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I have been waiting to register for the GRE Biology subject test because funds were kind of tight, but I went to register today and there are no seats available at any testing centres that are even remotely close to me. The only dates that are available are in April 2014 which will not do me any good as I plan to apply this fall. I checked out the Biochemistry subject test availability because I would feel comfortable writing that one as well but it is all booked. Do I have any options here? Or is my only course to check every day and hope a spot opens up at the testing centre... Any input would be really appreciated, I'm kind of freaking out.

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There is a "standby testing option" (https://www.ets.org/gre/subject/register/accommodations/). It costs a little bit more ($25) but you only pay if you get to write the test. It's not ideal, but you should try for both the Sept and Oct 2013 testing dates.


Did you know that despite the fact that you register for each subject GRE separately, the testing centres are actually all the same and you will just end up in a big room with all the other subject test takers. For example, the people sitting around me when I wrote the Physics GRE were mostly writing Psychology GREs! So you might as well just go for the subject you want/need! 


When I wrote my Physics GRE (in a lecture hall with at least 100 other psychology, physics, math, etc. test takers), there were about 10-20 people who were there on standby and everyone got a seat. The testing centre was actually moved at the last minute (I went to the room indicated on my ticket only to find a note on the door directing me to another room), possibly due to the room reaching capacity. This was for the testing centre at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada.


So, I would suggest that you keep checking back online to see if spots open up (they might move to a bigger room if possible and if the seats fill up). If not, then standby testing is probably a good idea. If you are able to try to do standby for both the Sept and Oct dates, then that would kind of double your chances! I know that standby testing can be a gamble and cost more though -- McMaster was the closest testing centre (but still over 3 hours away) so I had to arrive the night before (or wake up at 4am in order to get there in time). But if you absolutely need to write this test to apply for schools, then this might be worth it. Alternatively, you could try to petition for a supplementary testing centre (see link above) but I don't know if you would qualify.

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Thanks TakeruK, you are always very helpful.


I actually planned on writing at McMaster, I only live about 45 minutes away so it was pretty ideal. I ended up looking for centres in the US (which I didn't think of right away) as I live fairly close to the border and I found a seat at U Rochester which is about 2 hours away. This isn't as ideal as Mac and I'll probably have to go the night before, but it seems better to at least have a date secured than to try for standby. If a seat opens up at Mac it costs the same to switch centres as it does to do the standby registration. I just wish I would have registered two days ago when I checked and there were spots open at Mac! 

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