How Many Times Can You Take The GRE Test?

Students frequently question how many times they can take the GRE if they scored low on their first attempt or if they are simply curious.

Perhaps you froze and failed your first GRE attempt or you took the exam without studying and immediately regretted it when you saw your score. Or perhaps you’re just a planner who likes to plan ahead. Everything has terms and conditions, including retaking the GRE. 

Most students intend to retake the GRE because they either scored poorly or their exam day did not go as planned, and they want to test their skills or see if they can do better.

In any event, how many times and how often you can take the GRE may become a significant question for you. This article answers that question and many more.

Is It Possible To Take The GRE More Than Once?

Simply put, the participant can take the GRE as many times as the participant believes is necessary to achieve the desired score. Although there is no hindrance to the number of times the participant can take the exam, the participant can only attempt the test five times in a calendar year, and the participant must take each test 21 days apart.

If the participant does not meet the intended target after five attempts in one calendar year, the participant may try again the following year.

Although the participant can legally take the test unlimited times, each attempt costs more than $200, including four score reports. Having said that, attempting the evaluation more than a few times could quickly become an expensive strain.

When opting to take the GRE more than once, making a plan to study and improve is critical. In a graduate program, seeing a student who has retaken the assessment and significantly improved results could be a standout characteristic that speaks to that student’s dedication, hard work, and knowledge.

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How Many Times Can You Take The GRE Test?

The participant can take the Graduate Record Examination once every 21 days but only five times in a calendar year. This means that if you are not satisfied with your GRE score, then you must wait 21 days before retaking the exam.

If a participant desired to retake the assessment for the sixth time, 365 days had to pass since the first assessment date. This adaptability enables students to retake the evaluation in order to meet graduate school deadlines and criteria.

Rather than having to wait a lengthy period to retest and attain a desired score, the school can do this within the same month to keep students on track for specific deadlines.

Also, ensure to keep the graduate program’s deadlines in mind when scheduling the evaluation. Allowing for the opportunity to retake the GRE will guarantee that you achieve the program’s deadline without further stress.

If, after hearing all of this, you’re still concerned that taking the GRE several times may harm your application, there is good news for you: graduate schools never have to know you’ve taken the GRE more than once.

ETS, the GRE’s creator, provides test takers with a ScoreSelect option, which lets you send only your most recent result to institutions. So, if you have low test scores from earlier GRE tries or don’t want colleges to know that you’ve taken the GRE multiple times, you can keep that information private.

With that stated, you are reassured if you’ve already provided GRE scores to colleges and ended up retaking the test and providing additional scores to the same schools. Grad schools know that many (if not most) students take the GRE more than once, and institutions will generally only consider your highest score. 

Consider this: does it make sense for schools to penalize pupils for trying again and succeeding? Not at all. So, there’s no reason not to retake the test if you believe that you can improve your score, even if you’ve given previous GRE scores to colleges.

However, there are potentially significant implications to retaking the GRE many times. Let’s talk about them now.

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Implications Of Taking The GRE More Than Once

Although graduate schools are not required to know if you have written the GRE more than once, there are specific implications to doing so. For starters, most people cannot afford to take the GRE. GRE costs, from study materials and practice tests to exam registration and score reporting fees, can quickly add up.

While some of these costs are vital investments in your future, some are avoidable if you plan ahead and have a sound approach. 

Exam registration, in particular, is one of the most expensive fees that GRE test takers experience; thus, avoiding unnecessary retakes is critical if you want to keep costs down. For example, assume you’re a student who took the GRE five times in one year. 

You will have paid more than $1,000 on the GRE without considering any other GRE fees! Instead of relying on your capacity to retake the GRE over and again, you may use that money toward other things, such as relocating costs for graduate school, if you give yourself time to study for the GRE until you are prepared to sit for the exam, instead of relying on your ability to retake the GRE, you can use that money toward other things, such as relocation expenses for graduate school.

Another point you should know is that the process involved in preparing for and taking the GRE is both time-consuming and, let’s face it, stressful.

Learning the GRE subject, improving test-taking abilities, and taking a nearly 4-hour exam are all mentally and physically demanding experiences that necessitate hard work and commitment. 

Early mornings and late evenings of studying, weekends spent reading instead of socializing with friends, and less time with family – even preparing for the GRE- can significantly influence your daily life for months at a time. While a few GRE tries are manageable, taking the GRE multiple times isn’t very practical, especially if your schedule is already jam-packed with employment and other responsibilities. 

Aside from using a significant amount of your time and energy that could be spent, for example, on finishing your graduate school applications – retaking the GRE multiple times and seeing little or no increase in your score can be depressing. At some point, each retake may constitute another blow to your confidence, and you may even see your GRE scores drop as a result.

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What Are The Benefits Of Taking The GRE More Than Once?

Although there are implications for taking the GRE more than once, there are also several potential benefits to taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) multiple times. They include:

Improvement in Scores

One of the greatest benefits of taking the GRE multiple times is the potential to improve your scores. You can achieve a higher score with each attempt by identifying areas of weakness, developing study strategies, and getting more familiar with the test format.

Competitive Edge

Some graduate programs may view multiple attempts as a positive sign of determination, persistence, and a commitment to improving one’s abilities. A higher GRE score makes you a more competitive candidate for admission or for funding opportunities.

