Prep Material for GRE

How to Assess a GRE Preparation Material?

Preparation for a competitive exam depends highly on the kind of preparation materials that are used by the aspirant. Only when the concepts and ideas about the related topics are clear, can one assure oneself of success in the exam- and these concepts are supplied to the aspirants by the study materials. They act as the source of information about the vast syllabi of the competitive exams. It is known to all that success in GRE depends greatly on how well one practices and prepares, but one should also be certain that if the sources which are being used for studies, are not proper, all the hard-work and labour put in by the aspirant can go waste. So, it’s very crucial to verify the preparation material that is being used. Since the time the exam has become popular among students and with the increasing number of applicants, the market is discovered to be flooded with a large variety of preparation materials.

Numerous options are there to be availed by those who want to face the GRE. Following is a brief overview of the various kinds of preparation materials available-

  • Books-
  • Though traditional, books have always been the first choice of students and those preparing for any kind of exams. There are many publishing houses that publish books and study material for test preparation. The books contain notes and lessons based on the syllabus of the exam and also have practice tests which introduce the test pattern to the aspirants. Some of the best known books are by Princeton Review, Kaplan’s and The Big GRE book, which is published by ETS, the creators of GRE.

  • Flash Cards-
  • Flashcards are unique books and carry the important facts and points of preparation materials that are a preference among the GRE aspirants as they are compact, easy to handle and carry along. These come as pull-outs with the the syllabus. With these flashcards in the pocket, one can study anywhere and brush up the learnt facts. These days flashcard software are also available, which can be seen as slides on one’s computer screen.

  • Software-
  • For those who don’t want to spend their time shuffling the pages of preparation materials like books, GRE software is an option. The software has lessons and study notes that are based on the syllabus and also have practice tests and mock exams which give ample amount of practice to the students. Since one learns and practices on the computer wholly, one gets used to the computer-based format of the exam which is mostly preferred nowadays. Powerprep II is the most trusted software among the test aspirants.

  • Online Courses and Materials-
  • Internet today gives solutions to the problems faced by students who don’t have access to books, software or coaching centres in the form of online courses and preparation materials. One only needs to have an internet connection and the entire range of preparation materials comes to one’s computer screen. There are many websites that offer online courses which comprise of in-depth lessons on the syllabus and sample tests and papers for practice on all sections of the test. Many of the recognised websites offer online courses with facilities like lesson videos, one-to-one sessions with the online tutors, group discussions with other aspirants via web, 24x7 tutor counselling etc.

  • Practice Papers (Online/Printed)-
  • A very important part of test preparation, are the GRE practice/ sample papers. All the sources which supply the aspirants with course material for the test, publish mock test papers and sample papers for preparation. These perform the function of making one aware of the test pattern and also monitor the time which is taken in completing each section of the test. These papers can be found in published form and online as well.

    With so many options available, it is certain that one can get confused while making an appropriate choice. But whichever kind of materials might be brought to use by an aspirant, what needs to be kept in mind is that they are authentic and supply genuine information. It has already been discussed how one can suffer adversely, if the information and facts received are not correct. So pay attention to some important factors before establishing trust on any particular kind of  preparation material-

  • The Edition Criterion
  • While selecting the prep aids whether books, software or online courses, one should keep in mind to ensure that it is the latest edition and changes have been made in the content with regards to the revisions in the test syllabus and pattern.

  • Practice Matters

    All GRE aspirants are aware of the fact that practice is the only key to success in this competitive exam. It is practice and only practice that can help one achieve the wonder scores in the final test. So, one should pay attention towards selecting study material and see that there is enough practice material included in it. Practicing doesn’t only help one be thorough with the syllabus and get in touch with the actual pattern of the test; but also helps one master the biggest constraint that one faces - i.e. ‘time’.

  • Self-Suitability
  • No two people can be said to have similar needs and requirements. It is not necessary that if one GRE aspirant can benefit from one kind of study materials, the other aspirant will also have similar experience with that kind of materials. Also, the conditions in which everyone is placed are not similar, so the suitability of study materials and methods also depends on them. So, one should analyse one’s personal needs and capabilities and then opt for a particular kind of study material. Remember:- It is not important how the others achieve the scores in their test, but the way in which you achieve it!

Finally, even though one is getting coaching or guidance from some source, one should keep a track of the latest news and announcements related to the test. Other than putting in blind faith in any particular source, one should try to be on the safe side and be sure of the facts for oneself. This can be done by frequently checking on the official website i.e.- www.ets.org. Being the official website one can be certain that the information conveyed on it about the test, its syllabus, the test pattern, scoring system etc is purely genuine and authentic. It is very important to bear these points in mind while picking up the preparation aids, as without these the entire endeavour of preparation can lay in ruins.