A GRE exam is mandatory for any foreign student applying for graduate studies at U.S. universities for Graduate School.
However, not all graduate programs consider GRE exams as a mandatory requirement for admission. In some U.S. schools, GRE is not required for engineering program admissions.
And some schools waive GRE Score requirements if the applicant has sufficient work experience.
When to Take a GRE Test
I usually recommend students to take a GRE exam at least 1 year before planning to apply.
If you are applying for a Fall semester which starts around the month of August or September, it’s best to take a GRE test between August to November one year prior.
Having said that, there are still many students who take GRE exams in January and February to apply for Fall semester. U.S. universities have deadlines set until May to June for Fall semester admissions.
Early Applications for Scholarship and Admission
If you want to get admission with aid, then plan to apply at least 8 to 9 months before the Fall semester start date. Universities in the U.S. have 3 admission deadlines:
- Early Admission Deadline for Scholarship
- Admission deadline for International Students
- Domestic application deadlines (students already in the U.S.)
Early Admission Deadlines
Universities have funding allocated for every semester. So if you want to be considered for admission with scholarship, then you should apply before the early admission date.
Normally, that date will be at least 2-3 months prior to the regular admission deadlines. And that will be between the months of October and December.
That’s the reason I advise you to take the GRE test at least 1 year in advance. Read an update to this article, When to Take GRE featuring a detailed timeline.