What to Bring to the GRE Test Day? How to Prepare for the GRE

If you’re preparing for the GRE, you undoubtedly feel excited and nervous. After all, this exam is crucial in determining your future academic and professional chances. Ensure you are prepared adequately for the exam day and have everything you need.

You’ll want to bring essential items on the big day, ranging from correct identity credentials to a fully charged calculator.

However, GRE preparation goes beyond simply packing a backpack. You’ll need a sound study strategy in place, including practice exams and a targeted review of the material areas that are the most difficult for you.

You can confidently approach the GRE and walk away with a score that opens up exciting new prospects in your academic or career journey if you prepare correctly and have the correct mindset.

So, let’s start and look at what you’ll need to bring and how to prepare for the GRE.

Understanding the GRE Test Day Format

Before we get into the specifics of what you need to bring on test day, it is crucial to understand the test format. The computer-based GRE consists of six sections: two for verbal reasoning, two for mathematical logic, one for analytical writing, and one for ungraded research or experimentation.

Each section of the test, administered in a secure testing facility, will allow you to answer the GRE test questions before time elapses. The test lasts about three hours and 45 minutes, including breaks.

It’s of utmost necessity to remember that the GRE is a standardized test, meaning that every test-taker will encounter the same questions and format.

Ensure that all test takers are judged following the same standards regardless of their qualifications or experience. However, it also suggests that the exam can be challenging and require a lot of preparation and focus.

You Should Check Out: How Many Times Can You Take The GRE Test?

How to Prepare for the GRE Test

Preparing for the GRE test is essential to achieving a high score. In this section, we shall be talking about the steps you need to prepare for the GRE test, including:

Create a Study Plan

A study plan is one crucial step in preparing for the GRE. A study plan will assist you in ensuring that you cover all the content areas that GRE will test on the exam.

Review the official GRE test content areas and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Then, create a study schedule that includes a targeted review of the most challenging areas for you.

Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are a crucial component of GRE test preparation. This will enable you to get accustomed to the test’s format and pinpoint your areas for development.

You can buy certified GRE practice tests from ETS or locate free tests online. Remember to time yourself and take breaks during the practice exams just like you would on the real thing.

Review Content Areas

The GRE tests several content areas, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

Review the content areas that will be tested on the exam and focus on the areas where you need improvement. You can find study materials and review guides online or in test prep books.

Get Enough Rest and Exercise

Although studying for the GRE can be demanding, looking after your physical and emotional well-being is crucial. It would be best to get adequate sleep and exercise to be on top of your game on the d-day.

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What to Bring to the GRE Test Day

On the day of the test, there are several items you’ll want to bring with you to ensure that you’re prepared. Here’s a list of what to bring to the GRE test day:

What to Bring to the GRE Test Day? How to Prepare for the GRE
What to Bring to the GRE Test Day? How to Prepare for the GRE

Valid identification:

You must bring a valid, government-issued photo ID to the test center. Check and confirm that the name on your ID and the registration confirmation are the same. Passports, licenses, and state ID cards are recognized as acceptable forms of identification.

Confirmation email:

There is no reason not to bring it, just in case (and you will need it if you take the paper-based GRE). If you are taking the computer-delivered GRE, you do not need to bring your test appointment confirmation email from ETS to the exam.

Even if you don’t require it to board the aircraft, having your flight information on hand is still a good idea when you’re heading to the airport. Print your confirmation email and present it to the test administrator to avoid confusion regarding your test appointment.

Regardless of whether you are taking the computer-delivered or paper-delivered versions of the GRE, you must bring your Authorization Voucher to the exam if you obtain a fee reduction voucher. You don’t need to worry about this criterion if you have received a test cost reduction or waiver.

Snacks and water:

The GRE is an extended test, so you can come with snacks and water to keep your energy up. Bring healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruit, or granola bars that won’t make you feel too full or sleepy.

List of songs:

Naturally, you won’t be able to listen to music while taking the GRE (and you probably wouldn’t want to), but creating a playlist of songs to boost your mood and energy while traveling to the test center is a beautiful way to get ready for the exam.

Grab some headphones, get pumped up, and start going to your neighborhood test center, even if you must! You’ve put much effort into getting ready for this day; get set to ROCK IT!


