How to ace your GRE test day: Proven tips and strategies

Updated on: Jul 5, 2023
How to ace your GRE test day: Proven tips and strategies
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Preparing for the GRE can be a daunting task, but the real challenge lies on the test day itself. It's a high-pressure situation where you have to put all your preparation into action within a limited time frame. However, with the right strategies and preparation, you can approach the GRE with confidence and maximise your chances of success.

In this article, we will discuss some proven tips and strategies to help you ace your exam.

Proven tips to ace your GRE test day

Acing the GRE requires good preparation and a positive attitude. Here are some proven tips and strategies that can help you to ace your GRE test day.

1. Get enough rest

Getting enough rest is crucial to performing well on the GRE. When you're well-rested, you'll be more alert, focused, and able to think clearly. In contrast, lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, stress, and reduced cognitive function. To ensure that you get enough rest, try to establish a consistent sleep schedule in the weeks leading up to the test. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep the night before the test. If you're prone to anxiety or trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

2. Eat a balanced breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast is important to maintain your energy levels and keep you focused during the test. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that can make you feel sluggish or uncomfortable. Instead, choose foods that are high in protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates, such as eggs, whole-grain toast, yoghurt, and fruit. Be sure to eat a meal that you're familiar with and that you know won't upset your stomach.

Also read: How to prepare for the online GRE exam

3. Dress comfortably

Dressing comfortably on test day can help you feel more relaxed and focused. Wear clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather. Layers are a good option, as they allow you to adjust your clothing as needed. Avoid wearing anything that is too tight or restrictive, as it can cause discomfort or distraction. Also, avoid wearing anything that might violate the test centre's dress code, such as hats or excessive jewellery.

4. Arrive early

Arriving early at the test centre can help you avoid any last-minute stress and give you time to familiarise yourself with the test centre and its surroundings. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time to allow for check-in procedures. Make sure to bring all the required identification and documents with you. This may include your admission ticket, a valid photo ID, and any other documents required by the test centre.

5. Bring all required documents and items

Make sure you bring all the necessary documents and items to the test centre. You will need to bring a valid photo ID, your GRE test registration confirmation, and any other documents required by the test centre. You may also need to bring an acceptable calculator, such as a basic or scientific calculator. Check the GRE website to make sure you have everything you need.

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6. Stay calm and focused

The GRE is a long and challenging test, and it's normal to feel some anxiety or stress. However, it's important to stay calm and focused to perform your best. Try to keep your mind clear and focused on the test, and avoid getting distracted by other test-takers or external factors. If you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you've prepared for this. Visualise yourself succeeding and completing the test with ease.

7. Use your breaks wisely

The GRE test includes two 10-minute breaks, one after the third section and one after the sixth section. Use these breaks wisely to recharge, stretch, and clear your mind. Avoid using this time to study or review your notes, as this can increase your stress levels. Instead, use this time to take a walk, eat a snack, or use the restroom. It's important to get up and move around to prevent stiffness or discomfort.

8. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important to maintain your energy levels and mental clarity during the test. Bring a water bottle with you to the test centre and make sure to drink water during the breaks. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or sugary drinks, as these can lead to a crash later on.

9. Don't panic

If you encounter a difficult question or a section that seems challenging, don't panic. Remember, the GRE is designed to test your abilities, and some questions may be more difficult than others. Stay calm and try to use the knowledge and skills you've acquired through your test preparation. If you're unsure of an answer, make an educated guess and move on.

10. Trust your preparation

Finally, trust in the preparation you've done leading up to the test. If you've put in the effort to study and prepare, trust that you have the skills and knowledge to perform well on the test. Don't second-guess yourself or change your strategies at the last minute. Stay focused, stay confident, and trust in your abilities.

