When To Take the GRE

When To Take the GRE? – What is the Right Time?

For any candidate preparing for the GRE right now, the one question that seems most intriguing is when to take the GRE. Many students are unaware of the GRE or the exam’s whereabouts and think there must be some particular time of the year most conducive to opting for the GRE. The truth is that many answers will fit your query. However, some factors might help you decide the ideal time to appear for the GRE.

The best time to take GRE for college students is between the Junior year spring semester and the Senior year fall semester. For other candidates outside of college, you can decide on your schedule and take up GRE at any time of the year. For most courses, the application window closes by December or January. If you apply during these two months, with all the admission requirements in place, you can be accepted for the following fall semester.

GRE Test Dates

Before deciding on when you should opt for GRE, it is vital to know when the exam is held. GRE is a standardized global test that is held throughout the year. Also, GRE does not demand any pre-signing for the exams, so you can decode which date suits you the best. If you want to check which date will be the best for you, first sort out your academic calendar. You need to figure out when you will be attending graduate school or at which time your current academic course will get over. Candidates must prioritize their current course of study or the ongoing semester and prepare for the GRE dates only after that. Also, keep in mind that it is not only about the GRE dates, but it is also about the preparation. You have to choose a suitable GRE date where you can get ample time for preparation.

Attending Graduate School

There are several suggestions regarding which time is the best for attending GRE. When to take the GRE? – Most people say that the first year of college is the best time for GRE. The one solid reason behind this speculation is that – you already have many ideas about the fundamental quant and vocabulary because you might have opted for similar tests recently. For example, the candidates who have just appeared for SAT have more than an introductory level of preparation, and they can use it for the GRE. So, it is best to use the pre-existing preparation to the best of your benefit.

Here comes the second most crucial factor to consider – when do you want to attend graduate school? Keep in mind that GRE scores are valid for only five years. So, you have to decide when you want to attend graduate school. This also forms a base for a counter-argument to the first apprehension that you should take the GRE when in the first year of college. Because if you opt for GRE in the first year of college and qualify for the same, there may be some clash with the timings.

However, the best approach lies in the middle line of these two arguments. The ideal time to opt for the GRE is after you have completed the first 2 or 3 years of college. During this phase, you would also be relaxed with your current degree and, at the same time, have enough time for the GRE preparation.

Your college degree will also help you gain some valuable knowledge that can later be helpful for the GRE.

When to Take the GRE? – Application Deadlines

The deadlines for application are December or January for most programs that you can apply for with the GRE scores. That indicates you have to get everything ready – GRE test scores, the other application requirements like Statement of Purpose, and Letter of Recommendation ready by this time. If you apply by December or January, you can secure the programs starting by the following fall season. Most students target this season. If December or January is the deadline, when should you take the GRE?

Don’t be in a mirage that you must take the GRE test by November to get the scores and application ready by December. The right idea is not to delay it. Plan your academic schedule and opt for the exam well in advance may be the summer of the previous season. This will also ensure that you still have ample time to try out for another attempt if you fail during any attempt. Just keep one thing in mind – you must have time to adequately study for GRE whenever you plan to take the test.

When to Take GRE if You Are Not in School?

Till now, we have been talking about students who are already in graduate school. But, a large section of GRE test givers is away from school. After being in the work world for a couple of years, many professionals opt for the GRE. Whether a professional or currently unemployed, you can opt for GRE with the proper preparation and knowledge. For such candidates, the best time for GRE would be governed by one factor- preparation time. You have to decide how much preparation you would need based on your current life status, which shall be the best time to opt for GRE.


When planning for the GRE test, consider all the favorable and unfavorable possible outcomes. Have enough time for yourself to prepare and practice. GRE is an expensive test to appear for. It is wise to lose attempts without proper preparation. The ideal time needed for GRE preparation is at least 6 months. You also have to plan for the time if you have to retake the test. GRE score is not the sole criterion for your admission. The letter of recommendation, statement of purpose, and other factors also play a crucial role. Dedicated hard work makes it easy to crack the GRE.

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