GRE Chemistry Syllabus

GRE Chemistry Syllabus

The GRE Chemistry Test is one of the seven disciplines offered in the GRE Subject Test. The duration of the test is 2 hours 50 minutes and 130 multiple questions will be presented to you. You can access the periodic table printed on the test booklet along with a table of information which contains various physical constants and a few conversion factors among SI units. If needed, additional values of physical constants are mentioned along with the text of the question. The test emphasizes the below mentioned four sections equally. Though it contains few mathematical calculations, you do not require any calculator or table for computation.


  1. Structure, Bonding and Nomenclature — Lewis structures, orbital hybridization, configuration and stereochemical notation, conformational analysis, systematic IUPAC nomenclature, spectroscopy (IR and 1H and 13C NMR)
  2. Reaction Mechanisms — Nucleophilic displacements and addition, nucleophilic aromatic substitution, electrophilic additions, electrophilic aromatic substitutions, eliminations, Diels-Alder and other cycloadditions
  3. Organometallics — Preparation and reactions of Grignard and organolithium reagents, lithium organocuprates, and other modern main group and transition metal reagents and catalysts.
  4. Functional Groups — Preparation, reactions, and interconversions of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, dienes, alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, epoxides, sulfides, thiols, aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and their derivatives, amines.
  5. Reactive Intermediates — Chemistry and nature of carbocations, carbanions, free radicals, carbenes, benzynes, enols.
  6. Special Topics — Resonance, molecular orbital theory, catalysis, acid-base theory, carbon acidity, aromaticity, antiaromaticity, macromolecules, lipids, amino acids, peptides, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, terpenes, asymmetric synthesis, orbital symmetry, polymers.


  1. General Chemistry — Periodic trends, oxidation states, nuclear chemistry
  2. Covalent Molecular Substances — Lewis diagrams, molecular point groups, VSEPR concept, valence bond description and hybridization, molecular orbital description, bond energies, covalent and van der Waals radii of the elements, intermolecular forces.
  3. Ionic Substances — Lattice geometries, lattice energies, ionic radii and radius/ratio effects
  4. Chemistry of the Main Group Elements — Electronic structures, occurrences and recovery, physical and chemical properties of the elements and their compounds.
  5. Metals and Semiconductors — Structure, band theory, physical and chemical consequences of band theory
  6. Concepts of Acids and Bases — Brønsted-Lowry approaches, Lewis theory, solvent system approaches.
  7. Chemistry of the Transition Elements — Electronic structures, occurrences and recovery, physical and chemical properties of the elements and their compounds, coordination chemistry.
  8. Special Topics — Organometallic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry, applied solid-state chemistry, environmental chemistry


  1. Data Acquisition and Use of Statistics — Errors, statistical considerations
  2. Solutions and Standardization — Concentration terms, primary standards
  3. Homogeneous Equilibria — Acid-base, oxidation-reduction, complexometry
  4. Heterogeneous Equilibria — Gravimetric analysis, solubility, precipitation titrations, chemical separations
  5. Radiochemical Methods — Detectors, applications
  6. Environmental Applications.
  7. Instrumental Methods — Electrochemical methods, spectroscopic methods, chromatographic methods, thermal methods, calibration of instruments.


  1. Thermodynamics — First, second, and third laws, thermochemistry, ideal and real gases and solutions, Gibbs and Helmholtz energy, chemical potential, chemical equilibria, phase equilibria, colligative properties, statistical thermodynamics.
  2. Dynamics — Experimental and theoretical chemical kinetics, solution and liquid dynamics, photochemistry
  3. Quantum Chemistry and Applications to Spectroscopy — Classical experiments, principles of quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, molecular spectroscopy

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