How to Prepare for the GRE

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Test paper and a pencil

How to Prepare for the GRE

Preparing for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) can be challenging. This test is crucial for those planning to pursue a postgraduate degree in various disciplines. With the test’s potential impact on your career, knowing how to prepare adequately is vital. This guide will help you understand what to expect from the GRE and give you a step-by-step preparation plan.

Understanding the GRE: What to Expect

Overview of the GRE

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to assess test-takers skills in analytical writing, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. These aspects indicate an individual’s potential for success in graduate school.

When it comes to preparing for the GRE, it’s essential to understand the structure and format of the test. The test is divided into three primary sections, each focusing on one of these skills. This comprehensive evaluation allows graduate schools to assess candidates’ abilities across different areas.

It’s also important to note that the GRE is generally computer-based unless computer testing isn’t available in your area. In that case, a paper-based version is provided. The test is offered year-round at designated testing centers worldwide, so it’s easy to find a date and location that works for you.

Breakdown of GRE Sections

The GRE comprises three primary sections: the Analytical Writing section, the Verbal Reasoning section, and the Quantitative Reasoning section. Each section is designed to assess specific skills and abilities that are essential for success in graduate-level studies.

The Analytical Writing section is the first section you will encounter in the GRE. It consists of two tasks that require you to demonstrate your ability to articulate complex ideas and arguments effectively. In this section, you will be given 30 minutes for each task, allowing you to showcase your analytical and critical thinking skills.

Following the Analytical Writing section, you will face the Verbal Reasoning section. This segment evaluates your ability to understand and analyze written material and your vocabulary skills. The Verbal Reasoning section consists of multiple-choice questions and allows for 30 minutes per task. It challenges you to comprehend and interpret complex passages, identify logical relationships, and make accurate inferences.

man is studying for his exam, solving math problems to practice.

The Quantitative Reasoning section is the final part of the GRE. This section assesses your mathematical skills and your ability to reason quantitatively. It consists of multiple-choice and numeric entry questions covering algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The Quantitative Reasoning section provides a 35-minute time allocation for each segment, allowing you to showcase your problem-solving abilities under time constraints.

Time management is critical when taking the GRE, as each section has a time limit. It’s essential to practice pacing yourself during your preparation to ensure that you can complete each section within the allocated time. Developing effective time management strategies will help you maximize your performance on the test.

Now that you have a better understanding of the structure and breakdown of the GRE, you can approach your preparation with confidence. Remember to familiarize yourself with each section’s specific content and question types, and practice regularly to build your skills and improve your performance.

Good luck on your GRE journey!

Starting Your GRE Preparation

Preparing for the GRE can be daunting, but you can set yourself up for success with the right approach. One of the first steps in your preparation journey is to set a study schedule that works for you. This schedule will not only help you stay organized but also ensure that you cover all the necessary material.

When setting a study schedule, it’s essential to consider your initial proficiency and the score you’re aiming for. Everyone’s needs differ, so the time required to prepare may vary. However, a general recommendation is to allocate 3 to 6 months for GRE preparation.

progress and accomplishment for every task

Consistency is vital when it comes to an efficient study schedule. It’s essential to allocate time each day to study the GRE sections. Breaking your study time into manageable segments can help you avoid burnout and ensure maximum productivity. By dedicating specific time slots to each section, you can focus on mastering the content and strategies required for success.

Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is crucial for optimizing your GRE preparation. This knowledge allows you to tailor your study plan to focus on areas that need improvement while maintaining your strengths.

One effective way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is by taking a full-length GRE practice test. This test will give you a comprehensive overview of your current abilities in each section. For example, if you score well on the Quantitative Reasoning section, you may allocate more study time to Verbal Reasoning or Analytical Writing.

However, it’s essential not to neglect any section just because you excel. The GRE is a comprehensive exam that evaluates your skills in various areas. Even if you are strong in one section, it’s essential to maintain proficiency in all sections. You can work towards achieving a well-rounded performance by paying extra attention to the sections where you struggle.

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses early on in your study schedule will allow you to create a targeted plan that addresses your needs. This approach will help you make the most of your study time and maximize your chances of achieving your desired GRE score.

In-depth Review of GRE Sections

Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing section of the GRE measures your ability to articulate complex ideas effectively and clearly. It consists of analyzing an issue task and an analysis of an argument task. Both tasks require you to write an essay on a given topic.

When preparing for the Analytical Writing section, it is essential to understand the scoring criteria and regularly practice essay writing. By doing so, you can develop the skills necessary to make your point of view clear and logically support it with relevant examples and reasons.

One effective strategy for approaching the Analytical Writing section is to familiarize yourself with different types of issues and arguments that may be presented. This can help you build a repertoire of ideas and examples you can draw upon during the test.

Additionally, it is crucial to practice time management during this section. The Analytical Writing tasks are timed, and it is essential to allocate your time effectively to ensure enough time to brainstorm, outline, write, and revise your essays.

Verbal Reasoning Section

The Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to analyze and evaluate written content. It assesses your reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence skills. When preparing for the Verbal Reasoning section, it is beneficial to review vocabulary lists and master the art of context recognition. Building a strong vocabulary can significantly enhance your ability to understand and analyze the written passages in this section.

View of a student taking an exam.

Completing multiple practice questions and section-length practice tests can also help get used to the pacing and nature of the tasks in the Verbal Reasoning section. This will allow you to become more comfortable with the types of questions that may be asked and develop effective strategies for answering them.

Furthermore, it is essential to develop strong reading comprehension skills. This can be achieved by actively engaging with various texts, such as articles, essays, and academic papers. By practicing reading and comprehending complex texts, you can improve your ability to understand and analyze the passages in the Verbal Reasoning section.

