What's On the Test:

Here is the historical spread of the test. Notice how much emphasis ETS still places on early literature:

  • Continental, Classical, and Comparative Literature through 1925: 5-10%
  • British Literature to 1660 (including Milton): 25-30%
  • British Literature 1660-1925: 30-35%
  • American Literature through 1925: 5-25%
  • American, British, and World Literatures after 1925: 20-25%
The distribution of questions you can expect:
  • Literary analysis (40-55%)Questions that require an ability to interpret given 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.
  • Identification (20-25%) Identification of date, author, or work by style and content.
  • Factual information (20-25%) Factual questions on literary history and chronology, 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 a work.
  • History and theory of literary criticism(5-10%) Identification and analysis of the characteristics and methods of various critical and theoretical approaches.