GRE Syllabus 2023 - General & Subject Test Syllabus PDF, Important Topics

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Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jun 02, 2023 5:41 PM IST

Being a standardised test, there is no single GRE exam syllabus that you need to prepare for. However, on this page, you will find the different question types for each GRE section that you need to understand before attempting the tests this year. Understanding these GRE question types will allow test-takers to attempt the test with boosted confidence.

However, you will find the syllabus for GRE Subject Tests, if you have chosen to attempt the test this year. On this page, you will find the topics and subjects for GRE Subject Tests such as Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology and other important information regarding the GRE syllabus 2023.

GRE Exam Syllabus

ETS has wilfully crafted the GRE exam syllabus so that it can truly judge the capability of the aspirants who wish to take admission in graduate programs including business and law. The three important sections include quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytical writing assessment. The components focus on testing critical thinking, analytical skills, quantitative skills and verbal skills. 

On the other hand, the GRE subject tests determine the student’s knowledge of particular subjects. GRE is a computer-adaptive test that adjusts to the difficulty level of the questions answered by the student. It also allows them to skip and review questions, change answers and decide which section they will like to answer first. The difficulty level of the second section completely depends on the difficulty level of the first section. 

The GRE syllabus as well as the GRE exam pattern must be thoroughly understood to ace the exam. Both types of exams have different sets of syllabi which students must check out to prepare well. On this page, you will get an authentic and well-research syllabus of each subject.

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GRE Test Types

Before checking out the syllabus let us know the two types of GRE exam, their purpose and their differences. 

GRE General Test

The GRE General Test is a generalised test for graduate program aspirant students. It checks out the overall aptitude and helps in augmenting the student profile. The test can be taken at the centre as well as at home. The questions are based on quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and analytical writing assessment. The syllabus is not restricted to any one subject but takes into consideration the skills learnt throughout the academic journey. Each section of the test is time-bound and the GRE General test duration is 1 hour and 58 minutes. 

GRE Subject Test

The GRE Subject Test on the other hand is specific to the subject knowledge of a student. Each test intends to check the student’s mastery of the subject. The four subjects included are chemistry, mathematics, physics and psychology. The test is taken to judge the aptitude in a particular subject. Some colleges may require students to submit GRE Subject Tests scores as a part of the application process. The scores complement undergraduate GPA, transcripts, recommendation letters and other supporting documents that one needs to submit to complete the application. 

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GRE General Test Syllabus 2023

As per the GRE syllabus 2023, the exam is split into three important sections that adjudge your ability to perform in graduate school. The three sections are:

Verbal Reasoning: Here you need to analyse discourse and draw a conclusion, identify the assumptions and perspectives of the author and understand the relationship between words and concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning: It involves solving problems using mathematical models and applying basic mathematical skills.

Analytical Writing Assessment:  In this section, you have to articulate complex ideas lucidly and use the elements of standard English properly.

The GRE General Test syllabus 2023 differs from the GRE Subject Test syllabus. The GRE General Test can be taken on a computer or on paper. The total number of questions asked in the GRE General Test is 82, out of which, 80 are MCQs and two are descriptive (essay form).

GRE Section

Types of Questions

Total Questions


GRE Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Comparison Questions

Numeric Entry Questions


70 (35 minutes per section)

GRE Analytical Reasoning Questions

Analyzing an Issue

1 task

30 minutes for each task

GRE Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension

Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence


60 minutes (30 minutes per section)




1 hour and 58 minutes

GRE Syllabus for Verbal Reasoning

This section evaluates a candidate's ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize written content. They must interpret the meaning of a phrase, sentence, or paragraph, comprehend literary terminology and concepts, and distinguish between minor and significant notions.

The reading passages are drawn from physical, biological and social sciences, everyday contexts, business and humanities. The GRE syllabus for 2023 verbal reasoning question paper will be divided into three sections: reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence.

  • Reading Comprehension: The reading comprehension questions are designed to assess the candidate's understanding and interpretation of the supplied paragraph. They must comprehend the text structure, identify the author's assumptions and points of view, determine the meaning of words and sentences, explain the text, evaluate the text, and draw conclusions from it. Reading comprehension requires active engagement with the text, asking questions, formulating and evaluating hypotheses and reflecting on information from one passage to another.

  • Text Completion: This section assesses the candidate's ability to analyze and evaluate information presented in five-sentence paragraphs. They must fill in one to three blanks based on the facts in the passage. Here, the interpretation and evaluation skills of candidates are assessed. Short phrases have to be used to make the sentence meaningful and coherent.

