In addition to the Graduate Records Examination general test, an application requirement for the vast majority of graduate programs, you can independently take GRE subject tests, which examine your knowledge of specific subject areas ranging from biochemistry to psychology. These can support your graduate school application by setting you apart from other applicants. Understand the key features of the math subject test, from content to preparation, before deciding if it's an investment worth making.
The GRE math subject test is composed of roughly 66 multiple-choice questions that examine your comprehension and application of fundamental math concepts. Half of these questions test your knowledge of calculus and the other half test your algebraic abilities, along with your knowledge of specialized subjects such as geometry, algorithms, probability and statistics.
Those who take the GRE math subject test have typically majored in math at the undergraduate level or have dedicated significant coursework to its study and are seeking admission to a graduate or fellowship program within a specific university department or division related to the mathematics field. Subject test scores can augment your other application materials, such as letters of recommendation or undergraduate transcripts, by further reinforcing your preparation for graduate study or highlighting your strengths within specific math fields.
Test Registration, Preparation, Scoring
The GRE subject tests are offered only three times a year, with one exam opportunity each in September, October and April. Registration for these exam dates opens approximately two months prior to the test date. Registering for the GRE math subject test requires a fee of $150 as of 2013, with additional fees incurred if you register late, reschedule your test or change the subject test you wish to take. Since GRE subject tests are offered only as paper-based exams, both online and mailed scores are available roughly one month following your exam. Scores received will be reported in 10-point increments on a scale of 200 to 999.
GRE General Test
While the GRE math subject test can by itself augment applications for graduate school, you will most likely also have to take the GRE general exam to complete your application. Graduate admission committees may consider your subject test scores but will undoubtedly require you to submit your general exam scores as part of your application. Accordingly, you will need to decide if the added cost and preparation of taking the subject test in addition to the general test is worth the potential boost to your graduate school application.
- Educational Testing Services: About the GRE Subject Tests
- Educational Testing Services: Frequently Asked Questions About the GRE Subject Tests
- Educational Testing Services: GRE Subject Tests: Mathematics
- Educational Testing Services: GRE Subject Tests: Test Centers and Dates
- Educational Testing Services: GRE Subject Tests: Fees
- GRE Information and Registration Bulletin
- The Princeton Review: GMAT versus GRE
Teresa J. Siskin has been a researcher, writer and editor since 2009. She holds a doctorate in art history.