offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

Sign up or log in to Magoosh GRE Prep.

GRE Subject Test vs GRE General Test

Many aspiring graduate students wonder: should I take the GRE General Test or a GRE Subject Test? Or multiple GRE Subject Tests? And what’s the difference between these two types of GRE, anyway? In this post, I’ll help you answer these questions.

GRE General Test: Overview

According to the ETS, the GRE General Test “measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills — skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study but are important for all.”

A score on the GRE General Test is required by nearly every top-tier graduate school.  This exam is also a near-universal requirement for graduate degrees with courses in math, science, or research methodology. Graduate programs ask for scores on the GRE General Test because it provides a standard way to compare candidates to each other; in fact, the GRE General Test may be only common measure amongst all applicants.

This is not to say that other individual factors aren’t considered. When an applicant submits a GRE General Test score that is below the average for students accepted into a  program, an admissions office may look at other individual aspects of the application packet. Other considerations beyond the GRE General Test include past GPA, relevant work experience, and so on.

Similarly, if someone applies to a graduate school with a weak undergrad GPA or little work experience, a high GRE General Test score may still allow them to be accepted. Ultimately, your GRE General Test score is the most measurable way to make your grad school application competitive.

New Call-to-action

GRE General Test: Content

The GRE General Test contains three sections: the Verbal Reasoning Section, the Quantitative Reasoning Section, and the  Analytical Writing Section.

The GRE Verbal Section focuses a lot on vocabulary. In fact, two of the three GRE Verbal question types simply involve selecting correct vocabulary words. Sentence Completion questions ask test-takers to fill in the blanks in sentences, inserting words that are appropriate to the sentence’s meaning and tone. There are “single-blank” sentence completion questions, but you can also be asked to fill in two blanks And there are even some triple-blank Sentence Completion questions.

Sentence Equivalence questions are also vocabulary focused. But here, the task is to select two different words for just one blank in a sentence, so that you create create two sentences with the same meaning. If this sounds a little complicated, check out Magoosh’s Sentence Equivalence video tutorial by clicking the image below:

GRE General Test, GRE Subject Test, GRE Subject Tests

Magoosh Video Lesson: Intro to Sentence Equivalence

Then there are Reading Comprehension questions. This Verbal question type does involve some vocabulary skill. But the main focus of GRE Verbal RC is whole-text understanding. Here, you’ll go through longer academic passages and answer questions about the passages’ meaning, ideas, and tone.

In GRE Quantitative, there are quite a few unique question types as well. But what’s really important in this sections is types of math. GRE Quants covers quite a few different math concepts, including algebra, statistics, geometry, exponents, fractions and ratios, and so much more. For more information, see Magoosh’s breakdown of the most commonly tested GRE Quant concepts. Or watch our introductory GRE Math video lesson by clicking the image below.

GRE General Test, GRE Subject Test, GRE Subject Tests

Magoosh Video Lesson: Intro to GRE Math


Finally, the GRE General Test includes an Analytical Writing Assessment, or AWA. While the verbal and Quant sections are multiple choice, AWA involves essay writing. The AWA has two different essay tasks, one where test-takers analyze an issue and another where an argument is analyzed.

GRE General Test, GRE Subject Test, GRE Subject Tests

Click the image to go to the Magoosh Video Lesson

GRE Subject Tests: Overview

You can take a GRE Subject Test to highlight your strengths in a specific subject area, such as Biology, Math, or English. In rare instances, a graduate program will actually require a GRE Subject test score. When a GRE Subject Test is required, it’s usually required by a grad program at a top university. Examples of this can be seen at the University of Notre Dame, which requires GRE Subject Tests for its graduate programs in Mathematics, Physics, and English. NYU also requires GRE Subject Tests for some of its programs, as do Yale and Stanford.

More often than not, however, taking a GRE Subject Test is simply recommended. This can even be true at top schools. Notre Dame, NYU, Yale, and Stanford all have programs where GRE Subject Tests are just recommended, along with select programs that actually require a GRE Subject Test score. Mid-tier programs such at the ones in the University of Connecticut’s Graduate Psychological Sciences also recommend the GRE Subject Test, but will accept applicants who haven’t taken it.

