Are you confused as to when would be the best time to take the GRE test ? In the upcoming section, we will explore when is the best time to give the GRE exam and multiple factors you must consider before you register for the GRE.

The GRE is a standardised test that is designed for students and professionals alike who are interested in pursuing a graduate program at international universities. The test is conducted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS).  Most universities list a good GRE score as one of the necessary requirements to qualify for admission into their institution.

GRE dates 

The test dates for the GRE general test are available all through the year. Hence, you can pick a date and the test centre at your earliest convenience. There are many factors to consider before you book your GRE exam date. Some of them are as follows: 

  • GRE score report

The GRE score report takes about 3 weeks to reach the university you’ve listed, it takes another week to reach the respective department. Hence, it is imperative you factor the amount of time it takes to reach the university before landing on the test date of your choice. 

  • Application deadline 

Most universities have an application deadline and every candidate applying has to adhere to it. Non-adherence will lead to your application being disqualified. It is extremely important to make note of the application deadlines and book test dates accordingly. 

  • Availability of dates 

The GRE general test dates are available all through the year. Although, there are limited slots available through the month of October to December. Similarly, the GRE subject test slots are available only thrice a year. These are some crucial dates to keep in mind before you book your GRE test. 

  • Availability of test centers 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the test centers function at half capacity in India . Some of the test centers have also temporarily shut down. Hence, make it a point to cross check with the test center regarding the availability of test slots before you book your GRE test. 

  • Preparation time 

The most important thing to take into consideration is the amount of time you will need to efficiently prepare for the GRE. Any examination requires you to focus and pay attention. Hence, the GRE preparation time depends on your focus period. If your focus period lasts long, then you will require a shorter amount of time to prepare. Assess your strengths and weaknesses before you determine the amount of time you might need for preparation. This will help you calculate the amount of time you need to spend on preparation accurately and will help you analyse what subject areas require your attention. 

If you are a young professional getting back to studying after long, assess your preparation time as per your pace. You might require longer to realign and acquaint yourself with old studying patterns. 

  • Essential documents 

University applications require other documents besides the GRE score. The documents are as follows: 

  1. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  2. Letter of Recommendations (LOR)  
  3. Curriculum Vitae (CV) 

The SOP reads as a motivation letter as to why you are applying to a specific university and why you would be the right fit for the program, if you get accepted. The LORs are written by either your teachers or professionals/colleagues  describing your commendable qualities and your interpersonal skills. These documents, especially the SOP, takes about 2-3 weeks to draft and curate according to each university you might be applying to. The SOP, LORs, and CV add equal value to your college application, hence devote a good amount of time to work on them as well. 

  • Exam retakes 

The GRE score’s validity lasts for five years, and retaking the GRE is also a possibility. Hence, when you register and book your test slot, make sure you are allotting yourself enough time for GRE test retakes as well. The ETS has a “Select Score” option, this means you can choose the best score in spite of having attempted the GRE multiple times. This offers you a lot of flexibility in terms of your performance. So if you feel you might need a retake to enhance your performance, factor in enough time for retaking the GRE. 

  • Other examinations 

If you are planning on taking other examinations such as the TOEFL, IELTS, or SATS, allot sufficient preparation time for each of the exams. It would also be easier to plan them according to the given application deadline, so you can send in all the scores necessary together and avoid unnecessary chaos. 

  • Time, energy, and resources 

The GRE preparation is a cumbersome process. It requires a lot of time and energy from your end. As the GRE is an expensive affair, it also requires a fair amount of resources. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure you can commit a certain amount of time for the preparation before you decide to appear for the GRE. You need to be able to balance your personal obligations , as they might hinder the preparation process for the GRE as well as application processes for universities. 

We have outlined multiple factors to consider before you decide when is the best time to take the GRE test. As you might have noticed, the best time to give the GRE exam varies from person to person. The ability to give your best as well solely depends on individual instincts and capabilities. So, do not fret over when is the best time to give the GRE test, rather focus on when is the best time for YOU to appear for the test. Trust your instincts, prepare and perform at your best!

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