It’s probably time to take a look at taking the GRE without studying… much. We’re not going to offer you some kind of magic pill here which is going to promise you instantly brilliant results without having to do anything.
Your ability to pass the GRE without any kind of studying whatsoever is going to depend entirely on you. We can’t tell you what your chances of passing are without knowing you because that would just be insane and you know that, right?
What we can do is tell you how you can get great results with much, much less studying.
It doesn’t matter what you’re actually studying for whether it’s the GRE or your PhD. Your studying effectivness is not about how long you can sit at a desk – it’s about what you can actually get done in that time. And that means you need to be able to control your focus and retain more information without having to read it hundreds of times.
If you can do that – you’ll have to work a lot, lot less than others to get the same kind of results. And, don’t worry, we have something to help you do that.
To make the most from your studying don’t focus on the time you invest. Focus on the quality of your study session over the quantity you do. This is one of the key things we focus on and we absolutely think you can get twice the results in half the time. Make sure you grab the free audiobook Unlimited Memory by a chess grandmaster which will absolutely transform your results overnight if you apply the techniques.
That aside (which everyone should do for any kind of study, really) here are some great tips on preparing for your GRE effectively without shelling out cash for tutors and coaches.
Create a plan that works for you based on your schedule, however here are some crucial elements of your Prep that you must follow:
1. Practice Tests
Use the paid Manhattan Prep test series for your mock test practice. There are 6 tests available here. Along with this, you’ll find 1 free Kaplan test, 2 tests in the ETS Official guide, and 2 free Powerprep II Tests that you can download from the ETS website. Don’t do more than 1 mock a week. And save the Powerpreps for the end.
The GRE is a long long exam, and even after doing many mocks, the final test day can be pretty draining. That is why not taking any shortcuts on the mocks, is extremely important. It is also important to ensure that you do the tests around the time that you will be giving the GRE, so that your mind and body are ready to be alert – 8am, 10am, or whatever slot you will be booking.
After that – using the same email id with which you make your Manhattan a/c, go on Amazon and buy the Manhattan Sentence Equivalence book – Kindle version. Then email your amazon receipt to Manhattan from that same email id. They will activate your mock tests – 6, valid for 6 months. (Google this process once to make sure its still valid, shouldn’t have changed since I just did it 1.5 months back). This way you can get the tests for less than 500 rupees.
Vocabulary needs practice from the start, everyday. For that the Magoosh app is good, but a better way to do it is – download the ‘Quizlet’ app on your phone and search for Rajeshwar1247 or “Magoosh GRE Flashcards”. This kind individual has uploaded everything from the Magoosh Vocab book onto this app. You can learn and quiz yourself through this, so its a much faster method. Start doing this asap.
Don’t bother learning too many words, these 1000 words should be enough. The difficulty on the actual test is not that words are unfamiliar, but that the sentences are complex.
So instead of buying more vocabulary books and wasting money, practice all the Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions in the Manhattan 5lb book, note down each word you do not know, and make a separate list of those. Also go through the answers to catch your mistakes.
3. Analytical Writing
All the issue/argument topics are up on the ETS website, but going through them all does not help. First, Any guide (Official ETS Verbal guide, Manhattan RC guide) will provide you with an explanation of the general patterns of each type of essay. It is important to understand this and then read a few sample essays that score high (again found in guides).
The writing sections are not testing knowledge but instead structure and critical thinking ability. If you have a flair for writing, this should not be too challenging. However, if not, then take up a few topics and write your own essays, and then compare them with sample essays provided in the verbal or Manhattan guide. You will notice that you have missed out on a few arguments, and that will slowly help you think more critically, and write better essays.
4. Verbal and Quant Practice
Step 1 is to do the ETS General Test guide cover to cover, to understand the test and the Verbal and Quant sections. Do all the questions in the book and ensure you are clear about every concept in Quant.
Then you begin practice. Here the Manhattan 5lb. book is the best resource, with over 2000 questions. Solve questions in small sets of 2025 and then go through the answers, understand your mistakes and note your weak areas. Use the insights from this practice and your mock tests to understand topics that you need to be more thorough in.
Then pick up the Manhattan book that is specific to your area of weakness and go deeper into that particular topic to completely clarify the concept for yourself. I did this with inequalities, but did not need to for most other topics. Don’t do this unless you feel it is required.
For VERBAL in particular, please also do the Official ETS Verbal Guide a few days before your actual GRE exam, since it is important to get accustomed to ETS’ way of testing.
If you create a plan covering 2540 Vocabulary words a day, 40 practice questions and 2 essays and 1 mock practice test a week, you will be more than prepared for a 330+
This is from this answer on Quora.
No Studying At All
There are plenty of anecdotes out there of people doing next to no studying at all for the GRE.
About a week before taking the gre, I was browsing this forum for info on the new scale and could not get over how many people spent months studying for this thing. I suppose if you want a perfect score then okay, but really… Anyway I just wanted to let my fellow slackers know that you are not doomed if you aren’t practicing an hour a day for 6 months. I studied for ~3 days and came out with V: 650-750 and Q: 670-770. Obviously not the best scores ever, but I’m happy. Now, back to xbox
Your mileage might vary of course and the discussion following this had some mixed opinions.
You’ll have a long and difficult road ahead if you think you can successfully slack your way through grad school, too- assuming you’re even accepted into a program. You’re not nearly as clever as you think you are; slacking on any part of the application is just a BAD idea. If you’re not even willing to put forth an honest effort to study for an entrance exam, you really just don’t belong in the applicant pool.
It really does depend on what you actually want to get from the GRE as well. That’s not something we can tell you because it’s going to vary pretty widely.
I you need the study time to get good scores then by all means take it- but there seem to be a fair number of people who are studying a lot try to get perfect or near perfect scores, something that is absolutely not necessary.
There is a lot of academia that is honestly about learning how to do “enough”. Not overdoing it, not underdoing it and not focussing so much on one thing that you lose sight of the big picture.
Even though the GRE only tests things that we are required to be familiar with it tests it in a format that we may not be used to. Therefore some practice is required. I would imagine that 2 months of preparation of 1-2 hours a day is sufficient for an average person (to get a good score of above 1450).
You can read the full discussion here.