Owned by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a test taken by aspiring students who want to study for a Master’s program abroad. The test is designed to measure the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills of the test takers. On an average 320 is considered to be a good GRE score.
As GRE is one test that is today widely accepted across universities not just for masters in science but for law and business streams as well, it is roughly taken by half a million aspirants every year. However only a few achieve the desired score to study at a University/college of their choice.
Everyone has their own way of preparing for an exam. Some spend months while others may choose to adopt a more targeted approach by preparing for it in a shorter period of time. Here in this article, we look at strategies and study plan to follow if you are looking to prepare for GRE in 30 days for a 320+ score. Needless to say with limited time at hand to prepare for the GRE exam this approach requires greater discipline and focus.
Even before you start studying for the GRE exam, as a pre-work you will first need to put a plan in place. With 30 days in hand, clarity on the following points will be your starting point:
Once you have analysed these points and gained clarity on them, it is time to start with the actual study plan. Before commencing there is only one more thing left to do, which is as crucial as the plan itself – Commitment. All the planning, research, organising will go to waste if it’s all on paper with no execution. Sticking to the plan and schedule is vital for success. We are not saying it has to be followed to the tee, but staying on track with the timelines can help you accomplish your goals within the timeline.
During your pre-study phase familiarization is a good place to start. GRE like any competitive exam has its own pattern. To ace the exam it is important to know the exam format to understand how it has been designed and structured. Gaining in-depth knowledge of the GRE exam format will highlight all the important information related to the exam, which otherwise may get ignored.
Instead of completely relying on information taken from others it is always good to spend time gathering the details of the exam yourself. Initial pages of the ETS official guide will give you all the necessary information and overview needed relating to the GRE exam structure. You will learn about the GRE exam pattern, various sections, scoring and question types.
Before the preparation, your baseline score will tell you, what score you would have received if you were to take the GRE test today. This is vital for you to know, as this will bring out your subject and section-wise strengthens and weaknesses. The practice test will provide the testing environment similar to the real GRE test. Thus, the result will give you a clear picture of the subjects you are good at and the ones you need to pay more attention to.
Taking the practice test will also help you familiarize yourself with the ETS question’s style and pattern.
These are full-length scored tests available on the ETS website to help applicants prepare for the computer-delivered GRE General Test. The practice tests are designed to help one understand the content, types of questions, gain familiarity with testing tools and scoring. There are three tools to help you get familiarize with the GRE exam:
POWERPREP Test Preview Tool – This free tool is meant to familiarize you with the format and structure of the GRE test.
POWERPREP Online – The tool contains 2 free practice tests that simulate the actual test.
POWERPREP PLUS Online – Three official practice tests (sold separately), containing a different set of never-before-published real tests for students to practice.
Manya Education has successfully prepared thousands of students for GRE exams over the years. They have full-length GRE mock tests designed by experts for aspirants to help them understand where they stand in terms of their knowledge on each section of the GRE exam. One can take a full-length GRE Free practice test to have an opportunity to not only familiarize with the actual GRE test format but also with the use of various tools like the Mark button, review screen, essay tools, online calculator and more. There are paid versions available which we advise you to take at later stages of your study plan to track your progress as you prepare for the GRE exam.
Once you have your first mock test score, you will have clarity on the subjects and sections you are strong with and the ones that require more of your time and focus to improve on them. Basis this information, now is the time to make your actual schedule which will go – week, day, and hour-wise.
As a general rule there are two things to be followed for making any study plan:
If the result of your mock test tells you that your math is strong and the verbal section is weak, pick verbal as the section with specific topics to focus on first to learn and practice in the first week. For example, if you study for 3 hours a day learning a topic, spend the remaining hours practicing what you have learned.
Pick the weakest section first. For example – if it is reading comprehension, spend time on learning techniques to improve your speed and then practice the tips and tricks learned that very day. Do not leave it for another day as that will impact your retention power. First practice by taking mock tests meant to help you with the RC section and then move on to practice with previous year’s question papers.
Apart from taking official practice tests, you will have to put your learning to practice in your everyday life. For instance-to improve your reading speed, make sure you read one long article from the editorial section of a newspaper daily. Time yourself to see how you improve applying the techniques learned during your study period.
TIP– Irrespective of what section you pick to focus on from Day 1 start working on your vocabulary. There is no way one can spend a week on vocab. alone to achieve the desired target. Make it a habit to learn at least 70-80 new words a day. An approach to follow is the mnemonic strategy. For example, associate words with objects or images that will help you to recall the words and their meanings. You can use flashcards or can also study prefixes and suffixes and word roots with meanings so that you remember them. There are several online tools available to assist you with learning new words like – The Manya Vocab Builder, which is an online tool that will empower you to learn words associated with the GRE exam faster.
