Are you ready to take a new plunge in your academic career? In that case, you must have heard of the GRE (Graduate Record Exams). If you’re applying for graduate or postgraduate studies at a foreign university, you must appear for the GREs. This is because it is an important part of the application process.
You cannot take the GRE Test without knowing the date and location. It can be overwhelming to figure it all out. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the GRE test. This is aimed at making learning easy and efficient for you.
By following how to prepare for the GRE Test, you get to stay ahead of your peers. As a result, you can ace the exam and eventually get into the college of your dreams.
GRE Test Dates: How Often are GRE Exams Conducted?
One of the most important factors to consider before taking the GRE test is understanding how frequently they are conducted. You can take the GREs at an exam centre or in your home. If you are scheduling it from home, you can take it at your convenience.
GREs are conducted in two formats- computer-based and paper-based. The frequency of these exams varies significantly depending on the test format and location.
While computer-based tests can be taken throughout the year, paper-based tests are less common. Therefore, they will likely be held only in a few selected locations.
1. Computer Based
If you’re taking the computer-based test from an exam centre, you must check the available date and time. However, as the candidate, you can choose the date and time at your convenience.
Depending on the date the exam takes place at the particular exam centre, you can book your seats online from the official ETS website only. It is advisable to check the available dates at the exam centre to avoid any inconvenience.
2. Paper Based
The dates for the paper-based test are usually announced officially. These paper-based tests are conducted two to three times a year in selected locations only. However, paper-based tests will not be available in all locations. Registration deadline will also vary. Therefore, you must register to take the test as soon as possible.
How to Register for the GRE Exam?
The registration process for GREs will vary significantly depending on the method of taking the test. If you opt for the computer-based test, it is advisable to fill up the forms quickly as they tend to sell out earlier. The sections below discuss the different methods for registering for the GRE test.
1. Online Registration
You can register online by signing up on the ETS website. Registering online allows you to confirm the exam test centre in real time. Here are the steps to register online for the GREs:
- You need to create an ETS account using the same details as given in your ID document. Use this ID document to present at the testing centre.
- Select your preferred date and location. You must check the availability from the calendar before only. You can decide the location and test date.
- Read through the terms and conditions before accepting the final registration process.
- After paying the fees, move ahead with the online registration process.
2. Phone Registration
You can call 1-800-473-2255 to register GRE using your phone for free. Once you have confirmed the details, you will receive a text regarding reporting time, test centre, reporting time and confirmation number. After you register, you need to make payment through your debit or credit card to confirm your availability for taking the test.
3. Mail Registration
You will get the Authorization Voucher Request in the GRE Information and Registration Bulletin. You need to use this option to apply for the GRE test online. Take a printout of the voucher request form and sign it. Mail it to the address given on the voucher along with the registration fee for appearing in the GRE test.
When Should I Take the GRE Exam? (Months)
You need to be aware of the months you can take the GRE test. The months you take the GRE exam significantly depend on the college application deadline and the mode in which you’re taking the exam.
For the computer-based GRE, you can take the test throughout the year. However, this will depend on the testing locations. If the computer-based GRE test is unavailable in your location, you can take the paper-based test.
The paper-based GRE test is taken twice a year- February and November. Therefore, you can take the GRE test depending on your preferred college’s application deadline. After taking the GRE test, the test result will be sent to the respective location after 10-15 days. However, you must give yourself enough time to prepare and appear for the GRE.
How Many Times Can You Take the GRE Exam?
You are allowed to appear for the GREs five times annually. As a candidate, you have the flexibility to take the GRE test once every twenty-one days. You can retake the test if you cannot meet the minimum GRE test marks requirements. It provides flexibility to retake the test to score better in one or more sections.
In the initial stages, many students prefer taking the first GRE exam as a test. This helps them understand how well prepared they are for the exam and their current score. Once they identify their weak areas, they eventually work on improving them.
If you have a very limited budget for the GRE test, you need to be very mindful of how you’re taking the exam. This is mostly because taking the GRE test is quite expensive. Therefore, you must not go around wasting your attempts after the first test attempt. The GRE exam fees will vary depending on location.
Every time you appear for the GRE test, it is important that you make the payments timely. The GRE test fee in India is approximately Rs 19,000, which is considerably expensive. As a result, you will lose a significant amount if you appear for the exams five times a year. Appearing more times for the GRE test does not guarantee an improvement in your score.
