Doing your best on the GRE will maximize your likelihood of being admitted to your graduate programs of choice. Don’t wait until your senior year to take the GRE. Take it during your junior year or before for the following reasons:
- Most of you covered all GRE content in high school and during your freshman and sophomore years of college.
- You will spend senior year completing graduation requirements and filing grad school applications.
- If your program of interest requires a GRE Subject Test, it will be harder to prepare for it at the same time as taking the general GRE.
- GRE scores last five years so you don’t have to take it just before applying to grad school.
- Knowing your GRE scores early will tell you which sections of the exam you can improve by retaking it.
- Undergraduate financial aid qualifies you for a GRE fee reduction voucher.
- The GRE fee reduction voucher makes you eligible for graduate school application waivers at numerous universities.
Although most Stanford students attend graduate school shortly after completing undergraduate studies, some take off several years before pursuing advanced degrees. It’s highly recommended that these applicants take the GRE two years before applying to avoid studying for it at the same time as filing applications.
How to Prepare
- Find out what score you need to be competitive for the programs you are interested in.
- Find out what your current GRE score is in order to take the right steps toward preparing for the GRE.
- Free full-length practice tests are available on websites such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review.
- Prepare for the GRE using free official study guides, study aides for sale from the official GRE website, or other preparation materials.
- Free Power Prep II software with full-length practice GREs is available on the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website.
- ETS has published a book titled The Official Guide to the GRE with practice tests.
- Commercial publishers also offer books and software with practice GREs and mobile prep courses.
- Libraries may have previously published GRE books (often with answers included), such as, GRE: Practicing to Take the General Test Big Book.
- Consider practice test results to be what you would likely get if you took the actual GRE.