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GRE Test-Day requirements


  • Valid photo ID (and backup ID)
  • Authorization Voucher (if applicable)
  • Face mask (check with the test)


  • Directions to test centre
  • Appointment confirmation email
  • Extra long-sleeve layer
  • Snack
  • Bottle of water
  • Up to score recipients (school/programs names)

Things not required

  • Scratch paper
  • Writing implements
  • Calculator
  • Kleenex

Acing the GRE test day requires good preparation, attention to detail, and a positive attitude. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of performing well on the exam and achieving your desired score. With the right mindset and approach, you can maximise your chances of acing the GRE test day.

Topics related to the GRE Test

5 proven tips to ace your GRE home test day

To ensure a successful GRE home test day and maximise your performance, here are 5 tips to help you ace the exam:

1. Familiarise yourself with the test software

Take the time to become familiar with the test software and its features. ETS provides a free PowerPrep practice test with the same software used for the actual GRE. Practice using the software to navigate through the test sections, manage the timer, and become comfortable with the interface.

2. Set up a suitable testing environment

Create a quiet and distraction-free environment for your test. Choose a well-lit room with a comfortable chair and a clean workspace. Remove any potential distractions such as mobile phones, unrelated study materials, or noise sources. Let others in your household know that you'll be taking the test and request their cooperation to minimise interruptions.

3. Test your equipment and internet connection

Ensure that your computer, webcam, microphone, and internet connection are functioning properly. Check the technical requirements provided by ETS and run the system requirements check tool. Test your internet speed to ensure it meets the recommended minimum. It's advisable to use a wired internet connection for a more stable connection during the test.

4. Take breaks strategically

Plan your break time strategically to maximise your performance. The GRE provides one-minute breaks between sections and a 10-minute break after the third section. Use these breaks to stretch, hydrate, and refresh your mind. Avoid overextending breaks or engaging in activities that may disrupt your focus.

5. Stay calm and manage test anxiety

Test anxiety can negatively impact your performance. Develop relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, positive affirmations, or visualisation to manage test-day stress. Remember that feeling a bit of nervousness is normal, but staying calm and focused will enhance your performance.

What documents to bring on your GRE test day

On your GRE test day, it is important to bring the necessary documents to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Here are the essential documents you should bring:

1. Valid photo identification

You must bring a valid and acceptable photo identification document. The identification should be government-issued, non-expired, and include your full name, photograph, and signature. Acceptable forms of identification include passports, driver's licence, national identification cards, and military identification cards. Check the official GRE website for the specific identification requirements.

2. GRE test confirmation email

Bring a printed or electronic copy of your GRE test confirmation email. This email confirms your test appointment and provides important details such as the test centre location, reporting time, and instructions. It is essential to have this information readily available on test day.

3. Test appointment confirmation number

Note down your GRE test appointment confirmation number and have it readily accessible. This number is provided in the confirmation email and is required for check-in at the test centre or to log in for the at-home GRE test.

4. Optional: Test centre directions

If you are taking the GRE at a physical test centre, it can be helpful to have printed or digital directions to the test centre. This ensures you arrive at the correct location on time, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

5. Water and snacks

While not a document, it is advisable to bring water and snacks to stay hydrated and maintain your energy during the breaks. Make sure the snacks are easily accessible and non-disruptive to others.

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Frequently asked questions

How early should I arrive at the test centre?

It is recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled test time. This gives you enough time to check in, complete any necessary paperwork, and get settled before the exam begins.

How long are the breaks during the GRE?

There are two scheduled breaks during the GRE: a 10-minute break after the third section and a 1-minute break between the other sections. You can also take unscheduled breaks, but the clock will keep running during that time.

Can I use a calculator during the exam?

You can use a calculator during the exam, but it must be an acceptable calculator as specified by the GRE test makers. Basic or scientific calculators are usually allowed, but graphing calculators or calculators with a QWERTY keyboard are not allowed.

What if I encounter technical difficulties during the exam?

If you encounter technical difficulties during the exam, such as a computer malfunction, inform the proctor immediately. They will attempt to resolve the issue, and if necessary, they will provide you with a new computer to complete the exam.

Can I bring my phone or other electronic devices to the test centre?

Electronic devices, including cell phones, are not allowed in the testing room. You will need to store them in a designated locker or leave them outside the test centre.

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