Do I Have to Take the GRE for Graduate School?

Many graduate schools in the United States and Canada require the Graduate Record Examination® (GRE®), but it is not always necessary to take the GRE® for graduate school. Other than the GRE®, some graduate programs require specialized tests. Others are willing to accept any of a number of alternatives to the GRE® when applying to graduate school.

Many graduate school admissions committees use specialized tests to evaluate applicants. The Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) is commonly required business schools, though some accept the GRE® as an alternative. Medical school applicants take the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®), while law school applicants take the Law School Admission Test® (LSAT®), and dental school applicants take the Dental Admission Test® (DAT®).

For graduate school, some universities do not require the GRE®. Even at universities where the GRE® is widely used, some departments may choose not to use it or may encourage but not require it. For students with a sufficient grade point average, some departments may waive the requirement (GPA). When applying, prospective students should check the requirements of their desired departments.

The GRE® is used less frequently outside of the United States. Some Canadian universities advise students to take the GRE®, but they are not required to do so. However, taking the test has the advantage of allowing applicants with GRE® scores to be considered for funding and scholarships that would not be available to applicants who had not taken the test.

The GRE® is rarely required outside of North America. The GRE® is not required all university departments in the United Kingdom. When applying for certain programs, some universities require applicants from outside the UK to take the GRE®, while others do not. Graduate school applicants who are British students are not required to take the GRE®. Universities outside of the English-speaking world are unlikely to demand that applicants take the test.

Before sending off graduate school applications, students in the United States and Canada should plan on taking the GRE® — or an equivalent graduate admissions test. Only students from outside of North America are likely to be required to take the exam if they plan to study in the United States or Canada. In all cases, prospective applicants should double-check the admissions requirements of their chosen universities and departments before taking the test to ensure that they will meet them.