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Right Time to Take GRE

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Right Time to Take GRE

shape Introduction

When is the Right Time to Take GRE?
Are you one of those individuals who is planning to go to a graduate school in the USA or any other foreign destination? If yes, then you might already find yourself surrounded by so many questions. Questions like, which all test you need to appear in order to be eligible for admission process, visa requirements, university selection, course selection and so much more. And if you have already done a little bit research about it, you might know that you need to appear for GRE and TOEFL, to apply for graduate school in the USA and other foreign universities. Most of the graduate schools in the USA requires students to either have a valid GMAT or GRE score. Different universities have different requirements, so it is best to know which universities you want to apply beforehand and then appear for one of the two tests based on your shortlisted universities.
Once you know, which test you need to appear for, the next question comes – which semester you want to apply for? Let us say, you have planned to take up GRE based on your shortlisted universities, determining and knowing the right time to appear for GRE can be extremely crucial. A vast majority of universities offer Bachelor and Master programs during fall and spring semester of each year. These universities invite candidates to apply for their programs during the fall as well as spring semester. However, when it comes to Ph. D. programs, 90% of these universities accept application only for the fall semester. Fall semester is the one which begins during mid-August, whereas spring semester begins during mid-January.
Once you know, the semester you want to apply for, the next question which comes into your mind is – when is the right time to take GRE? This is one of the most imperative things to decide, so do not take it lightly. Knowing the right time will definitely help you in the longer run.

shape Factors

Factors to Consider:
1. Application Deadline Planning forward and then backward is crucial for GRE. It is important to know the application deadline for your respective universities. If you are planning for the fall semester, the deadline for most of the universities is late December to mid-January.
By this time, all your supporting documents along with original transcripts of GRE and TOEFL must reach to the university. In the ideal case, you must appear for GRE at least 2-months before the deadline ends. Thus, if the deadline is 31st December, you should take the test during September or October. For some universities, the deadline comes in the month of November. In such cases, you must appear for GRE during August or September.
The same scenario fits for the spring semester as well. For the spring semester, the deadlines are usually mid-September to the first week of October. Thus, for spring semester you must take GRE during June or early July. This gives you ample amount of time to organize all your documents along with SOP and Letter of Recommendations.
2. Preparation Time Ideally, you would want yourself to give 3 months of time to study for GRE. So if you are planning to give GRE during September or October, you must start the preparation by June for the fall semester.
To study for GRE requires determination and rigorous study schedule. Unless you are genuinely focused to allot your time and effort, you will find it difficult to achieve your targeted score test yourself at least 3 months of study time before you take the test. GRE is offered year round, so you can select the date as per your convenience, provided that it is available.
3. Time to Re-Take GRE Leaving some room for error and retakes can be important, but not necessarily required. If you feel confident about yourself and your GRE preparation, chances are very less that you will have to re-appear for the test.
Having an additional amount of time in hand before the deadline can be crucial for that individual who does not reach their targeted GRE score in the first attempt. Having an extra 2 month period of time, allows you to re-prepare and re-appear for the test, to improve your previous score. However, if you feel confident about your studies and preparation, there is no need to reappear for it, again and again. In cases, if you want to leave time for re-take, appear for your first attempt during early July. This will allow you to re-appear for the test again in September with two months of preparation time for the fall semester.
4. Fall Semester Advantage Fall semester is ideally the best semester you would want to apply for. This is for two particular reasons.
1. Assistantships - University professors begin their research during the start of the new academic year (fall semester). You will hardly see them recruit candidates during the middle of the year (spring semester). Thus candidates have a much more opportunity to become teaching or research assistants during the fall semester, as opposed to spring semester. Getting assistantships will help you financially.
2. Acceptance Rate – Class sizes are much higher during the fall semester, as opposed to the spring semester. This means that the application acceptance rate is much higher during fall than spring. Thus, by applying during the fall semester, you give yourself a better chance of getting accepted by your dream university.
Wrapping Up GRE scores are valid for up to a period of 5 years and are administered around the year. You can apply for the test 5 times a year, with a gap of 21 days in between each attempt. Applying for the fall semester has several advantages as compared to spring semester. Following table provides a quick overview of the right time to take GRE based on fall and spring semester.
For Fall Semester For Spring Semester
University Deadline December to Mid-January Mid-September to Early October
Right Time to Take GRE September to October June to July
Right Time to Take GRE with Re-takes 1st Attempt – Early July 2nd Attempt – September 1st Attempt – Early April 2nd Attempt - July