Thursday, 28 May 2015

When to take the GRE?

The Question

When should I take GRE?

What is best time to take GRE if I want to apply for the next Fall season?

How much time it takes to prepare for GRE?

This is one of the questions that plagues students every year when they start out preparations and attempt to chalk out their entire path to admissions to do MS in US or any other overseas universities. There isn't any correct answer to this question, and it largely depends on a number of factors that are unique to every student.
What one may best guide you on this question, is with the factors that you must consider when deciding on a GRE date.

As you all might know, GRE scores are valid for a duration of 5 years. So when to take the test really depends on:

  • Your targeted University’s application deadlines. You would like to be ready with your GRE score well before the application deadlines. Remember that you would need enough time to prepare for your applications as well.
  • Availability of GRE test slots at local test centers. Don't make it a last minute booking.
  • The time required by universities to evaluate AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment).
  • Your own d-day performance and the possibility for a re-test.

University Deadlines

Once you have some universities in mind, your date of taking the GRE would be dictated by its deadlines. Most good universities have deadlines around the year end (November – December).

Availability at Local Test Centers

It generally takes 1 or 2 months to get a slot to take the GRE. Account for this in your plans to begin taking the dates. It's always good to book the slot well before the MS application season starts because in the end it would be very difficult to find a slot due to rush.


Once you take the GRE, the Analytical Writing section is not evaluated then and there. It takes another two weeks before the scores get reported to the universities and they can use the scores. Because of this, you must take the GRE at least 6 weeks (before the better) before the application deadlines.

Repeat Attempts

One can take only one GRE test a month to a maximum of 5 attempts. If you have to take a re-test, then you must plan for adequate buffer time. Honestly speaking, there are chances that you might have to re-take GRE. We hope that none of you have to, but it's always good to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So what's the Conclusion? 

Because of the above factors, you would generally find it recommended to take the GRE early enough in the cycle. For Fall Admissions, it is generally advisable to take the GRE between August and October. The reason is that most US university Fall season admission deadlines close by December.

But, it is best to take it earlier to account for any unexpected outcomes.

We hope that this blog helps you in deciding your plan for GRE preparation. If you have any specific question, do write it in the comments.

All the Best!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see how this will shape up in the future. At the moment, most people applying to B-school with the GRE are those who are also using their GRE scores to apply to specialized master's programs in other business areas

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