GRE > GRE Psychology Subject Test

The GRE psychology subject test covers three content areas: experimental or natural science-based, social or social science based and general. These 3 content areas are divided into their respective sub-scores. Some schools require applicants be in a particular score range. Check into your prospective school to find out what their specific requirements are. This is a paper only test, therefore, students need to register at a testing site that administers paper tests.

The scores of the GRE Psychology subject test are calculated by subtracting the number of questions answered incorrectly from the number of questions answered correctly. This results in a raw score that is further calculated using a conversion table made for this test. The results of the test are expressed in 2 subscale scores and a percentile score. The percentile score is a comparison of the tester's score with other students who have taken the test.

For example, if your percentile score is 86 then 86% of the students taking this test scored lower than you.

Experimental versus Natural Science
Experimental psychology is research done by the manipulation of variables in contrast to Natural Science, which is not manipulated in an experimental setting. These questions test knowledge of research in the following areas: learning, thinking, memory, language, sensation and perception, psychological psychology, comparative psychology and ethology. These questions are calculated in the experimental psychology sub-score and the total score.

Here is a sample question from this content area:

The technique of first pairing two neutral stimuli with each other and then pairing one of the neutral stimuli with an unconditioned stimulus is called

(A) backward conditioning
(B) trace conditioning
(C) simultaneous conditioning
(D) sensory preconditioning
(E) second-order conditioning

Social and Social Science
The Social Science questions on the GRE refer to development, clinical psychology and abnormal behavior, personality and social psychology. These questions are calculated in the social science sub-score and total score.

Here is a sample question from this content area:

According to Piaget, secondary circular reactions first occur during which of the following stages of cognitive development?

(A) Formal operational
(B) Preoperational
(C) Sensorimotor
(D) Concrete operational
(E) Conservation

General Topics
General questions are on topics such as the history of psychology, applied psychology, measurements (psychometrics) and research designs including statistics. These questions are calculated in the total score only.

Here is a sample question from this content area:

Rorschach and Murray are most closely associated with the development of:

(A) early projective tests
(B) statistical analyses of testing techniques
(C) the first aptitude tests
(D) educational achievement tests
(E) tests of creativity and problem-solving ability