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Mathematics Subject GRE

Mathematics subject GRE is a 170 minute – 66 question – 990 points examination, that tests a student’s proficiency in college level mathematics. The test is offered several times (3 to 4 times) every year and costs about USD 200 (including test price, score sending price, books etc.). For registration, test dates and availability of test center, refer to ets.org.

In this article we discuss test taking strategies, available resources and preparation methods.


The following book-list is useful for a test-focused preparation. (For advanced conceptual clarity and general theoretical development, these titles are NOT ideal.)

  • James Stewart’s Calculus; Early Transcendental
    • Single Variable Calculus
    • Multi Variable Calculus
    • Differential Equation
      • 50% of the questions are calculus oriented
  • Kai Lai Chung’s Elementary of Probability Theory with Stochastic Processes
    • Probability Theory
  • Princeton Review’s Mathematics Subject GRE
    • Graph Theory
    • Mathematical Logic and SET Theory
  • Kumaresan’s Topology of Metric Spaces
    • Topology
  • Freitag and Busam, Complex Analysis
    • Complex Analysis
  • Gallian’s Contemporary Abstract Algebra
    • Groups, Rings, Fields
  • Gilbert Strang’s Introduction to Linear Algebra
    • Linear Algebra
  • Other Resources: Papers, Online Resources: Check this link
  • Test of Mathematics at 10+2 Level
    • Number Theory, Combinatorics, arithmetic

Before the Test

  • A 3-month preparation time is sufficient for the test (if you have the basics in place).
  • If the fundamental ideas from each of these (most of these) topics are unknown, then one should prepare for at least one year
  • Every 15 days of preparation should be followed by one model test. It is the time management, that is most critical of all aspects of the test.
  • In Calculus, it is extremely important to be able to relate graphs with first and second derivatives.
  • In differential equation and probability, expect easy questions. However you need to ‘know’ the basic information (solutions to different types of differential equations etc.)
  • Do not worry about topology or complex analysis if you do not know them already (there will be only three questions from these two topics combined)
  • Set a realistic goal. 55 to 60 problems can lead to very good scores and percentiles.

During the Test

  • Rapidly work on 30 to 40 easy problems and do not wait and try the difficult ones. This should be done within the first hour.
  • Guessing is potentially harmful. Avoid it unless you have eliminated at least three choices in an educated manner.
  • Carry pencils, sharpners and erasers to the hall.

Related Cheenta Program

  • Cheenta College Mathematics Program
November 1, 2016

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