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The Role of Test Scores in Graduate, Business and Law School Admissions

Is there more out there for you? Are you ready to go beyond what is expected to have a career you are passionate about? It’s exciting to think where a graduate degree could take you, both professionally and personally. And just by being here, and reading this, you have already taken a big step on the journey to a more fulfilling future.

Test scores required by graduate, business and law programs play a very important role in your application and beyond. Here, we’ll explore that role and offer some valuable tips as you start to bring the idea of a graduate-level degree to life.

Why Do I Have to Take an Admissions Test?

Most schools require GRE® scores, or scores from other tests, and for good reason. A standardized test is one of the only common, objective measures that admissions officers can use to compare applicants from varied educational backgrounds. Admissions committees rely on tests like the GRE® General Test to confirm your readiness for graduate-level course work. As an added bonus, some schools also consider test scores when awarding scholarships and assistantships.

Think of the GRE General Test as one piece of your overall application that, when viewed together with your essays, interviews and letters of recommendation, helps provide the most complete picture of you as an applicant. While your personality and diverse experience will shine in other components, the test is where you will prove you have the academic skills that are important to graduate program success.

Application Components

Chart outlining various components of a graduate school application.

How Can the GRE General Test Help Me?

Now that you have insights into how your test scores are used in the admissions process, let’s look at how the GRE General Test can help you.


The GRE General Test is the only graduate admissions test that can be used to apply to a range of master’s, MBA, specialized business master’s, JD and doctoral programs. This means you only need to take one test to have every option available to you. Watch this video to hear more.

Also worth noting, GRE scores are good for five years, so you have time to decide on the program that fits you best! Read more about sending your best scores to schools.

The testing experience also is more personalized. While other graduate-level admissions tests require you to answer each question in order and do not allow you to see what is ahead or to go back, the GRE General Test gives you more control and freedom. You can apply more of your own test-taking strategies within each section, because you can:

  • change your answers
  • mark questions
  • skip questions and return to them
  • navigate freely

You always have the option to take the test again and send only the scores you want schools to see. You do not have to send your scores if you feel you didn’t do your best! This is called the ScoreSelect® option, and you can learn how it benefits you here.

In addition to being more at ease during the testing experience, submitting GRE scores can actually be a strategic decision that helps round out your application package. Because the GRE General Test covers a range of skills across its three sections, your scores could help fill particular gaps in your experience. For example, if your background is quant-heavy, solid Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing scores will complement those capabilities.

Taking the GRE General Test may even be a way to differentiate yourself among traditional MBA, specialized business master’s and law applicants.

Every aspect of the test is meant to help you show your best, have more options and ultimately pursue the degree and career path of your dreams.

Submitting GRE scores is a strategic decision that can help round out your application package.

Any Tips for Doing Well on the Test?

Now you know that the GRE General Test is structured to help you show your best. How can you do your best? Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Take Practice Tests

Take the practice tests from ETS, the maker of the GRE General Test, because they simulate the actual test experience — and the more familiar you are with the format of the test and the types of questions you will be answering, the better. This also will help you identify areas where you need to focus and come up with a prep strategy that helps strengthen those areas. Start with a POWERPREP® Online test.

Use Official Prep Materials

The GRE Program offers a range of materials to help you prepare for each section of the test. Explore prep resources.

Understand the Features

As mentioned above, the GRE General Test has several features that can help you test your best. It’s important to be aware of and take full advantage of these features so you can put more of your own test-taking strategies to work.

Don’t Go It Alone

Join the GRE General Test on Facebook®, Instagram®LinkedIn® and our LinkedIn page for business school, for test information, advice, offers and preparation resources. You may even find comfort and motivation in connecting with other graduate school applicants who are going through the same experience!

If you have a dream and the desire to reach boldly for your full potential, you are on the right path. The GRE General Test is accepted at thousands of graduate-level programs, including those ranked among the best in the world, and scores are good for up to five years. It is thrilling to know that with GRE scores, you will have your choice of pursuing an MBA, specialized business master’s, law or other graduate degree to help take your career to the next level.

Are You Ready to Jump In?

Learn about the registration process and check test locations and dates today!