What is tested in GRE Chemistry and how to get a high score?

The chemistry field of study holds the most in-demand courses in science programs at graduate schools. If a person desires to build more career opportunities, earning a master’s degree or doctorate program in chemistry can prepare you for leadership positions and highly sought-after specialist areas. Admission to a chemistry master’s program is not determined by the completion of a specific entrance exam, though some programs may ask you to pass a Graduate Record Examination score range. The test is designed to assess the abilities of aspiring students for graduate or postgraduate studies in the field of chemistry. The four fields into which chemistry has traditionally been separated are highlighted in the content of the GRE Chemistry Test. The standardized tests evaluate the preparedness of aspiring graduate students for more challenging higher education.

What’s tested in GRE Chemistry?

Understanding and familiarity with concepts and information about general chemistry are tested in the GRE Subject Test – Chemistry. It was developed to evaluate a candidate’s potential to pursue graduate or post-graduate studies in the field of chemistry.

What is the content specification for GRE Chemistry?

The content specifications for GRE Chemistry are the following:

  • 15% Analytical Chemistry. This category involves various laboratory techniques such as gravimetric measures and analysis, precipitation and solubility, and mass spectroscopy. It also highlights the practices of analyzing or interpreting the data in various forms due to prepared calibrations, precision, errors, and encoded statistics.
  • 25% Inorganic Chemistry. It relates to the basics covering the REDOX reaction, the balancing of chemical equations, the reactions between the determined inorganic compounds, and equilibrium reactions or constants. The concepts of acid-base relationships in chemistry or reactions are found in this category.
  • 30% Organic Chemistry. Organic chemistry is divided into different subcategories that deal with functional group reactions. The examiners should be knowledgeable about the background of hydrocarbons, carbonyls, sulfides, alcohols, and other functional classifications. Also, the examiner should dive into recalling the different definitions of epimer and enantiomer and the principles of biochemistry. It is also composed of the capability to handle reaction mechanisms, concepts, and intermediates.
  • 30% Physical Chemistry. Physical chemistry focuses on the concept of quantum chemistry and classic experiments that include kinetics and kinematics with the reaction rate and order. It also contains the proper classification of endergonic, exergonic, endothermic, and exothermic. The concepts of heat and temperature, phases of matter, colligative properties, and the chemical potential of the applied mechanisms are also included in this category.

Based on the aforementioned content specification of GRE Chemistry, many examiners tend to be overwhelmed as they let their apprehension be a distraction from studying. It is important to note that test takers must build a study plan related to the chemistry topics discussed.

What are the subcategories of analytical chemistry?

The subcategories of analytical chemistry for the GRE Subject Test are listed below:

  • Instrumental Methods
  • Radiochemical Methods
  • Homogeneous Equilibria
  • Heterogeneous Equilibria
  • Environmental Applications
  • Solutions and Standardization
  • Data acquisition and Use of Statistics

The topics accumulated in the examination will assess the examinees’ knowledge and background regarding how analytical chemistry works and its application based on its underlying principles.

What are the subcategories of inorganic chemistry?

Below are the subcategories covered in the examination in the field of Inorganic Chemistry for the GRE Subject Test:

  • Ionic Substances
  • General Chemistry
  • Metals and Semiconductors
  • Concepts of Acids and Bases
  • Covalent Molecular Substances
  • Chemistry of the Transition Elements
  • Chemistry of the Main Group Elements
  • Special Topics (such as applied solid-state chemistry, environmental chemistry, and organometallic chemistry)

The following topics under Inorganic Chemistry as discussed are included in the examination. Constructive back-readings and familiarization of terms should be done to ace the GRE score scale.

What are the subcategories of organic chemistry?

The subcategories for the Organic Chemistry section for the GRE Subject Test are as follows:

  • Organometallics
  • Functional Groups
  • Reaction Mechanisms
  • Reactive Intermediates
  • Structure, Bonding, and Nomenclature
  • Special topics (like resonance, orbital theory, antiaromaticity, and polymers)

The provided topics are expected in the Organic Chemistry category of the GRE Subject Test, which comprises 30% of the whole actual exam.

What are the subcategories of physical chemistry?

The mentioned subcategories under the Physical Chemistry section of the GRE Subject Test can be found below:

  • Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Quantum Chemistry and Applications to Spectroscopy

GRE Subject Test takers must expect that the three subcategories are included in the questions given in Physical Chemistry. Physical chemistry is vital for graduate schools because a solid understanding of thermodynamic influences is required to understand the driving forces that propel chemical reactions. Additionally, to understand the other branches of chemistry, one must first understand physical chemistry.

