Planning to take the GRE subject test in Psychology? For that, it’s essential you become acquainted with the GRE Psychology syllabus first. The test covers key psychological concepts that you will already have some experience with as you will be applying for a masters in the discipline after having studied them at an undergraduate level.  Also, the Psychology GRE test is available for only some months each year, so ensure that you confirm with the official schedule and your college’s application deadlines so that you get everything done on time. Besides, you can register for the GRE Psychology test on the official GRE website. 

The GRE Psychology test contains 205 multiple choice questions with 5 choices each. Besides, a description for an experiment or some graphs might act as the source of more than one question in the test. You will have 2 hrs and 50 mins for the test. Moreover, the GRE Psychology syllabus is designed to include topics studied in most undergraduate psychology courses. You may be asked to evaluate relationships, apply principles, know factual information, and make inferences from the given data or research design. An important point to keep in mind is that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be the source of the classifications and terminology used in the test.

In addition to the main subject score, you will receive 6 subscores after you take the test; for each of the larger subtopics in the GRE subject test psychology syllabus. Let us cover each of these subtopics briefly below.

GRE Psychology Syllabus

  1. The very first section is the Biological category, which accounts for somewhere between 17 and 21% of the test questions. This section covers sensation and perception, and physiological/behavioural neuroscience. Overall, you have topics such as psychophysics, vision, olfaction, and other bodily functions, along with neurons, neuromodulators, and a variety of structures, processes, and functions in the brain. 
  2. The next section is the Cognitive category, from which 17 to 24% of questions are asked. Learning, language, memory, and thinking are the primary concepts that are tested here. Different types of learning theories such as classical and instrumental conditioning, speech perception and reading processes, types of memory (working, long-term, etc) and memory systems, and thinking processes such as problem solving, planning, and judgment are included in this section.
  3. The Social category makes up the next 12 to 14% of the test questions. Important sub-topics include attitudes and behaviour, the idea of the self, emotions, influence, cultural influences, evolutionary psychology, aggression, and more.
  4. The fourth is the Developmental category from which you get roughly 12 to 14% of the test questions. The nature vs nurture debate, cognition, socialisation, physical and motor development, all are covered under this topic.
  5. The penultimate category is the Clinical category, which provides 15 to 19% of test questions. It covers sub-topics like personality and behaviour, stress, epidemiology, health psychology, disorders, and a few more.
  6. The final category deals with Measurement, Methodology, and a few other general topics, and makes up about 15 to 19% of the test. This covers a variety of research designs, psychometrics, ethics and legal issues, the history of psychology as a science, statistical procedures, and more. 

This list is not exhaustive but it should give you a good idea of what you will be tested on as part of the GRE Psychology syllabus. You can review your study material to be able to better prepare for the exam, but it is unlikely that cramming at the last minute will help you to succeed in this exam. You are not expected to have detailed knowledge about every concept covered in the exam, so trust your existing knowledge base and be well-rested before the exam.

Good luck! 


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