Try to take
the GRE about a year prior to your expected entrance into Graduate
School—preferably any time during the summer or early fall.
The deadline for taking the GRE will vary dramatically depending
on the admission procedures of each school to which you apply, the
specific program, and the term in which you are planning to enroll.
You need to look at the application guidelines to find out whether
you need to take a Subject Test in addition to the General Test.
These tests are only offered three times a year, so factor their
schedule into your timeline.
Keep in mind
that you can take the GRE up to 5 times, but never more than once
per calendar month (including a month in which you cancel your score).
You’ll want to schedule enough time in your planning process
to register and re-take the test, and then have the new score submitted
to the school before the application deadline. Do this only if you
know that your score will increase considerably—especially
if you were ill or had family/personal problems. Both scores will
be reported to the schools in which you apply.
If you take
the GRE early, you will have your score in hand and can use it to
plan your application strategy and to choose and apply to a variety
of schools in which you will be competitive. Don’t forget
to choose a “safe” school where you know you will be
accepted, as well as schools that are more of a long-shot. If you
take the GRE early enough, it will allow you to submit your official
score along with your application.
If a school
uses a rolling admissions process, you will want to make sure your
application is in early (usually between December and February,
depending on the school). Rolling admissions means that applications
are reviewed on a first come, first served basis only, and some
schools may have already filled their classes before their final
At a minimum,
you want to take the GRE six weeks before the application deadline.
Because the Writing Assessment is now part of the General Test as
the analytical writing section, you will not receive your complete
score at the testing center. Because of the essay scoring process,
you will only receive the unofficial verbal and quantitative scores
at the test center. Your analytical writing score will be sent,
along with your official verbal and quantitative scores, within
10-15 days. Scores for the Subject Test, which is given in paper
and pencil format, are usually reported about six weeks after you
take the test. You can arrange for your test score to be sent directly
to you and up to 4 schools in which you are applying. Be aware that
some universities have chosen to receive GMAT scores in a format
that is distributed a couple of times a month—a further delay
that should be considered when planning a date to take the test
GRE General Test is a computer-adaptive
test (CAT), you can take the exam at one of the testing
centers at almost any time. Each test center has its own schedule
of operation, but their available time slots can fill quickly (especially
weekends). In some cases, it may be possible to schedule an appointment
a day or two before you actually take the test, or even walk-in,
but don’t count on it. We recommend booking a time and date
at least a month in advance (2 months isn’t a bad idea if
you are limited in your availability or are taking it during the
busy months of November through January). You may visit
www.gre.org for a list of test center locations and to
If you need
to take a GRE Subject Test, make sure you schedule this test at
least 6 weeks in advance. These tests are only given in November,
December, and April. Plan ahead in case you need to re-take this
Take the GRE when you have prepared and are confident in your ability to do well. Consider taking one of our PowerScore Live or Online GRE Courses or Tutoring Programs to help in your preparation.