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What is GRE exam?

The Graduate Record Examination, commonly referred to as GRE, is a required standardized test for students interested in gaining admission to Masters’ degree programs such as MS, MSc, MBA, etc. at foreign universities, especially universities in the US.

It is a standardized test conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Services). ETS GRE scores are accepted by most of the top graduate level schools for masters degree programs.

While there are Subject Tests and General GRE Tests, most universities usually require scores from the latter. The General GRE Test is designed to test the student’s ability to reason, with sections that include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.

Several students spend anywhere between one to three months preparing for this test, and some students even begin preparing for it sooner, so it goes without saying that this is a very competitive exam and you have your work cut out for you.

On the bright side, the exam can provide you with the opportunity to gain an edge over other students applying to the same program at the same universities.

On a side note, there are many top-tier universities outside the US, who don’t require students to provide GRE scores in order to apply for their Master’s Degree programs. So, if you are looking for admission to non-US countries, please conduct some research about whether you need to take the GRE.

To help get you started, we’ve put together some basics.

Does GRE help in getting scholarships?

With a high GRE score, your chances to get scholarships significantly increase. If you are able to score above 160 in both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, and above 5 in Analytical Writing, you would have an excellent score. Hence, if you are interested in getting some scholarships, aim to score as high as you can.

Please be mindful that universities use many other factors such as your GPA in Bachelor’s, your research experience and other aspects of your profile to evaluate your scholarship application. Also, there are very few scholarships available for international students. Hence, competition is very tough for scholarships.

How much GRE score is required for the top universities?

The average GRE score for top universities will vary across programs. As an international student, you should aim for over 160 in both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. This means, your target GRE score should be above 320 for a better chance at getting into top universities.

For Engineering programs, many universities consider only your Quantitative Reasoning score, which should be above 160 for a better chance at the top universities.

To give you an idea of the GRE score range at some of the top universities for Master’s in Computer Science program.

  • Harvard University: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)
  • Stanford University: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
  • MIT: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
  • UC Berkeley: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
  • Columbia University: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)
  • UCLA: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)


When should I take GRE test?

If you are aiming for the top schools, you should take the GRE around a year prior to your targeted program’s commencement date.

For example, if you want to start your studies in Fall of 2018 and you are aiming for a school among the top 20, you should take your GRE by August 2017. If you are targeting mid-tier schools, you may take your GRE by November 2017 or even later.

As an international student, you should aim to submit your application for early deadlines, typically by the end of November to mid-December. This would not only increase your chances of admission but also help with securing scholarships. You should also keep 1-2 months for writing essays, getting letters of recommendation, and procuring transcripts and other documents. To stick to this plan, you should be done with your GRE by August or September of the year (2017) before your start your studies (Fall 2018).

How much does it cost to take the GRE?

The registration fee to take GRE is $205.

For Indian students, this translates to ₹13,400. In case you are from some other country, you check out the cost of GRE in your local currency at

If you want to reschedule your GRE test or change your test center, you need to pay an additional fee of $50.

There are separate costs for official prep materials:

  • PowerPrep Online: Once you register for the GRE test, you get free access to two practice tests that simulate the actual test both in terms of user interface and test questions.
  • PowerPrep Plus Online: You can also purchase two additional official practice tests, each containing a different set of never-before-published real test questions.
  • Official Guide to GRE General Test: You can purchase this official guide for $40.
  • Official Guide to GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions: You can purchase this official guide for verbal for $20.
  • Official Guide to GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions: You can purchase this official guide for quant for $20.

What is the eligibility criteria for GRE exam?

The GRE is a mandatory standardized test for students interested in admission to Master’s degree programs such as MS, MSc, MBA, etc., at foreign universities, especially universities in the US.

In order to gain admission to any graduate degree program, a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement. So, you need a Bachelor’s degree to take GRE. You should also be over 18 years of age.

You must have a valid passport to take the GRE test. At the GRE test center, you will have to produce your original passport as proof of your identity. So, if you don’t have a passport, and you plan to take the Graduate Record Examination in the near future, rush to get your passport!

How do I take the GRE exam?

First you need to register for GRE. Check the answer below about registering for GRE.

How often can paper-delivered GRE tests be taken?

Tests can be taken as often as they are offered.

How long are the GRE test scores valid for?

Scores are valid for five years.

Where are the test centers for paper-delivered GRE in India:

Given below are the test centers across India for paper-based GRE test:

How often can computer-delivered tests be taken?

Tests can be taken five times, each after a period of 21 days.

How many universities can you send your GRE test scores to?

When you register with ETS to take their GRE general test, they will provide you with the option of selecting four universities.

ETS lets you select these universities whenever you wish, so you can either select them prior to taking the test or after completing it. ETS will share your scores with these four universities at no extra cost around 10-15 days after your test date.

Later, you can send your score to as many universities as you want to apply to. For each of these additional universities, you need to pay a fee of $27.

To avoid spending money on sending your GRE scores to universities that may not suit your needs, you should prepare a shortlist of the universities that do. The list should contain ‘reach’, ‘match’ and ‘safe’ universities that cater to your needs.

These universities should ideally offer programs you are interested in, that are within your budget and aligned with your career goals. Another point to keep in mind while making your list is to look into whether these universities offer scholarships or part-time opportunities.

Many of our students select universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford. However, as scores can often fluctuate, this is very unwise. Our counselors advise students to select their four universities after completing their exam, so they can select universities they have a better chance of getting into, thereby saving students the additional expense of having their scores sent to more universities than necessary.

What are the test centers for computer-delivered GRE in India?

These are the test centers across India for online GRE test:

How do I register for the GRE?

There are three ways to register for the GRE test in India:

#1 Online Registration

Visit the ETS website ( to create an account. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to fill in your details. After registering, you will proceed to the payment section, where you can pay the fees via credit or debit card.

#2 Mail Registration

If you would like to register via snail mail, you can download the registration form and mail it along with the payment to ETS-GRE, PO Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, USA (If paying by credit or debit card) or ETS-GRE, Box 382013, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8013, USA (if paying by money order or paper check). Keep in mind that ETS will need at least four months to process this.

#3 Phone Registration

In order to register by phone, call 91-124-4147700. Payment for the GRE test can be made using American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa credit/debit card. E-checks drawn against US bank accounts are also accepted. In order to make payments with a money order or paper check, you will need to request a GRE General Test Authorization Voucher by mail.

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