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GRE Physics Test

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Graduate Record Examination (Physics Subject Test)
TypePaper-based standardized test[1]
AdministratorEducational Testing Service
Skills testedUndergraduate level physics:
PurposeAdmissions in graduate programs (e.g. MS and PhD) in physics (mostly in universities in the United States).
Year started(?) ((?))
Duration2 hours [1]
Score range200 to 990, in 10-point increments[3]
Score validity5 years[3]
Offered3 times a year, in September, October and April.[4]
Annual number of test takers~5,000-6,000 yearly
PrerequisitesNo official prerequisite. Intended for physics bachelor degree graduates or undergraduate students about to graduate. Fluency in English assumed.
FeeUS$ 150[5]
(Limited offers of "Fee Reduction Program" for U.S. citizens or resident aliens who demonstrate financial need, and for national programs in USA that work with under-represented groups.[6])
Used byPhysics departments offering graduate programs (mostly in universities in the U.S.).

The GRE physics test is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test attempts to determine the extent of the examinees' understanding of fundamental principles of physics and their ability to apply them to problem solving. Many graduate schools require applicants to take the exam and base admission decisions in part on the results.

The scope of the test is largely that of the first three years of a standard United States undergraduate physics curriculum, since many students who plan to continue to graduate school apply during the first half of the fourth year. It consists of 70 five-option multiple-choice questions covering subject areas including classical mechanics, electromagnetism, wave phenomena and optics, thermal physics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, laboratory techniques, and mathematical methods. The table below indicates the relative weights, as asserted by ETS, and detailed contents of the major topics.

Major content topics[edit]

1. Classical mechanics (20%)[edit]

2. Electromagnetism (18%)[edit]

3. Optics and wave phenomena (9%)[edit]

4. Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)[edit]

5. Quantum mechanics (12%)[edit]

6. Atomic physics (10%)[edit]

7. Special relativity (6%)[edit]

8. Laboratory methods (6%)[edit]

9. Specialized topics (9%)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Test Content and Structure". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  2. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Physics". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  3. ^ a b "GRE Subject Tests: Scores". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  4. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: About the GRE Subject Tests". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  5. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fees". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  6. ^ "GRE Subject Tests: Fee Reduction Program". ets.org. Retrieved 2016-05-14.

External links[edit]