4 Differences between GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test?

GRE General Test and GRE Subject TestAlthough Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores make up only a part of your graduate school application, it is important. Most education institutions require applicants to have a minimum GRE score to be eligible for admission. However, the GRE score standards within a university may differ for various graduate programs.


1. Purpose:

As the name suggests, GRE General Tests assess your critical thinking and analytical skills. Regardless of your field of study, you may need to take this test as most universities demand the scores. On the other hand, GRE Subject Tests are designed to analyze your specific knowledge related to your field of study. These are usually taken by prospective graduate school applicants who are majoring in specific subjects. Although the subject scores may not be a mandatory requirement for admission to the program that you are applying for, it is a great idea to submit it, as this will give you a competitive edge.


2. Content:

The General Test comprises of the following three sections:

Verbal Reasoning – This measures your ability to analyze and understand sentences and texts.
Quantitative Reasoning – This section will analyze your problem-solving skills and basic mathematical concepts.
Analytical writing – This will test your ability to communicate effectively and express complex ideas through writing.

The Subject Tests evaluates your knowledge in any of the following specific fields:

• Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Literature in English
• Mathematics
• Physics
• Psychology
• Computer Science


3. Delivery Mode of the Tests:

You can register to take either computer-delivered or paper-delivered General Test. The former is offered at test centers year-round. The latter is conducted in specific locations on pre-determined dates. These tests take around four hours. Unlike the General Test, Subject Tests are available only in paper versions and are conducted during September, October, and April. These would take up to two hours and fifty minutes.


4. Scoring:

There is striking difference between the scoring standards of the two types of GRE tests. While the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE General Test 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). GRE Subject Tests are scored on a scale from 200 to 990 (in 10-point increments).


Regardless of these differences, both types of GRE tests have some common factors. You can study and constantly practice to improve your scores in case of both. When studying, it is important to learn time management as this will prepare you for the real-life scenario. There are plenty of resources available online for practice. You can even take mock tests and analyze yourself to make sure that you are ready for the GRE tests.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
  • Enter your email address