GRE Exam Eligibility

GRE Exam Eligibility

If you’re thinking about taking the GRE soon, you might have some questions about the GRE exam eligibility. Are there prerequisites you need before you can register for the exam? Many students ask this question, only to discover that there are virtually no GRE exam eligibility requirements.

There Are No Official GRE Exam Eligibility Requirements

You read that correctly — there are virtually no official GRE exam eligibility requirements! Anyone can take the exam! That includes someone without a bachelor’s degree. The GRE might ask questions about a student’s level of education when you register, but ETS uses the information only for internal research. No one will be denied entry to the exam based on level of education, GPA, coursework, age, etc.

The only reasons someone could be denied is for administrative reasons. One important requirement is having a valid ID. ETS requires students to arrive to their exam with identification. Photocopies are not acceptable. The ID requirements vary by country, but most include a government-issued photo identification. In the United States, this would be a state-issued driver’s license or a passport. A student ID is not acceptable.

…But Most Students Meet Some Criteria

While the GRE has no official GRE exam eligibility requirements, most students do have certain qualifications. Since the GRE is used for graduate school admissions, most students hold or will soon hold a bachelor’s degree. This means most have taken mathematics classes that include algebra and geometry (though they may have taken these in high school). They will be fluent in English, and will be able to comprehend complex information. These are all concepts tested on the exam.

Grad Schools Do Have Requirements

While the GRE itself does not have GRE exam eligibility standards, graduate schools do. Some have coursework requirements, GPA requirements, degree requirements, and even GRE score requirements! If universities don’t have explicit requirements, then they almost always have a student profile that they most commonly accept.

When applying to grad school, don’t overlook the softer admissions factors, either. Your personal essay and letters of recommendation can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

None of This Means the Exam is Easy

Just because there are no official GRE exam eligibility standards doesn’t mean the test is easy. Though ETS doesn’t check if you have taken advanced math, it still asks math questions that require high level math. The same is true with verbal. So, don’t be fooled! The lack of GRE exam eligibility requirements does not mean the GRE is a breeze.


  • Kevin Wandrei

    Kevin majored in history at Williams College (where he was President of the Cheese Club — he can answer any of your cheese-related questions!), and later earned a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University. When he isn’t helping plan a major city in his urban planning job in Boston, Kevin enjoys doing genealogical research.

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