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Test Center Procedures and Regulations

General Procedures and What to Do Before You Arrive at the Test Center

  • Dress so that you can adapt to any room temperature.
  • Report to the test center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. If you arrive late, you may not be admitted and your test fee will be forfeited.
  • Food, beverages, tobacco and e-cigarettes are not allowed in the testing room.
  • Weapons and firearms are not allowed in the test center.
  • Test-related information written on clothing, footwear, ID documents or on any part of the body is prohibited.
  • Unless an inspection is required for use or possession of an unauthorized aid during the test session, removal of footwear is prohibited in the testing room.
  • If you have health-related needs that require you to bring equipment, beverages or snacks into the testing room or to take extra or extended breaks, you need to follow the accommodations request procedures described in the GRE® Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs.
  • The test administrator will assign you a seat.
  • You are required to remain in the test center building. It is your responsibility to ask the test administrator for permission to leave the test center vicinity — for example, to go to the nearest restroom. If you leave the test center without permission, you may be dismissed, your test fees may be forfeited, and your scores may be canceled.
  • Friends or relatives who accompany you to the test center will not be permitted to wait in the test center or be in contact with you while you are taking the test. Except for ETS-authorized observers, visitors are not permitted in the testing room while testing is in progress.
  • The testing session will be actively monitored by test center staff. This includes staff walking around and entering and leaving the testing room.

    Note: ETS reserves the right to take appropriate action and/or notify appropriate authorities including, but not limited to, law enforcement authorities, if a test taker responds in a threatening or disturbing way to essay questions or communicates with ETS either verbally or in writing in a threatening or disturbing manner.

The Test Session

The following procedures and regulations apply during the entire test session, which begins at sign-in, ends at sign-out and includes breaks.

  • Plan to be at the test center up to four and a half hours.
  • You will be required to read and sign a confidentiality statement at the test center agreeing to all rules and regulations. If you do not sign the statement, you cannot test and your test fees will not be refunded.
  • You may be required to sign a test center log before and after the test session and any time you leave or enter the testing room.
  • The test administrator will provide you with scratch paper for use during the test. Scratch paper is not to be used before the test or during breaks. During the test, if you have used all of your scratch paper, you must return it to the test center staff in order to receive more. You cannot remove a page or portion of the scratch paper at any time. All paper, in its entirety, must be returned to the test center administrator at the end of the testing session.
  • The GRE General Test uses a standard English-language (QWERTY) computer keyboard. It takes its name from the first 6 letters in the third row of the keyboard. If you haven't used this kind of keyboard before, practice on one before test day to become familiar with it.
  • If at any time during the test you have a problem with your computer, or for any reason need the administrator, raise your hand.
  • Testing premises are subject to video recording.
  • The GRE General Test includes an optional 10-minute break after the third section and one-minute breaks between the remaining sections of the test. These break times cannot be exceeded. You are required to remain in the test center building or in the immediate area. You are not permitted to go outside the test center building unless it is to use the restroom during the test administration, including breaks.
  • If you need to leave your seat at any time other than the break, raise your hand; timing of the section will not stop.
  • You will have access to an on-screen calculator during the Quantitative Reasoning sections.
  • Personal calculators are not permitted in the testing room.

Security and Inspection Procedures

  • ETS respects individuals’ privacy and has implemented procedures to ensure that the check-in process is completed in a respectful manner. ETS reserves the right to ensure the security of test content by using electronic detection scanning devices (e.g., handheld metal detectors/wands) and may also employ additional security measures such as visual inspections for unauthorized testing aids or other wearable technology. Test takers should be prepared to undergo these security measures to ensure a fair testing environment. Failure to comply may result in dismissal from the test and forfeiture of your test fees.
  • You may be asked to empty your pockets, raise your pant legs above your ankles, pull up your sleeves above your wrists for visual inspection, and you may be scanned with a handheld metal detector wand. You may also be required to remove your eyeglasses for close visual inspection. Additional visual inspections of clothing, footwear, and ID documents may also be conducted. Such inspections are conducted during check-in and upon return from breaks. You may request that the inspections be performed by a staff member of the same gender and/or in an area sheltered from the view of other people. Test center staff will make every effort to accommodate such requests, but ETS cannot guarantee that all test centers will have the necessary staff and space available. If you wish to request a security screening done in private and/or by a staff member of the same gender, please contact ETS at:

