The ultimate guide on how to study for GRE.
Anybody can score 330+ in GRE. I followed a 3 week preparation plan.
It is important to understand that the GRE is very different as compared to the other exams we are used to giving, talking from an Indian’s perspective. Blind hard work will not serve any purpose and sometimes will be counterproductive.
Editors note: Keep in mind that regardless of what it is you’re studying we always suggest working on making your studying as efficient as possible. 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.
ETS (the company that conducts the GRE) wants to convince you that your score is a measure of how good you are at ‘critical thinking’, but in reality it is only a measure of how good you are at giving the GRE. So, fortunately for us, the more you practise in the correct way, the better you become at giving the GRE.
The Correct Way (in my experience) :
Quality > Quantity. Always. Please do not spend 10+ hours a day mechanically solving problems and forgetting about them as you move forward. This will cause you to plateau at a certain skill level. The key is small incremental improvements.
For me, the ideal way was a simple 3 step process :
1. Solve problems in small sets, around 20(+5 || -5) questions per set.
2. Check your answers. See the solutions, understand them thoroughly.
3. After checking all, recap the questions you got wrong, why, and what you learnt from them. This is extremely important.
Let’s jump into the schedule now, shall we?
Pre-prep phase (1 week) :
Okay, I lied, it’s not really 3 weeks, but this pre-prep phase won’t take more than two hours of your time per day, and what’s more, you can easily do this while you eat or just before sleeping.
What is to be done? Words, Words and more Words.
Spend this week learning the words from the following apps :
1. Barron’s 1100
2. Magoosh Flash Cards (around 1000 words)
3. Manhattan Essential Words (around 500 words)
Vocabulary is essential to understanding the Reading Comprehensions as well as the sentence completions, so please complete this before moving ahead!
Week 1 :
Congratulations! The boring part is done. This week, let’s do :
1. 4 Practice Tests
2. Practise each type of question in isolation. For example, do 20 Text Completions in one set. This will help you to identify weaknesses to work on.
3. Brush up all the shortcuts and maths formulae that you encounter.(Online Magoosh article exists)
Week 2 :
This week, let’s move forward with :
1. 6 Practice Tests.
2. Do mixed practice sets now (All types of problems together), to simulate the actual GRE scenario.
3. Strictly time your tests and practice sets. Keep 5 minutes per section as a buffer. Identify which type of questions you are slow at. Work on them.
Week 3 :
Buckle up, this is your final lap :
1. 8 practice tests.
2. Start reading AWA essays online, as well as general structuring tips. A lot of video material is available online. Practise a few essays if necessary.
3. Revise the Vocabulary words and mathematical formulae.
At the end of this schedule, you should be ready to face the GRE. So be confident, sleep well before the paper and ohh, don’t forget to carry a jacket. It’s freezing in there.
Thanks for reading! Please do upvote if this helped you.
This was a great answer from this question on Quora.
Obviously (and we say this all the time) everyone has different ways of studying. External factors will come into it as well as studying preferences and how close you are until the exam when you start studying for the GRE.
But if you’re not starting from a basis you know works – then you’re kind of just blindly stumbling about which is really not how you want to start your GRE prep. The best (really the only) way to study for anything GRE or otherwise is to be prepared. Otherwise, the only time you’re wasting is your own and it’ll always reflect on your results.
This is why we suggest listening to people who have been there and taken the GRE already. Even if you have to modify it a bit to suit your needs – you’re starting from a framework you know can work rather than blindly guessing.
Step 1: Take a GRE Practice Test
Take a full-length, realistic practice test to find out what your Quantitative and Verbal scores are now. Ideally, the test results will include not just your scores but also information about what types of questions you did well on and which ones gave you trouble. This information will help you design your study plan.
Another benefit of taking a practice test is that you will become familiar with the test’s format and timing. Then as you study, you will know exactly how you’ll use what you’re learning to ace test questions. This is highly motivating!
You will also be able to review the test, and reading the explanations of every question will reinforce what you did right and help you understand your mistakes. Research shows that being tested on material not only measures your performance but actually helps you learn.
Take the practice test under conditions as similar as possible to those you will experience on Test Day, without distractions or interruptions. Schedule 4 hours to take the test if you write the essays and 3 hours if you choose to skip the essays. Also plan to invest at least 1.5 hours in reviewing the test later the same day or in the next day or two.
The GRE testmaker, ETS, offers two free practice tests with its POWERPREP II software on their website. Kaplan Test Prep offers proctored free GRE practice tests online; you can sign up anytime to get your initial score. Kaplan’s Smart Reports provide you with detailed breakdowns of your strengths and opportunities for improvement, as well as comprehensive answer explanations.
When your GRE is 2 months away, there is a danger of procrastinating. After all, you probably have a lot of things that need to get done today, so it can be hard to carve out the time and energy to study for the GRE. However, the days and weeks will slip by faster than seems possible, and before you know it, the test will be a week away and then tomorrow! Don’t let Test Day take you by surprise.
Studying most days of the week will improve your score more than studying one or two days a week. Many students find that studying for 5 days a week in three 30-minute segments, for an hour and a half each day, helps them make significant progress. In addition, if vocabulary is an area you have targeted for improvement, plan to carry flashcards (physical cards or a phone app) with you and work on GRE vocab throughout the day.
You can read the full source for this here.
This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone. Practice tests give you a chance to gauge where you’re at (be honest with yourself), what areas you need to focus on (still being honest with yourself) and help you get practical practice on how long you need to spend in certain sections and what to expect coming up.
It’s always a good idea to find out if there have been any major changes since the last past paper so you’re not thrown a curve ball on exam day.
If you can get enough past papers you can also take some with open book. This means using your textbook (or other resources) to answer the questions which will help you actively study and help in retention.
With all the videos and resources we have on studying, hopefully this will help you get started studying for the GRE, just remember keep a schedule and keep to it. Even if you waver, update and adapt to the new timeline.