GRE Syllabus 2021

Updated by: Nidhi bahl on Aug. 15, 2021, 8:41 a.m.

  • Mode


GRE Syllabus

ETS has designed the GRE syllabus or GRE test content to meet the demands of graduate school programs, including business and law. It measures your quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Once you understand the test content of GRE (both Subject Tests and General Test), you can plan your GRE preparation accordingly. 

Being a computer-adaptive test, the GRE General Test lets you skip questions within a section, go back to review and change answers and pick the section you want to attempt first.

Along with going through the GRE content, it is also important and advisable to check the GRE test structure. This page will give you well-researched data for the content of every GRE Subject Test and GRE General Test.

COVID-19 Update

The pandemic has caused various universities across the globe to make decisions which have delayed the admission processes for international students. However, no changes have been made to the syllabus for GRE 2021 exam. Candidates must prepare the same subjects and topics as per the usual regulations.

Wish to Connect With Our Expert for GRE Information?

Also Read:

Top 100 MBA Programs With GMAT/GRE Waiver in 2021 When is the Right Time to Start Planning Higher Education Abroad?
What is a Good GRE Score & How is it Calculated? GMAT and GRE - Which is the Best?

GRE Subject Test Syllabus

The GRE Subject Tests are considered achievement tests to showcase your knowledge in a particular field of study. These are especially for candidates who have an undergraduate major or extensive background in the areas of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics or Psychology. Taking a GRE Subject Test can help you stand out in the pool of applicants and enable graduate schools to understand your knowledge and skills better.

Some Subject Tests also include subscores that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate, helping them for future guidance in preparation and placement in school.

The GRE Biology and Literature in English tests were discontinued in May 2021 and the GRE Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Test was discontinued in December 2016.

GRE Subject Test scores remaild valid for four years from the date of test. The syllabus for all of these tests varies from each other.

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test - Chemistry

The GRE Subject Test - Chemistry consists of about 130 multiple-choice questions that are based on four major areas:

  • Physical Chemistry (comprises 30 per cent of the paper)

  • Organic Chemistry (comprises 30 per cent of the paper)

  • Inorganic Chemistry (comprises 25 per cent of the paper)

  • Analytical Chemistry (comprises 15 per cent of the paper)

The test booklet contains a printed periodic table as well as a table containing information like physical constants, conversion factors, etc. Here are the topics that are asked under the mentioned areas. 

Analytical Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

Physical Chemistry 

Data Acquisition and Use of Statistics

General Chemistry

Structural Bonding and Nomenclature

Thermodynamics - First, Second and Third Law

Heterogeneous Equilibria

Covalent Molecular Substances

Reaction Mechanism (Nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution/ elimination, Diels-Alder and Cycloadditions)

Thermochemistry, Ideal & Real Gases and Solutions

Homogeneous Equilibria

Ionic Substances

Reactive Intermediates

Chemical Potential, Phase Equilibria, Chemical Equilibria

Solutions and Standardization

Concepts of Acids and Bases


Gibbs and Helmholtz Energy, Statistical Thermodynamics and Colligative Properties

Environmental Applications

Chemistry of Transition Elements



Radiochemical Methods

Metals and Semiconductors

Molecular Orbital Theory, Catalysis

Quantum Chemistry and Applications to Spectroscopy

Instrumental Methods - Calibration of Instruments

Chemistry of Main Group Elements

Acid-Base Theory and Carbon Acidity

Photochemistry, Solution and Liquid Dynamics

Electrochemical, Chromatographic, Thermal and Spectroscopic Methods

Organometallic Chemistry, Applied Solid State Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry

Aromaticity, Macromolecules, Antiaromaticity, Amino Acids, Lipids, Peptides, Nucleic Acids, Polymers

Experimental and Theoretical Chemical Kinetics

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test - Mathematics

In the GRE Subject Test - Mathematics, about 50 per cent of the questions cover Calculus and its applications, 25 per cent cover abstract, linear and elementary algebra and the remaining 25 per cent cover areas of Mathematics that are currently studied at the undergraduate level. 



Additional Topics

Differential and Integral Calculus

Elementary Algebra

Introductory Real Analysis

Calculus-Based Applications

Basic Algebraic Manipulations and Techniques

Discrete Mathematics

Trigonometry, Coordinate Geometry

Linear Algebra

General Topology, Complex Variables, Geometry


Abstract Algebra

Numerical Analysis, Probability and Statistics

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test - Physics

Following are the major areas covered in the GRE Subject Test - Physics.

Classical Mechanics(content weightage - 20%)

Kinematics, Work and Energy, Newton’s Laws, Rotational Motion, Oscillatory Motion, Particle System Dynamics, 3-D Particle Dynamics, Hamiltonian and Lagrangian Formalism, Fluid Dynamics

Electromagnetism(content weightage - 18%)

Electrostatics, Magnetic Fields, Currents and DC and AC Circuits, Induction, Lorentz Force, Maxwell’s Equations, Electromagnetic Waves

Optics and Wave Phenomena (content weightage - 9%)

Wave Properties, Interference, Superposition, Geometrical Optics, Diffraction, Doppler Effect and Polarisation

Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (content weightage - 10%)

Laws of Thermodynamics and its processes, Equations of State, Kinetic Theory, Ideal Gases, Calculation and Statistical Concepts of Thermodynamic Quantities, Heat Transfer, Thermal Expansion 

Quantum Mechanics(content weightage - 12%)