Now, sometimes a GRE Subject Test can give you a competitive edge over other applicants even if a school doesn’t specifically recommend that option. Take UC-Berkeley’s program for Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Berkeley doesn’t recommend taking a GRE Subject Test per se. The graduate admissions frequently asked question page for this department merely says that “The Computer Sciences division accepts the Subject GRE in Math or Physics. Subject GRE tests are not required and there is no penalty for not taking one.” Berkeley doesn’t clearly recommendation taking a GRE Subject Test. Still, they did mention subject tests and tell you which graduate program accepts Subject Test scores. So it’s likely a score in GRE Math or Physics can help your chances of acceptance into graduate Computer Science.

If the graduate degree you’re applying to doesn’t mention a GRE Subject Test at all, however, you can probably treat it as a fairly low priority. If you’re not sure whether a program will value a GRE Subject Test score on your application, contact the school and check.

Which GRE Subject Test Might You Need?

You may be asked to take a GRE Subject Test that’s closely related to your major. If a school you’re applying to doesn’t require a GRE Subject Test, but you want to take one that will increase your chances of acceptance, you’ll again want to take an exam that’s clearly related to your field of study.

ETS offers six different GRE Subject Tests, in the content areas of Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. ETS has a web page to help you prepare for any GRE Subject Test. This GRE Subject Test preparation portal includes free PDF guides of all seven subject tests. Each PDF comes with a full sample test.

GRE General Test vs. GRE Subject Test: Take one? Or both?

To get into grad school, you will likely need to take the GRE General Test. Whether you should also take a GRE Subject Test— or multiple GRE Subject Tests— depends on a lot of factors. If the program you’re applying to actually requires a GRE Subject Test, then of course you’ll need to take one. If you’re looking to get into a program that recommends a GRE Subject Test, you should probably take the recommended test if possible.

Taking a relevant GRE Subject Test may be good for any highly competitive graduate program, provided you have time to take an extra exam. However, if you are applying to a mid-tier program that’s only lightly competitive and doesn’t require or recommend a GRE Subject Test, a Subject Test might not be worth your time.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Magoosh students score 12 points better than average on the GRE. Click here to  learn more!

Most Popular Resources

76 Responses to GRE Subject Test vs GRE General Test

  1. Soban Maan December 13, 2018 at 10:12 am #

    I have a V 165/ Q 166/ AWA 5.0 in the GRE. I want to target top-tier graduate schools in the US in the field of neurosciences. I happen to be an international student and my transcript is very different from that of American undergraduates, which makes me think it might be hard for the admissions committees to use it for my admissions decision in any meaningful way. I have a year before applying. Should I consider taking the Subject Test to try to ahow strength in field specific knowledge? And if so, I should take the Biology Subject Test right?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 15, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

      Hi Soban!

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid we can’t help very much.

      I would recommend that you contact the schools directly–they can help you determine if and how they weigh subject test scores and what they consider competitive for applications. This will really vary from school to school, so it’s best to go directly to the source and email an admissions counselor! 🙂

  2. Jose September 5, 2018 at 3:32 am #

    hello, Can I take only GRE subject test to apply for Master degree in physics outside ukraina?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Jose,

      Almost all graduate programs require the GRE General Test for admissions. For some schools, a GRE Subject test is required or optional, but it does not take the place of the GRE General Test. You’ll have to investigate the admissions requirements for your target schools in order to determine which tests you’ll need to take.