  • Sentence Equivalence: In this section, candidates must complete the passage using only the information provided. There will be one blank and six answer options. Candidates must mark only correct answer choices; there will be no credit for partially correct responses. Candidates must read the statement correctly, find words or phrases that are significant to the sentence, and then fill in the blank with a word that is more appropriate for the response. This section also evaluates the ability to reach a conclusion based on the partial information provided in the passage.

The following subjects are included in the GRE exam syllabus of Verbal Reasoning:

GRE Syllabus: Verbal Reasoning

Basic Sentence structure: Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives

Subject-Verb Agreement

Verb Tense


Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Pronoun Agreement


GRE Syllabus For Quantitative Reasoning

Basic mathematical skills, awareness of elementary mathematical ideas, and the ability to reason quantitatively and solve problems using quantitative approaches are all required for the GRE quant section. The exam will be divided into two halves, each with 20 questions covering arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Each segment has a time limit of 35 minutes. The GRE quant score range is 130-170. There will be four types of questions in the GRE syllabus for 2023 quantitative reasoning section. They are as follows:

  • Quantitative Comparison Questions: This section requires applicants to draw a comparison between two quantities and determine which statement best describes the comparison. It is necessary to be familiar with answer choices and avoid unnecessary computation. Also, try to simplify the comparison between quantities.

  • Multiple Choice Questions (choose one answer choice): Candidates must choose one correct answer from a list of five options. If you see that none of the answers matches, it is necessary to redo it. For approximation questions, choose the answers that are nearest.

  • Multiple Choice Questions (choose one or more answer choices): Candidates must choose more than one right answer from the available options. There will be no credit for partially right answers. You must note whether you are asked to select a specific correct answer or all the possible correct answers.

  • Numeric Entry: Candidates must calculate and write the answers for numeric entry. There will be no options for these questions.

  • Data Interpretation Sets: Data interpretation questions are grouped together and refer to the same table, graph and data. You are asked to analyse or interpret the data given. Multiple choice or numeric entry questions may be asked.

The following subjects are included in the Quant section of GRE exam syllabus:

GRE Syllabus: Quantitative Reasoning

Ratio and proportion

Profit and loss




Coordinate geometry

Quadratic equations

Sets Theory


Number properties

Simple and compound interest

Speed, distance and time

Permutation & combination

Linear equations

Lines and angles



Powers and roots


Pipes, cisterns, work, time

Order of operations

Volume and surface area

GRE Syllabus For Analytical Writing

The section evaluates the candidate's critical thinking and analytical writing abilities. There will be two distinct timed analytical writing tasks of 30 minutes each in this module. The segment is graded from 0 to 6 with 0.5 increments. The following are the two tasks: 

  • GRE Analyze an Issue Task: Candidates must think critically about the given topic/statement and articulate it in their own words in this section. They will have to evaluate the issue and consider how complex it is. They must write at least 500-600 words on issues of general interest. The test is subjective and is based on the candidate's ability to articulate his opinions persuasively. They must also give reasons and examples to support their answers.

  • The GRE Analyze an Argument Task: This task will test the candidate's ability to analyze and evaluate the presented argument. In 30 minutes, they must compose at least 500-600 words. Candidates will be provided with a passage with reasoning and evidence, and they must examine the author's case. One has to consider how logical the statements are instead of taking sides for or against them.

Candidates must practice their reading, writing, and vocabulary skills to score well in this section. They can read feature articles, journals, essays, and editorials on a variety of themes of general interest. They must practice their phrases, grammar, and vocabulary to present their message in a structured manner in a limited time frame. The writings should be coherent and lucid. 

GRE Subject Test Syllabus 2023

GRE subject test syllabus has been formulated in a way to test the knowledge of the candidates in a particular field of study. For example, the GRE mathematics test assesses the knowledge that students possess in mathematics and if that is sufficient for them to pursue graduate studies in maths. 

Students also must note that GRE Subject Tests are not mandatory for all schools, therefore before taking the test, they must check with the university where they are intending to study. The GRE Subject Tests are not delivered in the online format. One has to take the paper and pen test for it.

The Subject Test is intended for individuals who have considerable expertise in any of the four areas specified:

  • Mathematics

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • Psychology

GRE Subject Tests are designed to evaluate your knowledge and ability level in a certain subject area.

Some of the GRE Subject Tests also include subscores that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, helping them with future guidance in preparation and placement in school.

