GRE General Test or the GRE Subject Test?

Posted by on January 20, 2014 in About the GRE | 31 comments

Today I saw a question from one student in Pakistan β€œI want to know that only GRE (general test) is responsible for admission in any US university??? I mean to say why GRE (subject test) is not taken?? One can be better judged on GRE (subject test) instead of GRE (general test)…..”

First of all let me clarify that the GRE general test is required by almost all graduate programs in the US. On the contrary the GRE subject test is required by certain programs especially research based Masters and PhD. You must check with your prospective schools if they need the subject test.

SEE ALSO: Top Universities in the US.

GRE General Test

The GRE general test is an aptitude test that only measures your basic reasoning and analytical skills – two skills that are ESSENTIAL to thrive and succeed in any subject area; be it medical, engineering or business studies. Of course we all have done a lot of math in our school days and every single one of us has studied basic mathematics up till the matriculation level. (O-levels, Matric in Pakistan) The GRE general exam simply uses that basic knowledge by throwing us a bunch of trick and trap questions under extremely timed conditions.

I would agree to a certain extent that the verbal portion is a tough ask for many of us in Pakistan but then for most programs we just need an average verbal score to get through. Moreover quantitative fields emphasize on your GRE quant scores, whereas the social science and language fields focus on your verbal score more.

SEE ALSO: GRE General Test Preparation

Also there is a massive meta-analysis by Kuncel et al (2001) that proves that there is a high correlation between various aspects of the GRE and performance in the graduate school. This study has also proved a correlation between GRE scores with GPA and GRE score with faculty ratings of the student.

Standardized tests like GRE measure your baseline ability. Essentially it’s the baseline test that most graduate schools require. Programs in the U.S. require GRE because it provides a standard way to compare candidates to each other;

In layman words it tells the admission committee that how does a guy with a GPA of 3.5 can be compared to someone with a GPA of 3.5 at Iqra University.

SEE ALSO: Fulbright Scholarship Program

GRE Subject Tests

The GRE subject test is a competence measurement test. It highlights your strengths in a specific subject area such as Biology, Physics or Math. But not all programs need subject test scores since they only want candidates with a baseline performance which is measured by the GRE general exam.

Correlations of GRE subject test with research and publication citation counts are higher than those with the general test. This is not surprising since research and publications require only subject specific knowledge which is only checked using the subject test scores.

Thus, the GRE combines both standardization and competence measurement.


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    please tell me how can i get your help for preparation?

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    reports will be mailed to test tkears starting November November 8, 2011You can see unofficial Old GRE to New GRE Score converter.Few minutes back, I saw a comment from NavyaMy old GRE score has been converted to New GRE

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    for MS(PHYSICS) should i register for GRE subject test or gre general test.?

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      Hi Anum, You will only need GRE general. For GRE subject contact the US programs and departments to check whether or not they need GRE subject tests πŸ™‚

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    salam i have done my masters in commerce ,so what i should take gre general,gre subject??

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      WAS Abbass, Please contact the respective programs to see what do they need πŸ™‚

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    Sir I did my master in Mass Communication, plz guide me about the GRE test either I should give GRE General test or GRE Subject basse test and the main thing which I want to know how much score I should get for admission

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      GRE general is required! 310+ is a good score!

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    hello sir i have done m,phil in mass communication . Now i want to get admission in abroad kindly tell me for P.hd which test is require gre. subject or gre general?

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    Hi, Talha!

    I will be completing my masters in literature soon- which GRE test am I required to take for higher studies?


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    im applying for m.s to phd programm. i will ask to give GRE GENERAL OR GRE SUBJECT??

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      im applying for masters in english literature

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      GRE General

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        I want to know that I m doctor and want to apply for Fulbright scholarship program. I need to give gre subject wise ?

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    Hi Talha
    I want to appear for GRE Subect test in English Literature at November…Kindly guide me how to register for this pogram bcz no infoemation is there for subject test registeration….and to contact which particular person/organisation here in Pakistan other than USEFP ?

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      Hello Yaseen, To register you will have to go to and make an online account to register. However, do note that there is no other body other than USEFP which is in Pakistan for the subject tests!

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    Asslamoalikum sir,
    I just wanted to know that if GRE or GMAT general test are required to apply for UGARD exchange degree program?

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      W.A.S Abrar – nope you don’t need GRE or GMAT for UGRAD

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    do I need to give GRE general or subject for masters in mechanical engineering from Germany?

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    Sir,i completed my bachelor in mathematic. Do i need gre subject test.thanks in advanc.

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      Hello- nope – you need GRE general!

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    Hey, I want to prepare myself for GRE general subject(Mathematics) Test due to which I really need some helping material, But I have no idea that what to read and which topics are important most. So, can you please guide me.

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      Hello – Unfortunately we have no idea about the Subject test. We only deal in GRE general.

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    i want to ask which GRE Subject we need to take if we want to get admission in PHD in Engineering as there are four or five GRE Subject tests i.e. Maths, Physics, English, Biology etc

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      Hi, You should email the program that you are applying to and ask them about it since it varies from program to program.

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