  3. Ganesh June 12, 2018 at 2:16 am #


    I wanted to do PhD in Agronomy, do I have this as a subject in GRE

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 15, 2018 at 11:00 am #

      Hi Ganesh,

      I recommend that you look at the website for your target schools and see if they have required or recommended subject tests. There is no subject test for agronomy, but they may ask you to take the test in Mathematics, for example. This depends on the graduate school, so you should contact them directly for more information! Good luck 🙂

  4. Sarthak June 11, 2018 at 4:37 am #

    I want to apply to a theoretical and mathematical physics program in LMU-munich, Germany as well as Msc physics program. Looking at the admission requirements and I quote” If available : GRE subject test in physics or mathematics (preferably sent directly to us, our Institution Code is 7263), required for applicants from outside the European Economic Area
    If available: TOEFL, IELTS or comparable test”
    I am from Nepal and just finished my BSc in physics.
    Do you have any recommendations regarding this?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 15, 2018 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Sarthak,

      It sounds like you should plan to take both tests, based on the information in their website. However, I recommend that you contact their admissions department directly and ask for clarification about this policy 🙂

  5. Amrit March 21, 2018 at 8:58 pm #

    Do I need to take great subject test or green general test to apply for PhD in physics outside India

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 22, 2018 at 11:40 am #

      In terms of requirements, that varies from program to program. Some American physics PhD programs will want you to to take both the GRE Physics Subject Test and the GRE General Test. Other programs will ask for the GRE General Test only. But you’ll need to take the GRE General Test either way.

      Check with individual universities for their requirements. And you may want to consider taking the GRE Physics Test just to maximize your choices and chances of acceptance. Even PhD programs that don’t require GRE Physics would probably consider a good GRE Physics score in their admissions decisions.

  6. faisal ansari February 22, 2018 at 7:04 pm #


    This is faisal ansari from USA, recently arrived in USA from Pakistan for master’s in Biotechnology at CSUSM. CSUSM required GRE test score and i have to submit score till 1st July. My previous education background is life science and my further study plan is also life science category as i stated above a biotechnology program. so the big problem for me to solve Quantitative Reasoning section because i never touched with mathematics. so may i take subject based GRE? university may accept this?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 23, 2018 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Faisal,

      Thanks for reaching out! I recommend that you ask the admissions coordinator at CSUSM directly–each school has it’s own requirements and I don’t want to give you the wrong information. Most schools require that you take the General GRE test, so it’s likely that you will have to take the GRE General Test. However, you should ask the admissions office directly to make sure that you have the best information 🙂 Good luck!

      Note that if you do need to take the General GRE test, you can certainly do well on the quant section even if you aren’t that comfortable with math. You should expect to spend some time studying and preparing for the test, but we have plenty of resources here in our blog to help you succeed in the GRE 🙂

  7. bilal February 11, 2018 at 11:51 am #

    hi i am an art student i graduated from bfa on miniature from national college of arts what type of gre test should i require

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 11, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

      Hi Bilal,

      This depends on what university you want to go to! I recommend that you start to research some schools and look at their program requirements. Most graduate schools require that students take the GRE. If you are not from the US, you will also have to take an English language test like the TOEFL or IELTS. There are no subject tests for fine arts, so you probably won’t have to take any of these, but you should check the requirements of your target schools to be sure 🙂

  8. Alex February 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm #

    Sorry, I’m studying Economics and I want to do my masters in an Ivy League university but no GRE subject test measures what I studied in Economics and not even the GRE Subject Math test relates to what I studied in my undergrad, what should I do?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 9, 2018 at 7:48 am #

      In that case, I’d say forgo the GRE subject test altogether, unless a specific subject test is required by a program you apply to. Remember that the Subject tests are usually optional, and are the most useful if they are directly related to the degree you’re applying for.

  9. Gulnar Albushova February 2, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi. I am preparing GRE subject test as a Biologist. My special field is Biochemistry. You stated that there are 7 subject tests in ETS including Biochemistry. But, there are only six subject tests and Biochemistry is not the official ETS test list. Is that correct that, they have Biochemistry?
    Thank you.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Guinar,

      Unfortunately, it looks like the Biochemistry Subject test was discontinued in December 2016. Our list here is outdated–I’m going to send this to our blog team to make sure that they update this post! I’m sorry about the confusion, and best of luck on the Biology test!

  10. Nirosha December 16, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

    I did M.Sc in Genetics and plant breeding, I would like to do Ph.D. in the US. I am planning to take Biology subject test. Is that enough to get the admission into graduate school? should I also take general GRE? Please advise.

