Registering & Preparing for the GRE
In this lesson, you'll learn how to register for the GRE. You'll also get some tips on preparing for the test to make sure you do your best on the big day.
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Sometimes it feels like taking a standardized test involves just as much time spent registering as time spent actually studying what you’ll need to know. And you really don’t have a choice: you have to take the test, so you have to put up with whatever the test writers think is a good system of registration.
On the GRE, registration is a little less painful because it’s all online and because you can pick almost any day you want to take the test. So, you do have a lot of flexibility, at least if you plan far enough ahead to take advantage of it.
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make the most of all your options for GRE registration. We’ll also look at how to set up your preparation schedule so you don’t waste any time and can still be confident and ready for the test.
You should register for the GRE as soon as you decide to take it. You’re competing with other students for the best times and dates, so get your spot early.
For most people, registration for the GRE revised General Test is done online. To register, you’ll need to make a My GRE account - this is the online account where you’ll register for a test date and manage your scores after the test. To create an account and register for the test, you’ll need:
A valid photo ID. You’ll need to copy your name exactly as it shows up on your ID. If the name on your ID is different from the name on your registration, you may not be able to take the test.
A credit or debit card to pay for the test.
You’ll also need to know your preferred test date or at least a range of dates that work for you. When you register for the test, you’ll choose a test center and a test date. Unlike the SAT or the ACT, the GRE isn’t administered only on specific dates. Instead, you can choose from a wide range of dates, times and multiple test centers - there’s almost always something to fit your schedule! Get your registration done early, though, since seats at popular test centers fill up fast.
Also, remember that you’ll have to leave about two weeks after your test date for scores to be sent to schools, so pick a date at least a few weeks before your application deadlines. Your My GRE Account is where you’ll manage your scores and send them to schools, but you don’t have to know which schools you’re sending your scores to when you create your account. You’ll do that on test day.
You can take the GRE as many times as you like, but you have to space it out. There are two rules:
You can only take the test once every 21 days.
You can only take the test 5 times in 12 months.
The vast majority of people have absolutely no desire to take the GRE more than five times a year or more than once every three weeks, so these limits shouldn’t be a huge issue.
So, now you’ve registered for the test - what’s your plan of attack? If your plan is to sit tight and wish for a miracle, your plan might use some work.
A good rule of thumb with test prep is to start earlier than you think you need to. Start thinking about your test prep as soon as you firmly decide to take the test. Do you want to buy a book or do you want to use online prep materials, like the other lessons in this course? Should you take classes? Should you study with a friend or alone? Pick the way that you learn best and set it up for yourself.
You may know you want to take the GRE quite far in advance - you don’t have to start studying a year before the test. But it’s never too early to sit down and make a plan so that you aren’t caught by surprise. Then when it is time to start prepping, you’ll be all set and ready to go.
In this lesson, you learned about registering for the GRE and got some tips for setting up your test prep plan. To register, you’ll need to make a My GRE account on the GRE website. Round up your photo ID and credit or debit card, and decide when you want to take the test. Then, go online, make your account and choose your test center and test date. Unlike the SAT or ACT, the GRE lets you choose your own test date from almost any day you like - just make sure to register early before seats at your chosen test center fill up. You’ll eventually use your My GRE account to send scores to schools, but you don’t have to decide that when you register.
One key to success for the entire process is getting things done early. Register as soon as you firmly decide to take the test. Then, figure out your test prep plan as soon as you’re done registering. You might not start studying right away, but it never hurts to know how you’ll approach your test prep and what resources you plan to use.
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