GRE Mathematics Test
The GRE subject test in mathematics is a standardized test in the United States created by the Educational Testing Service, and is designed to assess a candidate's potential for graduate or post-graduate study in the field of mathematics. It contains questions from many fields of mathematics. About 50% of the questions come from calculus (including pre-calculus topics, multivariate calculus, and differential equations), 25% from algebra (including linear algebra, abstract algebra, and number theory), and 25% from a broad variety of other topics typically encountered in undergraduate mathematics courses, such as point-set topology, probability and statistics, geometry, and real analysis.
This exam, like all the GRE subject tests, is paper-based, as opposed to the GRE general test which is usually computer-based. It contains 66 questions, which are to be answered within 2 hours and 50 minutes. Scores on this exam are required for entrance to most math Ph.D. programs in the United States.
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 920 (corresponding to the 99 percentile) and 400 (1 percentile) respectively. The mean score for all test takers from July, 2009 to July, 2012 was 657 with a standard deviation of 136.
Prior to October 2001, a significant percentage of students were achieving perfect scores on the exam, which made it difficult for competitive programs to differentiate between students in the upper percentiles. So the test was reworked, made much more difficult, and renamed "The Mathematics Subject Test (Rescaled)." It is now considered by many to be the hardest of the GRE subject exams.[by whom?] One contributing factor to this is that there is a shortage of practice exams available, as the test in its current format has only been around since 2001.
Tests generally take place three times per year, on one Saturday in each of September, October, and April. Students must register for the exam approximately five weeks before the administration.