GRE is a test which is organized by ETS (Educational Testing Services), and it is taken by those test takers who are willing to admit themselves in the most renowned graduate schools of the world.Usually, preparation for any standardized test and achievement of success differs with one's natural intellect and one's potential ability in logical reasoning and his communication skills. But, apart from these factors, there are some do’s and don’ts to be followed in preparation, which differs between the various standardized tests.In this article, we're willing to guide in the preparation process of GRE to achieve, high score and get admitted in reputed grad schools.
Preparation tools for GRE:
Apart from an ambitious mind and hard- working aptness, the secret of success lies in the preparation tools and methods you choose to use. Having chosen the right tools discloses that you have crossed half the way and the rest is assured when you use it. The preparation tools for GRE, like any other standardized test, include right study materials, best preparation courses, practice tests that shows one’s strength and weakness, worthy online tutors and finally a well- structured preparation plan concerned to time management.
Official practice tests: Powerprep
The GRE test is tricky and in order to get through it, you need to get familiar with the question type and scoring process. Only then you can expect to get a high score in GRE. But you don’t need to worry, as there are plenty of power prep tests available in the internet to help you out; in fact some of them are free.
One of the most talked, GRE power prep test is from the test organizing body ETS itself.
These power prep tests helps you,
- In understanding the actual objective of the test
- In getting familiar and habituated with the question types
- In getting comfortable with the tools of the test like the online calculator
- In being able to finish the full paper within the specified time
- In understanding the scoring pattern
Therefore, it is necessary to take the power prep tests from ETS. ETS offers you mainly three types of power prep tools;
1. Test preview tool
This tool helps the test takers in understanding the test essentials. That means it helps you in figuring out the question types of each section, scoring patterns, number of question in each section, etc. You can access this tool from your ETS account's test preparation section.
2. Power prep online
The power prep online helps you in understanding the test pattern by offering you two tests which are outlined exactly like GRE. You would get a score report as well but only for the verbal reasoning and Quantitative reasoning sections. You can also learn the use of an online calculator and how to toggle between the questions through this tool. To access this test, you need to register on the ETS official portal as well.
3. Power prep online plus
This tool is very effective as it contains two tests which are very much similar to the official GRE questions. There are also proper explanations along with the answer keys for the convenience of the students. This tool too can be accessed from the ETS account.
Preparation books for GRE
There are ample numbers of books available for the preparation of GRE. Here we’re listing the three essential books for GRE preparation;
This book is from ETS itself, and the book is promising enough to help the students. It costs $38.49 and has a lot to offer. This book is preferred by the students from top grad schools as it contains every detail regarding GRE. But some users criticize this book, as they feel that this book has nothing new to offer and you would get everything in the official portal of ETS which you’re getting in this book.
Another highly preferred GRE book is this one. This book has numerous numbers of problems, and it is particularly helpful for the Quant section of GRE. But some test takers have reviewed that this book is repetitive, and the questions are not very versatile. The price of this book is $20.77.
Kaplan is a renowned name when it comes to GRE preparations. This book costs only $23.59, and it contains GRE practice tests, various strategies to crack GRE, etc. But the criticism regarding this book is that the questions featured in this book are not at all similar to GRE.
Best paid courses for GRE
Apart from books and practice tests, there are various paid courses which will shape you exactly to fit the exam. Three best paid GRE courses are listed below;
Princeton review is a renowned name among the test takers when it comes to preparing for GRE; this crash course does perfect justice to its name. The course contains mock tests, test strategies, and guidance for Verbal, Quant and Analytical writing sections. But Some students criticise as they expect more versatility in the course.
This prep course largely focuses on the Quant part of GRE and it teaches all the tricks you require to crack the GRE Quant section. In fact, some students have claimed this course to be better than Kaplan and Princeton books. But one major disadvantage of this book is that the explanations to sums given in this book are complex, and sometimes test takers fail to figure out the underlying logic.
The third course we would suggest you about is the one coming from McGraw-Hill. This course helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and therefore assists you in preparing yourself accordingly. But the course is infamous among the test takers for a huge number of errors.
Time management is an important thing for GRE. While taking the practice tests keep in mind those questions, which are time-consuming for you and next time try to solve them faster.
GRE diagnostic tests:
The GRE diagnostic test helps a test taker in understanding their strengths and weaknesses and helps them in starting the preparation for real GRE test accordingly. You can take these diagnostic tests before you start preparing for the GRE. These types of tests would help you in identifying the areas in which you need to work more and also those areas in which you are strong enough to get through. Here are the URLs to some diagnostic tests;
Getting a Tutor
Getting a tutor is always a good option as a tutor is someone who can guide you throughout your GRE preparation process. But there are some facts that you need to consider before you select a tutor;
- First thing is you need to find a tutor who has years of experience in GRE tutoring. There is no point of choosing a tutor who is amateur and not familiar with the question patterns and scoring processes of GRE.
- Secondly, the tutor should make you take practice tests regularly and should help you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. He or she should be capable of explaining you the underlying logic behind the correct answer choices.
- As you would have to pay your tutor, it is always important to find a tutor worth for it. You must be assured that he or she would help you with your doubts and guide you with proper study materials to get a better score in GRE.
There are many tutors who do online tutoring and would teach you through Google Hangouts or Skype. But don’t rely on your tutor too much. Because at the end of the day it is you who needs to appear for the test.
