GRE Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Test

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Graduate Record Examination
(Biochemistry Subject Test)
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Type Paper-based standardized test[1]
Developer / administrator Educational Testing Service
Knowledge/skill(s) tested Undergraduate level biochemistry:
Purpose Admissions in graduate programs (e.g. M.S. and Ph.D.) in biochemistry (mostly in universities in the USA).
Year started (?) ((?))
Duration 2 hours and 50 minutes[3]
Score/grade range 200 to 990, in 10-point increments[4]
Score/grade validity 5 years[5]
Offered 3 times a year, in September, October and April.[6]
Country(ies) / region(s) Worldwide
Language(s) English
Annual no. of test takers ~1,500-2,000 yearly
Prerequisites / eligibility criteria No official prerequisite. Intended for biochemistry bachelor degree graduates or undergraduate students about to graduate. Fluency in English assumed.

US$ 150[7]

(Limited offers of "Fee Reduction Program" for U.S. citizens or resident aliens who demonstrate financial need, and for national programs in the USA that work with underrepresented groups.[8])
Scores/grades used by Biochemistry departments offering graduate programs (mostly in universities in the USA).

GRE Subject Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology is a standardized exam provided by ETS (Educational Testing Service). It is a paper-based exam and there are no computer-based versions of it. ETS places this exam three times per year: once in April, once in October and once in November. Some graduate programs in the USA recommend taking this exam, while others require this exam score as a part of the application to their graduate programs. ETS sends a bulletin with a sample practice test to each candidate after registration for the exam. There are 180 questions within the biochemistry subject test.

Scores are scaled and then reported as a number between 200 and 990; however, in recent versions of the test, the maximum and minimum reported scores have been 760 (corresponding to the 99 percentile) and 320 (1 percentile) respectively. The mean score for all test takers from July, 2009, to July, 2012, was 526 with a standard deviation of 95.[9]

Content specification[edit]

Since many students who apply to graduate programs in biochemistry do so during the first half of their fourth year, the scope of most questions is largely that of the first three years of a standard American undergraduate biochemistry curriculum. A sampling of test item content is given below:

Biochemistry (36%)[edit]

  • Chemical foundations of biochemistry
  • Structural biology
  • Metabolism

Cell biology (28%)[edit]

  • Cell structure
  • Cell communication/proteins
  • Cell division

Molecular biology (36%)[edit]

  • Genomics
  • Gene expression and regulation
  • Virology

See also[edit]