GRE® Subject Matter Test in Literature in Chemistry

Completing the GRE® Subject Matter Test in Chemistry can help the prospective graduate student showcase his or her knowledge of the field of Chemistry. All GRE® Subject Matter Tests are accepted at most colleges and universities and offer additional standardized information about the applicant’s expertise in the Subject Matter.

While a GRE® Subject Matter Test may not necessarily be required for admission, an exceptional score in this subject can serve to help the student’s summary and records during the graduate admissions process to universities with top Chemistry colleges.

The GRE® Subject Matter Test in Chemistry contains 130 multiple choice questions that are randomly grouped into the traditional 4 divisions of Chemistry:

  • Organic (30%)
  • Physical (30%)
  • Inorganic (25%)
  • Analytical (15%)

Questions may encompass more than one field of Chemistry and may utilize an interrelationship between two different fields of Chemistry. Calculators will not be needed as simple mathematical equations will be utilized. A periodic table along with a table of physical constants and conversion factors will be printed within the test booklet and may be referenced in the test questions.

Questions related to Organic Chemistry will be drawn from the subjects of bonding, nomenclature and structure, Lewis structures, conformational analysis, systemic IUPAC nomenclature, spectroscopy, stereochemical and configuration notations, functional groups, organometallics, reaction mechanisms, reactive intermediates, and other special topics such as amino acids, carbohydrates, peptides, resonance, acid-based theory, and others.

Physical Chemistry questions can include the subjects of the first, second, and third laws of thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, applications to spectroscopy, solution and liquid dynamics, chemical kinetics, photochemistry, atomic and molecular structure, and certain classical experiments.

The category with the smallest number of questions, Analytical Chemistry, includes questions relating to statistics and data acquisition, environmental applications, heterogeneous and homogeneous equilibria, various instrumental methods, radiochemical methods, and solutions and standardizations.

Test questions in the field of Inorganic Chemistry include the concepts of acids and bases, general chemistry, the chemistry of the main group and transition elements, including electronic structures, occurrences, recovery, properties and compounds of the elements, covalent molecular and ionic substances, metals, and semiconductors.

Questions may also be asked regarding bioinorganic, applied solid state, and organometallic chemistry and catalysis.

While the test is lengthy, no student is expected to be familiar with all subject matter or be able to answer all questions correctly. Many short, multiple-choice questions, along with the lengthy scope of the test, have been proven to work to the student’s advantage in allowing the student to fairly, accurately, and systematically evaluate his or her knowledge of the test material. The student may obtain a maximum score on the GRE® Subject Matter Test in Chemistry without actually answering all the questions correctly.

The GRE® Subject Matter Test is offered worldwide in October, November, and April. Registration may be completed online at: To begin the registration process, create a My GRE® Account and choose a date and a testing location, making certain that the chosen test date will be sufficiently early enough that your test scores will be received by the educational institution in time to be considered as part of your college application. Registration and payment may also be completed by mail by downloading and completing the registration form from the GRE® Bulletin online.

Regular registration for a test in the United States, U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico is $140 US per Subject Test; all other locations, $160 US. Payment may be made by credit or debit card, PayPal, E-Check, money orders, certified checks, and Western Union, or by mailing a check to ETS-GRE. Payments may be made in British pounds, Japanese yen, Euro, or Canadian dollar. Late registration can be requested online for an additional fee of $25 up to one week after the regular registration deadline. Standby or change (changing test center OR changing subject test) fee is $50 per situation. Scores may be requested by phone ($12) or you may request an additional score report ($23 per recipient).

All GRE® Subject Matter Test preparation study materials are free and are sent to the registrant after registration is complete. Service Candidate Profile Listing is also free for registrants, matching your profile with fellowship sponsors.

On the day of the test, you should arrive at least 30 minutes before the test is scheduled to begin. Late arriving test takers may not be admitted to the test site nor will fees be refunded. Bring with you: your admissions ticket, 2 forms of acceptable identification, 3 or 4 sharpened number 2 pencils, and a good eraser. You will mark your answers on a machine-scored answer sheet separate from the test booklet.

You may not bring mechanical pens or pencils, any food or drink, tobacco, weapons, cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, or any electronic devices. Personal items other than your identification are not allowed and no personal storage will be offered. Scarves, hats, jackets, etc., may be searched. Seating is assigned. The test will take 2 hours and 50 minutes; allow for up to 3 1/2 hours total time at the testing site. If you require any health-related special accommodations, these must be requested in advance. The procedures for this request are available on the GRE® ETS website.

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GRE Subject Tests