GRE General vs Subject Test: What You Need to Know

Have you decided to pursue a master’s abroad? Then, while researching about the best universities, you might’ve heard most universities abroad require GRE scores for admission. However, you may not understand the difference between the GRE General Test and Subject test, especially if you are giving the exam for the first time. While both the tests are important, each one serves a different purpose. In this article, we’ll briefly explain all that you need to know about these tests. 

GRE General Test

The Graduate Records Examination, commonly known as GRE, is a standardized entrance test for admission to masters and doctoral degrees abroad. The scores of this computer-delivered test are accepted for higher education in any field of study including Business, Law, and Science. The GRE pattern and syllabus include three sections— Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning — and these are areas that are not important to only a specific field of study but are equally important to all. 

The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to think analytically and critically. The section measures your ability to express complex ideas and create or analyze arguments. Similarly, Quantitative Reasoning measures your basic mathematical skills and your ability to solve problems. Verbal Reasoning on the other hand, assesses your ability to comprehend and analyze written material and recognize contextual relationships between sentences and words. 

The maximum score you can achieve in GRE is 340. Besides, each of the sections is scored separately. Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are scored on a scale of 130-170 in one-point increments, while Analytical Writing is scored on a scale of 0-6 in half-point increments. The GRE score is valid for five years, and the universities mostly consider your best score among all, in case you’ve taken the GRE several times. 

GRE Subject Test

While the GRE General test measures your knowledge of common skills required for almost all the fields of study, GRE subject tests are subject-specific and test your knowledge in fields such as Psychology, Mathematics, Chemistry, or Physics. You can appear for this test if you wish to highlight your knowledge in any of these subject areas. Besides, subject tests help the grad schools understand your strengths and thus compare you with other applicants. 

Subject tests are not considered as a replacement for general tests. It is usually taken along with the GRE general test to show your expertise in any subject. More so, not all schools ask for subject scores. Having said that, including subject scores in your application can give an edge to your profile. 

Unlike the GRE General test syllabus, the Subject tests have a vast syllabus that is mostly based on what you’ve learnt at the graduate level. The GRE subject tests are 2 hours 50 minutes long and you can choose any questions you want to answer first as the test has no separate timed sections. The score range for each subject test is 200 to 990, in 10-point increments, and the scores are valid for five years. 

Whether to take the GRE General Test alone or both General and subjects is a personal choice. However, including the subject scores in your application can add value to your profile. We hope now you have all the GRE details.  Good luck!

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