Retaking the GRE
For the computer-based test, you may retake the test every 21 days, up to 5 times in a rolling 12-month period. You may take the paper-based test as frequently as it is offered; three times per year where computer-based testing is unavailable. Tests are available year-round at Prometric facilities, or on specific dates at additional testing locations outside the Prometric network. You will have the option to cancel your test scores at the conclusion of your test, but cancelling your scores has no effect on your ability to retake the test.
In 2015, ETS analyzed their test data and found that nearly one in four GRE test takers retake the test. Approximately 60% of those who retook the test scored better on their Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning. Only 40% of test takers improved their Analytical Writing score, but 80% got the same score or better on the second exam. Although it is possible to achieve substantial score improvements, improvement requires dedicated practice focusing on your individual weaknesses. GRE practice tests can help you identify what test sections are most challenging for you, as well as raising any content that you may have neglected to study. If you have specific weaknesses that dramatically limit your performance on the GRE, or if you are unable to focus your study efforts in a productive way, then you may want to consult an instructor or tutor for professional assistance. Guided and group study has been shown to be the most effective method for achieving substantial score improvements.
GRE scores are valid for five years after the test date, and submission of scores is controlled entirely by the student. At the conclusion of your test, you will be given the option to cancel or submit your scores. If you choose to have your test graded, the "ScoreSelect" option of the GRE administration allows you to immediately send score to up to four recipients for free (and to additional recipients for an additional fee). You may either send only your most recent test, or you may send all of the tests that you have taken in the past five years. You can send additional score reports after test day for an additional fee. After the test you are able to send scores from only your most recent test date, scores from all test dates from the past five years, or you can pick specifically which test results from the past five years you would like to send. The ScoreSelect option is available for both the GRE Revised General Test and for the GRE Subject Tests.
How to Decide Whether to Retake the GRE
If you have taken the GRE and are dissatisfied with your score, you will need to consider whether it is worth your effort to retake the exam. For some students, this decision will be easy. If there was some adverse circumstance related to your testing – whether you got distracted by a fly in the exam room, you didn't get enough sleep the night before, or you didn't have a chance to study as much as necessary to feel ready for the test, some students will have clear reasons to retake the exam. Indeed, some students sit for their first examination as part of their study strategy, fully intending to take the exam multiple times in their attempt to get a top score.
Many students are trying to get top scores in order to earn a spot at top graduate programs and business schools around the country. If your first examination does not result in your target score, it may be difficult to estimate how much improvement is realistic. One consideration to evaluate is whether your scores are evenly distributed across all sections, or whether an individual section score is much lower than the others. If one score is particularly weak, that may reflect an underlying weakness in your test preparation or content knowledge. If your scores are relatively even across sections, then that is likely to reflect weaknesses in test-taking strategy. Regardless of what is hurting your score, you can find and resolve your test-taking deficiencies through diligent study or the help of an instructor or tutor.
A majority of applicants to MBA programs across the country have started using Admissions Consultants to help them find a niche in the graduate school marketplace. Admissions consultants help students analyze and understand their own academic and professional strengths and weaknesses, and combine this understanding with in-depth market knowledge about what graduate schools and competitive international and local companies are looking for in applicants.
Applying to graduate school is about more than just earning high grades and test scores; it also requires you to articulate your vision and capability to work and develop expertise at the graduate level. While scores and achievements are important, because they help you get your foot in the door and establish yourself in a competitive market, a broader perspective can help set you apart from other applicants. Admissions counsellors are familiar with all of the top graduate programs in their area, and understand how admissions committees review student applications to identify top talent. A well-presented application can make the difference between a close look and a successful matriculation, compeling graduate schools to recognize the value that an applicant would bring to campus. At Manhattan Review, we not only give our students the tools to earn top credentials, we also help them navigate the complex marketplace of modern graduate admissions. Each student must learn to advocate for themselves and find a niche; at Manhattan Review, we give each student the dedicated attention they need to perform at their best.
Getting into graduate school is often as much about an applicant fitting themselves into a school's culture as it is about presenting an impressive portfolio that schools will find appealing. Admissions consultants are familiar with individual programs and admissions committees, and can help you choose which attributes and achievements to emphasize in order to demonstrate your capability. Some graduate programs prioritize individual section scores over others. For example, if you are using the GRE to apply to graduate school in literature, then your Analytical Writing and Verbal Reasoning scores will be more important than if you are applying to gradate school in computer science. Many business schools may require high Quantitative Reasoning scores to ensure that applicants are capable of performing their quantitative work at the graduate level. In addition, test scores may be particularly important when it corresponds to an overarching weakness in your application. High quantitative scores will be especially important for students applying to business school or other quantitative graduate programs who do not have substantial quantitative analysis experience.