How many times can you take the GRE exam?


If you’re retaking the GRE exam because you didn’t do as well as you would have liked the first time, be sure to read our article to learn how many times you can take the GRE exam

Maybe you froze and bombed your first attempt at the GRE. Perhaps you passed the exam without studying and immediately regretted that decision when you saw your score.

Or maybe you’re just a planner, thinking ahead in case something goes wrong during this high-stakes ordeal.

In any case, the question of how often and how often you can take the GRE can become an important question for you. This is a question you’ll hear constantly from GRE students.

This article provides answers to common questions about how many times you can take the GRE exam, how many times you can retake the GRE, and the pros and cons of taking the GRE multiple times.

Can you take the GRE more than once?

In short, the GRE can be taken as many times as the participant deems necessary to achieve the desired score.

Despite the fact that there is no limit to the number of times the test can be taken, the test can only be attempted five times in a single calendar year and each test must be taken 21 days apart.

If the desired goal is not achieved within the five attempts in a calendar year, the participant can try again in the next.

Although the number of repetitions of the test is technically unlimited, the assessment costs $160 per attempt, including four reports of results.

However, attempting the assessment more than a few times can easily become a financial drain. If you decide to take the GRE more than once, it’s important to develop a plan to learn and improve appropriately.

For a graduate program, it could be an outstanding attribute to see a student who retakes the exam and has significantly improved their score, which speaks to that student’s dedication, hard work, and knowledge.

How often can you take the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination may be taken once every 21 days, but not more than five times in a calendar year. This means that if you are not satisfied with your result, you have to wait 21 days to take the test again.

If a candidate wants to retake the exam a sixth time, 365 days would have to elapse from the first exam date. This flexibility allows students to take the assessment multiple times to meet specific graduate school deadlines and criteria.

Rather than having to wait a long time to retest and get the desired score, this can be done within the same month to keep students on schedule for specific deadlines.

An important piece of advice is to consider the graduate program deadlines when planning the assessment.

Allowing room for the possibility of having to retake the GRE will ensure you meet the program deadline without added stress.

How Many Times Can You Take the GRE?

The short answer to this question is that you can take the GRE an unlimited number of times. There are a few reasons you might not want to repeat the GRE over and over again, but the fact is, you have the opportunity to do so.

There is no lifetime limit to the total number of exams a person can take for the GRE, whether it be the General Test, a Subject Test, or a combination of both (although for the purposes of this article we will focus on the GRE General Test).

However, there are some limitations and waiting times associated with retaking the test. First, it’s important to know what counts as a GRE attempt and what doesn’t count as a test attempt.

Let’s take a look.

  • If you cancel your GRE score for an exam, that exam still counts as a GRE attempt. Each time you take an actual GRE exam, whether at home or at a testing center, the exam attempt counts.
  • If you cancel your GRE exam appointment that canceled exam will NOT count as an exam attempt because you did not actually take the exam.
  • If you did not show up for the day of the test (you did not cancel your GRE but you did not show up for your exam date), this exam will NOT count as a GRE attempt as you did not actually take the exam.

Basically, every time you actually register for the GRE counts, regardless of what you do with your test scores or where you take the test. And any time you don’t actually sit for the GRE, it doesn’t count.

Although there is no limit to the total number of times you can take the GRE, there is a limit to the number of times you can take the test in a given time period.

How often should you take the GRE?

The fact is that many test-takers take the GRE more than once and even repeat the GRE several times. So there is no shame in having to repeat the GRE.

In fact, when choosing GRE test dates, considering your application deadlines, you should allow for a buffer of time to retake the test at least once (if not twice). When it comes to GRE, a wise motto to live by is “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

Hearing all of this, you may still be nervous that graduate schools might rate your application unfavorably if you take the GRE multiple times. Well, graduate schools never need to know that you’ve taken the GRE more than once.

ETS (Educational Testing Service), makers of the GRE, offers test-takers an option called ScoreSelect, which allows you to send only your most recent score to schools.

So if you have low test scores from previous GRE attempts, or just don’t want schools to know you’ve taken the GRE more than once, you can keep that information private.

Top 5 tips to consider before retaking the GRE

If you are not completely satisfied with your GRE score – verbally or quantitatively – you can take the GRE again after some additional practice.

While GRE drills are usually recommended, people often wonder if repeating the GRE after getting a less than stellar score is really the best idea.

While every applicant is unique and every graduate school program has its own set of guidelines and preferences, there are a number of general factors to consider before deciding to retest and aim for a higher GRE score.

 Taking the GRE multiple times will not affect your chances of admission

Last year, the ETS (Educational Testing Service – the makers of the GRE) introduced a new feature called ScoreSelect for test takers applying to graduate school.

