Taking the GRE is a scary enough experience, but even after you have finished the exam, you will be left with one major decision: do you want to see your scores or cancel them?
No matter how badly you thought you did on the test, you never want to cancel your score.
Many test-takers want to cancel their scores because they felt the test was really hard. There are two reasons this a terrible justification for canceling your scores. First of all, test-takers are notoriously bad at measuring their performance immediately after taking a test. After a long, challenging test like the GRE, you’re too mentally exhausted to evaluate your test performance with a level head. Don’t cancel your scores just because you’re convinced you bombed the test. Secondly, challenging questions are generally really good signs for your score. The GRE is a computer-adaptive test, meaning it adjusts the difficulty of each section based on your performance on the previous section. If the test felt like it was getting harder and harder, this is a great sign for your score.
If you cancel your score, you’ll never know how you did on the test. Even if your score is lower than you expected, your score report will still provide valuable information about which areas you need to continue to focus on to improve. Worried about schools seeing a low score? With the new ScoreSelect option that started in July 2012, you can elect to send universities only your highest GRE score from the past five years. Even if you took the test and did badly, the schools you are applying to will never know unless you choose to send them that score.
You may run out of time to take the GRE if you cancel your scores. Even if you cancel your scores, you must wait at least 30 days before retaking the test. You are also limited to taking the GRE a maximum of five times in a continuous 12-month period. If you’re taking the GRE in September or October, you may not have enough time to retake the test before program application deadlines. Nearly all graduate programs require GRE scores for admission. If your scores are late, this could delay your application process by a year.
Do you really want to retake the GRE? Do you have the time to prepare? Remember how much time you spent preparing for the GRE before you took the test? If you cancel your score, you will have to repeat this process all over again. Do you have enough time to study? Would this time be better spent working on other parts of your application such as your personal statement?
Did you recently cancel your GRE scores and are now regretting your decision? It may not be too late! You can reinstate canceled scores for a $30 fee if your request is received at ETS within 60 days after the test date. For more information, visit the ETS website.
One of the best ways to avoid feeling like you should cancel your scores is with thorough, structured preparation. Need help preparing? TestMasters’ GRE courses are offered nationwide.