GRE English Subject Test 2022: How to Prepare for GRE Literature in English? Image
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GRE English Subject Test 2022: How to Prepare for GRE Literature in English?

Yocket Editorial Team
5 mins read

If you are planning to get into a literature graduate program in any reputed institution abroad, GRE Literature in English Test is one of the mandatory requirements for admission. This test can be challenging especially for those coming from non-English academic backgrounds, but do not worry as we have got your back in preparing you for GRE Literature.

The GRE Literature in English test is typically made up of multiple-choice questions which are majorly from undergraduate literature coursework. In this blog, we have curated a complete guide on what the GRE English subject test covers, how to prepare for it, and some of the best books with their price range, to get started with your preparation for the GRE Literature 2022.

  Table of Contents:

  1. Overview of GRE Literature Subject Test
  2. GRE Literature Syllabus
  3. How to Prepare for the GRE Literature Subject Test?
  4. Best Preparation Books for GRE Literature Test
  5. Frequently Asked Questions About GRE Literature Subject Test 

Overview of GRE Literature Subject Test

The GRE English Subject test is mostly chosen by students who are looking to get into a master's degree program in Literature at the top universities abroad. The Literature paper of the GRE exam generally has 230 multiple choice questions that can be solved within 2 hours and 50 minutes.

The questions are based on literary works and movements such as it's criticisms, drama, poetry and biographies etc. The GRE Literature subject test syllabus is structured into four parameters i.e. Literary Analysis (45-55%), Cultural Contexts (20-25%), Identification (15-20%) and the rest of 10 to15% are distributed into History and Theory of Literary Criticism.

The questions of GRE literature in English consist of various topics which includes poetry, drama, the essay, novel, short story, biography, criticisms, literary theory and the language's theory.

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Now that we have had the overview of the GRE Literature exam. Let us now have a close look at the GRE Literature syllabus:

GRE Literature Syllabus

The GRE Literature in English Test section consists of multiple-choice questions. Every piece of MCQs on the subject offers students five response options from which you have to pick the right one. The average score of the GRE Literature test ranges between 200 to 990 with a 10 point increment. 

As per ETS, the detailed GRE Literature Test Syllabus is discussed below:

Literary Analysis (40-55%)

The Literary Analysis is the largest section of the GRE Literature in English test that is based on the understanding of a certain selection of prose and poetry. Other questions include grammar, tone, structure, genres, meaning, literary techniques and rhetorical strategies. 

Identification (15-20%)

The Identification section will focus majorly on the identification of author, work or date through the content or the style of the reprinted excerpt.

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Cultural and Historical Contexts (20-25%)

The Cultural and Historical Contexts of GRE Literature includes the questions on cultural, intellectual and literary history along with the recognition of the author or work of an excerpt. The section also includes questions from a critical statement or biography, the character details, plot or the setting in the historical situation. 

History and Theory of Literary Criticism (10-15%)

The History and Theory of Literary Criticism will include the detection and the analysis of the methods and characteristics of various critical and theoretical approaches in English literature. The questions also come from classical, continental, and comparative literature, British literature, American literature etc.

The types of questions asked from the topics are distributed throughout the paper. The GRE literature questions are not set aside and labelled separately however a few of them from a single section may appear on a consecutive basis.

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How to Prepare for the GRE Literature Subject Test?

Preparing for the GRE Literature is one of the crucial parts of excelling in the exam. The paper has been designed to test your literature knowledge gained over a period of time. You must review your syllabi, textbook and undergraduate notes of literature to prepare well for the test. Some other recommendations you must know before starting your preparation are:

  • Go through the number of GRE literature prep books that will help you in preparing for this part.
  • Review the question asked in previous English Literature papers. This shows you the types of questions generally asked in the exam and the exam pattern.
  • Revise the literature textbooks, and notes of your college courses, this will give you a better study outline.
  • Appear in the GRE literature practice test to analyse where you stand in the examination. 
  • Many students appear in the GRE twice to share their highest scores. You may also do the same thing by ensuring a gap of a minimum of 21 days between the test time.

Try Yocket’s latest GRE Prep feature to ace your GRE preparation 2022. Get access to the latest GRE practice questions carefully curated by our experts!

Best Preparation Books for GRE Literature Test

The following is the list of GRE English subject test book which will help you in facing the GRE Literature in English test:

Book Name 

Average Price 

The Post-Colonial Studies Reader

15.99 USD

Critical Practice

35.99 USD 

The Norton Anthology of English Literature

21.40 USD

Dictionary of Poetic Terms

22.99 USD

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

31.31 USD

The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory

21.49 USD

The Norton Anthology of American Literature

48.79 USD

Cracking the GRE Literature in English Subject Test

15.99 USD

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey

18.76 USD

Plato: Complete Works

26.45 USD

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Getting a good score in the GRE literature in English is a doable task. All you have to do is skim through the literature test pattern and syllabus, understand the scoring patterns and prepare accordingly. The test structure is well planned which makes it widely relatable for every student taking the test. To qualify for the exam, you just need to develop a roadmap of success in GRE English and prepare thoroughly.

For further guidance and assistance sign up on Yocket to know more about GRE English subject test!

Frequently Asked Questions About GRE Literature Subject Test

Ques. What is GRE Literature in English Test?

Ans. The GRE Literature in English Test is a standardized admission test administered by the Educational Testing Service. This was intended to evaluate an applicant seeking admission to the graduate degree programs in English studies.

Ques. When should I start preparing for the GRE Literature in English practice test?

Ans. The questions are multiple-choice as some of the students can achieve the expected level of test proficiency in three to four months, while others may require you to have less or more time. However, being continuous with the preparation is a key to success.

Ques. What is a good score on the GRE Literature subject test?

Ans. The average score for the test must be around 600, but graduate universities offering English literature programs will generally want to see at least 640 marks in your application to stand out among the crowd.

Ques. What are the requirements for the GRE Literature Test?

Ans. The eligibility criteria for the application for the GRE is that you must have a bachelor's level degree in a relevant stream from a recognised university. Other than this there are no other specific eligibility criteria.

Ques. What are the sections included in the GRE English Literature Test?

Ans. The questions types generally asked in the GRE English Literature testing include:

  • Literary Analysis (45-55%)
  • Cultural and Historical Contexts (20-25%)
  • Identification (15-20%)
  • History and Theory of Literary Criticism (10-15%)
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