    Thank you!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 18, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Nirosha,

      The answer to this question will really depend on the school–each school has it’s own requirements and preferences. Most schools require that you take the GRE, and may also require or prefer the Biology subject test. I recommend that you do some research on your target schools to get an idea of what they require 🙂

  11. Payal October 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    Hi, I am hoping to apply to a PhD program in immunology, molecular biology or cancer biology (depending on the schools). I took the subject test in biology and more score was……. not as I had anticipated. My overall percentile was 67th. I got a 75% in molecular and cell biology, 87% in organismal bio, but a 28% and evolution and ecology. I only took 1 evolution and ecology class in college and I admit I didn’t spend as much time reviewing it as I obviously should have but now am at a crossroads as to whether to submit my scores to grad schools. Any thoughts? All of the schools I am applying to only recommend taking the subject test scores but are top tier schools. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 27, 2017 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Payal,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid we can’t provide you with a great answer to this question! I would recommend that you contact the schools directly–they can help you determine if and how they weigh subject test scores and what scores they consider competitive. This will really vary from school to school, so it’s best to go directly to the source and email an admissions counselor!

  12. Samidha Joshi August 11, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    I did M.Sc in biotechnology, I would like to do PhD in US. Which test I should give in GRE exam; a general test or a subject test?
    Thank you
    Samidha Joshi

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 11, 2017 at 9:52 am #

      Hi Samidha,

      Unless you are specifically asked for a subject test, you should always take the general GRE. 🙂

  13. Charles July 30, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I need to take the general and the English subject test. Do you have any recommendations for both at the same time? Is it a good idea to take them on the same weekend?

    Give rolling applications I will be to take the subject on October 28th, and I suppose the general some time around then.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 31, 2017 at 10:57 am #

      Hi Charles,

      My best recommendation would be to stay organized and set yourself a clear study schedule for both tests. You’ll want to make sure that you set a pace that is feasible and will allow you to get through all of the materials in Magoosh. Based on your personal study habits and style, you can choose whether you want to study for both each day, or set aside 1-2 days a week to focus on the English Subject test. You can use our study schedules to get a good sense of what you should do to prepare for the general test 🙂

      I wouldn’t recommend taking both in the same weekend, because the GRE is a tiring and draining test. You might burn yourself out trying to do both! If you stagger them by one weekend, you can use the extra time to focus on one of the tests without worrying about the other 🙂

  14. Taha July 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi I’m applying for Ph.D in electrical engineering. I am considering taking a GRE subject mathematics test after taking the GRE general test in order to increase my chance of acceptance. I know that I should check with the admission department of my target university, but since I haven’t decided about that yet, do think it, generally speaking, gives me an edge over other applicants or it’s just a waste of time?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

      Hi Taha,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid that I can’t be of much help here. Even if you haven’t decided on your target school, you can still email some admissions counselors from top schools to see what they have to say. Sorry I can’t help more, but best of luck as you prepare for the test and get your applications ready!

  15. Shreya Gupta June 12, 2017 at 9:37 am #

    I am doing btech in electrical engineering.can you please suggest the subject i should opt for gre subject tests.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 14, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      Hi Shreya,

      This depends completely on the schools you wish to apply to! The program application website should list preferred or required GRE Subject Tests. I recommend that you do some research and determine which schools you will apply for in order to answer this question 🙂

  16. Syed Moiz Jawed June 9, 2017 at 12:29 am #

    Hello sir.

    i am doing Biomedical engineering form NED university of science and technology.If i am willing to apply any university except America do i require any such type of GRE tests?

    secondly can it be preferable to give Biology as subject GRE test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 10, 2017 at 12:42 am #

      That will depend on the school. The GRE is less used outside North America, but it still happens (for example, when I applied for programs abroad I saw that many wanted GRE/GMAT scores still) so you should do individual research into your chosen schools to determine if the test will help you. To touch on the subject test, it is not preferable unless you are specifically asked for it. So again, research is key! 🙂

  17. Amr AbuZaid May 29, 2017 at 12:51 am #

    Hello Magooshers !

