I will confess, I once had a student who was so focused on preparing for the GRE General Test, they forgot to register for the exam. When I reminded them to take their confirmation email to the testing location, we realized they didn’t have one. It is important to not only remember to sign-up for your GRE but to also understand how to do so. Although registering is not terribly complicated, certain mistakes can be detrimental.
This article will walk you through registering for the GRE, step-by-step. We will cover how to create an ETS account, the proper forms of identification you will need, rescheduling options, and registration payment methods.
How to Sign-Up for the GRE
Step 1: Create an ETS account
You will want to create an ETS account not only to register for the GRE, but to access the practice GRE exams called POWERPREPS. Hence, even if you are not ready to register for the test today, go ahead and make an account.
Visit www.ets.org and click on the GRE option. You will then be prompted to login to an existing account or create a new one.
Once you click “Create an Account” you will need to fill in a bit of personal information, create a username and password, and then review the information you put in. If you are anything like me, and for whatever reason you despise online registrations, you might be tempted to bypass truly reviewing your information. That would be a mistake.
On test day, you will be required to show proper identification. The name on your identification will have to perfectly match the name you used for registration, excluding any accents. If it does not match, you will be turned away on test day and provided zero refund. ETS takes this rule very seriously. If you are thinking, would they really turn me away? The answer is yes, yes they will.
Hence, when you fill in your personal information (especially if you have recently changed your name) go get your identification and make sure the name you enter on your ETS account is displayed exactly the same way.
The identification requirements that you will have to provide on your GRE test day varies by country. For the majority of countries, a suitable ID must…
- Be valid – expired documents will get you dismissed from the exam
- Be original – no photocopies or documents that are displayed on a device
- Contain your full name that matches your GRE registration (excluding accents)
- Include a recent photograph
- Include your signature
A valid driver’s license or passport are examples of suitable identification.
Also make note that if you live in China you will register for the GRE by creating an NEEA Account.
Special Testing Accommodations
If you feel you qualify for special testing accommodations, you will need to get your accommodations approved by ETS Disability Services prior to test registration. This process can take six weeks from the date your paperwork is received by ETS, so make sure to submit your request as early as possible. Also, if ETS determines they need additional documentation from you, that too can take another six weeks to process. Once you have been approved, you will receive an email from ETS providing you with registration instructions.
Step 2: Have a Date in Mind
Technically, you can register two business days before you want to take the GRE. If you wait this long, you run the risk of having testing dates, locations, and times fill up. Although the Computer-Delivered GRE General Test is offered continuously throughout the year, though certain months and days during the week are more popular than others. In order to make sure you are able to test during a time and at a location that is best for you, register at least one month before your desired test date.
Before you log onto your ETS account to complete your registration, take a moment to reflect on when you want to take the exam. The most important aspect is to make sure you give yourself enough time to study for the test while still leaving your program’s admissions enough time to receive your score report. You will want to take the GRE no later than three weeks before your program’s score report deadline. The deadline may or may not be the same date as the application deadline.
The GRE computer based test is offered in the morning and afternoon. If your schedule permits, choose a time when you are wide awake. I am most alert in the morning, so I always schedule my test for bright and early. Also, be mindful of the week you will have leading up to the test. Do not schedule the GRE for a day that will follow a long week of travel, a stressful day at work, a bachelorette party the night before, etc.
Step 3: Determine How You Will Pay
It will cost $205 to register for the GRE General Test. This can be paid via credit card, debit card, a US bank funds transfer or PayPal. The following debit/credit cards are accepted:
- American Express
- China Union Pay
- Diners Club International
For a detailed description of ETS’s payment policies, click here.
The GRE does have a Fee Reduction Program. If you feel you might qualify, I highly suggest submitting the documentation as early as possible. It can take ETS several weeks to process your documents.
Step 4: Register for the GRE
You can register for the GRE online or by phone. The fastest and most common way to register is online through your ETS account. On your ETS Account Home Page, you will see a blue button that says “Register/Find Test Centers, Dates.”
Choosing Date, Time, and Location
You will then be prompted to choose the test you are registering for and type in a location that you would like your testing center to be closely located to (I suggest typing in the address that you will be leaving from to go to your test). Next, you will choose the month you would like to take your GRE. The available test centers, dates, and testing times will appear for you to choose from.
Before you finalize your test registration, make sure to review the test date, center, time, and your personal information closely. After accepting the terms and conditions and completing an optional background information form, you will be taken to your cart where ETS will ask you if you would like to purchase any of their test prep material. Always add their free POWERPREP exams to your cart. The test prep books sold on the ETS website can all be purchased on Amazon for a more affordable price.
Once your cart has been finalized, you will put in your payment information and complete your order. A confirmation email will be sent to you and you will want to print this out and take it with you on test day. Once again, make sure your name on your identification matches the name on your confirmation email.
Paper-Delivered GRE Registration
Registration for the paper-delivered GRE can be done online or by mail. Please note that the paper-delivered GRE is offered up to three times a year in areas where the computer-delivered GRE is not available. Test takers are not able to opt out of the computer-delivered GRE for the paper-delivered GRE. You will need to live in one of the paper-delivered GRE designated locations or have been pre-approved to take the paper-delivered GRE.
Rescheduling or Canceling Your GRE
The procedures for canceling or rescheduling your GRE can vary pending on your location.
Rescheduling Your GRE
For most countries, you will need to make sure to reschedule your GRE at least four days before your scheduled test date or your $205 will be forfeited. For example, if your GRE is scheduled for a Friday, you will want to reschedule by Monday. If you live in Mainland China, you will need to reschedule your GRE 10 days before your scheduled test. There is a rescheduling fee of $50 ($53.90 for China). For a list of all GRE fees, click here.
The most common way to reschedule your exam is online through your ETS account. Start off by logging into your ETS Account. On your My GRE Home page, click the test date that you would like to reschedule under “Upcoming Tests.” You can only reschedule for the same ETS exam you are signed up for. For example, I cannot reschedule the GRE General Test for a GRE Subject Test.
You will then be able to choose a new month you would like to take your test and see the testing dates and testing centers for that month. You can choose your new testing date and pay the rescheduling fee. During check-out you will be able to enter your voucher or promotional code if you have one. If you would like to watch an in-depth video on how to reschedule your GRE, click here.
If you would like to reschedule by phone, you can do so by calling Prometric Services at 1-443-751-4820 or 1-800-473-2255. If you choose to cancel or reschedule via phone, you will need to provide your appointment confirmation number and the full name you used to first make the appointment.
Cancelling Your GRE
Similar to rescheduling, you will need to cancel your GRE no later than four days before your test date or else you will forfeit the money you paid to register. If you cancel at least four days before your test date, you will automatically receive a refund equivalent to half the test fee. A full
list of refund policies can be found on the ETS website.
How to Sign Up for the GRE: Summary
Although you can sign up for your GRE two days prior to taking it, you might find that the testing time or location of your choice has filled up. Therefore, register for your GRE at least one month in advance of your ETS account.
Before registering, make sure to take out your valid identification, which you will use on test day, along with a proper payment method. Remember, the name on your registration must perfectly match the name on your identification (minus accents) or else you will not be able to take the GRE.