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13 November 2023

6 minutes read

Can I Take the GRE in December? Strategies for Success

If you’re planning to apply for graduate school, taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a critical step in your journey. As we approach the end of the year, a common query among aspirants is, “Can I take the GRE in December 2023?”

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the feasibility and strategies for taking the GRE in December, focusing on essential aspects like test dates, registration, and preparation.

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Navigating the GRE Exam Schedule in 2023

Understanding the 2023 GRE Test Dates and Deadlines

The GRE General Test is offered throughout the year, including December. For those eyeing graduate programs starting in spring or fall 2024, December 2023 presents an ideal time to take the GRE. It’s crucial to stay updated with the test dates and registration deadlines, which are typically announced on the ETS (Educational Testing Service) website.

Registration Process and Timeline

Registering for the GRE in December requires careful planning. Ideally, you should register two to three months in advance. This early registration ensures you get your preferred test date and location. The process involves creating an account on the ETS website, choosing a test center, and selecting a suitable date.

Understanding Test Deadlines

Apart from registering for the test, be aware of the deadlines for the graduate programs you’re applying to. Ensure that your GRE score will be reported in time to meet these application deadlines. Typically, GRE scores are sent to universities approximately 10-15 days after your test date.

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Is December the Best Time to Take the GRE? Analyzing Your Options

FactorAdvantages of Taking the GRE in DecemberDisadvantages of Taking the GRE in December
Application Deadlines– Aligns well with most graduate program deadlines in the spring.It may be too late for some early admission deadlines.
Study Time Available– Ample time to prepare if started early in the year.– Holidays and end-of-year activities may disrupt study plans.
Test Center Availability– Less crowded as it’s post the peak application season for many.– Limited availability due to year-end rush and holidays.
Weather Considerations– Generally mild weather conditions in many regions.– Potential winter weather issues in some regions.
Workload and Academic Schedule– College students may have a break, allowing more time to study.– Professionals might find it challenging due to year-end work commitments.
Retake Opportunities– Time to retake the test before application deadlines if needed.– Limited window for retakes if scores are not satisfactory.
Mental Preparedness– Extended preparation period can lead to better readiness.– Possible burnout or loss of focus due to long preparation time.
Course Availability– Full range of prep courses available throughout the year.– Some intensive courses might not be available late in the year.

Comprehensive GRE Preparation for a December Exam

Preparing for a GRE exam in December requires a strategic approach that balances time management, a thorough understanding of the exam structure, and effective study techniques. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your December GRE:

1. Understand the GRE Format and Syllabus:

  • Familiarize yourself with the GRE structure: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.
  • Review the syllabus in detail to understand the types of questions asked in each section.

2. Set a Study Schedule:

  • Create a realistic study plan several months before the exam, ideally starting in early fall.
  • Allocate time for each section based on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Include regular breaks and leisure time to prevent burnout.

3. Choose the Right Study Materials:

  • Invest in quality study materials, including official ETS (Educational Testing Service) resources.
  • Consider additional prep books, online courses, or tutoring if needed.

4. Build a Strong Foundation:

  • Start with the basics, especially in math and vocabulary. Ensure you understand fundamental concepts.
  • Gradually progress to more advanced topics as your understanding deepens.

5. Regular Practice Tests:

  • Take full-length practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the actual exam environment.
  • Analyze your performance in these tests to identify areas needing improvement.

6. Focus on Weak Areas:

  • Spend extra time strengthening your weaker subjects or question types.
  • Seek help if necessary, whether it’s from a tutor, study group, or online forums.

7. Develop Effective Test-Taking Strategies:

  • Learn time management techniques to ensure you can answer all questions within the allotted time.
  • Practice process of elimination, educated guessing, and other strategic approaches to answering questions.

8. Verbal Reasoning and Vocabulary Building:

  • Read extensively to improve comprehension skills. Include a variety of genres in your reading list.
  • Use flashcards or apps to build and review your vocabulary regularly.

9. Quantitative Section Preparation:

  • Practice quant problems daily, focusing on data interpretation, algebra, geometry, and arithmetic.
  • Memorize key formulas and shortcuts to save time during the test.

10. Analytical Writing Practice:

  • Regularly practice writing essays. Focus on structuring your arguments logically and clearly.
  • Get feedback on your essays from teachers, peers, or online platforms.
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11. Review and Revise:

  • Regularly review what you’ve learned to ensure information retention.
  • Revise difficult concepts and practice more problems in those areas.