    Do you provide study paln and perparation material for GRE pysics test ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 29, 2017 at 1:23 am #

      We’d love to support the GRE subject tests. However, we don’t presently provide study plans to prep material for the GRE physics test or the other GRE subject tests. For the time being, we’re simply focusing on providing the best support we can for the general GRE Exam.

      The good news is that ETS itself provides excellent support for the GRE Physics Test description page, and in its free 96-page GRE Physics Test Practice Book (PDF).

  18. amit May 6, 2017 at 7:05 am #

    is SAT test or gre test a better option to apply in colleges of germany? THANKS.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 6, 2017 at 7:35 am #

      Hi Amit! Thanks for your question 🙂 While we’re not experts in admissions, I’m happy to help as much as I can! Firstly, the SAT (or ACT) is taken by students who are applying to undergraduate programs, while the GRE is taken by students interested in pursuing graduate degrees (e.g. Masters or PhD). So choosing between the SAT and GRE really comes down to which type of degree program you’re applying to. With that in mind, these are US standardized tests, and Germany universities may or may not require them. You will want to research the universities you’re interested in and see what the requirements for the individual schools/programs are. If you’re not able to find out this information from the universities’ websites, I recommend you e-mail the universities directly with your questions about these exams 🙂 I hope this helps, at least a little!

  19. Aaron May 3, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi, would you recommend studying for the general GRE and taking it first, and then study for the subject test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 4, 2017 at 6:04 am #

      Hi Aaron,

      It depends on the subject test. For example, nothing on the general GRE will be particularly helpful with the Psychology subject test. But perhaps the general GRE would be a good warm up for the math subject test. In general, we recommend focusing specifically on the tests and metrics your programs look for. 🙂

  20. Sunil Bansal March 1, 2017 at 5:47 am #


    I have done M.Sc (Mathematics) in 2012. I want to know that Is there compulsion of GRE general and subject specific for admission in P.Hd. Or I can be apply with only subject specific GRE.

    Please answer
    Sunil Bansal

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 1, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

      Hi Sunil,

      There is no general answer for this. You will have to consult individual pages for specific programs you want to enter. Each institution will have its own expectations regarding admissions. Good luck! 🙂

  21. Khaled December 20, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

    My score in gre physics is 560.
    Is this score good or bad?
    And My score in gre general is 160 Q , 146 v , 3 writing
    Which universities can it give give me any type of assistantships.
    Do you advise me send my score in gre physics to universities?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 21, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      HI Khaled,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help in this matter. I recommend that you make a list of universities that you are interested in and do some research or contact them to see what sort of scores they accept and how much funding they give to graduate students. You will also find information on whether or not they require the Physics Subject test and their average Subject Test scores. That can help you decide whether or not to send the Subject Test score. I hope this helps, at least a little 🙂

  22. ananthu December 4, 2016 at 5:01 am #


    I’m a mechanical undergraduate from India but planning to switch my field into Physics for MS/Phd programs in US. As I unfortunately missed the Oct test for PGRE, I’m severely disadvantaged as I cant apply with General GRE alone as most of the universities recommends it. My only option is to search through a list of universities where PGRE is not necessary and I only found 2 universities with that criteria.

    I’d be much obliged if anyone could compile a list of universities where I could apply without the requirement of PGRE.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 4, 2016 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Anathu,

      I wish I could be of more help, but our expertise is in test prep, not graduate admissions! We don’t have any list like this, but our other readers might have an idea of which universities don’t require the PGRE. I would recommend that you begin your search with the US News and World Report Graduate School rankings. This will give you an idea of what schools to look through, and you can look at the admissions website for those programs to see their requirements. 🙂

  23. FromAzerbaijan October 17, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    Hi dear all,
    If i want to study MS in USA in chemical engineering, but in the requirements it is not clearly stated whether to take general/subject Gre , which one to choose?I am confused, as it is engineering what is the priority chemistry(subject gre) or math(general gre)?
    and what if there are 2 candidates, 1 has higher score in General Gre and the other has less scores in Subject Gre, which one would you choose?
    Please help,
    thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2016 at 8:45 am #

