The Chemistry GRE Subject Test consists of about 130 multiple-choice questions relating to the following chemistry fields: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry. Some questions will relate to more than one field.
You will be provided with a period table and a table of information containing physical constants and some conversion factors. Questions on the Chemistry GRE Subject Test do not require calculators or tables of logarithms to answer. All necessary logarithmic values will be included in the questions themselves.
Your score will be calculated by converting the number of questions you answer correctly to a 200-990 point scale.
Content Tested on the Chemistry GRE Subject Test
The content tested on the Chemistry GRE Subject Test can be roughly divided into four fields, as mentioned above: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry. The breakdown of percentages and subtopics on the exam, according to ETS, is as follows:
Analytical Chemistry (15%)
- Data acquisition and use of statistics
- Solutions and standardization
- Homogeneous equilibria
- Heterogeneous equilibria
- Instrumental methods
- Environmental applications
- Radiochemical methods
Inorganic Chemistry (25%)
- General chemistry
- Ionic substances
- Covalent molecular substances
- Metals and semiconductors
- Concepts of acids and bases
- Chemistry of the Main Group Elements
- Chemistry of the Transition Elements
- Special topics (e.g. environmental chemistry, organometallic chemistry, applied solid-state chemistry)
Organic Chemistry (30%)
- Structure, bonding, and nomenclature
- Functional groups
- Reaction mechanisms
- Reactive intermediates
- Special topics (e.g. resonance, orbital theory, antiaromaticity, polymers)
Physical Chemistry (30%)
- Quantum chemistry and applications to spectroscopy
How to Prepare for the Chemistry GRE Subject Test
The Chemistry GRE Subject Test is designed for students who majored in or took extensive coursework in chemistry, and therefore have gained knowledge about chemistry over a long period of time. It’s unlikely that studying from scratch for a month or two will yield desirable results on this test.
The best way to prepare for the Chemistry GRE Subject Test is to review your undergraduate coursework in chemistry. Your notes, assignments, and textbooks should provide you with a substantial review outline. Keep in mind that since the exam covers such a wide range of chemistry topics, it’s expected that you will be stronger in some areas than in others. You are not expected to answer every question correctly.
Once you’ve reviewed your undergraduate chemistry coursework, take a Chemistry GRE Subject Practice Test, like the one offered by ETS. This will help you become familiar with the test directions and question types, and alleviate some test day stress.