Should I Take the GRE as an Undergrad?

Deciding what to do after you finish your undergrad can be stressful. Some people choose to start work full time, some go to graduate school, and some others decide to take a gap year before diving in. Because this is such a big, important decision, consider getting one big obstacle out of the way by taking the GRE or GMAT before you graduate.

Your schedule is probably more flexible in your undergrad than it will be with a full-time job.

For those who do not pursue higher education immediately after completing their undergraduate degree, the most likely path is interviewing for and taking on a full-time job in their field of choice.  This means that you will be away from home for at least eight hours a day, and likely more when you factor in your commute. This leaves few hours each day to study for the GRE or GMAT. Your undergraduate years, on the other hand, are a time when you have free summers and the option to factor free time into your class schedules – time that you could be using to study for the GRE or GMAT.

You’re already in studying mode.

Most college students know the feeling of shutting themselves in the school library until 3am with a textbook, a laptop, a highlighter, and sticky notes, cramming to ace their midterm the next morning. That feeling doesn’t get any easier once you’ve left undergrad – in fact, it’s likely that it will only become more difficult to find the motivation to study. Study for the GRE or GMAT while you’re still in the pattern of studying, and while you still have free school resources like an on-campus library and your library’s online catalogue to help.

You’re prepping every day in your classes.

Even if you’ve never touched a prep book in your life, you’re studying for it every day just by attending your classes! GRE and GMAT skills like logic, evidence evaluation, and passage analysis are all infused into your coursework – after all, the GRE and GMAT are designed to test your success in school. If you know how to ace your college exams, there’s a good chance that you know how to ace the GRE or GMAT, too.

You’ll be left with extra time to concentrate on other qualifications.

Graduate school applications aren’t easy, and there’s way more to them than just your test score. Take the GRE or GMAT early on, and you’ll have lots of time to research the best schools and programs and work on your application essay, letters of recommendation, and even the final grades that go into your GPA – while also having a blast during your senior year.

GRE and GMAT scores are valid for 5 years.

Don’t want to go straight to graduate school after you finish your undergrad? No problem! GRE and GMAT scores are valid for up to five years, so as long as you decide to use them within that time frame, taking the exam while an undergraduate is still a safe bet.
While it may initially seem overwhelming, taking the GRE or GMAT as an undergraduate can ensure that you are securely on the path that you want to be on when you leave your undergrad behind.

Raina Kadavil has been a Lead Student Brand Ambassador with Kaplan for two years, and is also an SAT Tutor with Kaplan. She is a senior at Boston University studying International Relations and works as an Events Marketing Specialist for BOARD Americas. She is also the CEO of Urban Refuge and the author of “The Voice of Thunder.”