what's tested on the math gre subject test

Math GRE Subject Test: What’s Tested?

The Mathematics GRE Subject Test is made up of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions covering typical undergraduate-level mathematics topics. The number of questions you answer correctly is converted to a number on a 200-990 point scale, which is your final score. 

 

Content Tested on the Math GRE Subject Test

The Mathematics GRE Subject Test assesses not only your knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts, but also your knowledge of the foundations of math. According to ETS, questions requiring no more than knowledge of precalculus concepts can be among the most difficult on the exam. 

Calculus questions make up approximately 50% of the test’s content. You can expect to see questions about differential and integral calculus of one or more variables, and connections between calculus and other branches of mathematics (e.g. coordinate geometry, trigonometry, etc.).

Algebra questions make up an additional ~25% of the Mathematics GRE Subject Test content. Expect to be tested on elementary algebra, linear algebra, and abstract algebra and number theory. 

The remaining ~25% of test questions covers various additional topics such as sequences and series, logic, combinatorics, algorithms, and probability and statistics.

Question Types Percent of Test What’s Included
Calculus 50% Differential & integral calculus of one or more variables
Algebra 25% Elementary, linear, and abstract algebra; number theory
Other 25% Sequences and series, logic, combinatorics, algorithms, probability & statistics

How to Prepare for Questions on the Math GRE Subject Test

The best way to prepare for the Mathematics GRE Subject Test is to review material from your undergraduate math classes. Since this exam is designed to test you on knowledge you acquired over a long period of time, not crammed over the course of a month or two, you should spend your time reviewing concepts you’ve already learned. Assignments, notes, and textbooks from your university math courses will provide you with the best study outline. Don’t worry if there are several concepts you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with; you’re not expected to answer every question correctly.

Once you’ve reviewed math content, take a practice Mathematics GRE Subject Test, like the one provided by ETS. This will help you familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and the types of questions you’ll be asked. 

Test-Taking Tips for the Math GRE Subject Test

  • Don’t get hung up on difficult questions.

    Since all questions are weighted the same on the Mathematics GRE Subject Test, it’s important not to spend too much time on difficult questions. The time you potentially waste on one question could prevent you from answering several others, leaving unanswered questions at the end of the exam. If you anticipate a question taking longer than a couple of minutes, mark it in your test booklet and come back to it later.

  • Answer every question.

    No points are subtracted from your score for incorrect answers, so answer every question on the test. If you don’t know how to answer a question, make an educated guess and move on. 

  • 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. Make a note of any questions you want to come back to and work out problems. Remember, though, that answers marked in your test booklet do not count towards your final score. All answers must be marked clearly on your answer sheet. 

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