Score Choice Option

Another benefit of taking the GRE multiple times is the Score Choice option. This allows you to send only your best scores to the schools you are sending applications to, giving you more control over which admissions committees see scores.


The GRE is a relatively expensive test, so taking it multiple times may be counterintuitive. However, if your first attempt is significantly lower than your target score, investing in additional attempts is a more cost-effective strategy than taking expensive test prep courses.

Confidence and Reduced Anxiety

Taking the GRE multiple times can also help to reduce test anxiety and boost confidence. Becoming more conversant with the test format and content may make you feel more comfortable and less stressed during subsequent attempts. This can bring better performance and higher scores.

Overall, taking the GRE multiple times can have several benefits, including score improvement, a competitive edge, greater score choice options, cost-effectiveness, increased confidence, and reduced anxiety. However, it’s important to note that taking the test multiple times also requires additional time, effort, and resources.

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Things To Consider Before Retaking The GRE

It is a complex process to retake the GRE. You must work hard, put in extra effort, offer more practice tests, and spend money on preparation sessions every time you plan to repeat it. So, to help you and clarify things, below are a few things you ought to consider before registering for the GRE again.


The first and most important thing you should consider before reapplying for the GRE is your reason for doing so. You must be clear and concise about your intentions and explain why you request a retake. Is the GRE general test your ultimate aim, and is it the only way to gain admission to your desired school or program?

If you are sure or confident about your purpose, then consider retaking the GRE. With a clear mind, the odds of improvement grow, and that is what matters.


We’ve already addressed how the GRE has an annual restriction, but you need to know which GRE attempts to count and which do not. For example, if you cancel the GRE before taking it or fail to appear on the exam day, your effort will be disqualified. And if you take the GRE but cancel your score for any reason, this attempt counts.


Another critical factor to consider is the test fee. Currently, the GRE costs $231.30, and each retake costs the same amount. So, before registering again, carefully consider your funds and whether your preparation is worth paying the exam price.

Furthermore, we advise you to rethink your decision to retake the GRE if doing so will put a strain on your finances.

If you’re ambitious and confident in your ability to succeed, it will be worthwhile to invest in yourself.


The questions listed below should be added to your checklist before retaking the test. By responding to these questions, you can organize your preparation, identify errors, and decide where to focus your time and effort.

  • Which errors jeopardize your chances of admission?
  • Which parts of the test should be improved?
  • Are you devoting enough time to preparation?
  • How much practice do you need to increase your score report?
  • Is it necessary to enhance your predation material?
  • How did you perform on your most recent exam or practice tests?
  • How was the experience on the Graduate Record Examination test day?
  • How distant are you from your objectives and targets?
  • Do you feel at ease taking tests at home or in testing centers?

Whether you’re taking the GRE for the first time or the eighth, here’s some advice:

  • Learn from your errors.
  • Take as many practice tests as you can, and if you’ve already taken the GRE, look over your results to see where you fell short.
  • Make notes, plan your classes, gather preparation resources, and seek assistance from a GRE expert.


You should be aware of the critical issues to consider before retaking the exam. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goals if you have an evident mentality. Begin your study by focusing on your weak areas, but take advantage of things you’ve already mastered because GRE questions are frequently unexpected.

If you know that getting the greatest GRE score is the first step toward accomplishing your goals, then pay close attention to all of the nuances and strategies to crack the GRE and take advantage of all opportunities for progress.

Backup Plans

Have you ever heard the saying, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”? That is what we mean when we say have a backup plan. What if you retake the Exam and get a lower score? Although Educational Testing Service (ETS) may have provided you with opportunities, not everyone can afford to retake the GRE multiple times.

If you have second thoughts and don’t have the option to retake the general test, we recommend that you either retake it with comprehensive preparation or retain a backup plan. A backup can be anything, and it differs from person to person.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take the GRE more than five times?

Technically, yes. However, you would need to request special permission from ETS (the organization that gives the GRE) and provide a compelling reason why you need to write the test more than five times.

Will taking the GRE multiple times hurt my chances of getting into graduate school?

Not necessarily. Many schools only consider your highest score, so if you improve on subsequent attempts, it can help your admission chances.

How long can I wait before retaking the GRE?

You will wait at least 21 days before retaking the GRE. However, waiting longer is recommended to give yourself enough time to study and grow your score.

Must I pay the full fee every time I take the GRE?

Yes. You must pay the full fee every time you take the GRE.

Can I cancel my GRE score?

Yes. You can cancel your score, but you should do so before leaving the test center. If you cancel your score, no schools will get the report.

Can I choose which GRE score to send to schools?

Yes. You can choose which score(s) to send to schools. You can send all of your scores or just your highest score.

How long are GRE scores valid?

GRE scores are valid for five years, starting from the date you took the test.

Do graduate schools see all of my GRE scores?

Yes, graduate schools will see all of your GRE scores from the past five years unless you choose to cancel them.


Before registering for the GRE, ensure you have enough time to take at least two GRE examinations before the school application deadline.

We recommend that all test takers study from qualified GRE tutors in order to pass the exam on the first try with a higher GRE score.

Although there is no limit to the number of times you can take the GRE, there is a time limit for taking examinations. So, make a wise choice.



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