Starting today, GRE test-takers will have complete control over which test scores are sent to graduate schools. ETS is introducing a new score reporting option called ScoreSelect that allows test-takers to choose which GRE scores they send to each institution.
Previously, ETS sent schools all of a test-taker’s GRE scores from the past five years. Now, test-takers can choose from several options listed below.
On test day:
- ScoreSelect Most Recent: You can send your scores from the test you just took only to up to 4 institutions
- ScoreSelect All: You can send all your scores from all GREs you’ve taken in the last five years to up to 4 institutions
After test day:
- ScoreSelect Most Recent: You can send your scores from the test you’ve taken most recently
- ScoreSelect All: You can send your scores for all GREs you took in the last five years
- ScoreSelect Any: Send your scores from one or any of the GREs you’ve taken in the last five years.
In both cases, if you have taken the GRE multiple times and elect to send only one score, there will be no special indication that you have taken additional GRE tests.
ETS is also allowing students to retake the test more frequently. Currently, students cannot retake the test until 60 days after their last test. Starting this month, students will be able to retake the test just 30 days after their last test. Students still will not be able to take the GRE more than five times in a continuous 12-month period.
Why is this happening? Is ETS just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts?
Not exactly. ETS is clearly trying to encourage test-takers to take the GRE more. Previously, applicants were advised not to take the GRE more than two to three times since multiple scores might be seen as a red flag for admissions committees. Now, admissions committees have no way of knowing how many times test-takers have taken the test. ETS is likely hoping this will encourage people to retake the test more than they normally do, since they now have nothing to lose.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re a college student considering taking the GRE, by all means, go ahead and take it! If you do wonderfully, then great, you won’t have to retake the GRE if and when you apply to graduate school. If you do not get as good a score as you would like, then no need to worry. You can retake the test before you apply to graduate school and send those higher scores instead.
If you‘re applying to graduate school this year and procrastinated on taking the GRE, the shortened retake period limit could also work in your favor. For instance, if you take the GRE in September and are not happy with your score, you can retake the GRE in October–and even again in November–and still be able to submit either or both scores before the department’s application deadline.
Finally, even with this new policy, there is one caveat to keep in mind: you still have to send a complete score report. In other words, you will not be able to send only your highest verbal, math, and analytical writing scores from all of the GREs you’ve taken. You must send a complete score report from each test. So, when you take the test, make sure you strive to do as well as possible on all of the sections. Taking the GRE multiple times is still no picnic, so try to minimize the amount of retakes so you can focus on other aspects of your application like your personal statement.