The GRE subject examination in Psychology is required by many graduate schools in the U.S. and is highly recommended by many others in both the U.S. and Britain. Some admissions committees have a basic formula that includes your grade point average (GPA), Graduate Record Examination – General Test (GRE) score, and the GRE Subject Test in Psychology score as a first plateau in the admissions criteria. This means that if you do not have an extremely high GPA or GRE-Gen score, you may be able to make up for it and get past the “first cut” if you do well on the Psych Subject test. Only after passing this first plateau will the committee bother to read your personal statement or letters of recommendation. Typically, universities get 50 -150 applications for each opening in the next year’s class so it is vital to make that first cut.
The GRE-Psychology test, given three times per year, is a timed (two hours and fifty minutes) exam with approximately 205 multiple choice questions, each with five possible answers. The questions test a student’s knowledge and understanding of principles, theories, and concepts in the broad field of psychology. The exam is broken down into three areas:
• Developmental, personality, abnormal, clinical, and social psychology questions make up about 43% of the test.
• Sensation and perception, physiology, learning, and cognition questions make up about 40%.
• Research design and statistics, tests and measures, and historical applied psychology about 17%.
The student receives three scores: total test score, social psychology subscore, and experimental psychology subscore, however the questions in each area are not labeled and are distributed throughout the exam.
The exam is rigorous but based upon the classes most often completed by psychology major undergraduates. Those who were not psychology majors may need to do extra preparation for this exam.
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