When it comes to studying for the GRE neither magic formulae nor tricks work - planning and preparation are the keys to a top score. Success on the GRE preparation is all about putting in the time, effort and dedication required to ace the test. If you stick to your goals and study plan, you can get the score you aim for. Think of your GRE preparation as a prelude to your Masters - an intense and focused experience that needs priority!
Before you decide on an approach to prepare for the GRE, take time out to understand the details of the exam. You need to review the topics and question types that are tested, understand section adaptive testing, and know the exam guidelines and requirements. It is also important to understand the test pattern and the concepts tests so that targeted study plan can be adopted and followed.
Setting a target score will motivate and keep you focused throughout your preparation. Review Grad schools and set a target based on their GRE score requirements. Take a diagnostic test to see how much work you need to put in to achieve your target GRE score. Taking the diagnostic is important as it will help you assess about your strengths and weaknesses. Equally important is a detailed analysis of the diagnostic test to identify strong and weak areas. It is advisable to take the help of an expert or mentor in analysis.
Introspect your personal learning style – if you can put in the long hours required and prepare your own study plans then self- preparation, an online course, or access to reliable test preparation books and tests is a safe bet for you. Choose a GRE prep course if you prefer structured classes or in-person sessions, have been out of a learning environment for some time, or require guidance and mentoring. Look at provenance of teachers, online resources, and quality of content while taking a decision to join a prep course.
GRE Preparation takes time - one of the most limited resources at your disposal. Think about how much time you have to prepare for the GRE, not just how many months you’ll study, but how much time you can set aside per week to prep for the GRE. Stick to the commitment you’ve made to your GRE prep else you will find yourself procrastinating. Make sure that you have enough time in hand to practice & prepare for the GRE.
Regardless of the method you use to study for the GRE, you must constantly review your study plan, play on your strengths and work on your challenges. Know the concepts and how they are tested on the GRE. You’ll be surprised to know how some of most tricky questions on the GRE actually test very basic fundamentals. In Quant sections always do time consuming & wordy problems in the end. In Verbal work on your vocabulary as vocab based questions test not just the literal meaning but also the contextual meaning of words . Assess your GRE progress at regular intervals and amend your plan regularly. It is important to do regular & consistent practice of all the question types
Take simulated tests and do not be tempted to skip the Analytical Writing Sections. The GRE is a test of mental and physical endurance and unless you take full-length tests you will not be ready for the real test experience. Test reviews are also critical to improving scores; consistency is the key to high scores and you need to pay particular focus to time management during the test.
Test-day pressures will only get in your way. Strong GRE test takers take the exam with a positive approach - they believe they are prepared and have confidence in their abilities. Remember the GRE preparation is not an indication of your ability rather it’s a reflection of how well you took the test!