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GRE Mathematics Syllabus

  • The test consists of approximately 66 multiple-choice questions drawn from courses commonly offered at the undergraduate level.
  • Although the Mathematics Test was rescaled in October 2001, the content of the test did not change.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the questions involve calculus and its applications - subject matter that can be assumed to be common to the backgrounds of almost all mathematics majors.
  • About 25 percent of the questions in the test are in elementary algebra, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and number theory. The remaining questions deal with other areas of mathematics currently studied by undergraduates in many institutions.

The following content descriptions may assist students in preparing for the test. The percents given are estimates; actual percents will vary somewhat from one edition of the test to another.

Calculus - 50%

Material learned in the usual sequence of elementary calculus courses - differential and integral calculus of one and of several variables - includes calculus-based applications and connections with coordinate geometry, trigonometry, differential equations, and other branches of mathematics

Algebra - 25%

Elementary algebra:

basic algebraic techniques and manipulations acquired in high school and used throughout mathematics

Linear algebra:

matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, vector spaces, linear transformations, characteristic polynomials, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors

Abstract algebra and number theory:

elementary topics from group theory; theory of rings and modules, field theory, and number theory

Additional Topics - 25%

Introductory real analysis:

sequences and series of numbers and functions, continuity, differentiability and integrability, and elementary topology of R and Rn

Discrete mathematics:

logic, set theory, combinatorics, graph theory, and algorithms

Other topics:

general topology, geometry, complex variables, probability and statistics, and numerical analysis The above descriptions of topics covered in the test should not be considered exhaustive; it is necessary to understand many other related concepts. Prospective test takers should be aware that questions requiring no more than a good precalculus background may be quite challenging; some of these questions turn out to be among the most difficult questions on the test. In general, the questions are intended not only to test recall of information but also to assess test takers' understanding of fundamental concepts and the ability to apply those concepts in various situations.

Note: The Mathematics Test was rescaled effective October 2001 and renamed "Mathematics Test (Rescaled)." Scores earned on the Mathematics Test (Rescaled) after October 2001 should not be compared with scores earned before that date. Additional information about the rescaled test is available in the GRE Guide to the Use of Scores leaflet that accompanies score reports.

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