When Should I Take the GRE?

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When Should I Take the GRE?

One of the most important questions many students ask is “when should I take the GRE?’. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when would be the appropriate time for you to take the test. This article outlines the information you need to know before you take the GRE and how to decide when to take the GRE to help you make an informed decision.

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What You Need to Know

It is pertinent that you have the requisite knowledge and information about the GRE process to avoid making mistakes which may lead to failure.

  1. To begin with, the GREs are mostly computer-based. You will only be allowed to take the GRE test on paper if there are no computer-based testing centres in your locale. Testing centres nearest to you can be found on the ETS website.
  2. The GRE is available to be taken all year round because of its computerized nature. There are many test dates available; however, specific test centres do not take the GRE on some days of the week. Keep this in mind.
  3. The total time for all test is 3 hours and 45 minutes, non-inclusive of breaks and time taken to fill out forms. As a result, the overall time is about 4 hours and 30 minutes to accommodate all these other activities. Depending on the centre, tests are taken twice daily, either morning or afternoon.
  4. Your GRE test scores are admissible for five years. So, you should not worry if you do not need to use it at the moment.

When Should I Take the GRE

How Do I Decide When to Take the GRE?

When preparing your GRE timeline, the most critical factor you must consider is when your scores will be received by the schools you are applying to. This is very important because the time you take your GRE will determine when the schools receive your score reports. Deadlines are usually between late fall or early winter. However, you must know the specific date for each school you are applying to. You should also note that your GRE score submission may have a different deadline than your application deadline.

You must ensure that you find an early deadline for all your schools and mark it on your calendar. These deadlines are the latest time your scores can be received by the schools you intend to apply. Also, you need not worry if you have not decided on what schools to apply, mark November 15th as your deadline. This is because this date is within the range of deadlines for most schools. As soon as you observe the date, it’s time to start preparing.

Methods for When to Take the GRE

There are two methods of taking the GRE, depending on your schedule and availability. These methods are designed to suit whatever preparation methods you have planned.

The Quick Method

This is the fastest and easiest method. With this method, you need between 2-3 months to prepare for the test if it is your first time. This gives you adequate time to be ready for the test. If you are not quite sure of how good your performance will be or you want to beat your previous test scores, then you must give ample time for retakes. It is advisable that if you intend to retake the test, you must add one month for each retake (two retakes should suffice).

As you know, the GRE policy is that you have to wait for at least 21 days before you can take another GRE test. This is why leaving a month between each test is more advisable because it provides you with sufficient time to identify and work on your mistakes.

You should also ensure that you take the test in about three weeks before the schools’ deadlines to ensure that your score reports get to them in due time and as earlier stated you must start studying in about 2-3 months before that.

When Should I Take the GRE

The Comprehensive Method

This is a more precise and thorough method and is most suitable for those who plenty of time for preparation. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Be Sure to Leave Sufficient Time for Schools to Receive Your Scores – Your scores will be received by your schools 10-15days after you take the test. So, you must bear this in mind when picking a date for the test.
  2. Work on Improvement-To improve your GRE scores; you must make sure you set goals and outline your current status. This is done by making use of practice GREs. The difference between your practice GRE scores and your goal scores tells you how much you need to improve.
  3. Schedule Study Hours– You must figure out how many hours a week you need to study. You must be realistic in your schedule and not try to cram in so much in very little time, to avoid lack of retention. During summer you can schedule about 40 study hours a week but if you are quite busy, about 5-10 hours a week is probably more realistic.
  4. Leave ample time for retakes– In case you are not happy with your test score, you can retake the test, but this can only be done if you leave ample time for you to retake it. Ensure that you schedule about a month between each retake.
  5. Put it all together– After you have carefully carried out all these steps, you then figure out the exact date to take the GRE. Firstly, you divide the number of hours you need to study by the number of hours you expect to learn. This gives you the number of weeks you need to look for the GRE. Afterwards, you add eight weeks to that number to give room for the two retakes.

Also, make sure you choose a day when you will have plenty of time to take the exam.

When Should I Take the GRE


if you are still asking “when should I take the GRE”, know that proper planning is necessary for whatever method you choose. Generally, people need about 2-4 months between the time they start studying for the test and their deadlines. You must also ensure you take the test at least three weeks before your deadline.

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.