GRE and standardized tests

Many UC graduate programs require you to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or other standardized test. Take tests early so you'll have time to study and retake them if you want to improve your score.

The GRE General Test

The GRE General Test is offered throughout the year. This computer-based exam has three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.

Scores are good for 5 years. You can take the General Test once every 21 days, and up to five times within any continuous 12-month period.

GRE Subject Tests

Some programs, such as those in math, literature and some sciences, may also require a GRE Subject Test. The paper-based subject tests — given in October, November and April — are offered in the following areas:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Literature in English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology

Studying for the GRE

Allow ample time to prepare for the GRE. You can find study guides and sample tests in bookstores, libraries or online. Download free test-prep materials from the GRE website, and choose from a growing number of GRE mobile apps.

Ask your campus graduate division about free or low-cost workshops or courses that may be available.

And remember, while admissions and fellowship committees may use test scores to help them evaluate your academic ability, they are only one part of your complete application. Don't stress — prepare!

Reporting your scores

Arrange for your test scores to be sent to all institutions to which you are applying. Many program websites list their specific GRE department code or the institution code, which you'll need to order additional score reports.

Professional programs

Prepare for the GRE

Visit the GRE website to download free test-prep materials and register for the exam.

Apply for a fee waiver

If you can't afford to take the GRE, contact your campus financial aid office for information on fee waivers.