If you are looking to get admission into any of the well known Graduate Schools in the USA or other parts of the world, you will be required to submit the scores achieved from one or more standardized graduate admissions tests, primarily amongst which is the GRE.
Graduate Record Examination commonly known as the GRE is conducted by the Education Testing Services (ETS), a US-based organization, which is the organizing body of this test. ETS GRE scores are accepted by a majority of the top graduate schools for their degree programs, specialized Master's courses, MBA or a Ph.D. degree.
The test is available at over 1000 centers in more than 160 countries. The test was taken by more than 2 million candidates from all over the world last year.
ETS has not set any age, qualification, timing related limitations for GRE test takers. However, a set of eligibility criteria is set by the schools that accept GRE scores. For each of their graduate programs, they may have minimum age, qualification, and experience related filters.
The only document required to appear for the GRE is the candidate's identity proof. In most countries, the student or professional will need a valid passport to appear for the test. You will need your original passport which distinctly shows your full name, photograph, and signature. No other document is admissible as proof of identity.
GRE Subject Tests
The GRE Subject Tests can be looked at as proficiency tests that measure a prospective graduate school applicant’s expertise in a particular field of study. Applicants usually come from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds and the Subject Tests act as a common measure for comparing candidates' qualifications. These tests can aid an applicant to stand out from others with similar qualifications and backgrounds by highlighting his/her know-how and skill level in a specific subject.
The tests are designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in one of the six disciplines of study: Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English and Psychology.
The test scores are accepted by graduate schools as well as individual departments or divisions within these schools. They are used by admissions or fellowship panels to augment your undergraduate records, letters of recommendation and other qualifications for graduate-level study. More often than not, the scores are not required for admission to a particular program, however, admissions committees will give weightage to the scores if they are submitted. Having said that, it is advisable to contact the admissions office or the specific department you're interested in and find out their preference.
The GRE Subject Test is used by schools and departments to evaluate an applicant’s level of expertise in a particular subject of study and often times acts as a yardstick for measuring a candidate’s readiness for graduate school. The
Registration for the GRE Subject Test
You can register for the GRE Subject Test either online through their official website ets.org/gre or via phone. There is also an option to receive the GRE authorization voucher via mail. You will receive a confirmation about the test choice, date, test center, and score recipients.
Test Structure and fees
The GRE Subject Tests are conducted in a paper-delivered format. The total duration of the test is of 2 hours and 50 minutes with no separately timed sections so you can work through the test at your own pace. There are five answer choices for each question and the correct answer is recorded on a separate multiple-choice answer sheet.
You can sit for the Subject Test up to 3 times a year in September, October and April.
The registration charge for the GRE Subject Test is $150. There is an extra charge of $25 if you want to change the center or reschedule the test.
Let us look into the Mathematics Subject Test in more detail -
GRE Mathematics Subject Test
The test which is drawn from courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level, generally consists of 66 multiple-choice questions. Approximately half of the questions involve calculus and its applications, which is common to the backgrounds of almost all mathematics majors. A quarter of the questions are about elementary, linear, abstract algebra, and number theory. The remaining questions deal with other key areas of mathematics, currently studied by undergraduate students in many institutions.
The following content descriptions, although not exhaustive, may assist you in preparing for the test.
- 1. Material learned in elementary calculus courses - integral and differential calculus of one and more variables, calculus-based applications with coordinate geometry, differential equations, trigonometry, and other branches of mathematics.
- 2. Elementary algebra includes basic algebraic techniques and manipulations, matrix algebra, vector spaces, linear transformations, systems of linear equations, characteristic polynomials, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors which are part of linear algebra.
- 3. Abstract algebra and number theory comprises elementary topics from group, field and number theory and theory of rings and modules.
- 4. Introductory real analysis encompass sequences and series of numbers and functions, differentiability and integrability, continuity, and elementary topology of R and Rn
- 5. Logic, combinatorics, algorithms, set, and theory in Discrete mathematics.
- 6. Other topics such as general topology, complex variables, geometry, numerical analysis. probability and statistics.
Preparing for the test
GRE intends to assess your analytical and critical thinking skills. You are advised to check the GRE exam pattern for a detailed overview of the test and its sections. The ETS website offers plenty of free and paid GRE preparation material that you can practice from.
You can also find independent test prep materials that provide the necessary preparation assistance. Books, courses, and tests offered by Barrons, Kaplan, GREedge, etc provide an overview of the concepts, practice questions, and mock tests to help you prepare better.
Very often, a question is tricky rather than hard. Therefore, you should take a careful and systematic approach with techniques & strategies that can get you a great score.
Scoreselect Option in GRE
Each Subject Test yields a total score on a scale of 200 - 990, in 10-point increments.
The Scoreselect option helps you to send the test scores to schools that you have chosen. This option is available for both General and Subject tests. You can send the scores from your most recent test or any of the scores achieved in the last 5 years.
Regardless of your pick, the schools will only see the scores that you have selected. There will be no additional information even if you have taken multiple attempts at GRE.