What to Expect on Your GRE Test Day

What to Expect on Your GRE Test Day

Anticipating the GRE can be somewhat stressful because the test plays a crucial role in admission to most graduate programs throughout the United States. One way to minimize this anxiety is to arm yourself with knowledge so you’ll know what to expect on test day.

If you simply show up at your test center without any preparation, you’re not just setting yourself up to do poorly on the test; you’re creating a potentially disastrous situation. The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which is responsible for the GRE, has several strict regulations for testing and behavior at test centers.

Before you get in the car…

There are a few things you definitely need to know before you even leave home to head to your GRE test facility. In order to plan properly, you need to know that:

  • Being punctual is key! If you’re late, the test center is not supposed to allow you to test, and you will still be charged.
  • Guests are not allowed in test centers, so if you’re getting a ride from someone else, they’ll need to find a way to occupy themselves while you test.


Before you enter the test center…

Unfortunately, your GRE test center won’t be designed for hospitality and comfort. Before you enter, it’s a good idea to do a quick mental inventory:

  • Any property you bring into the test center is subject to inspection, so be sure you only bring essentials.
  • The test center will require you to place any non-essential personal items into a locker, so if you prefer not to do this, it may be better to leave some items locked in your car.
  • No food or drink is allowed in the test center, so any snacks and drinks must be left in your car.

If you have disabilities, health-related needs, or medications you’ll need during testing…

Regrettably, there is a slightly longer road to taking the GRE if you have health-related needs. This means you’ll need to be additionally organized ahead of time.

  • You need to read and complete the forms contained in the Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-Related Needs, which is available at this link.
  • Your doctor must certify that you are eligible for health-related accommodations and specify which interventions are required.
  • You should arrive at your test center early to ensure the facility is properly prepared to accommodate you.

When you take the GRE, it’s important to let your intelligence shine through and show off your true ability levels. If you’re mindful of these simple GRE test day prep tips, you’ll be more clear-headed and able to conquer the test!