Hi, I'm a UK student who wants to do a Phd in a year (after I finish my MSc). I'm a little bit puzzled about the status of the GRE in physics at US institutions. Looking at some webpages it seems as if the GRE is always mandatory, and that they use it as a major way of discriminating between candidates. I can understand this attitude towards US applicants, because I believe the methods of assessment for undergraduates are less formal (for example the lecturer giving students a grade based on their coursework assessments). However in the United Kingdom people are formally assessed (and ranked) among the others in their department every single year in university wide examinations. This means at the end of your course you have a full transcript of marks and rankings which could be used to determine your suitability for a Phd. If a person has a very high first class degree (plus a high ranking), or a good mark in an MSc from a good UK university (Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, Durham etc.), it seems a bit unnecessary to get them to spend weeks revising material for an extra examination when they have already provided so much evidence of their suitability for a Phd. I was very keen to apply for Phd study to the US until I realised how much work was needed for the GRE. In particular I would not want it to interfere with my MSc work, and I am now probably just going to apply to UK institutions.