Since the GRE is offered throughout the year, test takers are not very sure on the best time to take the GRE. While you may take the test anytime that fits your bill, the most important thing to keep in mind is the college application deadlines. You need to check the admission deadlines for the school, program and the term you wish to enroll in. Schools might also need you to take subject tests, in addition to the GRE. Since they are offered only three times a year, it is critical to keep a tab on the college and exam deadlines.
Many students take the GRE during their junior or senior years. It is a good idea to take the exam in this period since you are already in sync with the academic portion and rigours of taking an exam. Since the scores are valid for five years, you can easily take admission to a graduate school even after taking the exam in junior college.
If you are taking the exam as a student, try not to take the GRE during a busy semester. You may end up harming your GRE scores as well as your GPA. Likewise, for a working professional, it maybe a good idea to take the GRE when you are on a lighter schedule as opposed to cramming it amidst tight project deadlines. Working professionals may also need to give themselves some extra time to get back to the groove of studying again.
‘The earlier the better’ is always a good mantra for the GRE. It gives you enough time to take the retest in case you are not happy with the scores. It also allows for more time to work on the application deadlines of the schools of your choice. If you take the test early, you maybe able to submit the official score along with your application. Early test takers will also benefit if the school follows a rolling admissions process.
If you want to wait, take the GRE and the GRE subject tests at least six weeks prior to the application deadline. This is because your official scores, along with your scores in the analytical writing section are sent within two weeks of the exam. Also, giving yourself sufficient time may give you the chance to take a retest which can propel your scores even further.
There is no right date for any test taker. Graduate school aspirants have to take into account their own preparation levels, time available, lifestyle commitments and confidence before taking the exam.
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