GRE Literature in English Subject Test – Prep, Study Guide, Topics

GRE Literature in English Syllabus

Similar to other GRESubjects, English Literature from Humanities is another subject for which ETS conducts the test. If you want to achieve higher accomplishments in English, it is recommended that you take this test. This article gives you a brief about the English Subject Test in GRE.

The test dates for the Subject Test are available only 3 times in a year i.e. April, September and October. There is no fixed date for the exam. There are 230

multiple choice questions in the test format. The duration for the test is 2 hours and 50 minutes.

The questions are based on poetry, drama, biography, essays, short stories, novels, criticism, literary theory and the history of the language. The GRE scores for this exam is calculated on a scale of 200-990, with one-point increments. However, there is a ¼ mark deduction for every wrong answer in the exam. The questions are of two types and can be classified into two sets: factual and analytical.

The Factual questions comprise the characteristics of the literary and critical movements, determining the period or author of work by the writing style from short works reprinted in their entirety.

The Analytical questions measure the ability to read a literary text with understanding. Test seekers are asked to scrutinize a given passage of prose or poetry and to answer questions about meaning, form and structure, literary techniques, and various other aspects of language.

The following outline indicates the approximate distribution of questions according to content categories.

    1. Literary Analysis (40–55%)

Interpretation of passages of prose and poetry. Such questions may involve recognition of conventions and genres, allusions and references, meaning and tone, grammatical structures and rhetorical strategies, and literary techniques.

    1. History and Theory of Literary Criticism (10–15%)

Identification and analysis of the characteristics and methods of various critical and theoretical approaches.

    1. Identification (15–20%)

Recognition of date, author or work by style and content

  1. Cultural and Historical Contexts (20–25%)

Knowledge of literary, cultural and intellectual history as well as identification of author or work through a critical statement or biographical information. Also identification of details of character, plot or setting of work.

The literary-historical scope of the GRE Subject test in English follows the distribution below.

1. Continental, Classical and Comparative Literature through 1925 5–10%
2. British Literature to 1660 (including Milton) 25–30%
3. British Literature 1660–1925 25–35%
4. American Literature through 1925 15–25%
5. American, British and World Literatures after 1925 20-30 %

Best books for GRE English Literature preparation :

Below we have listed a few books for test preparation other than the Official ETS GRE guide :

  • Cracking the GRE Literature
  • Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory
  • GRE: Practicing to Take the Literature in English Test
  • Norton Anthology of English Literature Volume 1 & Volume 2

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