What to bring to the GRE test

It’s almost test day, and congratulations are in order. We are hopeful that you are excited, prepared, and ready to ace your test.

We also hope that you had (or will have) enough sleep before your test day; however, while you may have been so focused on learning your GRE content, you may have forgotten one major thing- what to physically bring (or not bring) to the GRE test center.

If you are reading this, then you don’t have to worry. We have prepared a detailed checklist of the items you’ll need to bring with you, things you’ll need to leave behind, and some tips and tricks that’ll help you have the best experience.

We also have answers to some frequently asked questions to help you understand what to expect before, during, and after your test. Read on to find what you’ll need to do to ace your test.

What to bring to your GRE test? 🤔

A cloth face (or medical) mask

woman wearing blue denim jacket holding book

With the global pandemic affecting every part of our lives, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that you stay safe from the COVID-19 virus at all times.

While many GRE centers are currently closed due to the pandemic, some of these centers are open. However, these centers have placed necessary safety measures to ensure that there are little to zero infections.

If you want to have a stress-free experience, the best steps to take would be to ensure that you comply with these safety measures, including putting on a surgical mask. 

Ensure that your mask is comfortable enough to wear for several hours at a time to minimize any unnecessary distractions. You could also check with your GRE center for any other safety measures put in place that could affect your experience while taking the test.

One or more valid forms of identification (ID)

Your ID is your entry ticket to the GRE center and the GRE test creator, the ETS, takes security quite seriously. Thus, you’ll be required to produce your valid Identification documents during the check-in process.

Note that you’ll not be allowed to access the center if you don’t have a valid ID or if your documents are photocopied or expired. Correct forms of identification include:

  • A government-issued driver’s license
  • An international travel passport
  • A valid province/ state/ national ID

Ensure that your last and first names match the names you’ve provided in your GRE registration documents. It could also be good if you checked to ensure that the photograph and signature on your ID match in all documents provided.

It’s always a good idea to bring a different form of an identity document with you if the examination administrator has a problem ascertaining your identity from the first ID card.


You won’t be allowed into the exam room if the details provided in your registration documents don’t match those on your ID.

Authorization voucher or a confirmation email

If your GRE test is computer-delivered, then you won’t be required to produce a test appointment confirmation email from the ETS to do the exam. However, it’s always a great idea to have it with you just in case.


You need your confirmation email if you’re taking a paper-based test. Thus, it’ll be a good idea to print your confirmation email and produce it to the test administrator in case there is any confusion about the test appointment.

Bring your authorization voucher if you received a fee reduction voucher regardless of which type of test you’re taking. You don’t have to bring an authorization voucher if you didn’t receive a waiver of a fee reduction.

Directions to the test center

white and green arrow sign

Getting directions to the test center may seem obvious and easy to do; however, you may experience some hiccups that could slow your progress and (possibly) make you have a rough experience.

For instance, if you’re looking to rely on technology by using your GPS, then there are chances that your phone (or preferred GPS gadget) may break or lose power on the D-day.

You could print out the directions and get a reliable backup if your devices decide to fail you. It also wouldn’t hurt to do a dry run and visit the GRE test center a few days prior.


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Doing this could help reduce some of the anxiety by helping you get familiarized with the building and atmosphere. You could try doing this at the same time and day of the week of your test to get acquainted with how the traffic may affect your commute.

If the test center is far, then a dry run won’t be a great idea; however, you could try and get familiarized with the route and note (using traffic apps) where you may (potentially) get any traffic.

It would also be best to start one hour earlier than planned and arrive at the GRE center thirty minutes before the test. You could use this time to calm your nerves, practice some questions, and put all your documents together.

Going through some practice questions can help you have a better experience during the test.


You won’t be able to play any music during your test. However, it would be a great idea to place familiar songs that calm you down in your playlist to help soothe your nerves or pump you up for the test.

Wear a warm layer of clothes.

The temperature inside the exam rooms may be chillier than you expect. Thus, it would be a good idea to add a warm layer of clothes to help you feel warmer. That said, it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring puffy coats of layered hoodies. Go for something reasonable like a cardigan or a sweatshirt.

Multilayered clothes won’t be allowed in the examination hall, and the officials may ask you to get rid of them.


The officials will take your photo during the check-in process. Therefore, it’ll be a good idea to ensure that you dress appropriately and look your best.

A drink and a snack 🍎

Don’t forget to get an energetic meal before you begin your commute. In addition to this, it would also be a good idea to bring something that you can snack on to help boost your energy during the test.

You could bring a protein bar, a banana, or some dried fruit for your snack and a coffee or energy drink to wash it down. However, take care that you don’t consume what you usually don’t.

For instance, it wouldn’t be wise to drink strong coffee or energy drinks if you don’t usually do. Doing this could make you feel edgy, which could affect your overall performance.

Medication and prescription eyewear

There is a possibility that you may forget some essential items like your prescriptions. This could distract you during the test, making you lose concentration.

You could wear your prescription eyewear during the exam; however, you’ll have to store your medication in a locker provided in the facilities. If you are asthmatic, are a person with a disability, or have any other medical needs. You’ll need to arrive earlier to register as a test-taker with health-related needs or disabilities.


Getting test accommodation will take a minimum of one month or more. Thus, it would be good to plan early on.

Have a minimum of 4 score recipients

You have the option to send your GRE test score for free to 4 recipients (either schools or programs). You don’t have to cram the recipients.

You could look up the code on your computer and send the list. If you aren’t sure where to send the list, you could wait and send the results after you are done. However, you’ll have to pay a 27-dollar fee for each school you send the test to.

What not to bring

  • Don’t bring any non-essential items, including watches, jewelry, or any other accessories.
  • Don’t bring your phone
  • Don’t bring your calculator
  • Don’t try anything new
  • Don’t come with your friends or family members

What to bring to the GRE test: FAQ

How long is the test?

The test takes four hours with one-minute breaks between each section. However, you get a 10-minute break after the third section where you could go snack up and stretch your feet.

What is the testing center like?

The test center ranges between sinister or unnerving to sterile or drab. You’ll have to part with everything you have (apart from the essentials) and place them in a locker that’ll be provided.

Do I need to know the school name or school code I need to send the results to?

You don’t have to cram each school (or their code) you want to send the results to. You’ll be provided with a maximum of four schools that you can send your results to for free.

Wrap Up 🎁

You don’t have to worry about the GRE test if you’ve done your research, studied smart, and prepared adequately. Practice with the study materials and master the test, and you are sure to hit your score goal. Bring you’re A-game and crush the GRE test! 💪