It is not a day’s task to prepare for GRE test, this means you have to practice and combine weeks of learning to come out successful. Cramming for the GRE test is a total waste of time because GRE tests are based on patterns and not normal facts in other exams. Therefore, the only way to excel in your GRE test is to practice. Our team over the years have understood the fact that everybody has different study capabilities.
This means some students may be able to prepare faster than others but to prepare to excel, we recommend between 4-12 weeks of practice and learning before the actual GRE test. This will give you a clear chance to get higher performance score in your exams.
Best Way to Prepare for GRE
From our research, we have found that proper preparation for GRE tests takes a few simple but very essential steps. These steps have been adopted by some popular GRE prep schools, but will also be very effective with personal focus and dedication.
Focus on “What’s on the Tests” with a Diagnostic Test
You have probably heard that the GRE test has the math and verbal section. Instead of just studying math or verbal, get familiar with the kinds of questions asked on the math section and the verbal section alike. This way, you are not preparing for math and verbal test, but the GRE.
Determine your baseline with Practice Tests
Finding your baseline score is the first step to preparing for your GRE test; as it helps you design a study plan that helps you focus on areas that need improvement. You can take a full-length practice test, under the same conditions as the actual GRE tests and use your results as a guide to improving areas that you have issues with.
Determine a Target Score
With your GRE tests coming up, you are most likely eying one or more graduate programs. You can compare the most recent GRE scores average of the programs you have interest in, to your practice GRE score and determine whether you are close to the average score, past it or below.
With your target score determined, your readiness to improve your preparation and meet the required scores will be improved.
Use Advanced Learning Methods
Be it an online prep GRE courses, in-person GRE lessons or GRE prep textbooks (self-preparation), you need a good preparation plan to hold you accountable and keep you focused on your target.
You should know the learning environment that you feel comfortable with, but if you don’t, discover the learning technique and pattern that works for you with a little research, so you don’t work under pressure.
Try New Practice Techniques and Drills
Study your approach to each question on the practice tests and drills. Focusing on just the results may only improve your way of taking the practice tests, so you need practice for time management and your approach to answering and solving questions.
Although this step may not seem important to you, we recommend it as one of the most common reasons for GRE failure is lack of time management. It is advisable to skip questions that seem too difficult for the next, so you have enough time to answer the ones that seem easy and return to the skipped questions if you have time left.
Examine Your GRE Practice Results
Always examine your performance after taking practice tests, so you can determine the kinds of questions you consistently find difficult and the ones you ace. This will help you create a good practice schedule that focuses more on your weaknesses.
To be completely ready for test, we advise that you review your performance with an instructor or coach and come up with a plan that will aid better preparation.
Develop your GRE Vocabulary
In the verbal sections, you have to deal with vocabularies which are an important part of the GRE tests. You can improve many words that will possibly be on the GRE by reading academic journals, newspapers and magazines as well as other standard publications.
We advise that you add new words you come across on the practice tests to your list as they have been used before and may be used again.
Get Comfortable with or without Calculator
Although the on-screen calculator is provided to candidates on the GRE, it has its downsides as well as its perks if used correctly. We have learnt that using the calculator promises accuracy, but if not properly manages could cause distraction and time-wasting.
Other Contextual Practices
From our research, we have learnt that revising on topics like statistics, probability, arithmetic, geometry and algebra are great for the Quantitative (Math) Reasoning section of the GREs, however, you should expand your study materials and stick to the values (+1,0,-1) as well as positive and negative fractions.
For the Verbal Reasoning, practice more difficult Reading Comprehensions and study answer explanations as a question may have 2 or more likely answers but the explanation on why one is likely the correct option and the other isn’t, will help determine the correct answer.
When writing an essay on the test, you must be aware that the examiners are not focused on how much of a creative writer you are, but are testing you for correct/perfect grammar, sensible structure and articulation. Always use simple language and regular vocabularies for easy understanding and proofread what you write.
It is normal to think that self-prep for the GREs are a waste of time since you will keep pushing work off anyway. If you opt for self-preparation, then your weapon is self-discipline and dedication. Plan a smartly prepared schedule for yourself and keep to it.
Do your drills when you should but make sure don’t overstress your brain and take frequent practice GRE tests to help monitor your progress. If you need that extra push from GRE prep coaches and instructors, you should carefully search for a GRE Prep Course (We highly recommend Magoosh) whose techniques you can adapt to and also improve your preparation with other self-prep practices.