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The GRE Subject Test Patricia Taylor-Cooke Psychology Drew C. Appleby.

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1 The GRE Subject Test Patricia Taylor-Cooke Psychology Drew C. Appleby

2 Overview What is the subject test? How and when is it administered? How is the subject test scored? What are the content areas? What are the questions like? How to prepare long-term and short-term. Why is the subject test important? What about guessing?

3 Do any of these sound familiar? The subject test is not an important selection criteria. I was told not to worry about the subject test score. I dont need to prepare. You either know it or you dont. I was told to just go take it and get it out of the way. I should guess even if I dont know an answer.

4 What is the Subject Test? It is an achievement test for psychological concepts and facts. It consists of approximately 220 multiple choice questions with 5 options for each question. (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

5 How and when is the Subject Test administered? Pencil and paper administration only Offered three times each year November December April You will have 2 hours and 50 minutes That is about 45 seconds per question

6 How is the test scored? Maximum Range of Scaled Scores = Ranges Differ Across Versions Because Difficulty Levels Vary Across Different Versions Usually Smaller (400 – 700) Raw Score = Total Correct – (Total Incorrect / 4) Raw Score is Then Converted to a Scaled Score (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

7 How is the Test Scored? 2 Subscores Experimental or Natural Science Oriented Social or Social Science Oriented Range = approximately 20 – 99 (Depends on Difficulty Level of the Test) You ARE Penalized for Guessing ¼ of your wrong answers will be subtracted from your total correct answers when your raw score is determined (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

8 What are the Content Areas? There are Three Content Areas Experimental or Natural Science Oriented LearningLanguage MemoryThinking PerceptionEthology SensationPhysiological Comparative Psychology Comprises about 43% of Exam Contributes to the Experimental Subscore (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

9 What are the Content Areas? Social or Social Science Oriented ClinicalAbnormal DevelopmentalPersonality Social Comprises about 43% of Exam Contributes to Social Subscore (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

10 What are the Content Areas? General HistoryApplied Psychology MeasurementResearch Design Statistics Comprises only about 14% of the Exam Does NOT Contribute to a Subscore (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

11 What are the Questions Like? 22–32% are likely to be on Learning, Language, Memory, Thinking & Perception A student is attempting to train a dog to salivate to a tone at a given frequency. The students procedure on each of 100 trials is to present food powder, then to present a brief tone, and then to measure the dogs salivation to the tone presented alone. The major problem with this procedure is that a) Salivation is an inappropriate UCR b) Dogs often fail to pay attention to the CS when it is a tone of unvarying frequency c) Extinction will take place on some of the trials d) The UCS precedes the CS rather than vice versa e) The UCR is not sufficiently similar to the CR A student is attempting to train a dog to salivate to a tone at a given frequency. The students procedure on each of 100 trials is to present food powder, then to present a brief tone, and then to measure the dogs salivation to the tone presented alone. The major problem with this procedure is that a) Salivation is an inappropriate UCR b) Dogs often fail to pay attention to the CS when it is a tone of unvarying frequency c) Extinction will take place on some of the trials d) The UCS precedes the CS rather than vice versa e) The UCR is not sufficiently similar to the CR (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

12 Chomskys theories of language include which of the following? I.Language acquisition can be explained by the principles of classical and operant conditioning. II.There is an underlying abstract structure of language that is different from the surface structure of language in speech. III. The young child has an innate ability or predisposition to acquire appropriate grammatical speech. a) I only b) II only c) III only d) I and II only e) II and III only Chomskys theories of language include which of the following? I.Language acquisition can be explained by the principles of classical and operant conditioning. II.There is an underlying abstract structure of language that is different from the surface structure of language in speech. III. The young child has an innate ability or predisposition to acquire appropriate grammatical speech. a) I only b) II only c) III only d) I and II only e) II and III only (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

13 When you wiggle a pencil rapidly in front of your eyes, you can see a ghost of the pencil that seems to be in several places at once. This illusion is attributable primarily to which of the following in human information processing? a) Feature detection b) Short-term memory c) Long-term memory d) Sensory information storage e) Pattern recognition When you wiggle a pencil rapidly in front of your eyes, you can see a ghost of the pencil that seems to be in several places at once. This illusion is attributable primarily to which of the following in human information processing? a) Feature detection b) Short-term memory c) Long-term memory d) Sensory information storage e) Pattern recognition (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

14 3–7% are likely to be on Ethology and Comparative Psychology In a sexually reproducing species with haploid gametes and zygotes that are all diploid, a parent, on average, shares half of his or her genes with those of an offspring. In this species, the coefficient of relationship between two half siblings is a) 1/16 b) 1/8 c) 1/4 d) 1/2 e) 1/1 In a sexually reproducing species with haploid gametes and zygotes that are all diploid, a parent, on average, shares half of his or her genes with those of an offspring. In this species, the coefficient of relationship between two half siblings is a) 1/16 b) 1/8 c) 1/4 d) 1/2 e) 1/1 (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

