Retaking GRE can be a tricky decision for two reasons. You would not want to miss the opportunity to study at a great university just because you missed few points in GRE. At the same time, you would not want to retake the exam and end up with the same score or even worse – a lower score! So, how do we go about this?
Give yourself enough time
ETS allows you to reappear for the exam 21 days post the previous test date. But you would require at least 45 days of rigorous preparation to ensure that your scores increase in the next attempt. Suppose, you have already scored 310 but want a 325 – you will have to do a lot of analysis and fine tuning during the preparation. You will have to figure out if the problem is due to a lack of familiarity with the content or due to poor time management. The former might be the scenario when you are not familiar with the GRE Vocabulary tested, or when you have skipped few topics in Quants. Learning the content that you had skipped earlier will obviously take time and effort. Time management issues, on the other hand, can be overcome with adequate practice. You will have to unlearn some techniques and adapt to the new ones to ensure that you finish answering as quickly as possible. As you can see, the preparation process is time-consuming. Not taking sufficient time to prepare before retaking may result in an unfruitful attempt.
When and where do you plan to apply?
Deadlines and minimum requirements specified by the universities are critical in determining if you have to retake the exam. You may be very particular about beginning your Masters or Ph.D. program in a specific term. Then check the universities’ deadlines to decide if retaking the exam is a feasible option. If not, search for universities that match your current GRE score. Also if the target university falls under a Moderate/ Safe category for you and you satisfy the minimum requirements specified by the university, you may proceed with the same score. If the target university is Ambitious for you, then just satisfying the minimum requirement may not be enough. Check the average scores of the students previously admitted, fix that as your target and work towards it.
It is a question of time, effort and money. Think well before you decide to retake the GRE.