Fundamental Concepts, Schrödinger Equation and its solutions, Wave Function Symmetry, Angular and Spin Momentum, Elementary Perturbation Theory

Atomic Physics (content weightage - 10%)

Properties of Electrons, Energy Quantisation, Bohr Model, Atomic Spectra and Structure, Black-Body Radiation

Special Relativity (content weightage - 6%)

Time Dilation, Simultaneity, Length Contraction, Energy and Momentum, Velocity Addition, Lorentz Transformation, Four-Vectors

Laboratory Methods (content weightage - 6%)

Data and Error Analysis, Instrumentation, Electronics, Radiation Detection, Optical and Laser Interferometers, Counting Statistics, Fundamental Applications of Statistics and Probability

Specialised Topics(content weightage - 9%)

Particle and Nuclear Physics, Condensed Matter, Astrophysics, Computer Applications and Mathematical Methods

Syllabus of GRE Subject Test - Psychology

The GRE Subject Test - Psychology comprises six major areas which are:


Sensation and Perception, Behavioral and Physiological Neuroscience


Language, Learning, Thinking and Memory


Social Perception and Comparison, Attitudes and Behaviour, Emotion and Affect, Cultural and Intergroup Processes, Cultural and Gender Influences, Theories, Evolutionary Psychology, Aggression and Altruism


Nature-Nurture, Emotion, Perception and Cognition, Personality, Physical and Motor, Socialisation, Theories 


Personality, Clinical and Abnormal

Methodology, Measurement and Other 

General, Measurement and Methodology

Also Read: Application Deadlines 2021-2022 for Popular US Universities

GRE General Test Syllabus

The GRE General Test is delivered in both Computer and Paper format. For both the formats, the syllabus for different sections is the same. The sections involve:

  • Verbal Reasoning

  • Analytical Writing

  • Quantitative Reasoning

GRE Verbal Reasoning Content (General Test)

In this section, your ability is measured on the following topics.

Analyse and Draw Conclusions From Discourse

Distinguish Minor from Major or Irrelevant Points

Understanding the Meanings of Words

Understanding Multiple Levels of Meaning like Author’s Intent, Literal and Figurative

Summarise Text

Understanding Relationships Among Concepts and Words

Reason From Incomplete Data

Understanding the Structure of a Text

Understanding Sentences and the Entire Text

Identification of an Author’s Perspective and Assumptions

Selection of Important Points

Draw Reason from Incomplete Data

Syllabus of GRE Quantitative Reasoning (General Test)

The section measures your ability to:

Solve Problems Using Mathematical Models

Apply Basic Skills and Concepts of Geometry and Data Analysis

Interpret, Analyse and Understand Quantitative Information

Apply Basic Skills and Concepts of Algebra and Arithmetic

Syllabus of GRE Analytical Reasoning (General Test)

This section measures your ability to:

Accompanying Evidence and Examine Claims 

Control Standard Written English Elements

Articulate Complex Ideas Effectively and Clearly

Sustain a Coherent and Well-focused Discussion

Support Ideas with Relevant Examples and Reasons

Make sure to get the best GRE study material that contains the above-mentioned syllabus. This will help make your GRE preparation organised.

FAQs about GRE Syllabus 2021

1. What is the syllabus of GRE Verbal Reasoning?    

The important topics for GRE Verbal Reasoning include analyse and draw conclusions from discourse, distinguish Minor from Major or Irrelevant Points, Understanding the Meanings of Words, Understanding Multiple Levels of Meaning like Author’s Intent, Literal and Figurative, Summarise Text, Understanding Relationships Among Concepts and Words. Find the entire syllabus at CollegeDekho.

2. What is the syllabus of GRE Quantitative Reasoning?    

The syllabus of GRE Quantitative Reasoning includes Solve Problems Using Mathematical Models, Apply Basic Skills and Concepts of Geometry and Data Analysis, Interpret, Analyse and Understand Quantitative Information, Apply Basic Skills and Concepts of Algebra and Arithmetic

3. What is the syllabus of GRE Analytical Writing?  

 The syllabus of GRE Analytical Writing includes Accompanying Evidence and Examine Claims, Control Standard Written English Elements, Articulate Complex Ideas Effectively and Clearly, Sustain a Coherent and Well-focused Discussion, Support Ideas with Relevant Examples and Reasons.

4. What will GRE Verbal Reasoning test?      

 The GRE Verbal Reasoning section will analyse your ability of to understand a write-up, analyse it and evaluate it to answer questions.

5. What does GRE Quantitative Reasoning measure?    

The GRE Quantitative Reasoning section will measure your basic mathematical skills.

6. What does the GRE Analytical Writing section measure?    

The GRE Analytical Writing section will measure your ability to think critically, understand, analyse and evaluate arguments.

7. What is the strategy to get a high Quant score in GRE?

    The magic mantra to score high in GRE Quant is to practice as much as possible.

8. What is the average score in GRE Verbal Reasoning?    

The average score in GRE Verbal Reasoning should be around 150.

9. Is GRE verbal reasoning difficult?  

 Yes, out of all the sections under the GRE General Test, Verbal Reasoning is said to the toughest section.

10. How long will it take the cover the GRE General Test syllabus?    

Covering the entire syllabus of the GRE General Test will take not less than two months.

Still Have Doubts About GRE Syllabus?

Admission 2021

Preparing for GRE?

Contact Us

We’re here to help!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

  • +91

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekho terms of use & privacy policy.