This article is about the most opportune time to give the GRE exam, answering the question, “When should I give GRE?”

US universities consider GRE score as an important parameter to judge the capabilities of international students and use it as a means to evaluate world-wide contenders on the same platform. A good GRE acts as a distinguishing factor that adds much-needed weight to your application and gives you an upper hand. Your Statement of purpose and recommendations become more noticeable, the moment they are backed by a good GRE score.

It is vital that you approach GRE with a certain degree of seriousness and engage in its preparation with complete focus and dedication. GRE score is not only a measurement of your acumen but also an indicator of how well planned, committed and positive you are as a person.

You must not only put your best foot forward while taking your GRE but also make sure that you take it at the right time. Below are a few factors you must consider before deciding on selecting a date for taking GRE.

1.         Decide on the universities you would be applying to Before you take your GRE, you need to set your expectations right as far as your scores are concerned. You must try and get a clear idea of the competitive GRE score for the universities you intend applying to and accordingly device a test preparation strategy. Some universities give a lot of importance to your GRE score while some just see it as a sieving factor.

2.         Always keep scope for retaking GRE: You must always keep some time at hand to retake GRE. Even best preparation is not a guarantee that your test scores will be as per your expectations. In case you fail to get the desired score, buffer time will allow you to retake the test without having to bother about application deadlines. You must not let lack of planning and scarcities of time shatter your aspirations.

3.         Put yourself in GRE simulated environment for some time: Repeatedly taking GRE mock tests in the same time window as the actual time fixed for the test, is going to work wonders. This not only tunes your biological clock to the chosen time but also exposes you to the rigors of test requirements.

4.         Disciplined study regimen: Instead of doing six months casual study, it is any day better to do 2-3 months focussed study. Set a right rhythm for GRE and try to follow an effective strategy of learning-understanding-practicing-taking mock test followed by a break. Please monitor your progress in terms of your timing, accuracy and score continuously. Consistent practice will witness a steady rise in your scores during the mock exams. The idea is to reach the Peak after having worked on your accuracy and timing. Once your score hits a point you have set your mind on, it is an opportune moment to take GRE.

5.         Application deadlines: You must have a clear idea about the application deadlines for the universities you are applying to. Also keep some additional in hand time as it may take about a month for your score to reach schools you are applying to.

6.         Best time of the year to take GRE: You must not wait for your application deadlines to take GRE. Applying early is always a good idea. Undergraduate students must make sure that their GRE test date does not clash with the college exams and also that they get some time for preparation after they are done with their college exams. Professionals must keep their project deadlines in mind when deciding on the date for GRE. GRE preparation needs at least 200 hours of serious preparation and undeterred focus. Moreover one must start taking mock tests in GRE replicated setting, at least four weeks before the test to get into the rhythm. GRE scores are valid for 5 years and therefore you can take the test whenever it is most appropriate.

A good GRE score is undoubtedly an ace up your sleeve and an authorized educational permit to reputed universities. You must therefore leave no stone unturned to bring out your optimum potential. GRE may give you sleepless nights to begin with, but with focussed preparation and methodical planning, it will gradually start looking controllable and realizable.