Over the past few years molecular assays have been introduced to aid in typing and grading of gliomas. This is the result of improved understanding of these tumors at the molecular level. In particular, the presence or absence of combined 1p/19 loss in oligodendroglial tumors, epidermal growth factor receptor amplification, epidermal growth factor receptor vIII mutations in grade III tumors and glioblastoma multiforme, and MGMT promoter gene methylation in glioblastoma multiforme are now being used to tailor treatment decisions in patients. However, the application of these tests is far from straightforward, and certain standards are required before any test can be introduced in the daily management of patients. Some of these requirements concern inter- and intratest variability, including whether a test gives the same results if repeated in the same or in another laboratory or when different methodologies are used (e.g. loss of heterozygosity vs fluorescence in situ hybridization and a polymerase chain reaction-based test vs immunohistochemistry). The sensitivity and specificity of a test (or negative and positive predictive value) indicate the likelihood that the test results are positive if the disease is present and the likelihood that the disease is present if the test results are positive. Studies on these test characteristics usually require the presence of a gold standard to which new tests should be compared. Last but not least there is the question of what added value the test has; this criterion determines the clinical usefulness of the assay and why some recently introduced molecular assays need to be scrutinized.