If you’re gearing up for grad school, you’ve probably heard about the GRE. But here’s the deal – there are two GRE tests: the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. They serve different purposes, and in this blog, we’ll dish out the specifics. We’re here to help you figure out which test is your key to grad school dreams. Ready? Let’s roll!
In this blog:
- What is the GRE Subject Test?
- What is the GRE Subject test used for?
- What is the GRE General Test?
- What is the difference Between the GRE General vs Subject Test?
- How to Decide: GRE General Test vs Subject Test
What is the GRE Subject Test?
The GRE Subject Test isn’t as popular among international universities. Instead of testing your overall abilities, it zeroes in on a single subject. You have four subjects to choose from: Physics, Maths, and Psychology.
A little-known nugget!
GRE Chemistry Test is now discontinued but scores on the test will continue to be reportable for 5 years after the test date.
What is the GRE subject test used for?
The GRE Subject Tests are assessments designed to gauge your proficiency and expertise in a specific academic field. These tests are primarily tailored for students with a substantial background or a major in one of the following disciplines:
Scores from GRE Subject Tests serve as supplementary indicators for admissions committees and fellowship panels. They complement your undergraduate academic records, recommendation letters, and other qualifications when you’re seeking admission to graduate-level programs.
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Upcoming Changes in GRE Subject Tests
Starting from September 2023, the GRE Subject Tests in Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology are making a shift to a computer-based format. This transition comes with an increased frequency of test availability in more locations, encompassing global test centres and home-based testing options in most countries. Additionally, the Physics and Psychology Tests will have their durations shortened to a 2-hour format.
These modifications have been implemented to enhance accessibility, convenience, and choices for students worldwide. These changes are geared towards helping students make a stronger impression and demonstrate their commitment to competitive graduate programs when presenting their applications to admissions committees.
What is the GRE General Test?
The GRE General Test is a comprehensive exam that assesses your skills in maths, verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking. It’s a test of your overall student aptitude, rather than focusing on a single subject. This is why many prestigious colleges prefer it for admissions.
In the verbal reasoning section, your ability to comprehend and interpret information is put to the test. Quantitative reasoning involves basic maths and your capacity to work with equations and such. The GRE analytical writing segment centres around writing an essay and evaluating your skills in analysis, debate, observation, and expression.
Suggested Read: What’s New About The New GRE General Test
What is the Difference Between GRE General vs Subject Test?
By this point, you’ve likely grasped the fundamentals of the GRE General vs Subject Test. To make it crystal clear, we’ve lined up the key comparison between the two in the table below.
GRE General vs Subject Test
|Characteristic||New GRE General Test||GRE Subject Test|
|Test length||1 hour, 58 minutes||2 hours, 50 minutes|
|Number of sections||5||1|
|Skills tested||Analytical writing, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning||Subject-specific knowledge|
|Score range||130-170 in each section, 260-340 overall||200-990, each subject test has its own scoring range|
|When available||September 22, 2023 onwards||September 22, 2023 onwards|
|Which programs require it?||Most general graduate programs||Some specialised graduate programs|
- The New GRE General Test is shorter and more focused than the previous version.
- Some graduate programs may require both the GRE General Test and a GRE Subject Test.
How to Decide: GRE General Test vs Subject Test
Whether you should take the GRE General Test, the GRE Subject Test, or both depends on your graduate school goals and the requirements of the programs to which you are applying.
The GRE General Test is required by most general graduate programs, such as Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) programs. While the GRE Subject Test assesses your knowledge in a specific subject area, such as mathematics, psychology, or physics. It is required by some specialised graduate programs, such as PhD programs in STEM courses.
How should you decide? Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to take the GRE General Test, the GRE Subject Test, or both:
- Your graduate school goals: What type of graduate program do you want to attend? If you are applying to general graduate programs, you will most likely need to take the GRE General Test. If you are applying to specialised graduate programs, you may need to take the GRE Subject Test.
- The requirements of the programs to which you are applying: Check the websites of the programs to which you are applying to see what their GRE requirements are. Some programs may require both the GRE General Test and a GRE Subject Test, while others may only require one or the other.
- Your strengths and weaknesses: Are you stronger in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, or a specific subject area? If you are stronger in a specific subject area, you may want to consider taking the GRE Subject Test in that area.
- Your time and budget constraints: The GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test are both time-consuming and expensive. Consider how much time and money you are willing to invest in test preparation.
Suggested Read: How can I study for the GRE at-home?
If you are applying to multiple programs, some of which require the GRE General Test and some of which require the GRE Subject Test, it is generally best to take the GRE General Test. This will give you the most flexibility in applying to different programs.
If you are applying to highly competitive programs, you may want to consider taking both the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test. This will show the admissions committees that you have strong academic skills in both general and specialised areas.
If you are unsure between the GRE General test vs Subject test, it is always best to contact the graduate programs to which you are applying and ask them for their recommendations. It is always better to have more information than not enough, and the admissions committees will appreciate that you took the extra step.
Suggested Read: Analysing How Different Graduate Programs Weigh Scores
Best of luck, and start your journey to the best grad schools in the world with Jamboree – Schedule a free demo GRE class.