Most business schools require you to submit GRE scores when applying. Your degree is important, so you should start putting money aside for the exam.
But how much money do you need?
There’s so much misinformation out there. That’s why I’ve gathered verified, ETS-approved info for you.
How Much Does the GRE Cost?
The ETS has different prices for the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test, the latter being cheaper.
Since July 2020, the GRE General Test costs $205 worldwide -- with the exception of a few countries -- while the GRE Subject Test costs $105 worldwide, with no exceptions.
GRE General Test: Registration Fee
As you already know, the GRE General Test currently costs $205 in almost all areas of the world. Here are the few exceptions I mentioned :
|Location||GRE Exam Fee|
Note that this price only covers the standard GRE exam fee. It only allows you to view your scores and access the test, not reschedule it or change the test centers. You’ll have to pay additional fees if you want to do either of these things.
Special Handling Fee
Two things fall under the ETS’ definition of “special handling”:
- Rescheduling your GRE test
- Changing test centers
The fee for each is $50. This means paying $50 doesn’t cover both changes. If you want to reschedule your GRE and change test centers, you’ll pay $100 in total.
This applies to all areas worldwide, except for China where you’ll pay a slightly higher rescheduling fee, $53.90 to be exact.
Scoring Services Fee
You can view your scores, print out your report, and access the GRE Diagnostic Service for free. A test-taker who wants additional services will have to pay additional fees:
- Additional Score Reports = $27
- Question-and-Answer review service (open to New York State residents only) = $50
- Score Review for Analytical Writing = $60
- Score reinstatement = $50
Additional GRE score reports and reviews can equip you with insights into what you need to work on. I’d highly recommend taking them if you’re not happy with your current test score.
GRE Subject Tests: Registration Fee and Additional Fees
The cost of the GRE Subject Test is the same worldwide, $150 in total. The ETS offers more additional services to students who are taking a Subject Test, as opposed to the GRE General Test :
|Special Handling Request||Fee|
|Late registration (applicable only to online registrations)||$25|
|Changing test centers||$50|
|Changing Subject Test||$50|
Scoring Services Fee
You can access your scores and print your official Test-taker Score Report for free. You’ll have to pay additional fees for additional score-related services:
- Additional Score Report = $27
- Score Review = $50
- Score reinstatement fee = $50
For the most part, you have the same options as a student taking the GRE General Test. The only option you don’t have is the Question-and-Answer review service.
How Can I Pay the Registration Fee?
The ETS prefers the following payment methods:
- Money order, check, or voucher
- Western Union
- Credit or debit card
You can only use the following cards: American Express, China UnionPay, Diners Club International, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa.
If you have U.S. bank accounts, you can also pay through e-check services. On the other hand, if you’re in Nigeria, you can only pay with Visa, PayPal, and vouchers.
How Much Will It Cost to Retake the Exam?
The cost of retaking the GRE exam is the same as the original GRE exam fee. You’ll have to pay the full price of the tests.
In other words, you’ll pay:
- $205 to retake the GRE General Test (or slightly more if you’re located in one of the areas I mentioned above)
- $105 to retake the GRE Subject Test
I think I should address a common student misconception here.
Most students think that they only have to retake the exam in two cases -- either because they failed the exam or got a low GRE score. But there’s also a third option that many students don’t consider.
GRE scores are valid for only up to 5 years. Schools won’t accept older scores, so previous test-takers will have to retake the GRE test. Keep this in mind while deciding if now is the right time for you to take the exam.
If you want to apply to graduate programs in the near future, then great. But if not, then you should postpone the exam because your score might turn out not to be valid once you decide to submit it.
Recommended Article: How Long Are GRE Scores Valid?
How Can I Register for the GRE?
You can register for the GRE in two ways:
- Register online here
- Register by mail
If you’re paying with a credit or debit card, by e-check, or with voucher numbers, you really don’t need to do anything else.
Things get a bit trickier if you’ve paid your registration fee with a paper check or money order. You’ll have to complete and mail the Authorization Voucher Request Form to the ETS.
Read More: How to Register For GRE (Complete Guide)
What Is the GRE Fee Reduction Program?
The GRE fee reduction program is a part of GRE financial aid intended for students who want to take the GRE test but aren’t thriving financially. The ETS gives them a GRE fee reduction voucher that slashes the fees in half (50% off).
