Understanding When to Schedule Your GRE Test Dates & How To Register
Deciding when to take the GRE test is a crucial step in your college career. Most students preparing to take the GRE test struggle with when they should schedule their exam. It’s commonly thought that there are better times of year and seasons to take the test, but the fact is there’s no best time to sit for the GRE.
It all depends on your personal schedule and your preparedness for the test itself.
Let’s look at a few different considerations that will help you determine when you should take the GRE test and what GRE test dates work best for your schedule and life style.
GRE Test Dates
What is a GRE Test Date?
A GRE test date is the day that you are able to register and take the exam. The GRE is highly available as compared with many other college entrance exams and is easy to fit into your schedule.
When is the GRE Test Offered?
GRE test dates are offered year-round in all 12 months of the year at any Prometric testing location. There is no need to schedule your exam day out months in advance, as there are so many testing dates available. You can sign up for it the week that you want to take it without a problem.
You are allow to take one GRE general test every 21 days up to five times in any rolling 12-month period. This means you will be able to retake the test up to 5 times in a 365 day period.
GRE Test at Home
You can also take the GRE at home any day of the year. Registering for an at home GRE test date is simple. Fill out the registration form online and pick your testing date. They typically have testing dates as soon as 24 hours after your registration is complete!
When to Take the GRE?
It’s common to take the GRE in the fall semester because of college applications, but there is no best date to take the test.
Choosing when to take the GRE test is a pivotal step in your graduate college career. Picking the wrong GRE test date could leave your underprepared and not ready for the exam. Likewise, picking a date too far out into the future might give you too much time to prepare.
There is no set test date, and you can take the GRE test at any date, depending on your availability and convenience. However, you must pick a date that is at least two months to the first application dateline.
Here’s a few things to consider before you sign up to take the GRE test.
What is Your Current Schedule?
What does your current academic schedule look like? If you are slammed with classes and don’t have time to study, let alone stress yourself out, it might not be a good time to take the test. You might want to wait until your semester is over and you have more time to dedicate to studying for this test.
The GRE isn’t the most difficult test that you’ve ever taken, but it does require some respect and commitment. Check your schedule and make sure you will have enough time to prepare for this test adequately. The general rule of thumb is that you should take two months to study.
When Do You Plan on Attending Graduate School?
An important thing to think about is when you plan on attending grad school. Many people say that you should take the GRE in your freshman year of college because it is very similar to the SAT test that you just took to get into college.
This idea is a bit flawed because not all college freshman will want to attend grad school. Why would you want to put yourself though this test if you aren’t even sure you want to go to grad school?
Instead, wait until your junior year and you have a better idea of your college career goals. Once you are sure you want to apply for graduate school, you should start thinking of preparing for the GRE. Makes sense, right?
When Are Grad School Application Deadlines?
Another important thing to consider when deciding on your GRE test date is when your grad schools’ applications are due. Remember, the GRE test scores may take 10-15 days to be released. If you take the test right before your grad school deadline, your scores might have enough time to get to your school.
It would be best if you appeared for the exam when you are well prepared for the test, and according to industry experts, the ideal time to take the test is 30 to 45 days before the deadline for your college application.
This will give adequate time to retake the test if you are not satisfied with your score. Most importantly, note that the test scores will be valid for five years, and if you took the test in April this year, you could report the scores until April 2026.
For instance, if the application deadline is November, you should take the exam in September. This will give you a chance to retake the exam in October if the need arises. Usually, the fall, November, and December dates are popular windows to take the exam as most institutions tend to accept applications at the beginning of the year.
Where to Take the GRE Exam
You can take the GRE test from a Prometric approved testing site. There are testing sites in each state, and the computer-delivered test can be done at any time of the year at the centers where slots are available to test takers on a first-come basis.
There are over 8,000 Prometric testing sites in over 160 countries, and in some areas, you might find sites, not within the Prometric network. In situations where students cannot access computer-delivered GRE, they can opt for the paper-delivered GRE, which is offered three times per year at select test centers worldwide.
Finding a test center is easy, and you can do it from your ETS account. After logging into your account, you will see the “My GRE Home” tab. Click on the Register/ Find Test Centres, Dates” tab, and you will be taken to a page where to search for tests dates and locations. You can start your search by address, state, or city.
It is recommended that you use your home address as this will help you find locations near you. If there are fewer options, you can expand the search to include a city or state.
Can I Take the GRE at Home?
Yes, you can take the GRE test at home. Simply register for the at home test through the ETS website and you will be able to schedule a testing date to sit for the exam at home. This flexible testing schedule is great for people who can’t make it to a testing center or have other personal scheduling conflicts.
How to Register for the GRE
Registration for GRE will cost you around $205, and the process is done online. You will pick your preferred test date and testing center during the application process. If you wish to change the testing center or change the test date, you will have to pay an additional fee to effect the changes.
There are various ways to register for the exam, and the most common way is doing it online through the ETS website. Besides the online registration process, candidates can register via mail or fax. To book your slot for the test, you need a credit or debit card that you will use to pay the fee.
To register, you need to access the ETS website. You should create your profile in which you are required to enter personal details and then select between GRE subject test or GRE General. You will then have to select your test date and GRE testing center. It is important to remember that the slots will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You are required to provide academic details and then proceed to payment. After that, you need to print the registration acknowledgment receipt.
Before registering, read the exam policies carefully and check the available testing format in your region and whether you are comfortable with it or not. Remember to provide information on the ETS that matches your identification documents. Give your official names as they appear in the driving license, ID, or passport because you can be prevented from sitting the exam if there are any discrepancies.
How Long Does it Take to Get GRE Scores Back
Knowing how long it takes to get your GRE test results is important because it gives you an idea of when to schedule your exam. You may need more time to get your scores back in order to send them to your grad school of choice.
Typically, it takes about 10 -15 days to receive your GRE score results. This can vary depending on when you took the test, but usually you can count on these score release dates.
Your scores should be sent to your college immediately after they are available.
Can I Retake the GRE?
It is possible to retake the GRE test, and most people decided to do so. You can retake the GRE test around five times a year, provided there is a 21-day interval between the last test and the present. The registration process is the same as doing it for the first time, but you will have an ETS account this time.
You can retake the test if you consider your score not good enough to secure admission to that graduate school or program you wanted. Retaking gives a chance to improve your score, and if you have done the test severally, you can choose the best score to send for your applications with ScoreSelect.
However, retaking the test several times might hurt your application chances because the university might feel you are not smart enough or good at test-taking.
Is There a Waiting Period to Retake the GRE?
As indicated, you can only retake the GRE test if the last time you sat for one was 21 days ago. Therefore, ensure you have time to retake and submit your GRE scores before the dateline for application.
To ensure institutions receive your test scores in time, you should not retake the test unless there are three weeks between your application deadline and test date. This ensures that schools receive the score, and you didn’t go through a lot to retake the test for nothing.