How To Register for the GRE

If you have questions about the GRE exam registration process, know that it doesn’t necessarily have to be hard. Filling out the required forms isn’t cumbersome, but managing logistics—test location, date, and time—is the more difficult piece. With some careful planning on the ETS website, you can avoid registration stress and move on to the more productive kind of stress: studying for the exam!

How To Register for the GRE

Choose a Time, Date, and Location

This is the most difficult step in the GRE exam registration process. When I took the GRE, I was living in a rural place, and I remember having to drive nearly 1.5 hours to the nearest exam center. With that said, I still had multiple options within a 1.5 hour drive to pick from, so I had to carefully sort through the logistics of which test center made the most sense for me.

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Luckily, ETS makes it relatively easy to find a test center. Their website offers a tool that allows you to explore both test center locations and available dates and times. On that tool, select “GRE General Test” and then search for your preferred location. You can then look at available test seats during a two-month window. Look in advance to be sure you’ll have space available, though many test centers have seats free just days before an exam, so you won’t need to begin your GRE exam registration until shortly before taking the test.

When thinking about when to take the test, know that your applications deadlines are the most important deciding factor. Allow about 2-3 weeks after your exam for your scores to reach universities. You should therefore take the exam no less than 2-3 weeks before your deadlines — ideally, you would allow more time in case you’ll need to retake the test!

Create an ETS Account

Assuming you’re doing your GRE exam registration online, you’ll need to create an ETS account. At the end of the registration process, keep track of your login credentials! You might think that your ETS account is just a one-off account you make for the purpose of registering for the GRE. But it’s much more than that. It’s the account that will allow you to receive and send your scores! You can even look at some GRE diagnostic materials if you decide you want to retake the exam.

Begin Your GRE Exam Registration

Once you’ve created an account, you’ll need to being your GRE exam registration. There’s a big blue button in the ETS portal that says “Register / Find Test Centers, Dates.” It will bring you through the same portal that helped you find a test date and center earlier.

Once you’ve chosen a place and time, you have to agree to some terms and conditions. From there, a lot of your identifying information is pre-selected because you added it already into your ETS account. You don’t have to type in things like your name, address, and phone number twice. You will have to fill out some more specific demographic information about your level of education and so on.

But that’s it! You then pay and you’re done! It shouldn’t take much more than 15 minutes.


At the very end of your registration, you’ll also be given the option of buying the ETS Official Guide. If you don’t have it, we highly recommend purchasing it as well as getting a hold of the PowerPrep software. They’re both great practice materials!

You’ve now finished your GRE exam registration, so it’s time to get studying — the fun part! Magoosh and the ETS Official Materials will have you well on your way to GRE domination.

P.S. Ready to improve your GRE score? Get started today.

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2 Responses to How To Register for the GRE

  1. Hao January 23, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    I have sent two score reports to the schools applied for (147 V 161 Q awa 3.5 and 148 V 168 Q AWA 3.0). And today I got 150 V 165 in the test Q 🙁 . Should I send this score to the schools? Does it help my application?

    I’m a little bit doubt since there is no dramatic improvement on verbal and a drop on math.

    The school on my list is master of computer science at USC, software engineering at CMU silicon valley, CS @ umich

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

      Hi Hao,

      So, sending these new scores depends on the picture you want to paint. If it’s important to show improvement in the Verbal section, then this new score may be helpful even if it’s a small increase in Verbal. However, you are also correct that this new score shows a decrease in Quant, and actually a decrease in your overall score as well. Given that your programs may care more about the Quant side than Verbal, you may not need to provide this new score. What I’d recommend is speaking with your programs to determine what their focus is on these scores. At the end of the day, it will be based on the message you want to provide to the school. A 168 is a very strong Quant score. At the same time, there has been a steady improvement in your Verbal score. Good luck! 😀

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