Computer-Based vs Paper-Based General Test

Many GRE students wonder which version of the General Test to take: paper or computer? Unfortunately, we have far less choice than we might like between a pencil-and-paper version of the GRE and the computer version. 

Essentially, anywhere the computer version is available, students are required to take the computer-based version. This area includes practically the entire United States, most of Canada, and many other parts of the world. If you live in an area without access to a computer testing center, you may register for one of the three annual dates on which the paper-version of the GRE General Test is administered. More details may be found here:

Depending on which version of the GRE you are eligible to take, you should adapt your preparation accordingly. For instance, if you will be taking the pencil-and-paper version, you should model your preparation on the three released pencil-and-paper practice tests. Two may be found in the Official Guide to the GRE:

The third is available as a free download from ETS:

If you, like most GRE students, will be taking the computer-based test (CBT), you should keep this interface in mind during your practice. Consider commencing your studies by taking the first PowerPrep II exam from the ETS website:

  1. Use only the on-screen interface, on-screen calculator, pencil, and blank sheets for scratch paper.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the interface, look and feel, and experience of taking the computer-based exam.
  3. When practicing using printed material, treat the printed material just as you would the computer-based material, that is, do all your work on scratch paper, including your own diagrams, your own "A B C D E" answer choices to use for process of elimination, etc. If you need to use a calculator, use only the functions available on the official calculator. 

Regardless of whether you will be taking the CBT or the pencil-and-paper version of the General Test, you can better prepare yourself simply by acclimating yourself to the format ahead of time.