Study plans for GRE:
Here we’re providing some URLs to GRE study plans to help you in your early as well as last minute preparations;
1. 6-month study plan
If you've six months of time in your hand to prepare for GRE, then that is more than enough. You can cover every little detail of the syllabus attentively. Here is 6-month study plan to help you out
2. 3-month study plan
Three months is usually the average time which test takers take to prepare for GRE. Here is 3-month study plan for GRE
3. 1-month study plan
If you've only a month left for your GRE test day, then you need to only focus on the important parts of the syllabus. There is hardly any time to cover every little detail. Here is 1-month study plan to help you out
Cracking GRE sections:
How to prepare for the GRE verbal section?
The GRE verbal section aims to test your ability of understanding and to evaluate various situations and also your capability to draw an inference in such a situation. The verbal reasoning module in GRE has two sections with 20 questions on each section; the three types of question in this module are;
- Reading comprehension
- Text completion and
- Sentence equivalence
In order to prepare for this section and to improve your verbal scores, you need to improve your vocabulary. Also, you should be able to understand a situation quickly by reading a passage to solve the questions from that passage. Therefore, to get a high score in the GRE verbal section, you need to take the practice tests on a regular basis and keep improving your collection of words and your reading skills. You need to practice two or three reading comprehensions and one or two text completion on a regular basis. It is not very difficult to score 150+ in the verbal section, just keep calm.
How to prepare for GRE Quant section?
The quantitative reasoning section of GRE tests your basic mathematical skills and your ability to interpret a situation with the help of proper mathematical frameworks. This section consists a total number of 40 questions in the Math concepts distributed in two sections. This section of GRE contains;
- Quantitative comparison questions
- Multiple choice questions with one answer choice
- Multiple choice questions with one or more than answer choices
- Numeric entry questions
In order to get good math scores, you need to practice basic mathematical topics like Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, Mensuration, etc. You should also take help from the prep courses and appear for practice tests on a regular basis.
How to prepare for GRE Analytical writing section?
The analytical writing section tries to evaluate your writing skills as well as your ability to express a complex situation in the form an essay. There is only one section in this module, and you need to write two essays. The question types are;
- Analyze an issue
- Analyze an argument
In order to improve your analytical writing scores, you need to give more emphasis on your writing skills. You need to write one or two essays every day. Also, the essays are required to be informative; you can’t just fill them with repetitive words. Hence, make sure that you stay updated with the latest events.
Test day: The Destination
In order to prepare for the GRE test day, you can take the power prep tests a week before the test day. This would help you in understanding your strengths and weaknesses. It can also be beneficial for you to take one or two practice tests a day before the test day. In that way, you can have an idea regarding your expected test score in the test. But don't take too much stress on the test day or the night before the test day as that would increase your level of anxiety and you would end up being drained.
Scoring up to the mark: The Goal
You can never get a decent GRE score without preparation. But with proper preparation and by taking practice tests on a regular basis, a test taker can boost their scores to a huge level. Without any preparation, you might score 135 in Verbal and 140 in Quant. But with proper preparation, you can improve this score and raise it to 150 in Verbal and 165 in Quant respectively.
If you're a smart student, then you should know that collecting study materials from the internet alone is not going to take you to your goal. You need to invest your time in standard power prep tests and prep courses. Also, study for 5 to 6 hours every day to get effective results. Solving the practice tests will not help you by any means if you don't learn from your mistakes. Spend at least 1 to 2 hours every day to work on your weak points. So, design your study schedule carefully. You should also be aware of the GRE scores which your targeted grad schools accept. This would help you in setting up a goal or your target scores and you can plan your prep plan accordingly.
In this context to be mentioned, when you’re preparing for GRE through practice tests, it is always essential to focus on the problems where you go wrong. The correct answers prove that those parts seem to be familiar to you and you don’t need to worry much about them. But that does not mean you should shift your focus completely from the problems where you get correct answers. Just divide your efforts in a proportion of 60-40. Give 60% effort in resolving the problems where you got incorrect answers and 40% in making the strong parts stronger.
Applying GRE in high school?
There is no right time when it comes to taking GRE. If you're an ambitious person, then you would probably plan your future far before compared to others. And there are no barriers when it comes to sitting for GRE in high school. The syllabus of GRE is largely based on the high school syllabus and it would be easier for the high school students to crack GRE as they are already studying those subjects. But the GRE scores are valid for only five years and that’s the only matter of concern for the high school students.
How important is GRE for getting admission in grad schools?
When it comes to fetching an undergraduate degree, there are tests like SAT which is more relevant. But for graduate students who are planning to opt for a postgraduate degree, GRE holds a lot of importance. In fact, there are instances when grad schools have preferred a student with higher GRE score and lower academic score over a student with higher academic score and lower GRE score. Apart from the knowledge, you possess in your academic syllabus, highly reputed universities like Harvard and others consider GRE as an important indicator of a student’s intellect. Students who don’t have a very sound academic background or lack work experience can also get in reputed grad schools by working hard on their GRE test. Here is a URL to show you the Top Graduate Schools which accept GRE scores.
For business schools, the scenario was different even a few years ago. Business schools are more inclined to GMAT as the GMAT question paper is trickier than GRE when it comes to the quantitative reasoning section. But now the situation is changing and many top B-schools are accepting the GRE score. Here is a list of Top B-schools which accept GRE scores.
Hopefully, we believe that you would have gained some valuable ideas about how to prepare for GRE by reading this article. We advise you to keep your calm on the test day. And keep working hard.