Quantitative Reasoning Section

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your numerical problem-solving abilities. This section includes questions about arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation.

When preparing for the Quantitative Reasoning section, brushing up on your high school-level mathematics is essential. Reviewing fundamental concepts in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry can help you build a solid foundation for solving quantitative problems.

Additionally, practicing various data interpretation problems is crucial for success in this section. Data interpretation questions often require analyzing and interpreting information presented in tables, charts, and graphs. By practicing these questions, you can improve your ability to extract relevant information and calculate accurately.

It is also important to note and understand the mathematical concepts and formulas required during the test. Familiarize yourself with the formulas for calculating areas, volumes, and other geometric properties. This will enable you to solve quantitative problems efficiently and accurately.

Essential Study Materials for GRE

Preparing for the GRE can be daunting, but with suitable study materials, you can feel confident and well-prepared on test day. In addition to the abundance of GRE prep books and online resources available, several key options are highly recommended by experts in the field.

Recommended Books and Online Resources

Regarding GRE prep books, ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE is considered the gold standard. This comprehensive book provides a detailed test overview, practice questions, and explanations. It is an essential resource for anyone serious about achieving a high score on the GRE.

Book in library with old open textbook

In addition to the Official Guide, another highly recommended book is GRE Prep Plus by Kaplan. This book comprehensively reviews all the GRE sections, practice tests, and online resources. Kaplan is known for their expertise in test preparation, making this book a valuable asset for any GRE test-taker.

While books are essential to GRE preparation, online resources can also be crucial to your study plan. Khan Academy, a well-known educational platform, offers a variety of video lessons and practice questions specifically tailored to the GRE. Magoosh is another popular online resource that provides comprehensive video lessons, practice questions, and study schedules. These online resources can be used alongside books for added practice and a deeper understanding of the test material.

Utilizing GRE Prep Courses

GRE prep courses can be an excellent resource for those who prefer a more structured learning approach. These courses often provide comprehensive study materials, practice tests, and expert teaching to help you navigate the complexities of the GRE.

Both online and offline GRE prep courses are available, allowing you to choose the format that best suits your needs and preferences. A well-established test prep provider, Kaplan offers in-person and online GRE courses. Their courses are designed to comprehensively review all GRE sections, along with personalized feedback and support.

Manhattan Prep is another reputable provider of GRE prep courses. They offer various options, including in-person classes, live online classes, and self-paced courses. Manhattan Prep’s instructors are known for their expertise and dedication to helping students succeed in the GRE.

Princeton Review is also a popular choice for GRE prep courses. Their courses are designed to comprehensively review all GRE sections, along with strategies and techniques to improve your score. With in-person and online options available, Princeton Review offers flexibility to accommodate different learning styles and schedules.

When deciding on the proper preparation route for you, it’s essential to consider your learning style, available resources, and time constraints. Each student is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Take the time to explore different study materials and prep courses to find the approach that best suits your needs and helps you achieve your GRE goals.

Effective Study Techniques for GRE

Active Recall and Spaced Repetition

These are two effective study techniques that can significantly enhance your retention of information. Active recall involves testing yourself on knowledge rather than passively reading or re-reading notes. This active engagement helps reinforce memory.

Two women are studying in their dorms.

Spaced repetition involves revisiting and reviewing information after increasingly extended periods. This technique is beneficial for retaining a broad spectrum of knowledge, like the vocabulary necessary for the Verbal Reasoning section.

Time Management Strategies

Every minute counts when studying for the GRE. Avoid procrastination by breaking study time into manageable chunks, usually 25 minutes to an hour, followed by short breaks. This technique, known as the Pomodoro Technique, can increase your focus during study sessions.

Implement techniques like creating a timetable and setting realistic and specific study goals. Dedicate time for each GRE section in your schedule, but remember to leave time for relaxation and other commitments.

Invest time in full-length practice GRE tests. This practice will help you understand the test format and improve your stamina and timing for the test day. With a correct and consistent approach, you can conquer the GRE. Begin by understanding the test, creating a well-planned study schedule, gathering adequate study materials, perfecting your strategy, and practicing. Success awaits you!

Ready to Take Your GRE Preparation to the Next Level? AdmissionSight Can Help!

So, you’ve learned how to prepare for the GRE, from understanding its structure to mastering each section and even coping with test-day jitters. But what if you want to go beyond being well-prepared? What if you want to guarantee that your GRE score maximizes your chances of getting into your dream graduate school?

That’s where AdmissionSight comes in. As experts in the field of educational consultation, we don’t just offer advice—we offer actionable strategies tailored specifically to you. Here’s how we can enhance your journey on how to prepare for the GRE:

Personalized Study Plans

Stop wandering through the maze of GRE preparation. AdmissionSight will assess your current skill level, identify your areas for improvement, and create a study plan that’s customized just for you.

Access to Elite Tutors

With AdmissionSight, you won’t be going it alone. Our elite tutors are well-versed in all the sections of the GRE. They know exactly how to prepare for the GRE and can offer you real-time feedback and advanced techniques that you won’t find in books or general online courses.

Emotional and Strategic Support

Preparing for a significant test like the GRE can be emotionally draining. At AdmissionSight, we offer not just academic support but emotional and strategic assistance as well. We help you develop a strong mindset, as crucial as any formula or vocabulary word you need to memorize.

Why Choose AdmissionSight?

Our ultimate goal isn’t just to teach you how to prepare for the GRE; it’s to set you up for long-term academic and professional success. Whether you’re eyeing a Masters or a PhD, AdmissionSight’s holistic approach ensures you’re not just another test-taker—you’re a future leader.

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