    1-800-750-6991 (toll free for test takers in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada)
    1-609-406-5430 (all other locations) Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. ET, except U.S. holidays

Personal Items

  • Personal items other than ID documents are not allowed in the testing room and cannot be accessed during the break, except for food, beverages or medication. This includes any phones; tablets; all wearable technology; all watches; and any other electronic, recording, listening, scanning or photographic devices. If you are seen using or accessing any of these electronic devices and/or transmitting data, including but not limited to text messaging, email and photographs, your device may be inspected and/or confiscated.
  • Phones must be turned off prior to testing. You may not access your phone during the test or during breaks to check messages, make a call or to check the time, or for any other reason.
  • Before the test, you will receive instructions from test center staff regarding where to store personal items.
  • Jewelry is prohibited, except for wedding and engagement rings. Do not wear other jewelry to the test center.
  • Clothing and other personal items that include, but are not limited to, hair accessories, neckties, bowties, hats, scarves, jackets and outerwear are subject to inspection by the test center administrator. Refrain from wearing such items as tie clips, cuff links, ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands and other hair accessories on test day, as you may be prohibited from wearing them in the testing room.
  • If you fail to follow the instructions of the test center staff, you will not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded. Any violation of this procedure during the test or during breaks may result in dismissal from the test and/or cancellation of scores.
  • Test centers and ETS assume no responsibility for personal items, including watches, jewelry or devices that you choose to bring into the test center.

If Your Test Session Is Canceled or Delayed

On occasion, weather conditions or other circumstances beyond the test administrator or ETS's control may require a delayed start or the rescheduling of your test appointment. In such cases, you will be offered the opportunity to schedule another test appointment free of charge or receive a full refund of the original test fee. In addition, you may seek reimbursement from ETS for reasonable and documented expenses associated with traveling to the test center. To request reimbursement, contact GRE Services with the following information within 30 days of your original appointment:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • mailing address
  • daytime telephone number
  • email address
  • original test date
  • appointment number and
  • a brief description of what occurred at the test center

All reimbursements will be made in U.S. dollars.

Score Reporting

  • At the end of the test, you will be given the option to report or cancel your scores. If you choose to report your scores, those scores will become a part of reportable history and cannot be canceled. Although you have the option to cancel your scores, consider very carefully before doing so because the score reporting choices available with the ScoreSelect® option allow you to report only the scores that you feel reflect your personal best. Your scores will be reported to GRE score recipients only at your request. If you choose to report your scores, you will be able to view your unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores at the test center. Because of the essay scoring process, you will not be able to view your Analytical Writing scores at the test center.
  • Test centers cannot provide printed copies of unofficial score reports.
  • After you view your scores at the end of the test, you will be asked to designate your score recipients and choose the ScoreSelect option regarding which scores should be reported (Most Recent or All scores).
  • If you do not select score recipients on the test day, or you would like to send your scores to more than four score recipients, you will need to submit an Additional Score Report request for a fee of US$27 per score recipient. See Ordering Additional Score Reports.

Reporting Suspicious Behavior

ETS takes test security very seriously. Although tests are administered under strict supervision and security measures, testing irregularities may sometimes occur. Please contact ETS as soon as possible to report any irregular behavior that is either observed or reported to you — for example, someone copying from another test taker, taking a test for someone else, having access to test questions before the exam, or using notes or unauthorized aids. All information will be held in strictest confidence. Reports of cheating will be investigated thoroughly and offenders may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the applicable laws.

1-800-353-8570 (United States U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada only)
1-609-406-5430 (All other locations)

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