You can use this waiver either for one GRE General Test or one GRE Subject Test. This part is totally up to you, depending on the score you need to get into a program. Unfortunately, there is no GRE fee reduction program that would make the GRE completely free.
Can I Get a GRE Fee Waiver? Check If You’re Eligible
The GRE fee waiver is only available for:
- College graduates and seniors with financial need
- National programs working with marginalized groups
- Those who are unemployed (and receive unemployment compensation)
Think of these as just the entrance criteria. To actually get the fee waiver, you have to meet some additional requirements :
|Seniors in financial need||✓ you receive financial aid in the United States, U.S. Territories, or Puerto Rico, and |
✓ you have a SAR (FAFSA Student Aid Report) that shows a parental contribution of not more than $2,500 for the senior year, or
✓ you support yourself and your SAR shows a contribution of not more than $3000 for the senior year
|Unenrolled graduates in financial need||✓ you’ve applied for financial aid, and |
✓ your SAR shows a contribution of not more than $3000
|National programs||✓ program is on the ETS’ official list|
|Unemployment||✓ you’re a United States citizen or resident alien |
✓ you’re 18 or older
✓ you became unemployed within the past 6 months and you can prove it with a copy of an Unemployment Benefits Statement
It’s necessary that you review all of the requirements because you might realize that you’re not eligible for the program after all -- and you shouldn’t waste your time applying for it. For example, even if you are unemployed, you won’t be eligible for the fee reduction program if this has been your status for more than six months.
How to Apply for a GRE Fee Waiver
To apply for the GRE fee reduction vouchers, you must first complete the Fee Reduction Request Form . Within two weeks, the ETS sends voucher numbers via email to students who got the GRE fee waivers.
Where and When Can I Take the GRE?
You can take the GRE exam in more than 1,000 test center locations worldwide. The GRE is offered in more than 160 countries and is, mostly, available year-round.
In the U.S., the GRE exam is offered once a month and you can take it up to 3 times a year.
In some other places, though, the GRE is available more frequently.
For example, the GRE is offered up to 3 times a month in places like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea.
Due to the pandemic, test-takers can now take the tests at home in some areas.
The home version of the GRE is mostly available only if the closest testing center can’t administer the test. Currently, you’ll pay the same GRE exam fee no matter if you’re taking the test at home or at a testing center.
How to Confirm to Your Test Center That You’ve Made the Payment
Once your payment is processed, you’ll get a confirmation email from the ETS that you need to bring to the test center with you. This email will confirm your registration, as well as your test choice, test center, and score recipients.
Consider Buying GRE Prep Materials Too
Though the fees I’ve listed above may sound hefty, some test-takers decide to invest in test prep materials too. You might want to do the same to increase your chances of getting a good GRE score and getting into your dream graduate school.
The ETS offers some official materials that could help you with your test preparation. Here are the test preparation materials they offer for the GRE Subject Tests :
If you’re taking the GRE General Test, I’d recommend you take a look at the ETS’ ScoreItNow! Online Writing Practice which will cost you only $20.
I also like ETS GRE POWERPREP Online program, which equips you with three practice tests. With that said, the ETS already offers two free practice tests as a part of their POWERPREP® Online program.
Considering this, the cost of PowerPrep Plus ($39.95) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You can also find some practice tests and additional GRE prep materials online, for free, or you can invest in a GRE prep course instead.
GRE Refund Policies
If you cancel your exam 4 days before your exam date, the ETS will give you a partial refund -- 50% of the total cost of the registration fee. However, if you applied to take a GRE Subject Test in Mainland China, you’ll only receive 50% of the total cost if you cancel the exam 10 days before the exam date.
Wrapping Up: How Much Does the GRE Cost?
The GRE won’t empty out your bank accounts. If you’re not paying for additional score reports or rescheduling your exam, you’ll only pay around $200 for the GRE General Test and $105 for the GRE Subject Test.
Since GRE scores are necessary for getting into graduate programs -- and getting a degree -- that doesn’t seem like a high price to pay.
In my opinion, you should only purchase additional score reports if you score really, really low. That’s the only situation where you’ll actually need them.
What do you think? Is the GRE exam fee reasonable? Let me know in the comments.