      Hi there,

      If it is mentioned that you must take the GRE but NO specific subject test is mentioned, then I can say with almost complete certainty that the school wants the General Test. Not all schools require subject tests, but if they do it is above and beyond the general test. That is, first you take the General Test, and if you want to showcase specific skills or knowledge, then you take the Subject Test. You can always send an email to the admissions department of the school to find out for sure! They may prefer you take the General Test AND a Subject Test, or taking the Subject Test as well could help your chances of being accepted. 🙂

      • FromAzerbaijan October 21, 2016 at 6:33 am #

        Dear expert,
        thank you very much for reply 🙂

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 21, 2016 at 8:05 am #

          You’re very welcome! Happy studying 😀

    • Gulnar Albushova February 2, 2018 at 8:13 pm #

      Hello , I am from Azerbaijan too. Did you take your GRE exam?

  24. Anish Bose August 25, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Hi…I’m currently doing msc in microbiology and thus to give the gre subject test should I apply for biochemistry(which is covered in my syllabus) or jus biology?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

      For this question, you definitely need to contact the school or schools you’re applying to. In theory, taking both of those tests would make you very competitive. But in reality, some schools really don’t consider subject tests in their application decisions, while other schools have very specific preferences or requirements for GRE subject tests. You definitely don’t want to take an extra exam if you don’t have to, so make sure you know what subject tests, if any, your schools might want to see.

  25. Dada Oluwatosin Samuel August 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    Hello. Please, when is the likely registration deadline for GRE General test, (November 5, 2016)? Thanks.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 23, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

      Hi Dada,

      You can search for testing centers in your region that offer the computer-based or paper-based test. Note that the paper-based test will only be offered on specific dates, but the computer-based test is sometimes offered continuously in a professional testing center. It’s best to register at least a few weeks before the test so that you will get your preferred time and venue (sometimes the spots fill up quickly!) I recommend that you contact the testing site nearest you to get a sense of how busy they are and when you shoudl register. You can also see this website for more information:

  26. chethan August 17, 2016 at 1:05 am #

    i have finished my b.e in aeronautical engineering i need to know whether to take gre general test or subject test for ms in aeronautics.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Hi Chethan,

      The subject and general test is not an ‘either/or’ situation. The General Test is required for most universities, and some programs will also require or recommend a GRE subject test on top of the General Test. The Subject test is meant to highlight skills that are more specific than those that are tested on the GRE. I recommend that you check out the admissions websites of the programs that you are most interested in or talk to the admissions counselpr to see if they recommend or require a subject test 🙂

  27. Rishabh Nand August 13, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    I want to do MS in chemical engineering in US, do i need to take any subject test to get into any university?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 13, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

      Most universities won’t ask you to take any GRE subject tests. However, some top universities may require a GRE subject test for admission into a chemical engineering MS… or they may at least strongly recommend taking a GRE subject test. If you are asked for a GRE Subject test as part of your admissions process, you’ll likely be asked for either the GRE Chemistry Subject Test in Chemistry or the GRE Biochemistry Subject Test.

  28. Melissa August 4, 2016 at 11:09 am #


    Just a quick question. Do you know if you’re penalized for guessing on the subject GREs? I know that guessing is encouraged on the revised general GRE.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 7, 2016 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Melissa,

      Unlike with the general test, there is a penalty for guessing on the subject test. Here is what ETS says about this:

      “As a correction for haphazard guessing, one-fourth of the number of questions you answer incorrectly is subtracted from the number of questions you answer correctly. It is improbable that mere guessing will improve your score significantly; it may even lower your score. If, however, you are not certain of the correct answer but have some knowledge of the question and are able to eliminate one or more of the answer choices, your chance of getting the right answer is improved and it may be to your advantage to answer such a question”

  29. shreeya khanal August 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm #


    Do you guys have a subject test prep, too? I am planning to do the GRE Physics subject test (and general test, too), and was wondering if there is any prep courses you guys provide for subject tests just like for the general test.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 4, 2016 at 5:12 am #

