What to Bring and Leave at Home on GRE Test Day

Part of the GRE For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The GRE proctors are strict about the items you’re allowed to bring into the testing center. Make sure you come prepared on test day by bringing all these things:

  • ETS authorization voucher: Bring the verification that says you’ve signed up for the exam on this day, at this time, here at this location. If the testing center makes a mistake and loses your reservation, you need to show that you’ve actually reserved this time.

  • Comfortable clothes: Testing centers tend to crank up the A/C. The last thing you want is to be shivering during the exam. Wear two layers of long-sleeve clothing, and you can always remove one if you’re warm.

  • Map or directions to the testing center: The GRE is intense enough; let the drive there be easy, especially if your test is in the morning, putting your drive in the midst of rush-hour traffic. You may also want to scope out the area ahead of time and find parking.

  • Photo ID: The GRE testing centers sport some tight security. You may not be allowed to take the test unless you can verify who you are.

  • Water and a snack: Your break is 10 minutes, some of which is spent checking back in when you return from the restroom. You don’t have time to go grab something. Bring water and a snack so you can use your precious few minutes getting refreshed. Some testing centers give you access to your locker during your break, and some don’t. But the proctors always tell you where you can leave your food and water.

The GRE proctors are also strict about the items you can’t bring into the testing center. If you have any of these items with you, you’ll be asked to keep them in your locker while taking the exam:

  • Books and study notes: You’re not allowed to use books or notes, so why bring them? Leave them in your car or at home. One student almost had his scores cancelled because he took a text book out of his locker during his break. Fortunately, he didn’t open the book, so he was allowed to keep his scores, which was good, because he had scored well.

  • Cellphone and wallet: Your cellphone and wallet stay in the locker while you’re taking the GRE.

  • Calculator: If you bring a calculator, it too will stay in the locker. The GRE provides a computerized calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning sections, so you don’t need to bring one.

  • Your own scratch paper: The proctors will take away anything you bring and provide their own scratch paper for you to use.

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