Exam Prep

Exam Day: Test-taking Tips & Scoring


The ETS offers the following study tips for individuals who take either the computer-adaptive or the paper-based GRE test:

  • Mark difficult questions and return to them later: The GRE software allows exam-takers to mark the question for review ― so rather than spending too much time on a challenging question, exam-takers are urged to skip it until the section is complete. At that time, exam-takers can return to the questions they have marked and dedicate the rest of their allotted time to answering them. Paper-based exam-takers will not have the software at their disposal, but they are also encouraged to skip difficult questions and return to them at the end of the section. Keep in mind that you may not return to questions from sections once you’ve completed them.
  • Answer as many questions as you can: There is no penalty for wrong answers on the GRE, so if you don’t know the answer to a question and you’re out of time, make your best guess. Despite the range in difficulty, all questions in the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections carry the same point value ― so it is more important to focus on the questions you can answer first.
  • Pace the Quantitative Reasoning sections: ETS urges test-takers to skim both math sections rather quickly during the first read-through, and only stop to answer the ones they are certain about. Then, during the second pass, they can stop to answer ones they are fairly confident about.
  • Read each question carefully: Multiple-choice questions on the GRE may require one correct answer, while others will ask for more than one. Many of the questions related to Analytical Writing tasks are worded in ways that may be misleading at first glance. It is important to thoroughly read each question more than once in order to understand what exactly is being asked.

Viewing or Cancelling Scores

Once the exam has concluded, all test-takers have three choices regarding their score:

  1. View and report score to designated schools: Exam-takers have the option to view the unofficial score of their Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections; the Analytical Writing score, however, is not immediately available. Once an unofficial score has been viewed, the exam-taker’s score report is sent to the designated schools of his or her choice. At that time, no more than four schools will receive reports; additional score reports can be purchased after the testing date for $37 each.
  2. Cancel score: Exam-takers that choose to cancel their score will not have the opportunity to view it, thereby withholding score reports from all of their designated schools. Test takers can reinstate their scores by contacting the ETS within 60 days following their exam date. The score reinstatement fee is $30.
  3. ScoreSelect: As mentioned in a previous section, ScoreSelect essentially allows exam-takers to choose how many GRE scores they would like sent to their designated schools. Those who choose this option will be required to pay a supplemental fee.

Roughly 10-15 days after the exam date, official scores from computer-adaptive exams will be available on the test-taker’s My GRE account. Paper-based exam results appear on the account roughly six weeks after the testing date. At this time, the ETS will send official score reports to any scores you have designated to receive them. The ETS will notify you as the reports are sent, but you’ll need to check with admissions offices to confirm that each report was received.