      Hi Shreeya,

      Good question! 🙂 Unfortunately, we do not currently have any subject test materials. The best things we can recommend at this time are official ETS materials for the subject tests. You might also have some luck finding other students on GRE boards who have used other resources! Good luck. 🙂

  30. nithya r July 26, 2016 at 1:28 am #

    Is it possible to take gre subject test before I attend gre general test? Is it an issue if there is a gap between subject and general test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Nithya,

      The order in which you take the tests shouldn’t matter, but it’s important to know that the subject tests are only offered in September, October and April. If you’re planning to take the GRE and the subject test around the same time, these dates could affect your planning. See this ETS article for more information on the subject tests:

  31. Kate June 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi, I did my graduation and masters in animal husbadary and science and i wanted to persue phd in veterinary science in usa so can u suggest me that do i required subject specific gre or general revised test for education in usa please reply me ,thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 29, 2016 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Kate 🙂

      Thanks for writing! Most PhD programs require the general GRE. In addition to that, specific programs may also require a GRE subject test. To know which subject test or tests you should take, I recommend looking up the specific requirements of the schools/programs you’re interested in. Again, these requirements can vary from school to school, so it’s best to check each program to make sure you take the required exams.

      I hope this helps, at least a little 🙂

  32. Aditya Sinha June 21, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    hello… I am Aditya Sinha . I donot know much about GRE tests but I want to do MS in computer science from top univ. in U.S . What is the syllabus ? should i have to give both GRE general test and GRE subject test ? both are compulsory ? please reply… thank you for your attention !

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Hi Aditya,

      Most graduate programs in the US do not require subject tests (though especially in STEM fields this is changing!) but the ultimate answer should come from individual universities. Have you had a chance to do some research on this and see what the program websites say? That is far more reliable than any one boiled down statistic!

      Good luck! 🙂

  33. ujjaini nath June 11, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    I did my masters and graduation in microbiology and want to pursue my phd in microbiology in germany.please can u suggest me do u require general gre or subject specific gre for admission in phd in germany?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 14, 2016 at 7:04 am #

      Hi Ujjaini,

      Unfortunately, our expertise is in test prep and not admissions, so we can’t be of too much help here. PhD programs in Germany may have different test requirements than PhD programs in the States or in other countries. Requirements can also different from school to school. So, to make sure your application is complete, I recommend checking with the individual universities or programs that you’re interested in to see what exams they require. You should be able to find that information under the Application section of the school’s website. If you’re unable to find the information, then I’d recommend contacting the appropriate office or person at the school to find out more information 🙂

      I hope this helps at least a little!

    • ARPAN September 10, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      Learning German would count as an advantage, additionally if you are CSIR NET or GATE qualified, your admission is guarantee.

  34. Shaz June 9, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi, I want to apply for MIS in USA, for that GRE General Test is enough or should I take Subject Test as well? I am an engineer with B.Tech and also has 4yrs of work experience. Please suggest.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 11, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Hi Shaz 🙂

      Good question! However, requirements can vary depending on the school, so you’ll need to check with the individual schools or programs that you’re interested in to see what exams they require.

      Hope this helps, at least a little!

  35. May February 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    Is it helpful to have GRE subject: Math form economics? consider 85 to 88 %, beside GRE general.
    P.S.: my BS i not economics or math

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi May,

      Unless your chosen program wants to see the math subject test, taking that additional GRE may not be helpful to you at all. You should make sure to contact the admissions departments of your chosen universities and find out if that test would help you before sinking your time and money into a subject test!

  36. Hector September 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    I’ve been using your preparation material for the GRE General Test and is awesome! Do you have any preparation material for GRE Dubject Test Math as well? or any recommendation?


    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel September 24, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Hey Hector,

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying Magoosh. 🙂

      Unfortunately, we don’t have any prep materials for any of the subject tests, and we haven’t thoroughly reviewed any subject test prep books. That said, the best place to start is always with official materials. For example, I’d recommend starting with the ETS practice booklet that you can find on this website for your particular subject test:

      I hope that helps at least a little!

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply