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If you are getting ready to apply for graduate programs, chances are you are also getting ready to take the GRE. The Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) General test, is one of the most common test taken by prospective graduate students. Test scores from the GRE General test are accepted or required by many graduate programs as part of the application process. The better your test scores, the more likely it is that you’ll get into the school of your choice.

Likely this means that you will spend a good deal of time prepping for the test. You may also take the test multiple times if you wish, to try to get your best possible score. After all that effort, it’s extremely important that you ensure your scores get to the colleges for which you apply.

Computer vs Paper-Delivered GRE Test

While a computer test is becoming more and more common, there are still some occasions where you will take the test in a paper-delivered format. When it comes to providing information on the schools where you’d like your scores sent, there is a slight difference in when you provide that information depending on which version of the test you take.

Regardless of how you take the test, you are eligible to request scores be sent to up to four graduate programs for free at the time of the test. Additional schools can be added at a later time for a per-institution fee. When selecting these schools, you can specify if you’d like to send all your scores, or just the most recent. This means that, if you have taken the test more than once, you can let GRE know that you want just the scores from the test you are taking now to be sent to your choices, or if you want the current scores and all previous scores sent.

For the computer test, you’ll provide information on schools the day you take the test. If you are taking the paper test, you’ll be providing this information on the day you register to take the test. Make sure you have the information on your prospective schools handy.

Choosing your GRE Score

The GRE General Test also has a program where you can choose which scores to send your prospective schools. If you have taken the test multiple times, and you select this option, you’ll pick which set of scores you’d like to send. For example, let’s say you took the GRE 3 times. You’ve just finished the third test and have received your preliminary score, and you have discovered you did better the 2nd time you took the test. You can tell GRE to only send scores from test number 2. GRE will send scores for the entire test, so you can’t select one section of the test from your first try, and other sections from your second or third try.

How Long is Your GRE Score Valid?

Your GRE scores are good for five years from the date you took the test. This is helpful for you if you decide after the test to apply for another graduate program. You’ll still be able to send scores from your test to that new program.