How Long Does GRE Score Last?

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How Long Does GRE Score Last?

If you have just taken the GRE and you do not need to use it at the moment or perhaps, you are just curious, and then you must have wondered how long does the GRE score last? If you have taken the GRE, you probably never want to retake it but what you must know is that it does not last forever. This article outlines how long the GRE scores last as well as the meaning and implication of expired scores. Let’s begin.

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How Long Do Your GRE Scores Last?

The simple answer is five years. Your GRE scores will only be valid for five years. The complicated answer, however, depends on the time you took the test. Let’s take a look at the various time frames.

Before July 2012: All GRE test scores from before July 2012 have expired. They cannot be retrieved for whatever reasons.

July 2012-June 30 2016: If you took the GREs during this period, then your scores are valid five years from the end of the testing year. The testing years begin on July 1; therefore, a test taken on May 15, 2015, is useful until June 30, 2020.

July 1 2o16 Upwards: If you took the GRE after July 1, 2016, your score is valid for five years after your test was given. For instance, your score for July 5, 2017, GRE is valid until July 4, 2022.

What Happens When Your Score Expires?

When your GRE scores expire, ETS deletes them from the database, and as such, they cannot be recovered. Please note that these expired scores cannot be retrieved for any reason. Once they expire, they become unavailable.

You may also be wondering what might happen if your scores are on the brink of expiration, but you send them just in time to the school you want to apply to before they expire. In this case, as long as the school receives the scores, they are safe with them. However, it is pertinent to note that some schools have different guidelines and policies regarding the timelines of the GRE scores that they expect. For instance, some schools may only want results within the past 2 or 3 years. This means that you must ensure that you are informed about these policies and rules to avoid mistakes and disappointments.

Why GRE Scores Expire

There are quite several reasons for the expiration of GRE scores. Some include:

Difference In Knowledge Competence

It is important to note that a significant reason why GRE scores expire is that over the years, it is safe to assume that your knowledge in all sections of the test must have changed and this can be either positive or negative. Suppose you take the GRE and perform excellently in all sections that are good. But, if in the next five years you do not improve your skills in Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning, or you do not make use of this knowledge, then definitely, your proficiency in these areas would have dropped. And you would need to improve on it. 

Also, if you have put your knowledge and skills to work and you have also acquired more knowledge within those five years, then you would probably get a better GRE score if you retook it. In all, what you must know is that your skills and knowledge five years ago do not represent their current state.

Simpler Test Revision

The expiration of scores makes it easier for ETS to revise the test. For instance, GRE was revised in 2011, and until the expiry of the GRE before then, the test was called “The Revised GRE General Test” to differentiate it from all scores before then. Immediately all those scores expired in 2016, and they were just called “The GRE General Test” because all new scores were in that format and there was no need to differentiate.

Increase In Demand For GRE

This is an advantage to ETS. Most times, you only need to take the GRE once, however, if you find yourself changing career paths or going back for another degree after some years, then you will need to retake the GRE if five years have passed after you took your last one. Therefore, this expiration policy boosts the demand for the GRE, which is beneficial to ETS.

Planning Around the GRE Score Expiration Policy

Most times, you take your GRE the same year or perhaps a year earlier before you apply for your graduate program. Therefore, planning may only be necessary where you intend on studying for multiple degrees which all require the GRE. I n this case, you have to consider whether or not your scores would have expired by the time you intend to apply for the next program. You must also note that not all programs require the GRE if you already have a higher degree.

Also, you may want to plan if you are currently an undergraduate intending to go to grad school, but you are just not sure when. In this case, you should take the GRE when all your knowledge and skills are still fresh, and you will have more time to study because you are an undergraduate. If you still do not apply for your graduate program within these five years, your scores will however expire.


As earlier stated, your GRE score is only valid for five years. You should also know that scores before August 2011 have expired. All scores between August 2011- JUNE 30 2016 are valid for five years from when you took the test. Also, from July 1, 2016, your scores are valid for five years after taking the test. To refresh your memory, all expired GRE scores are deleted from the ETS database and can no longer be accessed.

The GRE is usually taken the same year you intend to apply to school, but if you decide to take multiple programs, then you may have to retake the gest if your score expires. Hopefully, this article answers your question on how long does the GRE score last.

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