If you want to be familiar with your exam preparation level, you must consider taking the GRE practice tests. These practice tests can help you identify your weak and strong areas. Therefore, you can streamline your preparation for GRE test depending on the results you receive.
Tips to Decide When to Take GRE Exam
When you decide to take the GRE exam, you can’t just take decisions blindly. It is important that you consider all the factors given below so that you make the right choice. These often help you in ensuring that you appear for the GRE test thoroughly.
Some of the factors that you need to consider before taking your GRE exam are as follows:
1. Application Deadline
Your GRE test preparation should be completely driven by the deadline at the university you’re applying to. For example, if your application deadline is in March, you must appear for the exam by February. It is advisable to stay prepared from the initial stages rather than waiting until the last minute to appear for the GRE exam.
If you wait till the last time, it will only lead to stress and an overwhelming feeling. When you should take the GRE test will be hugely influenced by the exam date. To avoid any discrepancies, it is advisable that you take the test by September or October if your application is due in December.
This will give you enough time to prepare yourself for a retest if anything goes wrong in the first test. If you really wish to enrol in the university, ideally, you should not depend on only one date for taking the GRE test.
2. Preparation Status
The GRE test isn’t easy. Thousands of students from across the world will be competing against you. Therefore, if you want to make it into the university of your choice, you must prepare really well. There are different sections of the GRE that you must focus on and individually prepare them.
Depending on how well prepared you are for these exams, you can take them. If you have taken a practice test, you already know what your weak and strong areas are.
Therefore, you will be able to dedicate the timeline accordingly to prepare for the exam. You can take two free practice tests online from the ETS website.
3. Understand Your Daily Commitments
GRE preparation is a time-consuming process. Therefore, if you have any additional daily commitments, you need to be familiar with them. Before taking the GRE exams, you need to be aware of your daily commitments so that you can spend enough time on a daily and weekly basis.
You need to build the preparation strategy right from the initial stages. Regularly studying, depending on the exam date and time, can help you manage your daily commitments as well. You can take a GRE test during the weekend if you have commitments like school during the weekdays.
4. Window of Opportunity
Every candidate gets a window of opportunity where they can easily excel in the exam. Some graduate programs have a strict policy of one application per year. However, there are other schools that will allow you to take the test either in the fall or spring session.
Some graduate schools also have the flexibility of four sessions on a bimonthly and monthly basis.
Once you have identified the window of opportunity to appear for the exam, you can appear for it accordingly. So, even if you miss one deadline, you don’t need to worry about it as you can appear in the other one. You can apply for the GRE exams, therefore, depending on the opportunities that are available to you.
5. Available Date and Time
Every GRE exam centre has its own schedule for taking the test. Rather than assuming the flexibility of dates and times, you must check with the exam centre. If you’re planning to appear for the exam during the weekend, you need to be careful. Well, this is because the slots tend to follow up faster.
If you want to schedule a GRE test one or two days in advance, the chances for doing this are less. You can check the ETS website and eventually schedule the exam depending on the dates and times that are available. You must refrain from scheduling your exam carelessly.
6. Know Your Ability to Appear for Grad School
One thing candidates often miss out on acknowledging is whether or not they appear for grad school. Getting into graduate school is no small deal. So, one must prepare themselves thoroughly for it so that they can take the GRE exams and get into their dream graduate school.
A lot of students take the GRE exam, but only a few of them sign up. It is better to give yourself a little push so that you can make the right choice in terms of appearing for grad school.
If you haven’t explored your area of interest as of yet, you will need to figure out what you want to do. You must appear for the GRE exams only when you feel like you’re ready for grad school.
There will come a time when you need to decide upon the GRE exams. The above-mentioned factors are definitely some of the important ones to consider. However, there may be some external factors as well that will affect your decision.
You must not at all be rational but think very positively so that you can choose and make a difference accordingly.
Once you make up your mind for appearing in the GRE exam, make sure to dedicate your blood and sweat to it so that you can make the right decision. At the end of the day, it is your preference and career, so you must make the choice accordingly to avoid any inconveniences.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I schedule a GRE test?
Visit the official ETS website, create an account, select a test date and location, and pay the exam fee online.
How far in advance should I schedule my GRE test?
It is recommended to schedule your test at least two to three months in advance to secure your preferred date and location.
Can I reschedule my GRE test after booking?
Yes, you can reschedule your GRE test up to four days before the original test date, but a rescheduling fee will apply.