GRE® Subject Tests Getting Into Grad School Blog

The GRE® Psychology Subject Test

The GRE Psychology Subject Test is designed to test advanced knowledge that a student applying to graduate school in psychology is expected to understand. The test requires knowledge of psychological vocabulary, names, and facts across a variety of psychological fields at the equivalent of an upper-level college class.

The Basics of the GRE Psychology Subject Test

The GRE Psychology Subject Test is a paper-and-pencil test consisting of 215-220 multiple-choice questions with five answer choices. The test spans 2 hours and 50 minutes and questions fall into one of three content categories:

Experimental or Natural Science-Oriented Questions (about 40% of questions) include learning, language, memory, thinking, sensation and perception, physiological psychology, ethology, and comparative psychology. They contribute to the experimental psychology subscore and the total score.
Social or Social Science-Oriented Questions (about 43% of questions) are distributed among the fields of clinical and abnormal, developmental, personality, and social psychology. They contribute to the social psychology subscore and the total score.
General Questions (about 17% of questions) include the history of psychology, applied psychology, measurement, research designs, and statistics. They contribute to the total score only.

Understanding Your GRE Psychology Subject Test Score

After the test, you will receive a raw score, a scaled score, a percentile rank, and two subscores. Graduate programs weigh the scaled score and percentile rank most heavily.

Your raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly minus one-quarter the number of questions you answered incorrectly. Unanswered questions have no impact on your raw score.Your raw score is then converted to a scaled score between 200 and 990.The scaled score reflects how you would perform relative to a standard distribution of test-takers. From that, you will receive a percentile rank,stating what percentage of test-takers scored at or below your level of performance.

Finally, you'll also receive two subscores, ranging from 20-99. Subscore I corresponds to your performance in the Experimental and Natural Sciences category. Subscore II corresponds to your performance in the Social and Social Sciences category.

Scores on the GRE Psychology Exam are good for five years. You can list up to four schools to which you would like your scores sent. Additional school reports cost $20 per school. Your scores normally arrive by mail six weeks after your test date.