When Do You Take the GRE?  

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When Do You Take the GRE?  

The ETS gives a lot of options when it comes to writing the GRE tests because this exam is administered almost every day during the year.  But before you choose a date, it’s wise to ask yourself some questions.

How long will it take for the school to receive my scores? How long is it going to take to study for this test?

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When Do You Take the GRE Test?

There are so many key factors to consider before choosing a date to take the GRE test. Each element has to be carefully looked at and analysed before a decision is made because it can influence your career in the long run.

These factors are:

1. When Do You Plan on Attending Graduate School? 

This is definitely not the most crucial factor to consider, but it should be the first one.

So many people think that you should take the GRE test the same time you take the SATs because you would prepare for both tests at the same time and would be able to apply the basic knowledge you learned during the SAT preparations for the GRE too. This argument is valid to an extent, but it is not correct.

After spending four years in college as an undergraduate, you might want to take some time off school before going ahead with your Postgraduate studies. Now, imagine you wrote GRE the same time you wrote the SAT about five years ago, it might put you in a precarious situation because we all know the GRE lasts only five years after which the results become void, and you have to write another one.

So, while taking the GRE together with SAT might seem like the best choice, you might want to give it a little time. Wait till you are a few years into college before making a decision. It will benefit you in the long run.

When Do You Take the GRE

2. Graduate School Application Deadline

This is the most critical factor. Most graduate schools have an application deadline for December or January. Whichever it is, be sure to confirm before choosing a Test date.

If your application deadline is December, you do not want to take your Test in November. It is very risky. Keep in mind that it takes the ETS about fifteen days to send your GRE scores to your school and it will take your school another week to send it to your respective departments, that’s like a total of three weeks.

This means it takes three weeks after you wrote your tests, for it to get to your school. See why you shouldn’t write it in November? If your school application deadline is in December, ideally you should be writing your test in September. This should give you ample time to retake the exam in case you don’t like your scores on the first one.

According to the ETS, you can only take the test once every twenty-one days, that’s a total of three weeks. It is essential to give time for retakes no matter how hard you have studied, since you don’t know what could happen. Put all these together and then work out what time is best for you.

3. Preparation Time 

This is the second most crucial factor. Before you decide on a test date, you need to give yourself at least two months to prepare. Ideally, it should be for four months. It will help if you put in a lot of hours studying and taking practise tests before you seat for the real test.  It is not wise to assume you know it all.

First, you need to know what the cut-off or average score for your program is. Then take it a notch higher. That’s what you need to aim for. Getting into any postgraduate program these days are super competitive, and you will need to study rigorously even to stand a chance.

Now that you have known your school’s application deadline, you have also drafted out how long it will take your result to get to the school after you’ve sat for the test, the next thing is to draft how long it will take you to prepare.

Give yourself three months maximum for studying, and then you choose a test date.

When Do You Take the GRE

4. What If I’m Not in School?

Some people decide to give themselves a break after their undergraduate studies. Four or five years of studying intensely and they feel they need to take some time off to recharge before advancing to postgraduate level, and then this step is for you.

Since you’ve taken some time off after school, you might have forgotten some minor stuff like basic maths and other related studies, it is perfectly normal and does not mean you are not fit for the test.

Some people even went ahead to do something else with their lives. Some have become professionals; some have become parents.

Still, they want to go ahead and further their education.

It is not impossible. The only thing you need to do is to study harder than someone who just finished their studies.

For people in this category, the best time to take the test is during a time of the year that is not busy for you.

If you are a parent, avoid taking the test during the busy back to school season where you won’t even have enough time to breathe, let alone read for your GRE.

If you are a professional, avoid taking the test during a time when you have a big project coming because your attention would be divided.

It would help if you had a long stretch of alone time where you can study without disturbance. That way, you would be adequately equipped for the GRE.

When Do You Take the GRE


If you have read up to this point, then you already know how to pick a date that is most suitable for you.

In picking a date, it is advised to not put pressure on yourself. If you are already feeling pressure months before the date, it will only transcend to the test date, and on that day, you will be too flustered even to concentrate.

Take it one step at a time and give yourself breaks in between to catch a little fun.

Please don’t spend a long stretch of hours reading because asides not being healthy, it is not even funny.

Only read stuff that is peculiar to the exam to avoid loading your brain with loads of things you don’t need.

Good luck.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.