Computer-based GRE vs. Paper-based GRE

GRE prep

The question often arises among test takers as to which format of the GRE General Test is more desirable to take: the computerized version, or the paper-based version.

Each offers its own unique advantages:

  • The computerized is offered in more locations and scores are available instantly.
  • The paper test is a more traditional/familiar format and allows you to notate on the test itself.

However, with the introduction of the Revised GRE General Test in August 2011, the test makers have essentially made the decision for you by significantly reducing the number of test centers offering the paper-based exam.

For instance, if you are planning to take the General Test anywhere in the United States (and just about anywhere in North America), only the computer-based version is offered. The general rule is that the paper-based exam is now only offered in regions where the computerized version is not, and the number of non-computerized regions is extremely limited.

You can research which version is offered in your area by visiting the ETS website (NOTE: This may require the creation of an ETS account), and then be sure to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the specific format you will take.

Wondering how you can become familiar with the computerized version of the test? ETS' free PowerPrep II software is a great tool you can use.  Test takers preparing for the computer-based GRE can effectively acclimate to the updated computerized interface using PowerPrep II, and feel completely comfortable on test day.

For more information about registering for the computer-based test, click here. For more information about the paper-based test, click here.