Registering & Preparing for the GRE

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to register for the GRE. You'll also get some tips on preparing for the test to make sure you do your best on the big day.


Sometimes it feels like taking a standardized test involves just as much time spent registering as time spent actually studying what you'll need to know. And you really don't have a choice: you have to take the test, so you have to put up with whatever the test writers think is a good system of registration.

On the GRE, registration is a little less painful because it's all online and because you can pick almost any day you want to take the test. So, you do have a lot of flexibility, at least if you plan far enough ahead to take advantage of it.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to make the most of all your options for GRE registration. We'll also look at how to set up your preparation schedule so you don't waste any time and can still be confident and ready for the test.

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  • 0:01 The GRE
  • 0:48 Registration
  • 2:49 Test Prep
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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You should register for the GRE as soon as you decide to take it. You're competing with other students for the best times and dates, so get your spot early.

For most people, registration for the GRE revised General Test is done online. To register, you'll need to make a My GRE account - this is the online account where you'll register for a test date and manage your scores after the test. To create an account and register for the test, you'll need:

  • A valid photo ID. You'll need to copy your name exactly as it shows up on your ID. If the name on your ID is different from the name on your registration, you may not be able to take the test.
  • A credit or debit card to pay for the test.

You'll also need to know your preferred test date or at least a range of dates that work for you. When you register for the test, you'll choose a test center and a test date. Unlike the SAT or the ACT, the GRE isn't administered only on specific dates. Instead, you can choose from a wide range of dates, times and multiple test centers - there's almost always something to fit your schedule! Get your registration done early, though, since seats at popular test centers fill up fast.

Also, remember that you'll have to leave about two weeks after your test date for scores to be sent to schools, so pick a date at least a few weeks before your application deadlines. Your My GRE Account is where you'll manage your scores and send them to schools, but you don't have to know which schools you're sending your scores to when you create your account. You'll do that on test day.

You can take the GRE as many times as you like, but you have to space it out. There are two rules:

  • You can only take the test once every 21 days.
  • You can only take the test 5 times in 12 months.

The vast majority of people have absolutely no desire to take the GRE more than five times a year or more than once every three weeks, so these limits shouldn't be a huge issue.

Test Prep

So, now you've registered for the test - what's your plan of attack? If your plan is to sit tight and wish for a miracle, your plan might use some work.

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