Beginning July 1st, test-takers will be able to retake the GRE without waiting for 30 days, as they currently must do. ETS, the test-maker behind the GRE, recently announced that it is revising its retesting policy to allow students to retest 21 days after their last GRE test date, and up to fiv
e times in a rolling year. What does this mean for students as they prepare for the GRE?
This new option will give students increased flexibility to test closer to their application deadlines, as necessary. Graduate programs often have different guidelines when it comes to the types of scores that they require students to submit with their applications: Some schools will only accept official scores, many accept unofficial scores (as long as the official scores are sent when the student receives them), and some only require an official score report after accepting a student. These differing guidelines often make it difficult for students to appropriately time their test date if their deadlines are approaching, so the option of retesting with a shorter waiting period is beneficial.
However, utilizing this should still be a last resort for test-takers. While there are certainly circumstances in which students will need to take the GRE less than a month before their deadlines, many make the decision to apply to graduate school far enough in advance that they can prepare for the test with ample time. Ideally, students should allot 2-3 months to study for the GRE – summer is an ideal time to prep, as students will have sufficient time to retest if necessary and still allow a wide window within which to complete applications before December and January deadlines.