How many questions does the GRE Chemistry Test have?

130 questions comprise the GRE Chemistry Subject Test. It is a multiple-choice structured question that emphasizes the particular four fields of chemistry. It is divided into important branches of chemistry, and there are some interrelationships in the discussion or coverage among those fields.

When is GRE Chemistry offered?

The examination is offered three times a year in the following months: September, October, and April. GRE Chemistry, along with other subject tests, is given in the form of paper-based centres worldwide. Take into consideration that you can only take one subject test per scheduled test date. The examiners must register for the test five weeks before the actual exam. When choosing the dates between September, October, and April, it is important to take a look at the application deadline of your chosen school.

Who takes the GRE Chemistry Subject Test?

Aspiring students who want to pursue graduate studies in the field of chemistry take the GRE Chemistry Subject Test. Some graduate programs require the subject test scores along with letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and other application requirements. The official test scores of the prospective graduate students serve as the basis for the admissions committee to check if the chemistry knowledge of the students is enough for the demands of a master’s program or PhD program.

Is the GRE Chemistry test offered as a computer-delivered exam or home-based?

No, GRE Chemistry is only offered in the paper-delivered exam. A computer-adaptive exam for the GRE Subject Tests, including Chemistry, is not yet provided.

How much does the GRE Chemistry Subject Test cost?

$150 is the cost of the GRE Chemistry Subject Test worldwide. Additional charges may apply for late registration, standby testing, rescheduling, standby fee, changing the testing centre, and changing the subject test.

How do I register for the GRE Chemistry?

Follow the steps below to register for the GRE Chemistry examination:

Online Registration

  1. Create an account or have an ETS account to register online.
  2. Enter your credit card number on the ETS-accredited cards. American Express®, Diners Club International®, Discover®, JCB®, MasterCard®, RuPay™ Global, Union Pay®, or VISA® credit/debit cards are accepted.
  3. Click on “Process Payment” to choose an option to pay that supports the currency of your card issuer or in USD. Payment by e-check (for U.S. bank accounts only), PayPal, and voucher numbers are also accepted.

GRE Chemistry test-takers from Nigeria can only pay through PayPal and Visa. In order to accommodate test takers with disabilities or health-related needs, online registration is not available for them.

Mail Registration

  1. Complete the Registration Form for the GRE Subject Test, which can be found on the ETS website.
  2. Mail the registration form with the charged payment to the address stated on the printed form. The mailed form should be received at the ETS by the given registration deadline. Wait for four weeks for document processing.

After the registration process, ETS will send you an email confirming your test selection, test day, testing centre, and score receivers. Interested examiners must register. Test takers may contact GRE services if they need to amend or update their personal data, or the score recipient before your exam date.

How many hours are allotted for test-takers in taking the GRE Chemistry?

GRE Chemistry test takers have 2 hours and 50 minutes of allotted time to finish the exam.

Does ETS provide the periodic table for taking the GRE Chemistry?

Yes, ETS provides a periodic table, which is printed in the examination booklet. Moreover, a table of information about the different physical constants and some conversion factors based on the SI units will be given.

Is a calculator needed by ETS in taking the GRE Chemistry?

No, a calculator is not essential during GRE Chemistry. The test questions are designed to simplify equations. Neither calculators nor logarithm tables are required. If the question requires logarithms, they are directly provided in the questions.

What is a good score for GRE Chemistry?

A GRE score of 162-166 Verbal Score and 164-168 Quantitative Score is considered a good GRE score for the Chemistry subject test. The score range provides a competitive advantage for test-takers hoping to gain admission to their preferred graduate school with a chemistry program.

What are the tips for taking the GRE Chemistry?

The tips below will guide you in answering and managing your time on the GRE Chemistry Examination.

  • Focus on easy questions. It is vital not to spend too much time on difficult questions because they are all equally weighted. Then move on to the next question. You may leave questions unanswered at the end of the exam if you are slowed down by tough questions.
  • Don’t miss an answer to a single question. If you don’t know the answer, make an educated guess. There’s no punishment for bad replies.
  • Manage your time wisely when answering the exam. If you can’t answer a question, mark it for later. As soon as you’ve finished the easy questions, go on to the challenging ones.
  • Utilize workbooks and answer sheets. Take notes and work through questions in the test booklet, but be sure to record your answers on the answer sheet. Your test booklet answers will not be counted.

Following the testing tips mentioned above is vital to give an excellent performance during the examination day, which will result in achieving score goals.

