what to bring to the gre

What to Bring to the GRE

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

GRE test day is coming up and you’re wondering what to bring to the GRE. The good news is, the checklist of what to bring to the GRE is not nearly as difficult as the prep work you’ve been putting into doing well over the past several weeks. We’re going to share a short list of what to bring to the GRE as well as some general test day tips.

Still prepping for the GRE? Check out our favorite books here.

what to bring to the gre

When it comes to the required items to bring to the GRE, there are really only 2 things you need to bring, besides yourself, to take the GRE: a valid photo ID and your confirmation email or authorization voucher.

Required Items for the GRE:

  • Valid photo ID
  • Confirmation email or authorization voucher

What’s a Valid ID for the GRE?

Your primary ID, if taking the GRE in the US, must be original, government-issued, valid, show your first and last name as registered on the test, as well as include a recent photograph and signature of your name. If you are taking the GRE outside of the US, a general rule of thumb is to bring your passport. Check out the ETS official guidelines for further information.

Related: How Many Times Can You Take the GRE?

Helpful (but not required) Items to Bring to the GRE

  • Warm clothing layers that you can take off if you get too hot
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks (must stay in your locker during testing) – high calorie snacks that are low in sugar like nuts, jerky, celery or apple & peanut butter, etc. Check here for ideas. 
  • Cell phone (must stay in your locker during testing)
  • Review sheet (must stay in your locker during testing)

What You Should Not Bring to the GRE

  • Calculator (You will use the one on the computer)
  • Scratch paper or pens (They will provide you with these supplies)

GRE Test Day Tips

1. Visit the testing center before test day:

To be sure you know where it will be and how long it will take for you to arrive, you should visit the testing center before test day. Make the arrangements for your transportation ahead of time as well as confirm with your ride if someone is taking you. Plan on arriving 30 minutes early to avoid any feelings of anxiety before the test.

2. Get a good night’s sleep:

You should be sure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. Do not do any cramming the night before or the morning of. This test does not require much memorization, so this will have very little benefit and will probably lead to more anxiety before your exam.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast:

Eating a hearty, low-sugar breakfast will make sure you have the mental energy to complete the GRE. Eggs, toast with nut butter, or oatmeal with fruits and nuts are all great options that won’t create a sugar crash during the test.

What Happens When You Arrive at the GRE Testing Center?

It’s helpful to know what to expect when you show up at the testing center. Here is the process you will go through as you sign in and take the GRE:

  1. Sign In: You will show your ID as well as email voucher to the check-in staff. They may take your photo, fingerprint you, or ask for a signature comparison to verify that you are the right person.
  2. Put your personal items in a locker: You will get a locker where you will store all your personal items including cell phone, drinks, snacks, and review sheets. All you can take in with you to the GRE are your light layered clothing in case you get cold.
  3. Sign a Confidentiality Statement: You will write and sign a confidentiality statement signifying that you won’t discuss test questions with others.
  4. Begin Your Test: You will be assigned a computer and go through a tutorial that takes you through basic computer functions. After the tutorial, you will choose up to 4 schools to send your scores to.

What Happens During & After the GRE Test

The GRE test taking time lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes. After you finish your third section, you will get a ten-minute break. This is your chance to munch on your snacks stored in your locker as well as use the restroom.  You will sign a form when you exit the test center as well as when you reenter after your break. You will receive a one-minute break after each following section of the GRE, which are optional but recommended.

How to View and Send Your Scores

The GRE is unique because once you finish, you will be able to view your unofficial scores immediately for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. They are technically “unofficial” but this is most likely the score you’ll get officially in a few weeks. Once you look at your scores, you can then choose whether or not you want to send it to the schools you indicated before taking the test.

If you consider retaking the GRE, check out the upcoming GRE test dates.

Good luck on test day! We know you’ll rock the GRE!