The more targeted approach you take the higher your chances of success. Avoid worrying about other topics at this stage as it will only distract you and divide your attention to what needs your immediate focus.
As time is limited you will have to move to the next topic or section that most requires your attention. If it is quantitative questions in the quant section, you know requires your focus, start with the preparation right away in week 2.
Pick the best prep book that suits your need to learn the techniques and practice for the subject. There are plenty of books and guides available, basis feedback we recommend-
These are three trustworthy and reliable sources to learn and practice for the quant section.
Though there will be a calculator provided for the actual GRE test as part of the on-screen display do not totally depend on it. Learn mental math techniques do to simple and basic calculations to save time to decrease your dependability on the digital calculator.
Alongside practicing for the quant section, it is now time to start maintaining an error log. An error log is a record of topics, which you may not be getting right, even after learning the formulas during your practice. Keep the error log organised topic wise will make it easy for you to remember where you need additional support. Basis the error log and time in hand you can decide what kind of extra support you require – face to face training, live online classes or targeted subject and topic wise resources designed by GRE test prep experts.
So far you have spent Week 1 and 2 on familiarizing yourself with the GRE exam pattern and strengthening weak areas with significant time spent on putting your learning to practice.
At the start of week 3, Day-1 take it a little easy and revise whatever you have learned in the previous two weeks. Take a mock test to see the progress made on those topics in comparison to your last mock test.
Week 3 should be dedicated to topics that you think you are comfortable with and will only need a little more practice for you to master them. For example- if it is the Analytical Writing section you understand well but feel the need to learn more techniques to hone your skills around it, pick that topic to focus on in week 3. The idea at this stage is to strengthen the areas you know well and practice more.
If you are working on the Analytical Writing section, learn all you can about strategies to apply for scoring well in this section. Pick the task you think needs more attention- the “analyze an issue task or analyze and argument task. Though they are complimentary, practice the type you feel needs more attention. Generally, it is the argumentative task people feel under confident about.
ETS provides ample support with essay questions from the previous year’s tests for aspirants to practice on. Read the question and answer it with the style you are practicing for using the new words you have been learning every day for your GRE exam since Day-1 of your preparation. Following this practice regularly will help you get more comfortable with the section.
In the remaining time of week 3 regularly visit your error log to master topics one at a time. Pick the least complicated ones first and seek help on the ones that you are not able to learn on your own. As time is limited do not waste time trying to solve problems you know are getting difficult for you.
As soon as you read an article from the practice test, write a quick summary of it on your own, using relevant GRE vocab words that you have learned over the past few weeks. Doing this exercise repeatedly will help you get a better grip on writing essays which will help you handle the AWA section with ease.
The Week has to start with a revision of topics learned in weeks 1, 2, and 3 and practice tests to cement the learning. Week 4 will be about practicing on all the topics that you are confident about. With topics where you do not have to study much, focus on learning techniques to improve your score. As GRE is a timed test, this is the time to see you finish all the sections well within the provided time limit, without stressing yourself out.
You can spend the first half of the week revising and learning techniques. The second half should be dedicated to practice tests alone. Aim to complete at least one test a day if not more during the last remaining days of week 4.
While practicing do not leave any section considering it is easy. If you make this a practice, you may end up timing your exam time incorrectly. Instead of 4 hours, you would only be spending 3 hours to complete the test, with this as a practice, managing time on the exam day might become a challenge.
A day prior to the exam follow what you feel comfortable with. Some people like to revise while others like to relax to prepare themselves for the big day. Follow what suits you to put you in a stress-free zone as you need to give your best the next day to get the score you want.
A 30-day plan is suitable for aspirants who are sure of all the topics and primarily need to brush up on the basics and spend more time practicing on mock tests to familiarize themselves with the real test environment. If you think you need more time, then you should plan accordingly. The idea is to score 320+ to get to the university you want.
Manya Education offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants. Founded in 2002, Manya holds an impeccable track record of enabling more than two lac fifty thousand students to accomplish their study abroad dreams through its network of 45+ centers across India.
Manya has formed long-lasting global alliances with several market leaders in the education industry in order to maximise the benefits of its large service portfolio. Their list of esteemed partners and affiliations includes – The Princeton Review (TPR), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Admissionado, Cogito Hub, British Council, Tuding to name a few. Manya has also forged 600+ partnerships with international universities across top study abroad destinations.
Here at Manya, you can get your desired score with the help of the best GRE coaching with a personalized study plan, student portal, practice tests, detailed score report, drill smart algorithm, and much more. Here, you can access the top GRE scores of Manya Students.
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