In most parts of the world, the GRE is a computer-based test, which makes it easier to administer to individual test-takers. Sign up early so you can choose the day, time, and place that work best for you. If you’re a morning person who’s sharpest at sunrise, you can schedule the test for early morning; if you’re a night owl who tends to sleep in, you can opt for late morning or early afternoon. Actual time slot availability varies according to the testing center, but you have more days and times to choose from than you do with paper-and-pencil tests, such as the LSAT and SAT.
The paper and computer versions of the GRE are slightly different. For example, the paper version has 25 questions per section, while the computer version has only 20. Don’t worry too much about the differences; your only option will most likely be to take the computer version.
To sign up for the GRE, see the current GRE Information and Registration Bulletin (available through most college admissions offices), register online at www.ets.org, or register via phone by calling 800-473-2255. You can also check the GRE testing center locations and available time slots at www.ets.org.
Because the computerized GRE is administered to individual test-takers, testing centers tend to have few seats, and those seats fill up quickly during peak admission deadline months (April and November). If you’re planning to take the GRE around these months (to get your test scores in on time), schedule your test early and secure your ideal time slot. You can always reschedule, but the last thing you need is an inconvenient time or location. One of my students waited until the last minute to schedule his exam, and he had to drive from Phoenix to Tucson (approximately 120 miles) to take his GRE and get his scores in on time. He called me during his drive to review math formulas, but this wasn’t an ideal way to ramp up for the test.