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    GRE General Test vs Subject Test: Know the Difference

    gre general vs subject

    Studying abroad is a dream home for many. When applying to the world’s most famous universities, you’ll often find the need for a language test in their eligibility requirements. For most other competitive courses like an MBA or an MTech, students are generally required to provide an aptitude test score. The choice is largely between the GMAT or the GRE.

    When it comes to GRE, students have another decision to make, i.e. whether to choose the GRE general test vs the subject test. There are many differences between the GRE general vs subject test. From the mode of test-taking, and specifications to usability, and test format, only after thorough research, you’ll be able to decide perfectly which test to take to maximise your approval chances. So let’s go through this article and understand the difference between GRE general test and the GRE subject test. 

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    Before applying for the GRE examination, it is very important to decide responsibly among the different GRE tests. In some cases/ courses, the GRE Subject test will be your best choice, while the GRE General will win the race in others. Without further delay, let us decide between the GRE general vs subject test by highlighting the key differences.

    What is the GRE Subject Test?

    The GRE Subject Test is a comparatively less sought-after test for international universities. The test usually focuses on a single subject rather than resting your entire aptitude on the whole. You can go for four subjects while giving the GRE subject test: Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and Psychology.

    The GRE Subject Test might be ideal if you seek admission to a specialisation course (MSc in Physics, MA in Psychology, etc.) and want to stand out from the other applicants. If you seek admission to a school with a lower number of openings, the subject test might be great for you. However, note that an MBA or an MEng student might not want to go for this, as only one among the four cannot define your overall aptitude and knowledge as a student in that course.

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    Next, let’s know the meaning and purpose of the GRE General test!

    What is the GRE General Test?

    The GRE General Test is a broader test that measures your quants, verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking. On the whole, it is a test of your aptitude on a larger note as a student and doesn’t lay focus on just one subject. This is the main reason the GRE General Test is the prime choice of most prestigious colleges regarding eligibility.

    Verbal reasoning tests your capability to consume and understand information. Quantitative reasoning is about basic mathematics and how well you can understand and adapt to equations, etc. The GRE analytical writing section mainly covers an essay, wherein your argumentative, debating, observation, and expression skills are evaluated.

    Know about the GRE Exam Dates 2024! 

    Now you know the basic difference between GRE general test and GRE subject test. You can begin your GRE General test preparation by exploring this GRE pattern video 2024. 

    Next, let’s explore…

    What is the Difference Between GRE General Test vs GRE Subject Test?

    You should have a gist of the major conceptual difference between the GRE general test vs subject test by now. The meaning of both is largely different. There are numerous minute differences spreading the two apart. The table below summarises the major differences between the GRE general vs subject test. After going through it you will have an answer to the question, “do I need to take GRE general test or subject test”


    GRE General Test

    GRE Subject Test


    Comprises analytical writing, verbal, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking

    Tests based on different subjects like mathematics, psychology, physics, and chemistry and focuses only on them

    Mode of test

    Computer or Paper-based

    Only paper-based


    3 hours 45 minutes long

    2 hours 50 minutes long

    When is the test taken?

    Taken year-long

    Only taken in September, October and April

    Score range

    130-170 score range for reasoning

    0-6 for writing

    200-990 score range


    228 USD for Indian Students (from Nov 1, 2022)

    150 USD for every student

    Suggested: How to Improve Your GRE Verbal Score? 

    You should now have a good understanding of the major differences between the GRE general test vs GRE subject test. The differences are more than people usually estimate. The type of tests you take before applying to your favourite university plays a major role in deciding whether you will get admission or not. Therefore, contemplate this difference between GRE general and subject test skillfully. 

    After having gone through the difference between GRE subject and general test, allow us to answer the big question in your head: which tests should be your choice for a study abroad admission among GRE General and GRE subject?

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    How to Decide: GRE General Test vs Subject Test

    After exploring the difference between GRE General and Subject test, you should decide which among the GRE general test vs GRE subject test can get to be a really tough or confusing choice. Go through these pointers to identify which should be your pick:

    Take GRE General if:

    • Your university demands so
    • You aren’t majoring in the four subjects included in GRE Subject
    • You don’t have an extensive background in either of the four subjects
    • You wish to give only a single GRE exam

    Take the GRE Subject test if:

    • You’re okay with taking more than one test
    • You are specialising in either of the four subjects mentioned
    • You have a noteworthy background in either of the four subjects
    • You are applying to a school with a reduced number of seats available
    • You wish to stand out from the crowd by weighing your profile. As you take a GRE general along with the GRE subject, it adds to your profile.

    Now you know other pointers that can be considered as difference between GRE general and subject test. Make your final choice based on them. Next, let’s check out the…

    Top Universities Accepting GRE General Test

    After you go through the difference between GRE subject and general test, make your pick and select the university that considers one for admission. Following is the list of top universities for the GRE General vs GRE Subject test.


    Universities accepting GRE General Test Score


    Stanford University, University of Virginia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of California


    Wharton Business School, Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Next, Let’s Explore the Top Universities Accepting GRE Subject Test. 

    Universities accepting GRE General Test Score

    QS WUR 2024 based on Specialisations ( Chemistry / Mathematics / Physics / Psychology)

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    Harvard University


    Stanford University


    University of Cambridge


    University of the Oxford


    University of California Berkeley


    GRE Exam Fees 2024

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    The GRE exam can be taken any number of times and at all ages. However, every individual tries to achieve the maximum scores in the first go. Who would want to waste years, months, and money in giving numerous attempts aimlessly? So begin your GRE preparation with Yocket Prep -  A personalised tool for GRE diagnostic tests.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about GRE General vs Subject Test

    How many days prior to the GRE test should I start studying?


    Is the GRE subject test more difficult than the GRE general test?


    How often can I give the GRE general test?


    Can I give the GRE if I’m under 18 in India?


    Is GMAT better than GRE?


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