If you are preparing for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), you already know that it is intensive and requires a lot of dedication and practice. Many people take this exam because it is widely recognized by many educational institutions worldwide and is an effective signal to grad programs that you are ready to excel in them. Because of the onset of the pandemic and how life has changed so drastically due to COVID-19, the GRE is also widely popular because they offer the opportunity to take the exam online.
That being said, it can be quite strenuous and stressful for those unfamiliar with the GRE, have not taken standardized tests in a few years or who are not great at taking tests in general. Students are often looking for tips and useful strategies to make the best use of their time while practicing for taking the GRE. With 1,000s of websites and tons of information available on this topic, it is hard to figure out the tips that can really help you during the preparation. In this guide, we are going to share some of the most useful GRE preparation tips that may be most helpful
Identify Your Struggling Point
Just like with any form of studying, it’s important to start off by assessing your abilities. You need to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are so you know how to manage your time and where to put in the extra effort. There will be sections that you are naturally stronger in and there are going to be other areas where you will struggle. This means that you need to identify the sections that seem most challenging to you and focus your key study time on them. It is important that you figure out the struggling point from the very beginning to be efficient in your test prep. You will need to spend more time on the sections you struggle in, loom for tips online or try to better understand the material and retest yourself several times over the course of a few weeks. So it is better to spot them as soon as you start preparation.
Mimic the GRE to Ace it
This tip lays the foundations of your GRE preparation. If you use practice materials that absolutely mimic the difficulty level of the actual GRE test, you will get plenty of experience on how to handle the exam early on and be comfortable on test day. Some of the best materials that you can get are the ones from ETS because it is the direct source of the GRE and so you are taking actual GRE questions. Similarly, there are also a number of online sources that offer the best GRE prep books that provide you with plenty of information and old problems. By trying to simulate actual testing conditions with old test problems you can mimic the test to prepare yourself fare more effectively. You will feel more comfortable with the time constraints and less stressed when you take the real thing. While it is important that you get some of the popular GRE preparation books, practicing with them consistently is the real key that can earn you the points that you dream of.
Figure Out a Goal Score for Yourself
If you do not have a score you are using as your goal, it is hard to maintain focus and benchmark your improvements toward something. Having a clear goal score in mind will give you something tangible to work towards with dedication and motivation. Your goal score is in accordance with the program that you are interested in and is realistic. Therefore, being clear about the goal score is the most important thing as it helps you map out the journey clearly.
Have a Customized Study Plan
Prep for the GRE takes times. Common advice is to spend 90 minutes studying 5 times per week for example. While you can get several study plans online or you can ask a friend about the study program that they are following, there is a good chance they will not work for you. You have your own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important that you come up with a personalized plan to prepare for the GRE. As noted earlier, there are going to be sections in the GRE that need more time from you or some concepts will require you to have extra help. For the GRE, you need to be good in content comprehension, format and be strategic as well. If you very fast at tackling most sections, you will have more time to focus on more difficult areas. If you are like most people however you will need to think about how much time you can budget to each area.
The GRE is one of the most sought-after tests globally, and to ace it, you need to work hard but most importantly you need to develop a plan for studying over several weeks, getting comfortable with the format and time limits, mastering easier areas and identifying weak spots. Using real questions and mimicking testing conditions is essential as noted. The tips we’ve provided here will go a long way in helping you prepare and go confidently for the test. Finally, it is also important to be strategic about what you are working towards. Set a realistic but aspirational GRE score, keep both the test and this goal score in relative perspective in your head, and devise a study plan that works for you.