The GRE Biology and Literature in English tests were discontinued in May 2021 and the GRE Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology Test was discontinued in December 2016.

GRE Subject Test scores remain valid for four years from the date of the test. The GRE syllabus 2023 for all of these tests varies from each other.

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Syllabus of GRE Subject Test: Chemistry

Are you planning to take GRE subject test in Chemistry? Do you want to know what is in the chemistry test? Then this section is ideal for your knowledge. 

The GRE Subject Test - Chemistry consists of about 130 multiple-choice questions that are based on four major areas:

  • Physical Chemistry: It comprises 30 per cent of the paper. The part contains quantum chemistry, applications to spectroscopy, thermodynamics and dynamics.

  • Organic Chemistry: This comprises 30 per cent of the paper. Here, organometallics, reaction mechanisms, functional groups, reactive intermediates and structure, bonding and nomenclature are studied.

  • Inorganic Chemistry: This section comprises 25 per cent of the paper covering the chemistry of transitional elements, metals and semiconductors, ionic substance, acid and base and general chemistry. 

  • Analytical Chemistry: It consists of 15 per cent of the paper. Radiochemical methods, homogeneous equilibria, solution and standardisation, data acquisition and statistics form important parts of the syllabus.

The test booklet contains a printed periodic table as well as a table containing information like physical constants, conversion factors, etc. Here are the sub topics that are asked under the mentioned areas. 

GRE Subject Test Syllabus for Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Physical Chemistry 

Statistical considerations and error identification

General Chemistry

Structural Bonding and Nomenclature

Thermodynamics - First, Second and Third Law

Heterogeneous Equilibria

Covalent Molecular Substances

Reaction Mechanism (Nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution/ elimination, Diels-Alder and Cycloadditions)

Thermochemistry, Ideal & Real Gases and Solutions

Complexometry, Acid-B, Oxidation and Reduction

Ionic Radii, Lattice Geometrics and Lattice Energies

Free radicals, benzynes, carbonians , carbenes

Chemical Potential, Phase Equilibria, Chemical Equilibria

Primary Standards and Concentration Terms

Lewis Theory, Bronsted Lowry Approaches

Transition metal reagents and catalysts

Gibbs and Helmholtz Energy, Statistical Thermodynamics and Colligative Properties

Environmental Applications

Physical and Chemical Properties of Elements and Compounds



Application and detectors

Band Theory and Structure

Molecular Orbital Theory, Catalysis

Quantum Chemistry 

Instrumental Methods - Calibration of Instruments

Chemistry of Main Group Elements

Acid-Base Theory and Carbon Acidity

Photochemistry, Solution and Liquid Dynamics

Electrochemical, Chromatographic, Thermal and Spectroscopic Methods

Applied Solid State Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry

Aromaticity, Macromolecules, Antiaromaticity, Amino Acids, Lipids, Peptides, Nucleic Acids, Polymers

Experimental and Theoretical Chemical Kinetics

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test: Mathematics

Those willing to sit for GRE Subject Test Mathematics must know the syllabus of the same in advance. There are approximately 66 multiple-choice questions asked from the undergraduate syllabus.

The same has been designed to know the foundational knowledge of applicants in Mathematics. One must go through the GRE books and question papers to have a clear idea of the types of questions asked in the exam. Also, practising as many questions as possible is the best way to get good scores. 

The three parts of the GRE syllabus are given below:

  • Calculus: 50% of the syllabus is based on the various applications of calculus.

  • Algebra: 25% of the questions cover abstract, linear and elementary algebra.

  • Miscellaneous: The remaining 25% of questions are asked from the Mathematics syllabus studied at the undergraduate level.

GRE Subject Test Syllabus for Mathematics



Additional Topics

Differential and Integral Calculus

Elementary Algebra

Introductory Real Analysis

Calculus-Based Applications

Basic Algebraic Manipulations and Techniques

Discrete Mathematics

Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry

Linear Algebra

General Topology, Complex Variables, Geometry


Abstract Algebra

Numerical Analysis, Probability and Statistics

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test: Physics

The GRE Physics Subject Test is required for some universities for master’s and doctoral degrees. The physics syllabus is mostly based on whatever is taught in undergraduate classes. 

It contains the key topics that require a clear understanding for the master's degree in Physics. 

As the exam is held only on a few dates in a year, it is essential to prepare well ahead of time and select a suitable date. There will be 100 multiple choice questions with 5 options in each question. The GRE Physics syllabus includes:

  • Classical Mechanics: This section forms 20% of the syllabus.

