When is the right time to take the GRE?

Right Time in GRE

When do I take the GRE? As a student who is looking to pursue his or her Masters/PhD, this is a question that arises!

The GRE can be given at any point, depending on the availability of the slots in a particular center, throughout the year. There is no clear-cut answer to the question of when to write the GRE, but we would like to give you a few pointers that might help you make your decision.

The following questions will give you a deeper insight into the GRE exam. The Graduate Record Examination needs consistent effort, and you also need to be aware of the ‘timelines’.

  1. How prepared are you?

    As a student, you need to gauge your level of preparedness; if you are given a diverse range of questions from both the Quantitative and the Verbal sections, you should be comfortable enough to answer them.

    You can take diagnostic/sample tests and practice questions which will help you evaluate yourself, and whether you are exam-ready. After all, there is no point of writing an exam when you are half-ready. Bear in mind, that there is one stringent condition: the submission deadline. You need to put in your effort and give the examination before your target universities’ submission deadlines.

    The GRE uses difficult words, and therefore, you would be required to be well read. Practising ‘reading’ is something that will enhance your confidence, enabling you to give your examination much quicker than those who ignore this component. You might need to improve your vocabulary, but we at Jamboree do not encourage you to spend a lot of time on vocabulary development. It is best you learn the Jamboree vocabulary method to ensure it is done in a less time-consuming manner.

  2. When do you plan on doing your masters?

    Most Indian students think about the GRE during the final year of their undergraduate studies. Remember that, the GRE exam scores are valid for a period of 5 years. This means that if you do well, you can even gather 2-3 years of work experience and apply to the University of your choice.

    Students come from different backgrounds and therefore have different aspirations. While some students prefer to do their masters immediately after their course, others like to wait and gain some experience before delving into the more complex world of Masters.

    Here, we would like to stress that neither approach is wrong.

    • Students who prefer the option of studying immediately after their undergrad like to continue their education primarily because they believe in ‘momentum’- they do not want to have a stop-start.
    • Students who take the route of ‘experience-first’ like to muster more practical and on-field knowledge before they go for their master's program.


    Either way, the GRE scores are valid for a period of 5 years, therefore, the timing of your master's program is absolutely critical.

  3. When are the application deadlines?

    Application deadlines are listed on every university website, and a student needs to research the requirements, along with the application deadlines well in advance. Most universities have their application deadlines set in December or in January but do remember that this might vary depending on the destination. There are different components to a complete application, which include the Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation, transcripts etc, along with your GRE score. The process of creating a completely rounded application takes a lot of time and requires intensive preparation and rigour.

    Let us assume that you are looking to secure admissions into a university in the fall of 2020. Your application deadlines would be somewhere between December 2019 and January 2020. This means that you should plan on completing your GRE by November 2019. You also need to bear in mind that if you do not score well in your first attempt, you would need to retake the examination and the GRE can be given only once every 21 days.

    In order to give yourself enough time to prepare, take a diagnostic test and understand where you stand. This will give you enough time to plan ‘backwards’, that is, take the test in time.

    Planning backwards gives you the flexibility of deciding when to mould your schedules and you then have a target examination date. Working towards that goal can make the entire process very directional.

  4. Do I have to be in college while taking the GRE?

    There are different kinds of test takers who give the GRE. A few of them are college students, while others just take the test to add to their professional qualification.

    Here, we focus on only those students who take the GRE as a part of their university application process. Now, for those students who are either a working professional or a parent; you need to plan your preparation schedules around your work, which might be a really demanding task. Ensure that you plan well in advance. Prudence is well advised- A lot of students miss deadlines due to an unplanned schedule. As we have already mentioned, planning backwards is the key to your success story. We urge you to have your submission deadlines written down so that you never forget the target!

    Working professionals have certain periods when work gets extremely hectic, and these periods are difficult to endure. What one must keep in mind is that preparing for your examination amidst these scenarios can be extremely difficult.

The decision of when to take the GRE is completely dependent on the student. A student must be aware of factors that are personal, subjective, and those parameters which cannot be ignored; the requirements set by the university. A combination of subjective and objective factors should be key determinants for you.

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