Calculators are not restricted to the quantitative reasoning sections of the GRE. Ensure that your calculator is allowed by checking the ETS website and that it’s adequately charged or has fresh batteries.

Pencils and Erasers:

Bring at least two sharpened No. 2 pencils and erasers. You’ll need to use a pencil to fill in the answer sheet, and you’ll want to have a backup in case one of your pencils breaks.

Prescription Drugs and Eyeglasses

You might be shocked by what people forget when they’re hurried, nervous, or when their thoughts are elsewhere, like thinking about a big exam coming up. While you are only sometimes allowed to wear accessories in the testing area, you can wear your prescription glasses if necessary.

You can keep prescription drugs in your locker and get to them during your break. Contact ETS customer support to learning the protocol for bringing any additional medically necessary goods you’ll need throughout the GRE, like an asthma inhaler or a hearing aid.

We advise you to contact ETS well before your anticipated GRE test date if you need to register as a test-taker with special requirements due to a disability or medical condition. Test accommodations must be approved, which could take many months, at least.

Face Mask:

This is your pass to enter the GRE testing facility. For obvious reasons, ETS (the company that created the GRE) takes security very seriously, so you must carry a legitimate form of identification when you check in at a test location.

Valid identification documents cannot be expired or photocopied. The government issues an approved form of identification, such as a national/state/province identity card, a driver’s license, or a passport for foreign travel.

Make sure that your ID’s first and last names match entirely the information you gave to sign up for the GRE and that your ID has a photo of you that is you and a signature that matches your name. You can only take the GRE if the name on your ID matches the name you used to register.

A backup ID is good if the exam administrator needs help verifying your identification. ETS advises that “you are encouraged to bring at least two forms of acceptable ID each time you report to a test center,” so it’s better to be safe than sorry, even though a second ID isn’t necessary for check-in.

Practice Questions

Cramming the day of the GRE (or in the week before it) is not a good idea, but completing a few practice questions just before you enter the testing facility can actually provide you a tremendous mental “warm-up,” lower your level of anxiety, and assist you in getting into test-taking mode.

However, you don’t want to overdo it with a 20-question GRE problem set or a practice test and exhaust yourself before the test even starts.

However, to avoid creating your GRE absolutely cold, finish a few quant and verbal questions if you’re feeling anxious about seeing that first question on the computer screen or if you need to stir up your brain a little bit. Various questions from several categories should “limber up” your brain and prepare you for your exam.

Your “A” Game!

Having a top competitor’s mindset on test day has much to recommend. Suppose you spent the necessary time and energy preparing for your GRE, learning from and practicing with study resources that lead to GRE mastery.

In that case, you have every right to approach the testing facility with complete assurance that you will achieve your score target. Bring your best effort! You’re about to dominate the GRE!

About Lockers

Although you cannot bring personal goods inside the testing room, such as a backpack, handbag, wallet, or cell phone, you can store them and other belongings in a locker outside the testing area. Remember that locker space in test centers is limited.

Even if you leave some goods in your locker—such as a cell phone, tablet, calculator, or dictionary—you may be unable to access them during breaks. (Remember that you will have access to a GRE calculator on a screen during the exam and will be given a scratch paper for taking notes).

Therefore, refrain from overpacking the bag you bring to the test facility with everything and the kitchen sink. On test day, you should surely “pack light”!

What Not to Bring to the GRE Test Day

Several items are prohibited from being brought into the GRE testing facility. Be sure to leave these things in your car or at home:

  • Cell phones or other electronic devices
  •  Watches or timing devices
  •  Scratch paper or notes
  •  Textbooks or other study materials
  •  Personal items, such as bags or purses

Tips for a Successful GRE Test Day

Preparing for the GRE test day extends beyond just packing your bag. Here we go with some tips to ensure that you have a successful test day:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep: Before the test, sleep a whole night. You can do this to keep your attention and alert during the exam.
  2.  Eat a healthy breakfast: You’ll have enough strength to take the GRE if you eat a good breakfast. A balanced meal should contain protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
  3.  Arrive early: Plan to get to the exam hall at least 30 minutes before your test starts. You will have enough time to check in, store belongings, and settle in before the test starts.
  4.  Stay calm and focused: Taking the GRE can be stressful, but staying focused throughout the test is essential. Take deep breaths, stay hydrated, and remember you’ve prepared for this moment.

