Subject Specific Testing
What Is the GRE Psychology Exam?
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) offers the GRE Psychology Subject Test for psych majors and others pursuing a master's or doctorate in the field.
One of six standardized GRE subject tests, the GRE Psychology exam is a requirement for certain graduate programs, and applicants must submit their results in addition to GRE General Test scores.
Purpose and Benefits
Why Take the GRE Psychology Subject Test?
Students of any major can take the GRE psychology exam to improve their chances of enrolling in their dream school. GRE Subject Test scores can give you an edge over other students for highly competitive grad programs.
Where most graduate programs use the General GRE test for admissions purposes, GRE Subject Tests allow schools to structure curricula around students' strengths and weaknesses. Taking the GRE Psychology Subject Test may not be a requirement, but it can have a lasting impact on your educational and professional career.
How Often Is the Psychology GRE Offered?
ETS administers the GRE Psychology Subject Test up to three times each year. You may take the exam as often as it's available, but only once per test date.
You can schedule your test date and location during the following months through the ETS website:
Where to Take the GRE Psychology Test
Unlike registering for the remote General Test, GRE subject tests are paper-based exams available only in person at test centers. Selecting a test date and location early ensures you get a seat at the center of your choice.
Options When There Isn’t a Test Center Nearby
Since the GRE psych exam is only available in person, some students may have trouble finding a test center nearby. However, if you live more than 125 miles from the closest GRE test center, you can ask the ETS to open a new location.
A few requirements for making such a request include:
- Supplying the name and address of potential test locations
- Explaining why available test centers don't meet your needs
- Submitting your request alongside your GRE registration form and fees
Format and Content
What's on the GRE Psychology Test?
The GRE Psychology Subject Test contains 205 multiple-choice questions, each with five possible choices and only one correct answer. The test assesses your fundamental knowledge of psychology at an undergraduate level and uses terminology and classifications found in the DSM-5.
Some prompts provide information through graphs, tables, charts, and experiment descriptions to help test-takers find the right answer. Many questions involve analyzing and drawing conclusions from data, evaluating research design, and recalling factual information.
Cumulative and Sub-Scores
Roughly two weeks after taking the test, you and your chosen schools receive a total GRE score and a series of six sub-scores. The total score is a cumulative measure of your overall grade, while the subsections break down your key strengths as well as any areas where you need improvement.
Each psychology-related subsection factors in as a percentage of the entire test and includes:
- Biological (17-21%)
- Cognitive (17-24%)
- Social (12-14%)
- Developmental (12-14%)
- Clinical (15-19%)
- Measurement/Methodology/Other (15-19%)
Psychology GRE Prep
How Long Does It Take to Study for the Psych GRE?
While studying for the GRE Psychology Test is typically less intensive than preparing for the GRE, you should still dedicate a substantial amount of time to getting ready for the exam. Most students spend between one and three months preparing for the Psychology Subject Test.
For those following a GRE study schedule for the General Test, consider working in some psychology review material as you prepare for both exams.
What Material Should I Study?
Since the GRE psych exam assesses knowledge at the undergraduate level, your past assignments, projects, course notes, and textbooks are the best study materials. Using these valuable resources as the structure for your study plan keeps you focused on only the most important information.
In addition, consider taking a practice GRE Psychology Subject Test to preview the structure and content you'll encounter on the real exam. Practice exams can also build your confidence and test-taking stamina so you're ready for exam day.