field of study, the GRE Subject Test may be the right option.

Ultimately, the decision of which test to take should be based on your individual goals and the requirements of the schools you are applying to. Taking the time to research each option and consider your own unique needs can help you make the right choice.

Conclusion

The GRE general and subject tests offer unique benefits for aspiring graduate students. While the general test provides a general overview of your academic ability, the subject test allows you to demonstrate your mastery of a particular subject. Ultimately, prospective graduate students should decide which test is right for them, depending on their goals, interests and academic strengths.

Frequently asked questions

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What skills are measured by the GRE tests?

The GRE general test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period and are not related to any specific field of study. The GRE subject tests are designed to measure the student’s knowledge and skills in the particular subject area rather than their ability to reason and analyze.

What is the cost of GRE tests?

The cost of the GRE general test is US$205 and is offered year-round at Prometric Test Centers. The cost of the GRE subject test is US$150 and is offered three times a year in October, November and April.

How long are the GRE general and subject tests?

The total duration for the GRE general test is 3 hours and 45 minutes, broken down into three sections: Verbal Reasoning (2 sections, 30 minutes each), Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections, 35 minutes each), and Analytical Writing (1 section, 30 minutes). The duration of the GRE subject test varies depending on which subject you are taking; however, it typically lasts for 2 hours and 50 minutes.

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