15 An earthworm is exposed to a series of air puffs directed at its head. The earthworm responds to the first few trials by backing away from the source of the air puffs, but in the subsequent trials the earthworm ceases to withdraw. This change in behavior is most likely the result of a) Discrimination learning b) Avoidance learning c) Habituation d) Sensitization e) Latent learning An earthworm is exposed to a series of air puffs directed at its head. The earthworm responds to the first few trials by backing away from the source of the air puffs, but in the subsequent trials the earthworm ceases to withdraw. This change in behavior is most likely the result of a) Discrimination learning b) Avoidance learning c) Habituation d) Sensitization e) Latent learning (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

16 9–13% are likely to be on Sensory and Physiological Psychology Sleep research best supports which of the following statements? a) Not everyone dreams b) Dreams commonly last only a few seconds c) People are not aware that they are dreaming d) The content of dreams can be influenced by suggestions during wakefulness e) Sleepwalking occurs largely in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep Sleep research best supports which of the following statements? a) Not everyone dreams b) Dreams commonly last only a few seconds c) People are not aware that they are dreaming d) The content of dreams can be influenced by suggestions during wakefulness e) Sleepwalking occurs largely in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

17 The physical energy of a stimulus is converted by sensory receptors into neural impulses by a process known as a) Assimilation b) Accommodation c) Transposition d) Transduction e) Trace consolidation The physical energy of a stimulus is converted by sensory receptors into neural impulses by a process known as a) Assimilation b) Accommodation c) Transposition d) Transduction e) Trace consolidation (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

18 10–14% are likely to be on Abnormal and Clinical Psychology Karen Horney emphasized that neurotic needs are expressed in which of the following ways? a) Direct aggression, passive aggression, and detachment b) Psychopathic deviance, dissociation, and development of conversion reactions c) Striving for superiority, becoming excessively compliant, and becoming insulated d) Psychosis and disorganization, destructive acting out, and excessive concern for order e) Movement toward people, movement away from people, and movement against people Karen Horney emphasized that neurotic needs are expressed in which of the following ways? a) Direct aggression, passive aggression, and detachment b) Psychopathic deviance, dissociation, and development of conversion reactions c) Striving for superiority, becoming excessively compliant, and becoming insulated d) Psychosis and disorganization, destructive acting out, and excessive concern for order e) Movement toward people, movement away from people, and movement against people (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

19 The physical energy of a stimulus is converted by sensory receptors into neural impulses by a process known as a) Assimilation b) Accommodation c) Transposition d) Transduction e) Trace consolidation The physical energy of a stimulus is converted by sensory receptors into neural impulses by a process known as a) Assimilation b) Accommodation c) Transposition d) Transduction e) Trace consolidation (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

20 10–14% are likely to be on Developmental Psychology. According to Piaget, which of the following is established by the end of the sensorimotor period? a) Reversibility b) The use of representation c) Concrete operational thinking d) The understanding of conservation e) The understanding of class relation According to Piaget, which of the following is established by the end of the sensorimotor period? a) Reversibility b) The use of representation c) Concrete operational thinking d) The understanding of conservation e) The understanding of class relation (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

21 Which of the following statement best characterizes the position of the Soviet theorists Vygotsky and Luria concerning the relationship between language and thought? a) Language is important for the development of concrete but not abstract thinking. b) Thinking becomes more egocentric as language develops during the preschool years. c) The development of language lags one stage behind the development of thinking. d) Language and thinking are unrelated to one another in development. e) Language is an important tool for the development of abstract thinking. Which of the following statement best characterizes the position of the Soviet theorists Vygotsky and Luria concerning the relationship between language and thought? a) Language is important for the development of concrete but not abstract thinking. b) Thinking becomes more egocentric as language develops during the preschool years. c) The development of language lags one stage behind the development of thinking. d) Language and thinking are unrelated to one another in development. e) Language is an important tool for the development of abstract thinking. (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

22 5-9% are likely to be on Personality Psychology. The psychologist who has been most critical of the assumptions regarding traits that underlie personality tests is a) Walter Mischel b) Carol Jackson c) Anne Anastasi d) Grant Dahlstrom e) Leona Tyler The psychologist who has been most critical of the assumptions regarding traits that underlie personality tests is a) Walter Mischel b) Carol Jackson c) Anne Anastasi d) Grant Dahlstrom e) Leona Tyler (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

23 To use the empirical, criterion-keying approach to constructing a personality inventory, a researcher would select items that a) Discriminate among the various criterion groups b) Have content relevant to various personality types c) Have a high correlation with each other and a low correlation with outside criteria d) Have empirically proven high p values e) Provide a normal distribution of total test scores To use the empirical, criterion-keying approach to constructing a personality inventory, a researcher would select items that a) Discriminate among the various criterion groups b) Have content relevant to various personality types c) Have a high correlation with each other and a low correlation with outside criteria d) Have empirically proven high p values e) Provide a normal distribution of total test scores (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

24 10-14% are likely to be on Social Psychology. Attitude change produced by a perceived threat to personal freedom is due to which of the following? a) Dissonance b) Reactance c) Overjustification d) Deindividuation e) Anchoring Attitude change produced by a perceived threat to personal freedom is due to which of the following? a) Dissonance b) Reactance c) Overjustification d) Deindividuation e) Anchoring (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

