Taking the GRE in Korea

Alright, I’m gearing up for my graduate school applications, so if you’re like me and in the process of applying for graduate school, you’ll likely need to take the GRE if you haven’t done so already. On the ETS website, you can choose a test date and register for the test. You should sign-up early to guarantee a seat on a specific test date. The tests are not offered every day, and there aren’t many dates to choose from!

If, like me, you don’t live in Seoul, you’ll have to make a day (or two-day) trip to the big city. My test date was on a Sunday morning. I arrived in Seoul the morning of Saturday, went shopping, and relaxed at my hotel room. The testing location was on the second floor of the Fulbright Building (KAEC – STN13681A) in Mapo-gu. I had no idea what to expect going in, so here’s some handy information that might help you out.

To get to the Fulbright building, you should take the metro and get off at Gongdeok Station. Head towards Exit 1. Once you’re outside, keep walking straight. You’ll see a Tous les Jours to your left. Pass it and keep walking. After passing by several apartment buildings, you see a corner with a small black sign with white letters that say “공덕파크자이”. Turn left and in front of you, you’ll see a huge Jaehwa Square building! The Fulbright Building is to the right of that building, so make your way to that general area.

Once you get there, you’ll see some papers posted on the wall at the entrance. Look for your name and check which floor your test is on. It’s a good idea to get there thirty minutes before your scheduled test time. For non-Korean test-takers, you must bring your passport. I only brought my resident card and my California Driver’s License. They insisted on a passport, so I had to talk with the manager. She eventually let me take the test, but save yourself the trouble and bring your passport!!!

At the testing location, they provide cubbies for you to put your backpack and jacket. But if you are coming from out of town and you have a large luggage, you might want to consider storing it in a locker at the metro station. At Gongdeok Station, they have very few lockers available for rental. I was only able to find these ones between Exit 6 and Exit 7. It was not difficult to use. Choose the English option and follow the directions.

Before the exam, you might want to eat a small breakfast and/or buy some snacks at the convenience store. On your way to Exit 1, you’ll pass by a Paris Baguette. Along your way to the test site, you’ll also pass by some cafes. There is a Starbucks near the building as well. When you arrive at the testing room, you will be asked to take out your snacks and drink and put it on a small table near the door before storing your backpack in the cubbies.

During the exam, make sure you’re comfortable because you’re going to be in there for a while. You can move your keyboard and slip off your shoes. (The keyboard is located underneath the desk, and I prefer having my keyboard on top of the desk. The proctor said it was fine to move it.) After Section 3, you can take your 10-minute break. Get your snacks, drink a bit of water, use the restroom, and just relax.

The testing room can get pretty warm, especially in the winter. So if you get easily warm like me, you should definitely layer your clothes.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Good luck with your GRE studying and future academic endeavors!

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