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Retaking the GRE®
If you’re not completely satisfied with your GRE score—verbal or quantitative—you might consider taking the GRE again after some additional practice.
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GRE Prep Course
Brand new course, now with more live GRE instruction than anyone else:
- Unlimited access to The GRE Channel - a Kaplan exclusive. Get 35 hours of live, highly-interactive unique instruction on everything from the basics to advanced topics taught live and online by Kaplan’s highest rated faculty
- The most live instruction available, covering all the content and skills on the GRE
- Taking a simulated GRE at an actual testing facility—a Kaplan exclusive.
- Dynamic, classroom sessions featuring comprehensive instruction by expert teachers
- 5,000+ practice questions, including Qbank to create custom quizzes
- 7 full-length computer-based practice tests
- More than 180 hours of online instruction and practice
- Convenient class times and locations
- Free make-up sessions: live classroom sessions or self-paced
- The following books: GRE Premier: Course Book Edition, GRE Math Workbook, GRE Verbal Workbook, and GRE Pocket Reference
- An exclusive flashcard app for on-the-go study, available for iOS and Android™ devices*
GRE Prep PLUS Course
Get the full GRE Prep course and student materials, PLUS additional coaching and resources including:
- 3 hours of one-on-one time, live online with a GRE expert (over $400 value): Personalized coaching, review and analysis of practice test results, assistance building a study plan, and guidance on the graduate school application process.
- GRE Math Foundations - Self-Paced ($299 value): A collection of online videos and practice questions designed to build a strong foundation in the basic math skills essential for success on the GRE (on demand lessons & online workshops, and 400+ practice questions).
- GRE Advanced Math - Self-Paced ($299 value): In-depth online course covering the most advanced math topics you’ll see on the GRE (Instructional videos that break down each topic to make the difficult math easy to understand, 200+ high-difficulty practice questions, and immediate feedback after practice quizzes and lessons).
5 tips for taking the GRE again to raise your score
While GRE practice is usually recommended, people often wonder if retaking the GRE after receiving a less-than-stellar score is really the best idea. While every applicant is unique and every grad school program has its own particular guidelines and preferences, there are a number of general factors to consider before deciding to test again and shoot for a higher GRE score.
TAKING THE GRE MULTIPLE TIMES WILL NOT HARM YOUR CHANCES OF ADMISSION.
Last year, the ETS (Educational Testing Service—the makers of the GRE) introduced a new feature for test-takers applying to grad school called ScoreSelect. The introduction of this option allows you to decide which test scores you’d like to send to schools. In other words, if you take the test three times, you can choose which of those three test scores you’d like to send to the individual program or programs of your choice.
IT IS ONLY ADVISABLE TO RETAKE THE GRE IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT YOU WILL SCORE HIGHER.
For most students, the process of taking the GRE—including GRE practice, enrollment, and completion—costs money ($195), takes energy (all those hours studying), and can spell s-t-r-e-s-s (at least on Test Day). Why put yourself through the ringer if you’re not entirely sure that you’re going to beat your last GRE score? While many students simply hope that taking the GRE a second or third time will lead to a score increase, don’t leave your performance to chance. Instead, prepare for the test thoroughly and take a number of practice tests to gauge your ability. You should expect your GRE score to roughly match your practice test scores.
IS YOUR CURRENT SCORE GOOD ENOUGH TO GET YOU INTO THE PROGRAM OF YOUR CHOICE?
If so, you might want to forego retaking the test. Let’s say you’re looking to get into a program that requires a minimum GRE score of 150 in both the verbal and quantitative sections. If your current scores are in the mid-150s, consider what benefit there would be in retaking the test. Many programs with minimum GRE scores will ultimately look to other factors, like research interests and work experience, to determine admission.
If the programs you are interested in offer scholarships to students with high GRE scores, then it may be worthwhile to retake the test. Otherwise, a score that is even a little bit above a school’s requirement is probably sufficient. Use the time you would have spent preparing for the test to do other things, like working on research projects or crafting a really fantastic personal statement.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO RETAKE THE GRE MULTIPLE TIMES, BE SURE TO TAKE BOTH SECTIONS SERIOUSLY EVERY TIME.
While the new ScoreSelect option offered by ETS is a great way to send only your best test scores to schools, be aware that you cannot send only the GRE verbal score or the GRE quantitative score for a particular test. For example, let’s say you take the test for the first time and discover that, while your quantitative score is outstanding, your verbal score is lackluster. If you decide to take it again, it would be extremely unwise to disregard the quantitative section altogether and focus only on the verbal, thereby risking an opposite outcome. Schools will see the entire GRE score for a single test date, so it’s not a good idea to sacrifice one section to the other.
These are just a few general factors to keep in mind as you decide whether or not to retake the GRE. However, remember that every applicant, school, and program is unique. As always, thoroughly research the programs you’re interested in attending.