If you want to study in the US at graduate level, you will probably have to take the GRE General Test. Make sure to check whether or not this exam is required on the website of your institution. Students intending to study law, medicine, dentistry, veterinarian sciences, fine arts, or music theory usually won’t have to take the GRE General Test. Students intending to study business or economics are often required to take the GMAT, although a growing number of institutions also accept the GRE. Alongside the GRE General Test, some universities may require you to take a GRE Subject Test.

GRE General Test


The GRE General Test is a computer-delivered test that takes about 4 hours to complete. The test is composed of three parts: analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning.


  • Analytical writing
    Two written assignments that measure your ability to think critically, support your claims and communicate complex ideas.
  • Verbal reasoning
    This section measures your ability to analyze, evaluate and summarize texts in their entirety and understand the relationship between constituents. This part of the test focuses on reading comprehension and consists of questions that measure your ability to understand and draw conclusions from a text.
  • Quantitative reasoning
    This section measures your ability to apply basic skills and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and calculus as well as your ability to solve problems using mathematical models. The test also focuses on data analysis and offers realistic scenarios.
  • Once you have completed your exam, you receive your preliminary score on the last two sections. If you are not happy with your results, you can cancel the test. This means that you technically have not completed the exam. You will not be able to undo this decision, so weigh your options carefully. If you decide to accept your score, the ETS will send it to the institution within two weeks.


You can register online through ETS. You can take the test at any time throughout the year in Amsterdam. Taking the exam costs $205. You can pay by credit card.


If you have a learning disability or health-related need, you might be eligible for testing accommodations. See ETS for more information.


Your GRE score report is valid for a period of five years. You are free to select which scores you want to send to the universities. ScoreSelect allows you to decide which GRE scores to send to the institutions you designate: you can send your test scores directly to the administration of the school to which you are currently applying, or you can send scores from previous tests taken within the last five years. If you are not sure where you want to apply, or if you intend to send the score report to more than four universities, you can wait until later to send the scores. Universities will keep your test scores even if they have not received your full application yet.



You can prepare for the exams by taking a practice exam to estimate how much you need to study in order to pass the exam. Make sure you know what types of questions to expect so you won’t lose too much time on the instructions for all different sections. You can download test preparation materials through ETS. Practice books are available to purchase online.


GRE Subject Tests

Some universities require you to take both the GRE General Test and a GRE Subject Test before acceptance into a grad program. Subject Tests are available in the following disciplines:


  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology


If you intend to study any of the aforementioned disciplines, make sure to check whether your university requires you to take the GRE Subject Test.

The GRE Subject tests are administered in paper-delivered format. Total testing time is two hours and 50 minutes. The contents differ per subject. You can find a more detailed description about the contents of the tests on the ETS website.



The Subject Tests are offered up to three times a year, usually during September, October and April. This test costs $150. Make sure to register at ETS at least six weeks prior to the testing date. The test is not administered in the Netherlands. Look on the ETS website for the nearest paper-delivered test center.



Score reports remain valid for a period of five years. Subject Test include a ScoreSelect option. If you are not sure which institutions you want to apply to, or if you intend to send your score report to more than four universities, you can request ETS to send out your score report at a later time. Universities will keep your score report, even if they have not received your completed application yet.



It is vital to be well prepared for the Subject Tests. Anyone singing up to take a Subject Test can request free practice materials. These materials are also available to download on the ETS website.

Note that universities will only accept test score report that were sent directly to them by ETS.