Department of Psychology at Illinois State University

Graduate Record Examinations

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is an exam for entrance to most graduate programs. GRE scores will be requested for master's and doctoral degree program applications in psychology. There are two types of exams. The General exam is very similar to the SAT and ACT and has quantitative, verbal, and writing components. The quantitative and verbal components are worth 800 points and the writing component is scored from 0-6 points. Some graduate programs may have minimum scores on each component or a minimum combined score as admission requirements. It is often a good idea to take the GRE early in case students want to re-take it to improve their score before graduate school applications are due.

The second exam is the Psychology Subject GRE, which may be required for some graduate school applications. This exam covers general knowledge of the field of psychology with an emphasis on the areas of statistics and research methods, history and systems, learning, cognition, physiological psychology, perception, development, personality, and social psychology. If the graduate program requires the Subject exam, students should take as many courses as possible in these specific areas to prepare for the exam.

The Educational Testing Service administers the GRE and maintains the GRE Web site, which provides more information and resources for helping you study for the exams, and the dates and locations where the exam can be taken. Students can also find GRE prep books at most bookstores. The GRE can be taken multiple times. However, it is not just the highest score that is reported to graduate schools; all of the student's scores are reported. Therefore, students should make their first attempt their best attempt. Students can find mean GRE scores for some graduate programs listed in Graduate Study in Psychology, an American Psychological Association guide.