The GRE Subject Exams test your knowledge on a specific subject area, which also assesses your comprehension and familiarity of that subject. In order to attain a good score on the GRE Subject Test, you should have a considerable amount of knowledge and a extensive background in that subject. Usually, students become familiar with a subject during their undergraduate years by either majoring in or taking a number of classes in that field. Therefore, students typically take the GRE Subject Test in their field of study. Students who have majored in a different subject area are also allowed to take a GRE Subject Test but must be knowledgeable in the subject they wish to take the exam in.
The GRE Subject Test is not required by all schools or programs. Some programs or schools may value the exam more than others. Additionally, some programs dont even have GRE Subject Tests in their field. Currently, there are only 8 GRE Subject Exams:
- Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
- Computer Science
- Literature in English
All other subjects only require students to take the General GRE Exam. Check youre your department to see if you are required to take a GRE Subject Test before you register for one. Some schools recommend you to take one even though they are not required. Students who are applying to programs that are different from their undergraduate majors are encouraged to take the GRE Subject Test within the field of interest. Additionally, if there are any weaknesses on your record, you may want to consider taking a Subject Exam to demonstrate your competence in that field.
The test is in a multiple-choice format with five-option choices. Questions test you on core areas of your subject and you receive 1 point for each question answered correctly. However, you lose 1/4 of a point for each wrong answer. GRE Subject Exams are paper-pencil based and you have the option to skip questions and return to unanswered questions. Additionally, you are allowed to leave questions unanswered. There is no penalty for unanswered questions. It is recommended that you leave questions unanswered if you do not know the answer. Guessing is not encouraged on the subject tests because you lose a 1/4 point for each wrong answer. Wrong answers will hurt your score, whereas unanswered questions will improve your score. Your raw score is based on the total number of correct answers minus 1/4 for each wrong answer. The raw score is then converted into a scaled score ranging from 200 to 900.
The Subject GRE Exam is given 3 times a year, April, November, and December. The exam fee is $130 in the U.S. and U.S. territories. All other locations have a $150 exam fee. The exam takes about 3 1/2 hours to complete. Remember to take your GRE Subject Test before your application deadline. Otherwise, you will have to wait till the following year to apply to grad school.
The admissions committee will predict your success in graduate school based on your GPA, GRE Scores, GRE Subject Exam scores, Letters of Recommendations, and Personal Statement. It is essential that you do well on your Subject test, especially if you are lacking in any other area. The GRE Subject tests evaluates your competence and capability of succeeding in your field of interest.