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How Many Times Can You Take The GRE?

Whether you scored poorly on your first attempt or you are simply curious, many prospective graduate school students wonder how many times and how often they can take the GRE.

Perhaps you froze up and bombed your first attempt at the GRE. Maybe you took the exam without studying and instantly regretted that decision when you saw your score. Or possibly you are just a planner, and you’re thinking ahead in case something goes wrong during this high-stakes exam. No matter the case, the question of how many times and how frequently you can take the GRE may become an important question to you. We address that query and more in this detailed guide.

Outline For This GRE Article:

Use the outline above to quickly jump between sections. If you are taking the GRE again because you didn’t score as high as you would have liked the first time, be sure to read our reviews of the Princeton Review and Magoosh GRE prep courses this go-around.

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Can You Take The GRE More Than Once?

In short, the GRE can be taken as many times as the participant deems necessary to get a desired score. Despite the fact that there is no limit on the number of total times the test can be taken, in one single calendar year the test can only be attempted five times and each test must be taken 21 days apart. If the desired goal is not achieved within the five tries in one calendar year, the participant can try again the next.

Take GRE Twice

Although the number of times the test can actually be taken is technically unlimited, the assessment costs $160 for each attempt, including four score reports. With that being said, attempting the assessment more than a handful of times could quite easily become a financial burden. When deciding to take the GRE more than once, developing a plan to adequately study and improve is essential. To a graduate program, seeing a student that has retaken the assessment and improved scores considerably could be a stand out quality that speaks to the dedication, hard work and knowledge of that student.

How Often Can You Take The GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination can be taken once every 21 days, but not more than five times in one calendar year. This means that if you’re not satisfied with your score, you must wait 21 days to re-test. If a participant wanted to retake the assessment a sixth time, 365 days would have to pass from the first assessment date. This flexibility allows students to take the assessment multiple times, in order to meet certain graduate school deadlines and criteria.

Instead of having to wait a huge length of time to re-test and achieve a desired score, this can be done within the same month to keep students on schedule for particular deadlines. An important piece of advice is to keep graduate program’s deadlines in mind when scheduling the assessment. Allowing room for the possibility of having to retake the GRE will ensure that you meet the deadline for the program without additional stress.

Related Article: How Long Should GRE Essays Be?

Guide: Taking The GRE Multiple Times

Much like other high-stakes, standardized exams, the GRE is a massive undertaking. Ideally, you will develop and maintain a strong study schedule, take many practice tests, and be thoroughly prepared for the test, enabling you to get a great score the first time around, eliminating the need to take it again.

Achieving a desired score the first time through, however, is not always guaranteed. Taking the assessment more than once is not necessarily a bad thing, and often times, students feel more confident when sitting a second time due to their first experience. Taking the assessment and using your scores as a guide to plan which areas need improvement is a great strategy for those thinking about taking the GRE more than once. The experience alone has proven to increase scores for participants, but also can help students create a better plan to study and achieve their desired scores.

A potential downside to taking the GRE more than once is the fact that there’s a $160 USD price tag each time, which only allows you to report to four programs. Therefore, if you’re planning on reporting to more than four schools, an additional $27 USD reporting fee will also apply for each school. Depending on the program for which you’re applying, different schools view taking the GRE more than once in different ways.

Graduate school

Overall, schools will be viewing your best GRE score because typically, those are the scores that are reported. While schools can see if you’ve taken the assessment more than once, it doesn’t negatively impact your application. After taking the test, you have the option to report just your most recent scores or your score history for the past five years. If you’ve vastly improved your score, it might be a good idea to report your score history so that graduate programs can see that you took the time and effort to achieve your desired results. This could potentially positively impact your application. On the other hand, in the case of extremely competitive graduate programs, schools might look for those who achieved their desired high scores on the first try as a way to compare two students, but only on a case-by-case basis.

Overall, the GRE is a time-consuming assessment that should be viewed as one of the most important aspects of a graduate school application. Depending on the school you’re applying to, the acceptable score ranges vary. It is always important to research each program before taking the GRE, so that deadlines can be met, and a desired score can hopefully be achieved.

Each program has different requirements, and the more competitive the program, the higher the GRE score is expected to be. Therefore, when seeking acceptance into a highly sought-after program, aiming to score as high as possible on your first attempt will be essential, but having the freedom and flexibility to retake the assessment to reach your goal is a nice cushion. The GRE shows graduate programs your ability to complete graduate level work, and taking the assessment more than once has the potential to show programs that you’re serious and dedicated about meeting a goal.


Can the GRE be taken more than once?

Yes, but there are limits to how many times students can take the exam in a single year.

How often can the GRE be taken?

The GRE can be taken once every 21 days.