By introducing this option, you can decide which test results you want to send to schools.

In other words, if you take the test three times, you can choose which of those three test results you want to send to the individual program or programs of your choice.

It is only advisable to retake the GRE if you are confident you will score higher

For most students, the process of taking the GRE—including GRE practice, enrollment, and graduation—costs money ($205), energy (all those hours of learning), and being able to spell s-t-r-e-s-s (at least on test day).

Why put yourself to the test when you’re not entirely sure you’ll beat your last GRE score?

While many students simply hope that a second or third time taking the GRE will result in an improvement in their score, don’t leave your performance to chance.

Instead, prepare thoroughly for the test and take a series of practice tests to assess your ability. You should assume that your GRE score will roughly match your practice test results.

Is your current score good enough to be accepted into your program of choice?

In this case, you should refrain from repeating the test. Suppose you want to be accepted into a program that requires a minimum GRE score of 150 in both the verbal and quantitative parts.

If your current scores are in the mid-150s, consider the benefit of taking the test again. Many programs with GRE passing scores will ultimately consider other factors, such as research interests and work experience, to determine admission.

Consider scholarships

If the programs you are interested in offer scholarships for students with high GRE scores, it may be worth retaking the test.

Otherwise, a score that is even slightly above the requirements of a school is probably sufficient. Use the time you would have spent preparing for the test to do other things, such as B. working on research projects or writing a really awesome personal statement.

If you decide to review the GRE multiple times, be sure to take both sections seriously each time

While the new ScoreSelect option offered by ETS is a great way to send only your best test scores to schools, you should be aware that you can’t just use the verbal GRE score or the quantitative GRE score for one specific test.

For example, let’s say you’re taking the test for the first time and find that while your quantitative score is excellent, your verbal score is lackluster.

If you decide to take it again, it would be extremely unwise to completely ignore the quantitative part and focus only on the verbal, thereby risking the opposite result.

Schools see the total GRE score for a single test session, so sacrificing one section for the other is not a good idea.

Review of the GRE: Tips to improve your score

Once you’ve decided to retake the GRE, you should do everything possible before exam day to maximize your score. Use these four tips to increase your GRE score.

 Create a study plan

Once you have committed to a GRE review, you should create a study plan so you know when to study.

Set a regular time to study every day or week, e.g. 19:00 – 20:30 on weekdays or 13:00 – 17:00 on Saturdays makes learning easier because you know in advance when to study and can plan the rest of your schedule accordingly.

You should also include regular goals in your study plan that you want to achieve, such as:  “I want to understand sentence equivalence questions by the end of the week” or “I want my verbal score up to five points before the end of the month.”

Setting these goals will inspire you to learn and ensure you are on track to reach your target values.

 Pinpoint Where You Made Mistakes

One of the best ways to increase the effectiveness of your learning is to pinpoint where you need to make the most improvements and then focus on those areas.

Go through the GRE you took and look at each question you got wrong. do you see any patterns Were you good at verbal reasoning but not so good at quantitative reasoning? Then take a closer look.

What quantitative reasoning questions did you struggle with the most? Questions about algebra? Questions about geometry? The ones that contained graphs or charts?

Once you identify where your weaknesses lie, target those areas with your learning. This will help you focus your learning on the topics where you need improvement the most, and thus can give you the biggest increases in score.

Consider new/additional preparation materials

The study materials you use have a significant impact on how well you do on the exam. A good prep book and practice tests can mean the difference between an average score and a great score.

If you didn’t use a prep book the first time you took the GRE, or feel that the book you used didn’t help you the way you wanted, you should consider a new one.

Try new learning methods

If you studied a lot before your first GRE and didn’t get the score you wanted, you probably need to change your study methods before your review as well.

One of the most common mistakes in learning is learning too passively. That means you just sweep your eyes across the page without really taking in any information.

To avoid this, try different learning methods, e.g. B. Using flashcards, including more practice questions in your study, and stopping to take notes every few pages to make sure you’re actually retaining the information you’re reading.

If you would like more structure or guidance during your preparation, you can also hire a tutor or enroll in a GRE preparation course.

These options cost more than just purchasing study materials, but they can help you improve your score significantly, especially if you’re not sure how to study on your own.


If you didn’t get the GRE score you were hoping for, you need to know that about a quarter of all people who take the GRE take it more than once, and the majority of them get a higher score on the second attempt.

If you decide to retake the GRE, you should take steps to maximize your chances of improving your scores, such as: For example, creating a study plan, figuring out where you made mistakes, and trying out new study materials and learning methods.


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