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Study for the GRE Through the Internet
The GRE Test administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service) is a standardized exam which requires meticulous planning and repeated practice. Like other entrance exams there is no one single method of study for GRE which you think will help you pass the test with a high score. The study guides and preparatory courses help you in understanding the type of questions and the test pattern, but they do not guarantee you a high score in the test. It is always good to start preparing for your GRE at least 3-4 months in advance so you can have the first 8 weeks for preparation and the last 6-8 weeks for practice. The first task, before you start your preparation is to gather as much information as possible related to the tests. To make your preparation more systematic you need to have full information on the syllabus and topics for study under each section, the time duration to complete each section, the type of questions and how scores are calculated for each section.
There are many online courses offered through the internet for a confident student. If you are confident enough to prepare on your own an online course with a reputed coaching institute will be ideal for you. To begin with, you may take an online free practice test first to understand your strengths and weaknesses. If you are weak in a particular area you can take a course for that section. Before deciding to select a course to prepare for the test, do some research on identifying the right course for you online or off-line. You can read reviews by former students, check with friends and family about their experience in selecting a good course for GRE. Most companies offer training in traditional classroom teaching method where you are part of a small group, online courses through the internet or a one-on-one tutor based program. You can select the course which will suit your learning style, money you can afford and the time you want to spend for the course. An online course benefits the student by providing him with all the study materials, practice tests and other updated information. If you are working full-time, an online course is the most suitable in your preparation, or you have the option of attending part-time instructor led classroom training. Please note, online courses do not offer the benefit of direct instruction from the instructor, but they provide lot of material and plenty of practice tests with instructions.
A Word of Caution
While selecting the course, check thoroughly about the offer on how the course approaches the test. Some courses teach you on developing specific skills so you will understand how to attempt all the questions, whereas others follow an entirely different strategy. Whatever the method of study, the course you select has to be effective and must fulfill your primary objective of helping you obtain a good score in the GRE. You can also group with other students who are preparing for this exam, as grouping with friends will benefit you by experience sharing and keep you motivated. To make the best use of an online course prepare a study plan and follow the schedule religiously.
Benefits of a Study Plan
Even if you plan to study through the internet, you have to have a study plan. The study plan will have a schedule of when, what, where, and how much you are going to study in a week for each subject and for each day of the week. Before you work on your study plan you shall first collect as much information as you can, familiarize yourself with the exam pattern, the subjects and topics for the general test, the type of questions that are asked for each test, etc. and prepare your plan and make it as specific as you can. This will help you to stay focused and study more systematically. The study plan may consist of:
- the plan for the week as a summary
- details of what you should prepare each day for each subject (Analytical writing, Quantitative reasoning and Verbal reasoning)
- how to improve your writing skills, vocabulary, etc.
- review of your strengths and weaknesses and strategies to overcome your weakness
- how to manage time on test day
The study plan may benefit you in to attempt all questions within given time and will ease most of your anxiety and stress. Preparing for the GRE exam implies you have understood the format well.
Additional Information on Online Sources
Once your preparation phase is over for studying by self, it is time to move to the next stage. The next stage in your preparation is to start practice exercises. You can take up practice tests that are available for a price and free on the internet. The right place to start is with the official ETS website which offers PowerPrep II software. This is offered free for students wishing to take the computer based general test. This software can be downloaded from: http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/powerprep2/ The PowrPrep II software offers you GRE tests with answers, score and tips. Also many practice tests analyze your scores, this will help you concentrate on your weaknesses and you can plan to overcome them. If you are taking the paper based test, you can download the free practice book for paper based tests from ETS: http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/practice_book_GRE_pb_revised_general_test.pdf. The popular websites that offer courses online and practice tests are http://www.kaptest.com/GRE/Home/index.html and www.princetonreview.com to name a few. Numerous other websites also offer you online courses, study material and practice tests for the GRE.
- While taking practice tests sometimes you come across situations where two answers for a same question may appear to be correct. In those situations you have to apply methods of elimination to estimate the correct answer. With sufficient practice you will learn how to handle these situations with confidence.
- Have the right and adequate test preparation material available with you. If you are planning to prepare for 12-16 weeks then ensure that you have enough material to keep you engaged for at least 14 weeks.
Books That Help in Your Study for the GRE
Preparing for the GRE test also requires that you have a set of books for the general test subjects which will help you in achieving a good score. Many popular books contain CD-ROMs which may have software for practice tests to give you the actual test taking experience. They also provide you scores and analyze your answer for each question, so you benefit by the tips that are provided on how to attempt the answers by applying logic, elimination method and reasoning. A few of the most popular books available for the general tests are given below:
- Nova’s GRE Math Prep course
- Kaplan GRE Exam Math workbook
- Kaplan GRE exam verbal workbook
- Baron’s How to Prepare for Graduate Record Examinations
- Nova’s GRE Prep Course
- Books by Kaplan
- Books by Princeton Review
Books are available from www.amazon.com, there are hundreds of other books available, but the books listed above are the most popular and students are encouraged to check them out. It is important to remember that you must not leave out any answer if you feel the questions are difficult. This will have an adverse effect on your score and percentile. Your method of study for GRE must make you attempt all the questions without guess work.
Whatever is your method of study you have to stay focused and not get disappointed during the course of your preparation. Just make sure the energy and time invested in preparation is benefiting you. You can surely get a good score by following your study plan with discipline and vigorous practice. In GRE there is no substitute for hard work and having the right attitude on the test day will make you feel confident to complete the test and feel better.