SmileTutor Blog Students Advice For Students Retaking the GRE: Should You Actually Do It?

Retaking the GRE: Should You Actually Do It?

Taking a major test like the GRE is nerve-racking, especially if you need a specific score to get to the graduate school you want. People like myself would often prepare for months to take the test but nerves can affect the way you answer during the test itself.

Good news! Those who failed to reach their GRE targets do have an option to retake it. However, this decision is not to be made lightly because there are a lot of factors to consider.

Time, fees, and your reasoning are just some of these factors, as well as what schools will think about your retake.

Can You Retake the GRE?

It is possible for people to redo their GRE and many do repeat it if they are able to do so. People can retake the GRE at least five times in one year as long as the tests have a 21-day gap or more between them.

Registering for a retake is very easy. You can do this with your ETS account and pay the necessary fees for the test. Many re-takers have reported that they have gotten a higher score when they retook the GRE test.

What Do Schools Think of GRE Retakes?

Schools do not look into how many times you took the GRE test. Graduate schools are aware of the pressures that come along in huge exams like the GRE and understand that it may take a lot of effort to get into their programs.

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Recently, ETS has introduced the system known as ScoreSelect. This system allows people to choose which scores from their GRE take they would like to send to the schools they are applying for. Schools will not see when the scores were recorded since they will only receive one score.

There are schools which ask applicants to send all their GRE test scores. Applicants must follow these rules to be considered a slot into their program.

How Far Are You From Your Score Goal?

If you are considering on retaking GRE, you should look into your scores and see how far it is from your target score. Target scores are based on the GRE requirements set by the school you wish to enrol into.

If you are a point or two short from the required score, some schools do consider it. Others look into how well you did in a specific portion of the test.

If you have missed your targets by 15 points or more on any section, you should consider the retake. You should look into your preparations and the schools you wish to enrol into.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule as some schools do accept students with a low GRE score if their entire application is very good. Ask the admissions office of your target school for information about these exceptions.

4 Reasons to Retake the GRE

Aside from your target score, there are many factors that you should consider when deciding if whether you should retake the GRE or not. To help you with your decision, here are four reasons that you should consider if you want to retake the test.

1. You didn’t have time to study

For many people, the short amount of time to prepare for the GRE is a major factor for retaking the test. However, before you do register for the retake, ask yourself if you will be able to change things around.

Even if you retake the test, there is no guarantee you will be able to score higher than before.

Look into your schedule and see if there is a way you can prioritize your preparations for the test. If you don’t see your schedule changing anytime soon, reschedule your grad school application.

Of course, there are exceptions to the high GRE score requirement for some schools if your overall application is strong.

2. Used Unofficial GRE Prep Materials

As you prepare for the GRE, you will notice that there are a lot of available prep materials for the test available.

Several publishers often create updates to their prep materials and promise that they can help test-takers do well in their GRE. A few will just collect random questions together and say it is a good GRE prep material.

Considering the number of available GRE Prep materials, it can add to your exam preparations. If you have used a poorly made GRE prep material, it can affect your score immensely since you took a poor mock-up of the test.

If you plan to purchase GRE Prep materials, select the ones from ETS. ETS is the organization behind the GRE and their prep materials can give you an idea on how the actual GRE tests will be like.

3. You Didn’t Take the Practice Tests

Aside from using an unofficial GRE Prep material, you should consider retaking the test if you only took a few practice tests or the unofficial ones. Even if you have done your best in these practice tests, your results are not enough to say you are ready for the real test.

The GRE test can take up to four hours and it can be a big shock to many people, especially if you are not ready for the type of questions used in the test.

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Fortunately, ETS has an official practice test available for test takers to try known as the Powerprep test. The test mimics the actual GRE test, from its questions to the time limit.

Doing practice tests often will also help you determine where you need to adjust your test preparations. It also helps you adjust your timing when it comes to answering questions.

So, if you did not take the official practice test, don’t hesitate to go for a retake. Take at least 2 official practice tests before your retake to help you get ready.

4. Panicked During the Test

Finally, it is not uncommon to see people panic during the test. GRE is very important and for some, it is their only way to get into the school of their choice.

Even if you have prepared, the pressure in the testing area and the importance of the test can unnerve you.

Retake the test if this is what happened in your first try and as you prepare for the test, seek help on how you can get rid of the negative thoughts that can affect you during the test proper.


Retaking the GRE test is a very important decision if you wish to enter graduate school. While schools will not look into how many times you took the test, retaking can improve your application immensely.

If these circumstances happened to you during your first take of the GRE test, plan your retake accordingly and prepare as much as you could.

With a little effort and patience, you will be able to get the score you want and get into the school you want. Good luck!

For further GRE prep reading, these may help you:

GRE vs GMAT – Which is Easier?

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.