Psychology GRE Subject Test: What's Tested?

The Psychology GRE Subject Test is made up of approximately 144 multiple-choice questions covering material typically taught in undergraduate psychology coursework. In addition to your overall score (calculated by converting the number of questions you answer correctly to a number on a 200-990 scale in ten-point increments), you’ll receive six subscores on the Psychology GRE Subject Test:

  1. Biological
  2. Cognitive
  3. Social
  4. Developmental
  5. Clinical
  6. Measurement/Methodology/Other

Subscores are calculated by converting the number of questions you answer correctly in a section to a number on a 20-99 point scale. 

[ RELATED: GRE Subject Test Ultimate Guide ]

Content Tested on the Psychology GRE Subject Test

The Psychology GRE Subject Test will test you on your knowledge of six categories, as listed above: Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Measurement/Methodology/Other. According to ETS, the percentage breakdown and subcategories of the Psychology GRE Subject Test are as follows:
  • Sensation and Perception (9-11 questions)
    • Psychophysics, Signal Detection
    • Attention
    • Perceptual Organization
    • Vision
    • Audition
    • Gustation
    • Olfaction
    • Somatosenses
    • Vestibular and Kinesthetic Senses
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Physiological/Behavioral Neuroscience (19-21 questions)
    • Neurons
    • Sensory Structures and Processes
    • Motor Structures and Functions
    • Central Structures and Processes
    • Motivation, Arousal, Emotion
    • Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Neuromodulators and Drugs
    • Hormonal Factors
    • Comparative and Ethology
    • States of Consciousness
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Learning (6-8 questions)
    • Classical Conditioning
    • Instrumental Conditioning
    • Observational Learning, Modeling
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  •  Language (4-6 questions)
    • Units (phonemes, morphemes, phrases)
    • Syntax
    • Meaning
    • Speech Perception and Processing
    • Reading Processes
    • Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
    • Bilingualism
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Memory (10-12 questions)
    • Working Memory
    • Long-term Memory
    • Types of Memory
    • Memory Systems and Processes
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Thinking (5-7 questions)
    • Representation (Categorization, Imagery, Schemas, Scripts)
    • Problem Solving
    • Judgment and Decision-Making Processes
    • Planning, Metacognition
    • Intelligence
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Social Perception, Cognition, Attribution, Beliefs
  • Attitudes and Behavior
  • Social Comparison, Self
  • Emotion, Affect, and Motivation
  • Conformity, Influence, and Persuasion
  • Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships
  • Group and Intergroup Processes
  • Cultural or Gender Influences
  • Evolutionary Psychology, Altruism, and Aggression
  • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Nature-Nurture
  • Physical and Motor
  • Perception and Cognition
  • Language
  • Language
  • Social, Personality
  • Emotion
  • Socialization, Family and Cultural
  • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • Personality (4-6 questions)
    • Theories
    • Structure
    • Assessment
    • Personality and Behavior
    • Applications and Issues
  • Clinical and Abnormal (17-19 questions)
    • Stress, Conflict, Coping
    • Diagnostic Systems
    • Assessment
    • Causes and Development of Disorders
    • Neurophysiological Factors
    • Treatment of Disorders
    • Epidemiology
    • Prevention
    • Health Psychology
    • Cultural or Gender Issues
    • Theories, Applications and Issues
  • General (7-9 questions)
    • History
    • Industrial-Organizational
    • Educational
  • Measurement and Methodology (16-18 questions)
    • Psychometrics, Test Construction, Reliability, Validity
    • Research Designs
    • Statistical Procedures
    • Scientific Method and the Evaluation of Evidence
    • Ethics and Legal Issues
    • Analysis and Interpretation of Findings

How to Prepare for the Psychology GRE Subject Test

The Psychology GRE Subject Test is intended for students who have majored in psychology or have taken extensive psychology coursework during their undergrad. Since the test is designed to assess knowledge gained over a long period of time, last-minute cramming will likely be unfruitful. 

The best way to prepare for the Psychology GRE Subject Test is to review your undergraduate psychology course notes, assignments, and textbooks. These resources will provide you with a comprehensive review outline.

Once you’ve reviewed for the Psychology GRE Subject Test, take a practice test (like the one offered by ETS). This will familiarize you with the structure of the test, and you’ll get experience with the types of questions you’ll see on test day.

Test-Taking Tips for the Psychology GRE Subject Test

  • Answer every question.

    There is no penalty for incorrect answers on the Psychology GRE Subject Test, which means you should answer every single question. If you don’t know the answer to a question, make an educated guess. 

  • Don’t get hung up on difficult questions.

    Each question on the Psychology GRE Subject Test is worth the same amount, so don’t spend too much time on any individual question. If you sense that a question is taking or will take too much time (more than a couple of minutes, for example), mark it in your test booklet and come back to it later.

    It may be useful to work through the test quickly at first, answering easy questions and marking more difficult questions for later. When you’ve answered the last question, go back and begin working through the more difficult questions. This will ensure that even if you do begin to run out of time at the end, you will have completed the majority of questions. 

  • Read all the directions carefully.

    Completing a practice test or two ahead of time will make it so that you’re already comfortable with the directions going into the exam. 

  • Use your test booklet and your answer sheet.

    Use your test booklet to take notes and organize your thoughts. That being said, do not forget to mark your answers on your answer sheet. Answers marked in your test booklet will not be counted. 

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