GRE Test Day Checklist

To ensure that you don’t forget anything on the day of the test, here’s a GRE test day checklist:

  • Valid ID
  •  Confirmation email
  •  Snacks and water
  •  Calculator
  •  Pencils and erasers
  •  Face mask

Common Mistakes to Avoid on the GRE Test Day

There are several common mistakes that test-takers make on the GRE test day. Here are a few to avoid:

  • Forgetting your ID: Come along with a valid, government-issued photo ID to the test center. You will need it to be able to take the test.
  •  Bringing prohibited items: Leave banned items, such as electronic devices and study materials, at home or in your car.
  •  Not pacing yourself: The GRE is time-based, so pacing yourself throughout the exam is essential. Take note of the time and continue if you become stuck on a challenging question.

Post-test Day Analysis and Next Steps

After the test:

  1. Take time to reflect on your performance and identify areas to improve.
  2.  Review your score report and compare it to your practice test scores to see where you made progress and still need work.
  3.  Create a plan to continue your test preparation and consider retaking the test if necessary.

Best GRE Test Preparation Resources

Several GRE test preparation resources are available to help you prepare for the exam. Here are a few of the best:

  • Official GRE practice tests from ETS
  •  Test prep books, such as The Official Guide to the GRE General Test and Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2021
  •  Online GRE prep courses, such as Magoosh and Manhattan Prep

A Day Before Exam Day

Get a good night’s sleep the night before a big event—you’ve undoubtedly heard this a hundred times before. The GRE test day is no different, in my opinion.

However, in terms of the value of rest, it is. You know, taking the GRE is a lengthy, demanding process. You don’t want to doze off at any point during the four or more hours you will be sitting there.

So getting a good night’s sleep, planning what to bring to the GRE, and packing your luggage the day before are all essential for performing well.

Do not perform any actions that are not consistent with your regimen. Reschedule, for instance, if a friend invites you to dinner. You’re not antisocial, but we prefer to stay up later if social engagement is involved.

Don’t turn off your phone and hide beneath the covers in hopes of getting a 12-hour nap simultaneously. Once more, do your best to stick to your regular weekday schedule.

For the week preceding the exam, get up a little earlier each day if required to get an 8:00 appointment (assuming you are not an early riser). When you drag yourself out of bed at 6 in the morning, you will be on your natural sleep cycle.

Last but not least, resist the need to cram or, worse yet, to stay up late cramming. The GRE measures knowledge acquired over a lifetime or at least several months of diligent study.

Cramming the night before your GRE test will keep your score the same. Because it will probably make your already frazzled nerves even worse, it might even lower them.

This does not imply that you shouldn’t practice a few questions the day before the exam. Otherwise, however, try to unwind as much as you can.

Sending Your Scores

You can send your GRE scores—free of charge—to as many as four institutions. If you’ve taken the GRE more than once, you can also email your scores from the GRE test day or all of your GREs over the previous five years, again, for free.

After the exam, you will have the opportunity to email your GRE results to your institution. You must pay $27 for each additional school you want to receive your test results from. You are not required to choose any schools when prompted, though.

The drawback is that it will cost money to send the score reports. Even if you send your scores to one school, you must pay for each institution you send them to.


Preparing for the GRE test is essential to achieving a high score and opening up exciting new opportunities in your academic or professional journey. Make sure to create a solid study plan, take practice tests, and review content areas that are most challenging for you.

Bring all the necessary items on the test day, stay calm and focused, and avoid common mistakes. With the proper preparation and mindset, you can confidently approach the GRE and walk away with a score that reflects your true abilities.


Do you bring a calculator to the GRE?

You cannot bring a calculator with you to the GRE, which is bad news. The on-screen calculator provided for your usage is the only calculator permitted on the GRE. In other words, you can use their calculator if you need to, but you are not allowed to bring your own.

Are my own papers allowed during the GRE?

When you check in at the test center’s front desk, remember to bring your ID and admittance ticket with you. You will be given a locker by the proctor to store your belongings in. Only the pencils and scratch paper provided by the test center may be brought to the testing area.

How difficult is the GRE test?

When compared to the SAT and ACT tests, the GRE test is frequently thought of as the most challenging graduate college entry exam. The GRE is a difficult exam, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult because of the difficult essays, reading, and vocabulary components.



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