  • Electromagnetism: 18% of questions come from this particular section.

  • Optics and Wave Phenomena: About 9% of the physics questions are based on this section.

  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: The content weightage is 10%.

  • Quantum Mechanics: Approximately 12% of the questions are related to this topic.

  • Atomic Physics: This constitutes 10% of the syllabus.

  • Special Relativity: This module occupies 6% of the questions in the exam.

  • Laboratory Methods: 6% of questions are based on lab methods.

  • Specialised Topics: Very few questions come from this heterogenous mix of the syllabus.

GRE Subject Test Syllabus for Physics

Classical Mechanics

Kinematics, Work and Energy, Newton’s Laws, Rotational Motion, Oscillatory Motion, Particle System Dynamics, 3-D Particle Dynamics, Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Formalism, Fluid Dynamics


Electrostatics, Magnetic Fields, Currents and DC and AC Circuits, Induction, Lorentz Force, Maxwell’s Equations, Electromagnetic Waves

Optics and Wave Phenomena

Wave Properties, Interference, Superposition, Geometrical Optics, Diffraction, Doppler Effect and Polarisation

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Laws of Thermodynamics and its processes, Equations of State, Kinetic Theory, Ideal Gases, Calculation and Statistical Concepts of Thermodynamic Quantities, Heat Transfer, Thermal Expansion 

Quantum Mechanics

Fundamental Concepts, Schrödinger Equation and its solutions, Wave Function Symmetry, Angular and Spin Momentum, Elementary Perturbation Theory

Atomic Physics 

Properties of Electrons, Energy Quantisation, Bohr Model, Atomic Spectra and Structure, Black-Body Radiation

Special Relativity 

Time Dilation, Simultaneity, Length Contraction, Energy and Momentum, Velocity Addition, Lorentz Transformation, Four-Vectors

Laboratory Methods 

Data and Error Analysis, Instrumentation, Electronics, Radiation Detection, Optical and Laser Interferometers, Counting Statistics, Fundamental Applications of Statistics and Probability

Specialised Topics

Particle and Nuclear Physics, Condensed Matter, Astrophysics, Computer Applications and Mathematical Methods

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test: Psychology

GRE Subject Test for Psychology is taken by students who want to pursue master’s or doctorate degree in the subject at universities abroad. A total of 205 multiple choice questions are asked in the test and the duration of the exam is 2 hours and 50 minutes. Questions asked are designed to interpret data and understand and analyse relationships, principles and write conclusions.

The GRE Subject Test - Psychology comprises six major areas which are:

  • Biological: It consists of 17 to 21% of the syllabus.

  • Cognitive: 17 to 24% of the questions come from this topic.

  • Social: 12 to 14% of the syllabus comprises this section.

  • Developmental: This area is 12 to 14% of the syllabus

  • Clinical: 15 to 19% of the questions are covered from the topic.

  • Measurement and Methodology: 15-19% of questions are given from this area of study.
GRE Subject Test Syllabus for Psychology


Sensation and Perception, Behavioral and Physiological Neuroscience


Language, Learning, Thinking and Memory


Social Perception and Comparison, Attitudes and Behaviour, Emotion and Affect, Cultural and Intergroup Processes, Cultural and Gender Influences, Theories, Evolutionary Psychology, Aggression and Altruism


Nature-Nurture, Emotion, Perception and Cognition, Personality, Physical and Motor, Socialisation, Theories 


Personality, Clinical and Abnormal

Methodology, Measurement and Other 

General, Measurement and Methodology

GRE General Test Pattern

Being familiar with the GRE syllabus is not enough to sit for the exam. You also need to be aware of the exam pattern to score high on the GRE test. The total time duration of the exam is three hours and 45 minutes and is divided into three sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment.

The GRE exam pattern and the length of the exam can be stressful and therefore, you should start preparing early for the exam. Practising full-length papers will help you to get accustomed to facing the real exam. We have presented a thorough idea of the GRE computer-delivered and paper-based test below:

GRE Exam Pattern for Computer Delivered Test

GRE Sections

Number of Sections 


Analytical Writing

One section- two tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

Two sections- 40 questions

60 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

Two sections- 40 questions

70 minutes




GRE Exam Pattern for Paper Delivered Test

GRE Sections

Number of Sections 


Analytical Writing

Two sections- Two tasks

60 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

Two sections- 50 questions

70 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

Two sections- 50 questions

80 minutes







How to Prepare for the GRE?

