GRE Prep: Thinking About Grad School? Here’s How to Prepare

The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a standardized exam required by many graduate programs in Canada and the United States. Graduate school exams like the GRE aim to test a student’s executive reasoning skills, which is believed to tell a lot about their ability to solve problems and analyze data, as well as to think critically.

Here are some preparation tips to help you ace the GRE:

1. Take Practice Tests

There are many ways you can benefit from taking practice GRE tests, including the following:

  • You can use the results you get from practice tests to design a study plan. The results will tell you what types of questions you’re not good at and which ones you can do great.
  • You have the chance to get the feel of the exam, including the time pressure and the test format.
  • You’ll add more to your knowledge while you review the test and check your mistakes.
  • Try to simulate the real test by taking it under the same time and without any interruptions.
  • Set aside four hours for the practice test, including the essays. If you plan not to include the essays, ensure that you have three hours for the test.
  • Have one and a half hours to review your test results as soon as you can.

2. Read, Read, and Read

One of the integral parts of the GRE is its Verbal section. To improve your vocabulary, you need to give yourself plenty of materials that are worth reading. It’s a good idea to fill your head with new words by reading journals and magazines. List down new words that you encounter on your practice test and check out their meanings.

Reading passages in the GRE needs you to be a versatile reader of different materials so it’s important to familiarize yourself with various texts. You can also consider getting expert help through a tutor or tutorial services.

3. Understand Your Weaknesses

In preparing for any test, it’s more practical to devote more time on areas that you find more challenging than on subjects you’re already good at. If you’re better in words than in numbers, it would be better to practice solving some math problems and being familiar with various match concepts. Similarly, you should practice more on crunching words and analyzing passages if you’re already good in math.

The results of your practice GRE tests should let you know your problem areas. This knowledge will help you create a balanced study plan, which aims to improve your weaknesses. With consistent effort, you can adjust in no time and see yourself improving.

In polishing your strong areas, try choosing study materials that will help improve your stock knowledge. You want to challenge yourself into working on concepts that will enhance your skills in this area.

4. Create and Follow a GRE Study Plan

The time needed to prepare for the GRE may differ among people, but a good three to five months of preparation is highly recommended. What’s important is to design a study plan and follow it. If you have learned great Math skills in college and have developed a wide vocabulary from voracious reading, you may not need as much preparation than those who were not inclined in these areas. However, you should never be too confident and neglect preparations for GRE.

Design a study plan that includes all sections of the exam and assign a time for each one. Know that your success depends mostly on your efforts so it’s essential that you seriously follow your study plan.

  • Record Your Progress: This part of the preparation is important in giving you an overview of your improvement. It will determine if your study plan is effective or not. Regular measurement of your progress should be done to help you fix any ineffective study techniques.
  • Practice More: As with developing any other skill, practice is your best friend. If you feel you need to brush up on your algebra or trigonometry, find study materials to help you do this. With constant practice, you should see yourself improving, which will be useful not only for GRE, but for more advanced studies as well.

Final Thoughts

Finally, you’d want to stay positive during the review and when taking the GRE. Being prepared should give you more confidence that your exam will have positive results. It may also be a good idea to check out the test center a few days prior to the exam to give you an idea of the travel time and ensure that you don’t come in late. If you’ve practiced a lot during your review, then there’s nothing to worry about.