How Many Times Can You Take the GRE: Complete Guide

Perhaps you got a very low score on your first try or you just want to inquire about the test. Many intending graduate students often ask the question: how many times can you take the GRE, and how often can one retake it?

Generally, the GRE can be taken as many times as the participant deems necessary to attain the desired score.

However, while there is no restriction on the overall number of times you can take the exam, it can only be taken five times in a single calendar year. Each attempt must also be separated by 21 days.

This article gives a comprehensive guide to what GRE is, what it is like, and other relevant information you need to know about the exam.

Read on to learn more.

What is GRE?

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The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam that is often needed for graduate schools and graduate business programs (MBA) admission programs across the world.

The GRE is a standardized test, required of international students, for admission to different graduate institutions in the United States, Canada, and a few other countries.

The exam is owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). It gives graduate and business schools standardized measures for assessing candidates’ abilities and readiness for graduate-level academic work.

Graduate and business school admissions committees examine your GRE score, academic record, and supporting papers to assess your readiness for graduate school. Thus, a high GRE score will directly influence your graduate or business school application.

How often can you write GRE?

You can write the GRE multiple times till you get your desired result. However, you can only take the GRE a maximum of five times in a calendar year. But you will need to wait 21 days before taking the test again each time.

However, if you wish to retake the GRE for the sixth time, a year must have elapsed from the first assessment date. This flexibility affords you the opportunity to take the exam many times to fulfill certain graduate school requirements.

Furthermore, to avoid missing deadlines for graduate admission, this GRE test can be done during the same month. And you have to wait for at least 21 days to retake the exam to get your desired grade.

Thus, when planning the test, it is important to consider the graduate program’s deadlines without adding undue pressure.

What is the GRE like?

It is divided into three main sections to access quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and critical (analytical) writing abilities.

The verbal reasoning section evaluates your logical thinking ability, ability to recognize key concepts, and comprehend written sentences. It also evaluates how well you understand and use the knowledge you gain from reading and understanding complex texts.

The quantitative section analyses your problem-solving skills through the use of geometry, data analysis, and algebra topics. You must evaluate and analyze quantitative data, and solve problems using mathematics.

Finally, the last section assesses your ability to express difficult ideas and back them up with evidence.

Guide to taking the GRE multiple times

Just like other high-stakes and professional examinations, the GRE is a huge task. Your goal should be to avoid taking the test more than once by studying hard and taking mock exams.

However, getting a good score on the first try is sometimes not always possible. But taking the test more than once is not a bad thing as well. And many people record higher levels of confidence on subsequent attempts as a result of their experience.

The disadvantage of taking the GRE more than once is that each attempt costs $205. It also limits you to reporting to four schools. However, you will have to pay an extra $27 if you want to report to more than four schools.

In general, schools will only evaluate your top GRE score because they are the results that are commonly made public. However, while they may know if you have taken the exam several times, it will have no negative influence on your application.

In the event of competitive graduate programs, a favorable application review might be given to applicants who earned their targeted high scores on their first attempt.

Finally, the GRE is a time-consuming exam but it is necessary if you want to attend graduate school, especially in the US or Canada. So, to attain your target score, you should read the study materials and plan.

What is the target GRE score required by schools?

There is no universal minimum score required, however, admission to more selective programs typically requires a higher test score.

Thus, to increase your chances of being accepted into a competitive program, you should strive to score the highest possible score on your first try.


How long does the GRE take?

The GRE takes approximately four hours to write, and this is without counting any breaks you may take during that time.

This does not also include the time it takes to check in at the testing center. Hence, it is best to be punctual and well-prepared.

When is the best time to take the GRE?

For most people, the best time to take the GRE is whenever you want to.

However, if you are still in college, you should either consider taking the GRE between the spring semester of your junior year, and the autumn semester of your senior year.

What is the validity of the GRE score?

The validity of your GRE score is five years.

Is the GRE difficult?

The GRE, compared to the SAT and ACT, is regarded as the most difficult graduate school entrance exam. The complex essays, reading, and vocabulary components of the GRE make it a difficult exam.

Where is the GRE held?

The GRE is available at every approved test center all around the world which is listed on the ETS website. In locations where electronic testing facilities are not available, a paper version of the exam will be administered, which is written three times a year.


The Graduate Record Examination is a professional test that evaluates the analytical writing, and quantitative and verbal reasoning of prospective graduate students, especially in the United States and Canada.

It is often given on a computer, however in regions without adequate computer networks, a paper-based exam will be provided instead.

The Graduate Record Examination can be taken multiple times, and it takes at least 21 days before taking it again. However, you can only attempt it 5 times in a single calendar year.

I hope you found this article interesting. You can also read to know what a good SAT score for Harvard is.

Thanks for reading.