Once you have known about the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests, you must know how to prepare for the GRE exam. You must dedicate at least one to three months to thoroughly preparing for the exam.  It will be possible to cover the syllabus with the given preparation tips

Acknowledge Your Base Score

Before you delve into the preparation, you can take a practice test to understand your position. You can then plan and develop strategies and understand which topics require attention. 

Calculate Your Goal Score

Make a list of your potential universities and the minimum GPA required to apply. This way, you will know what you want and be able to strive toward it. Setting a target will help you devote maximum time and labour towards the fulfilment of the goal.

Plan Your Ascension

It will take some analysis to develop the ideal strategy for moving you from your starting point to your desired score. Examine online testimonials from satisfied students and decide what works best for you.

Pay Attention to Your Technique

You should undoubtedly pay attention to how you handle each question, in addition to having a result-oriented approach. Find out what methods you use to address difficulties and focus on improving them.

Evaluate Your Performance

Always examine your performance in practice tests, looking for patterns in your errors and questions that you consistently struggle with. You will see how helpful that is and will help to increase your scores on real GRE tests.

Vocabulary is Important

Reading reputable academic papers and publications is one approach to expanding your vocabulary. You may simply accomplish this using the internet. An extensive vocabulary will help you a lot in acing your GRE exam.

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FAQs on GRE Syllabus

What is the GRE syllabus for Analytical Writing?

The GRE syllabus for analytical writing assessment tests the critical thinking skills and analytical writing abilities of test-takers. It includes two tasks: one is analysing an issue and the other is analysing an argument. The tasks require accompanying evidence and examination of claims, checking English skills, articulating complex ideas, sustaining a coherent discussion and supporting ideas with examples.

How long will it take to cover the GRE General Test syllabus?

The ideal time taken to cover the GRE General Test syllabus with mock tests or to prepare well for the GRE General Test is around 6 months. However, candidates can also cover the GRE General Test syllabus in two to three months provided they are familiar with the basics.

What will the GRE Verbal Reasoning test measure?

The GRE Verbal Reasoning test measures students’ vocabulary retention power, their ability to read a comprehension passage and answer the questions, and their ability to critically analyse a sentence or any given data. It further assesses a candidate based on the ability to understand the literal, figurative and intent of the author.

How long will it take the cover the GRE General Test syllabus?

It will take around six months to complete the entire GRE General Test syllabus. Preparation includes thorough completion of the syllabus and practising mock test papers and practice papers. However, students who have their basics clear may require less time to complete the syllabus, which may be around 2 to 3 months.

Is GRE verbal reasoning difficult?

Yes, out of all the sections under the GRE General Test, Verbal Reasoning is said to be the toughest section. The verbal reasoning section of the GRE contains question sets on sentence completion and reading comprehension which requires students to learn a wide range of vocabulary and build a command over the reading part.

What is the average score in GRE Verbal Reasoning?

150 is the average score in GRE Verbal Reasoning. Even so, the average score fully depends on the university and the programme one is applying for. It is recommended by experts to score above 150 on the exam in order to increase one’s chances of getting into the university of choice.

What is the strategy to get a high Quant score in GRE?

The GRE quant section consists of arithmetic, algebra and geometry. Students have to be clear with the basics of each chapter and must practice about 100 problems for each topic. Additionally, taking practice papers and mock tests will also benefit them to find out their mistakes and work on them. Practising more and more is the only way to ace the GRE quant section.

What does the GRE Analytical Writing section measure?

GRE analytical section is designed to measure a candidate’s ability to think critically, understand, analyse and evaluate arguments. Candidates must read, write and solve as many questions as possible.  It is necessary to practice each type of GRE analytical writing assessment question to score well in the actual GRE test. 

What does GRE Quantitative Reasoning measure?

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section will measure your basic mathematical skills, understanding of mathematical concepts, and ability to solve problems using apt methods. In order to score well in Quant, candidates should be well versed with each topic and must practice at least 100 questions for each of those topics.

What is the GRE syllabus for Quantitative Reasoning?

The GRE syllabus for quantitative reasoning measures the basic mathematical foundation of test-takers. It includes the ability to solve problems using mathematical models and applying basic skills of numerical, geometry and data analysis. Algebra is also a part of the quant syllabus. The quant topics need sincere attention from students to score high.

What is the GRE syllabus for Verbal Reasoning?

The difficulty level of GRE Verbal Reasoning section is subjective. However, it may be difficult as it contains questions based on sentence completion, sentence equivalence and reading comprehension that requires test-taker’s command over a wide range of vocabulary and efficiency in the reading part.


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