25 A well-known study by Asch of individual conformity to group norms suggests that a) Most people are conformists b) Conformity is greatly increased by uniformity of group opinion c) Large groups are ineffective in inducing conformity d) Males and females tend to conform to the same degree e) outer-directed people conform less than do inner-directed people A well-known study by Asch of individual conformity to group norms suggests that a) Most people are conformists b) Conformity is greatly increased by uniformity of group opinion c) Large groups are ineffective in inducing conformity d) Males and females tend to conform to the same degree e) outer-directed people conform less than do inner-directed people (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

26 11-17% are likely to be on History of Psychology, Applied Psychology, Measurement, Research Design, and/or Statistics. The idea that memory for complex events is frequently reconstructive rather than reproductive, in a literal sense, is associated historically with which of the following? a) Hermann Ebbinghaus b) Anne Anastasi c) Leo Postman d) Frederic Bartlett e) E. L. Thorndike The idea that memory for complex events is frequently reconstructive rather than reproductive, in a literal sense, is associated historically with which of the following? a) Hermann Ebbinghaus b) Anne Anastasi c) Leo Postman d) Frederic Bartlett e) E. L. Thorndike (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

27 If a set of scores with a mean of 27 and a variance of 9 is transformed to a set of z-scores, the standard deviation of the transformed scores will be a) 0 b) 1 c) 3 d) 9 e) 81 If a set of scores with a mean of 27 and a variance of 9 is transformed to a set of z-scores, the standard deviation of the transformed scores will be a) 0 b) 1 c) 3 d) 9 e) 81 (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

28 The multitrait-multimethod technique formulated by Campbell and Fiske was introduced primarily to evaluate a tests a) Content validity b) Concurrent validity c) Face validity d) Construct validity e) Predictive validity The multitrait-multimethod technique formulated by Campbell and Fiske was introduced primarily to evaluate a tests a) Content validity b) Concurrent validity c) Face validity d) Construct validity e) Predictive validity (GRE: Practicing to Take the Psychology Test 3 rd Ed., 1994)

29 How do I Prepare for the Subject Test? Long-Term Short-Term

30 Long-Term Preparation Planning Your Semesters and Classes Plan Semesters Ahead of Time Design an Education Plan for the Rest of Your Undergraduate Career (Presentation Coming Soon) Meet with an Advisor Choose a Course Sequence to Benefit Your Future

31 Long-Term Preparation Planning Your Semesters and Classes Choose Core Classes Based on Subject Test Coverage such as… Cognition & Learning – take the semester before you plan to take the test since this is % of the test Behavioral Neuroscience – since this is 9-13% of the test and contributes to the experimental subscore Look at the percentage of coverage for core classes and plan from that perspective, saving specialty classes to take later or last

32 Long-Term Preparation Getting the Most Out of Your Classes Approach Each Class as a Partial Ticket to Your Future Be active in learning Understand the material – not just memorizing for the exams Learn to apply concepts to your life and those around you Meet with your professor when you dont understand a concept – that is what they are there for

33 Long-Term Preparation Getting the Most Out of Your Classes Begin a Notebook of People and Their Contributions Buy a 3 ring binder that can be added to throughout all classes Jot down each theorist/researcher and their important studies, discoveries and findings Will help to consolidate to memory and can be used as a review – double benefit!

34 Short-Term Preparation Take a Practice Test You will receive one practice test when you register – then order an additional book (can be found on Take a practice test to determine weak areas Track questions you guessed to determine whether guessing will benefit you Gives you an idea of your score and whether you are ready

35 Short-Term Preparation Obtain a Comprehensive Introductory Psychology Textbook Read chapters covering your weak areas A highly recommended book and considered to be one of the most comprehensive introductory textbooks is: Psychology by Henry Gleitman – Can be found on - $60.00 new & $38.50 used (as of May 2002) Other books can also be found on

36 Why Is the Subject Test Important? Found to be an Important Predictor of Graduate School Success Kuncel, N. R., Hezlett, S. A., & Ones, D. S. (2001). A comprehensive meta- analysis of the predictive validity of the graduate record examinations: Implications for graduate student selection and performance. Psychological Bulletin, 127 (1), They concluded from their meta-analysis of 1,753 samples that the Subject Test is a better predictor of graduate school success than the Verbal, Quantitative, or Analytical Tests. The addition of Subject Test Scores to any composite (i.e., Verbal + Quantitative + Subject) leads to a noticeable improvement in prediction of graduate school success.

37 What do the results of that study mean for me? May Lead to a Stronger Emphasis Being Placed on Subject Test Scores May Lead to More Schools Requiring the Subject Test

38 What about guessing? Depends on your definition of guessing If you can eliminate at least two of your choices, then you may want to guess. If you have no idea which answer is correct, then skip It. Be careful because you are penalized for guessing (¼ of your wrong answers will be subtracted from your total number of correct answers)

39 Review What is the subject test? How and when is it administered? How is the subject test scored? What are the content areas? What are the questions like? How to prepare long-term and short-term. Why is the subject test important? What about guessing? This is one part of the ticket to your future!!!


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