GRE Physics Test

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

US$ 150[5]

(Limited offers of "Fee Reduction Program" for U.S. citizens or resident aliens who demonstrate financial need, and for national programs in USA that work with under-represented groups.[6])
Scores / grades used by Physics departments offering graduate programs (mostly in universities in the U.S.).

The GRE physics test is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test attempts to determine the extent of the examinees' understanding of fundamental principles of physics and their ability to apply them to problem solving. Many graduate schools require applicants to take the exam and base admission decisions in part on the results.

The scope of the test is largely that of the first three years of a standard United States undergraduate physics curriculum, since many students who plan to continue to graduate school apply during the first half of the fourth year. It consists of 100 five-option multiple-choice questions covering subject areas including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, wave phenomena and optics, thermal physics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, laboratory techniques, and mathematical methods. The table below indicates the relative weights, as asserted by ETS, and detailed contents of the major topics.

Major content topics[edit]

1. Classical mechanics (20%)[edit]

2. Electromagnetism (18%)[edit]

3. Optics and wave phenomena (9%)[edit]

4. Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)[edit]

5. Quantum mechanics (12%)[edit]

6. Atomic physics (10%)[edit]

7. Special relativity (6%)[edit]

8. Laboratory methods (6%)[edit]

9. Specialized topics (9%)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Test Content and Structure". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  2. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Physics". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  3. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Scores". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  4. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: About the GRE Subject Tests". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  5. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fees". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  6. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fee Reduction Program". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 

External links[edit]