University of California graduate admissions


Some admissions and fellowship committees may use test scores to help gauge your readiness for graduate school. If your program requires an exam, just remember that test scores are only one part of your complete application. Don’t stress—prepare!

Does your program require test scores?

There is evidence that GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) scores are not a clear predictor of students’ potential for success in graduate school. In response, some UC graduate programs no longer require the GRE and others don’t accept them at all. So before you spend your time or money, be sure to look into the specific campus and program to which you are applying.

Many programs at UC, and other institutions, still require the GRE General Test and some require GRE Subject Tests. The computer-based GRE General Test is offered throughout the year and has three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. The paper-based GRE Subject Tests, available up to three times a year, are offered in biology, chemistry, literature in English, mathematics, physics and psychology.

If you’re applying to certain professional programs, you may need to take a different standardized test, such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

A few helpful tips

Prepare.  Allow time to study for any required test. You can find study guides and sample tests in bookstores, libraries, online or as downloadable apps. Ask your school or advisor about free or low-cost workshops or courses that may be available.

Apply for a fee waiver. If you can’t afford to take a particular test, contact your campus financial aid office for information on GRE fee waivers, or contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for GRE Fee Reduction Certificates for those who meet the eligibility requirements.

Report your scores. Arrange for your test scores to be sent to all institutions to which you are applying. Many program websites list their GRE institution or department code, which you’ll need to order additional score reports. Scores are good for 5 years.

You can download free GRE prep tools and register for the test at