The ideal time to take an exam, whether it’s GRE or any other, is when you are prepared and confident. However, people suggest taking the GRE as early as possible because it gives you more time to work on your applications which can be a tedious process. Though, if you structure your admissions timeline well and do proper research to be ensured of the universities deadlines for the programs of your interest and you’re not late for admissions, these factors should not deter you from taking the GRE later in the year.
There are three principal factors to decide when you should take the GRE. It depends on which semester you’re preparing to appear for the exam, most of the top universities stop taking applications before three months, and the fact that the test scores are valid for a period of five years.
|FALL SEMESTER 2018||NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2017|
|SPRING SEMESTER 2018||MARCH – APRIL 2017|
|SUMMER SEMESTER 2018||JULY – AUGUST 2017|
You should be completely prepared before the opening of the application dates. A list of universities, SOP, LORs, Resume and any other documents which might be required for the application. And when the application dates open, you will find it easy to complete the application process if you have prepared beforehand.
There are no definitive studies to prove two false theories that the GRE is difficult in July/August and if you take the exam outside India, you score higher. There is another misconception that the earlier you apply, the earlier you get admission. It’s not true, yet again. There are those who get admission within a week of applying and then there are those who keep waiting for months.
You need ample time to prepare your application documents and sending your scores to ETS, it is suggested that you take the exam no later than July, though the competition gets intense in June/July.
Since GRE emphasizes on grammar, you should at least take a period of four to five months to prepare if you’re not into a regular habit of reading otherwise a period of one or two months would be sufficient to prepare for the exam.
Even if you can take the GRE thrice a year you should retake the GRE only if you’re confident enough to score higher than in your prior attempt. Keeping the cost of the exam in mind, GRE is not inexpensive! There are no set rules to decide when you should take the exam. It depends entirely on how well you’re prepared for the exam.