Did ETS provide a practice test book for GRE Chemistry?

Yes. The ETS published a GRE Chemistry Test Practice Book containing an actual, full-length GRE Chemistry Test and other test-taking strategies. It directly provides a comprehensive overview of the GRE Chemistry Examination that helps the examinees prepare for and become familiar with the science concepts included in the actual exam.

What are the best books for GRE Chemistry preparation?

The list of best books for GRE Chemistry preparation can be found below.

  • Chemistry: The Central Science. It includes unique problem sets, scientific accuracy, and currency. The book covers all the major GRE Chemistry topics and subtopics. Diagrams are also provided, which help in understanding different concepts efficiently. The book starts from a basic level and moves up to more advanced lessons.
  • General Chemistry – Standalone Book. The book is the best place to start if you desire to learn the basics of GRE Chemistry topics. Colourful illustrations and easy-to-understand language are presented. The book also includes chemistry applications from daily life. Topics are well arranged, making them easy to navigate.
  • Organic Chemistry by Paula Bruice. Everything from chemical bonding to functional groups and organic chemistry to reaction processes is covered in this book. Problem-solving abilities and intellectual frameworks are provided for a wide range of sample chemistry questions. Every chapter has numerous examples to help you better understand complex concepts.
  • Atkin’s Physical Chemistry. The book comprises a comprehensive review of all the physical chemistry topics examined on the actual GRE chemistry test. At the end of each chapter, there are plenty of challenges to help students practice and solidify their understanding. The book includes specific examples to help examinees learn better.
  • GRE Chemistry Test Secrets Study Guide by Mometrix. Analytical examples and a primer on inorganic chemistry round out this in-depth look at the GRE Chemistry Exam and are given in this book. It provides an extensive review of organic chemistry as well as comprehensive practice questions and answers with detailed explanations for each one.
  • Inorganic Chemistry. The book offers a thorough and comprehensive review of inorganic chemistry topics in preparation for the GRE Chemistry examination. From the fundamental concepts of inorganic chemistry to cutting-edge research in the field, you will learn everything you need to know. It contains graphs, tables, diagrams, and figures to aid in better knowledge of difficult topics, as well as examples and problem questions that are simple to follow.
  • Sterling Test Prep GRE Chemistry Practice Questions. Starling’s book contains 1,300 GRE Chemistry practice questions with full explanations that cover all areas studied on the GRE Chemistry exam. In this book, you will get a thorough explanation of why each answer is accurate. It will also help you learn about the important chemical principles and how they relate to one another. Most importantly, chemistry teachers have contributed to all of the questions.
  • Cracking the GRE Chemistry Subject Test by Princeton Review. With practical ideas that will assist you in passing the exam and achieving a high grade. In addition, there are specialist methods to help you avoid hard questions, practice problems for all content chapters, and a thorough topic review for all content categories.
  • Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry. The book provided a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of analytical chemistry, which was highly relevant. Each chapter begins with a tale and a photograph illustrating the application of analytical chemistry in a variety of different industries. A large number of real-world examples and pictures are included, and the book focuses on all aspects of analytical chemistry as they are tested on the GRE Chemistry Examination.
  • GRE Chemistry w/ CD-ROM 4th Ed. The book contains a total of 5 full-length GRE Chemistry Examinations, each with a complete explanation of the solution to every question. In particular, it concentrated on the outline issue in relation to the must-know GRE Chemistry themes, and you’ll be able to understand why some of the examiners provided wrong responses.

Will a GRE prep course help chemistry?

Good GRE prep courses, specifically tailored for the Graduate Record Examination, is designed to enhance test-taking strategies and familiarize students with the exam’s format. While it primarily focuses on the sections of the GRE, such as verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing, it doesn’t delve deep into specific subjects like chemistry. However, if one is taking the GRE Chemistry Subject Test, a specialized prep course can indeed be beneficial. This course would provide targeted practice and insights into chemistry topics, aiding in better performance.


  • https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/chemistry/
  • https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about/content/chemistry/
  • https://www.kaptest.com/study/gre/chemistry-gre-subject-test/#toggle-id-4
  • https://www.varsitytutors.com/gre_subject_test_chemistry-practice-tests
  • https://brightlinkprep.com/best-gre-chemistry-subject-test/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GRE_Chemistry_Test
  • https://www.theclassroom.com/really-need-gre-chemistry-subject-test-5791.html
  • https://magoosh.com/gre/gre-scores-for-science-programs/
  • https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/practice_book_chemistry.pdf
  • https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/register/how/
  • https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/register/how/