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Can You Take the GRE Without a Bachelor’s Degree? (+More!)

William Cohen
Published by William Cohen
Last Updated On: April 12, 2022

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the standardized test schools use to determine if a student is a good candidate for them. GRE is most commonly taken by students who want graduate degrees, especially in business school. But, there are some restrictions when it comes to taking the GRE.

I’ve taken the GRE myself, and I’ve helped countless students prepare for the test during my collegiate career. Today, I’ll explain if you can take the GRE without a BA and all the GRE restrictions you should know about.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • You don’t need a graduate-level degree to take the GRE.
  • GRE is a common requirement for many schools such as Columbia University and programs such as fine arts, art history, life sciences, physical sciences, and more.
  • You need a valid ID to take the test.

Can You Take the GRE Without a BA?

A person studying and reading books

Yes, you can take the GRE without a BA. There aren’t any degree requirements for taking the GRE [1].

However, most test-takers are either finishing their bachelor’s degree or have already graduated.

Candidates who already have a BA probably didn’t take the GRE straight away. This happens for several reasons.

Most commonly, they didn’t enroll in a graduate program that requires the GRE straight away, or they wanted to retake the GRE before applying for graduate programs. Students usually want to retake the GRE exam if their GRE score expired or they weren’t satisfied with it.

Also, most students who take the GRE already have their undergraduate degree because the graduate school they want to enroll in has this as an admission requirement.

You can take either the general GRE or GRE subject tests. The subject test checks your knowledge in a particular field, and it can be one of these tests [2]:

  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Psychology

GRE general test includes these three areas:

  • Verbal Reasoning — Tests your ability to gather information from short readings
  • Reasoning — Tests your ability to solve math problems
  • Analytical Writing — Includes two essays

No matter which GRE test you take, you should invest time in GRE prep, especially if you want to receive financial aid.

GRE Eligibility Requirements:

Requirements stacked on a table with computer

While there aren’t any degree requirements for taking the GRE, several other requirements may prevent you from taking this test.

1. ID

To gain admission to the testing center, you need a valid ID that matches the info you put in when applying for the test.

For example, if your ID doesn’t match your GRE application first or last name, you won’t be allowed to take the test, and the test fee won’t be refunded to you. That’s why it’s extremely important to carefully submit your info when registering for the GRE.

“All test takers are responsible for bringing valid and acceptable ID when they report for a test appointment at home or at a test center. It is your responsibility to ensure that your ID documents are up-to-date and available on the day of your test.” ETS

ID requirements depend on the country you’re coming from, but some non-US nationals, such as Indians, need a valid ID and a passport. To make sure you have everything you need, you should check the ID requirements on the Educational Testing Service (ETA) website.

2. Age

There’s no age limit for taking the GRE. However, most people take the GRE during or after their undergrad, especially if they want to start studying the master’s program without taking a gap year. This means that most test-takers are under 25-years of age.

Note: Graduate schools you plan to apply to may have age requirements or candidates from a similar age group. According to the 2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey, 20% of graduate students are over the age of 40 [3].

3. Qualification

I already talked about how GRE doesn’t have any degree requirements. However, the school you’re applying to, such as a master’s degree program, may have requirements. Some schools don’t require the GRE, but they place importance on your undergraduate GPA instead.

Unlike the GRE scores, which expire, the GPA doesn't. It doesn’t matter if you obtained your bachelor’s degree a month or ten years ago, your GPA will still be valid.

You should contact the school directly to know if you’ll need to submit GRE scores with your graduate degree program application.

4. GRE Attempts

This is one area where there are certain GRE restrictions. You can only take the GRE five times in a rolling year, and the minimum gap between two GRE attempts has to be at least 21 days.

You should keep in mind what’s the deadline for graduate school applications. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to take the year off and apply next year.

FAQs

Is GRE an Undergraduate?

No, GRE isn’t an undergraduate. GRE is the test you take to apply for in-person or online master’s programs, such as computer science, physical sciences, mental health counseling, or another professional certificate.

Is GRE Necessary for Masters?

Whether GRE is necessary for Masters depends on the school you're applying to. It’s a prerequisite for many technical online programs.

Do You Need the GRE?

If you’ve finished your undergraduate program and plan to apply to grad schools in-person or online program, you probably need the GRE.

You should contact the school you’re interested in and ask for their GRE score requirement. That way, you’ll know what score to aim for. You should also know the application deadline, so you can schedule the GRE exam date.

Click here, and check out our list of best GRE prep courses, which can help you get high test scores and get admitted to the program you’re interested in.


References:

  1. https://bestaccreditedcolleges.org/articles/careers
  2. https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about
  3. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/2002152.pdf

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