12. Stay Updated and Connected:

  • Keep abreast of any changes in the GRE format or dates.
  • Join GRE forums and groups for tips, motivation, and the latest information.

13. Physical and Mental Wellness:

  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to keep your mind and body in optimal condition.
  • Practice stress-relief techniques like meditation, yoga, or hobbies.

14. Final Preparations and Test Day Strategy:

  • In the final weeks, reduce the study load to avoid burnout.
  • Plan your test day logistics well in advance – know the location, what to bring, and the schedule.
  • Have a test day strategy regarding time management and question approach.
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Registration Nuances: Selecting Dates and Centers for December GRE

When registering for the GRE in December, several factors need to be considered. Availability of test centers and dates can be limited, so early registration is advised.

Choosing the Right Test Center

Consider the proximity and convenience of the test center. Check the availability of your preferred test date at different centers and choose one that suits your needs best.

Backup Plan: Rescheduling or Retaking the GRE

ETS allows candidates to reschedule their GRE test date. If you feel unprepared as your test date approaches, consider rescheduling. Additionally, if your score isn’t satisfactory, you can retake the GRE after 21 days.

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GRE Scores: Understanding Reporting, Validity, and Impact on Applications

Understanding how GRE scores are reported and their validity period is essential for planning your application process.

Score Reporting Timeline

GRE scores are typically reported to the chosen institutions within 10-15 days of your test date. Plan your test date keeping in mind the deadlines of your target programs.

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Validity of GRE Scores

GRE scores are valid for five years. If you’re planning to apply to multiple programs over a few years, taking the GRE now can be beneficial.

Impact of GRE Scores on Graduate Applications

GRE scores play a significant role in graduate school applications. A high GRE score can significantly enhance your application, especially in competitive programs.

Tips and Tricks: Last-Minute Preparation for December GRE Aspirants

As the December GRE test date approaches, it’s crucial for aspirants to optimize their preparation strategy. Here are some detailed tips and tricks for those in the last stretch of their GRE journey:

  1. Focused Revision: Concentrate on revising the concepts you’ve already learned rather than trying to cover new topics. This phase should be about reinforcing your knowledge and understanding.
  2. Practice with Timed Tests: Take full-length, timed practice tests. This helps in building stamina and getting accustomed to the pressure of the actual test environment. Pay attention to time management during each section.
  3. Analyze Mock Test Results: After each practice test, thoroughly analyze your mistakes. Understanding why you got an answer wrong is crucial for avoiding similar mistakes in the actual exam.
  4. Strengthen Weak Areas: Identify your weak areas from the practice tests. Allocate more time to these topics and practice them rigorously.
  5. Memorize Necessary Formulas: Ensure that you have all the necessary mathematical formulas memorized. Quick recall of these formulas can save valuable time during the test.
  6. Verbal Section Strategies: For the verbal section, focus on practicing reading comprehension and expanding your vocabulary. Try to read diverse materials to enhance comprehension skills.
  7. Use Official GRE Materials: Whenever possible, use official GRE materials for practice. These materials give the most accurate representation of the test format and difficulty level.
  8. Rest and Relaxation: Avoid over-stressing. Make sure to get adequate rest, especially in the days leading up to the test. A well-rested mind performs significantly better.
  9. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet and include light exercise in your routine. This can greatly impact your energy levels and concentration.
  10. Test Day Preparation: Familiarize yourself with the test center location beforehand. Prepare your test day kit (ID, confirmation emails, etc.) a day before to avoid last-minute panic.
  11. Mental Preparedness: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Being mentally calm can greatly enhance performance.
  12. Plan for the Unexpected: Have a plan for unexpected scenarios such as difficult questions. Decide in advance how much time to spend on challenging questions before moving on.
  13. Final Review: In the last couple of days, review your notes, especially the high-yield topics and any summary sheets you’ve prepared.
  14. Stay Positive: Maintain a positive attitude. Confidence plays a key role in your performance. Believe in your preparation and stay focused.

FAQs on Taking the GRE in December 2023

Can I retake the GRE if I am not satisfied with my December score?

Yes, you can retake the GRE every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period.

What are some effective GRE preparation strategies?

Effective strategies include regular practice, time management, understanding the exam format, and possibly enrolling in a GRE prep course.

Are GRE scores from a December test date reported in time for spring admissions?

Yes, GRE scores from a December test are typically reported in time for spring admissions, but always check with your specific programs for their deadlines.

How early should I register for the GRE if I plan to take it in December 2023?

It’s recommended to register for the GRE at least two to three months in advance. For a December test date, consider registering in September or October.

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