GRE Psychology Test

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Graduate Record Examination
(Psychology Subject Test)
GRE logo.svg
TypePaper-based standardized test[1]
Developer / administratorEducational Testing Service
Knowledge / skills testedUndergraduate level psychology:
  • Clinical and abnormal
  • Lifespan development (childhood, adolescence, aging)
  • Personality
  • Social
Other areas:
  • General
  • Measurement and methodology
PurposeAdmissions in graduate programs (e.g. M.A. and Ph.D.) in psychology (mostly in universities in the United States).
Year started(?) ((?))
Duration2 hours and 50 minutes[1]
Score / grade range200 to 990, in 10-point increments[3]
Score / grade validity5 years[3]
Offered3 times a year, in September, October and April.[4]
Countries / regionsWorldwide
Annual number of test takers~6,000-7,000 yearly
Prerequisites / eligibility criteriaNo official prerequisite. Intended for psychology bachelor degree graduates or undergraduate students about to graduate. Fluency in English assumed.
FeeUS$ 150[5]
(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.[6])
Scores / grades used byPsychology departments offering graduate programs (mostly in universities in the United States).

The GRE Psychology subject test is a standardized test used in admission decisions by some graduate programs in psychology in several English-speaking countries, especially in the United States.


There are three major components to this test: (1) Experimental, (2) Social, and (3) Other areas.[7] The score ranges from 200 to 880, although 90% of test-takers score between 440 and 760, with 50th percentile around 615.[8] The average score on Psychology subject test is 577 at Master's level and 633 at Doctoral level.[9]

Test Item Development

The questions used for the GRE Psychology Test are written by a committee of six faculty members (many who did not know how the test was designed until they were asked to join the committee) from various colleges and universities throughout the United States. Each member writes 15-20 test items each year, as well as, many other faculty members write and submit additional items. These items are then discussed by the committee over a three-day session. During this time, the members accept, reword, or reject the submitted items from the various faculty members. After the draft of questions are assembled, the test is then given to a GRE Sensitivity Committee to screen for items that may not “represent ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, and other groups in a favorable light and that the items are not likely to offend anyone” (Kalat & Matlin, 2000, p. 25). Items are not put on the test as “experimental items” that will not be scored. However, point-biserial correlations and percentage of students who answered each item correctly are examined after each administration of the test.[10]

Use in Admissions[edit]

Some graduate programs do not require submission of Psychology subject test scores, whereas in other programs it is recommended or mandatory. Among those universities that do require Psychology subject test, the minimal requirements may also vary. For example, applicants for the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at Hofstra University are required to have a Psychology subject score not lower than 65th percentile (about 660 points)[11]

Predictiveness of the GRE Psychology Test[edit]

Based on data collected from 1986 to 1990, correlations were conducted between first-year graduate school GPAs and undergraduate GPA, as well as, various different GRE tests and subtests. The GRE Psychology Test shows to correlate better with first-year graduate school GPAs than does the GRE General Test (r = .33); the GRE Psychology Test correlates equivocally with undergraduate GPA correlations (both equal r = .37). However, it is also stated that a GRE subject test correlates with degree attainment only r = .21. While it has strong correlations when comparing to some facets of graduate school, overall it does not predict who will graduate and who will not.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Test Content and Structure". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  2. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Psychology". 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  3. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Scores". 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  4. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: About the GRE Subject Tests". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  5. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fees". 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  6. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fee Reduction Program". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  7. ^ "Educational Testing Service webpage for GRE Psychology subject test". Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  8. ^ Graduate Record Examination Psychology Test Practice Book (2009). Archived August 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ An article by Norcross et al. (2006) on Psi Chi website
  10. ^ a b Kalat, J. W., & Matlin, M. W. (2000). The GRE Psychology Test: A useful but poorly understood test. Teaching of Psychology. 27(1) 24-27.
  11. ^ "Admission requirements for a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at Hofstra University". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2014-05-22.

External links[edit]