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How Many Times Can You Take The GRE?
By Riley Stoltenburg Updated on February 27, 2024
Rick Lopez, M.Ed. Rick Lopez, M.Ed.

How Many Times Can You Take The GRE?

Whether you scored poorly on your first attempt or you are simply curious, students often wonder how many times 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 perhaps you’re just a planner and looking ahead. 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 question and more in this detailed guide.

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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, on a continuous rolling 12-month basis, 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 a continuous rolling 12-month period, the participant can try again the next go-around. 

Take GRE Twice

Although the number of times the test can actually be taken is technically unlimited, the assessment costs more than $200 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 a continuous rolling 12-month period. 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.

How Many Times Can You Take The GRE

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.

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 $200+ 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 $30 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. But then again, nailing a top score the first time is always the best approach, so study hard.


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. Generally speaking, you can the GRE up to 5 times in a continuous rolling 12-month period.

How often can the GRE be taken?

The GRE can be taken once every 21 days. Though do keep in mind that you are capped at 5 attempts in a rolling 12-month period.

How many times can you take the GRE?

In total, you can take the GRE up to five (5) times in a rolling 12-month period. This includes attempts for which scores are cancelled.

Is taking the GRE multiple times bad?

It’s not necessarily bad to take the GRE more than once, or even several times. If retaking the exam will boost your score (because you have more time to study), it can only help your application. You generally won’t be dinged by admission committees.