Preparing for GRE

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An Ideal Schedule for Preparing for GRE

You have finally decided you want to join a graduate school. Great! Your decision is a big step, but it is not enough! We will discuss what more you need to do, if you really want to join the school. More than everything else, we will discuss how to prepare for GRE.

When you have decided to take up higher education, clearly set yourself a goal, as to which school you want to join and what course you are interested in. When you set up goals, always create some backup goals as well. Choose a few more schools and few more courses in the schools you will be interested in. Never, never, never choose a school or course just because your next door neighbour thinks it is super cool to study there, or your friend suggested that it is the best school. Put your best effort on research before you pick a school or course. Talk to the experts, search online and look for reviews. Make an informed decision and never choose a school or course because you have no other options.

Decided Which School? Now What Next?

When you have decided on the schools and courses, check individually what the schools and the specific course are expecting the scores to be on an average. Add them to your goal sheet. Always aim higher than what the schools are expecting; because you never know how the performance of the students will be when you appear for the test and when you are compared against another student’s percentile schools will definitely not keep their standards low when they get higher performing students.

Keep an Eye on Your Grades

Preparing for the test will be first on priority; there is no doubt about it. At the same time, you must keep your undergraduate grades good and consistent. No school will consider inconsistently performing student at any cost. This is going to be a challenge, especially when at one point of time you are preparing for both GRE and your under-graduation exams. You have to perform here and cross the hurdle if you are really serious about your goals. You work hard, you score. Remember that there are no short cuts here!

Test Pattern - Why Should You Know This?

Understand the GRE test pattern, so you do not have to panic on the test day. The test day is not the day you learn about new test taking tricks, a question pattern or the test day procedures. You are in for a big shock if you leave these until the last day! When you familiarize yourself with the test pattern, you will be able to formulate your plan for preparation for the test. When you are able to devise a plan, you will be able to execute it; and when you execute your plan perfectly there is no doubt that you will perform. When you perform, there is no denying that your dream school will be in your reach!

How to Prepare for GRE?

Prepare for the test considering two important factors:

  1. You have to accommodate as many study methodologies as possible – GRE test books, Online courses, Prep courses, Private tutoring, Self study, Group study and any other methods that cross your mind.
  2. The next important factor is that you should consider preparing for verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections simultaneously.

In many circumstances, students realise that they do not have enough time to prepare for either verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning section in the last minute. You have to consider preparing for the analytical writing task as well.

Although the task of preparing a plan will seem like a hectic job, the truth is that you have not even come any close to the word ‘hectic’ until you begin preparing for the test. Remember there is no quitting! You can NOT win by quitting. Winners never quit. Persistence and hard work are the keys to getting into the school of your choice.

Start preparing for the test at least a year before you want to join a graduate school. Only then can you accommodate time to register for the test. Your results will be sent to you in 10 – 15 days of your actual test. You have to then immediately apply for the schools you have already shortlisted and then there is a wait time for the schools to get back to you. All this and some more processes will take a solid 6 months, which gives you only 6 months to actually prepare for the test. There are many students who spend just 1 month preparing for the test and are still able to get to the school of their choice. If you are talented in a particular section or you come from a country in which English is the native language, you are lucky to spend the rest of the time to prepare for the other sections that need your attention. Otherwise, you need to spend time on all the sections equally and work with rigour.

The Schedule

We will discuss how you could schedule your preparation. This is not a hard and fast rule that you should follow. You can keep this as a guideline while you put up a plan. Your schedule for GRE could be:

  1. Begin with the wordlist for your verbal reasoning
    • a. Prepare flash cards of the words you are planning for a month
    • b. Learn the word – understand its meaning, how the word can be used in a situation
    • c. Try to relate the word – learn its synonyms and antonyms, their usage
    • d. Test yourself every weekend with whatever you have learnt the past week
    • e. Learn new words, test old words that you have learnt while you learn new words
  2. Brush your basics on quantitative techniques – Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, Numbers and figures and Data analysis
    • Start with a difficult section, if you are comfortable facing the monster straightaway; else begin with the easiest section and continue until you gain confidence
    • Prepare alternate sections every week, so you do not miss out preparing any section
    • Test yourself constantly to see where you stand
  3. Research and collect as many analytical writing task questions as possible
    • a. Prepare by writing an issue task / argument task
    • b. Get it evaluated by tutors if there are any
    • c. Constant essay writing will help you write better
    • d. Remember that you do not have to add complex words to your essay to show your expertise here, only your critical thinking skills are evaluated
  4. When you prepare, always be aware of the time constraints you will face in the real test
    • a. Test yourself every time you complete preparing for a section to check if you can finish the test in time
    • b. Remember that while you time your performance, running against time should not lead to a low score.
  5. Evaluate yourself every month to check your progress
    • a. Practise as many times as possible before you are ready for the D-day.
    • b. Take corrective measures according to the evaluation, else the exercise shall be a waste.

Believe that hard work works and you too can win!