How to Prepare for the GRE Effectively

A high score on the GRE is the first step towards studying at any of the top graduate schools in the world. A high score is nothing more than the outcome of the right GRE exam preparation. GRE prep is different from the preparation you may have done for your high school or college exams. The reason is that the GRE exam preparations are highly self-driven. You may have a lot of questions about how to study for the GRE, including:

  • What should I study first?
  • How do I allocate time?
  • What type of questions can I expect?
  • What is the best way to prepare?
  • What are the most commonly asked questions?

If you have similar questions, worry not! You are at the right place. Our preparation strategy has helped over 46,000 students achieve their target scores and secure admissions into their dream graduate schools. All you need to do for effective GRE test preparation is to follow the same study guide that helped others.

How to prepare for GRE?
Before you jump to how to prepare for the GRE, you must know all the options available to you to prepare for GRE so that you can take an informed decision based on your learning style. Now, let’s take a quick glance at the different methods students utilize to practice for their GRE - right from the beginning of their prep, to what they do on test day!

Different Methods to Prepare for GRE

Broadly speaking, there are three different approaches that you can take to GRE test preparation. These are:

Online with a Personal Trainer:


How to prepare for GRE online with a personal trainer

This is an effective way for GRE test preparation, provided you have the discipline to work with it. For anyone who is willing to put in the commitment required by such a preparation method, online study with a personal trainer provides many advantages:

  • The convenience of studying based on your personal needs.
  • Study at a pace that suits you the best.
  • Personal guidance to help you stay on track.

Self Preparation:


How to prepare for GRE on own (self preparation)
With a great number of full-length Free GRE Sample Tests available online, students are now choosing to study by themselves. These students tend to accumulate a lot of books for their preparation and build their own study plan. The trouble is that most of the study plans prepared this way are based on perception rather than factual data available. Even if you have got the right GRE study guide to help you, it is difficult to get your doubts cleared quickly and accurately when studying by yourself. The lack of feedback on how your GRE exam preparation is coming along can put you in a precarious situation as well. Many students are finding it comfortable to prepare for the GRE at home as they know the surrounding environment which helps them to study better.

Coaching Classes:


How to prepare for GRE with coaching classes

Till recently, this was the only option available to you for your GRE preparation. If you are still a student or like the comfort of studying with a large group in a classroom environment—the prep classes could be a great option for you. That said, with each class consisting of as many as fifty students—can a single teacher really help answer all the questions that may crop up. Also, how is a classroom teacher going to help you when most of your questions arise when you are practicing on your own?

So, which of these approaches would work best for your GRE test preparation? Before we get to it, let us also look at what makes preparation difficult for most students.

Irrespective of the methodology of your study, please understand that it is a must to completely study official study material technically known as ETS GRE book.

So, which one of these approaches should you choose?

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Common difficulties faced during GRE Preparation

We have seen that students preparing for the test face similar challenges across the board. These include being:

  • Unaware of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Unsure of how to prioritize different study areas for GRE prep.
  • Anxious about the quality of study material.
  • Confused about how to improve on problem areas.
  • Unable to conduct enough practice in a test-like environment.
To tackle all of the above problems effectively, you require an efficient plan that takes your learning style into consideration. Therefore, to provide a clear answer on how to prepare for GRE, we have distributed the GRE Preparation Process into simple steps.

Prepare for GRE in 5 Steps:

Step 1: Initialize

Before you start with GRE exam preparation, you need to decide which course in which school you are aiming for. If you plan to join a school in the fall season, you will have to complete the test by November – though the exact time would depend on the application deadlines for the course of your choice. Fall is typically the preferred season as scholarships and financial aids are typically available in this season while scholarships are rare for courses starting in spring.

Next, familiarize yourself with the structure of the GRE exam, and the syllabus. Check out the average scores of the candidates who have been admitted to the courses over the last few years. This will allow you to determine your target GRE score.

Remember that while a high score in GRE is important, so is having a good academic record. If you start your preparation early enough, you will be able to ensure not just a high score but also good marks in your final examination.

Now you know where you need to go, you also need to know where you stand where you stand before charting a plan.

Step 2: Take a diagnostic test
The first step to successful GRE preparation is to find your baseline. You must know where you stand before you plot the route to your destination. This is no different from getting a full body check-up performed before you start with any rigorous physical training. So, to begin with, take a diagnostic test which is as close to the real test as possible. Don't worry about the score you get; it is just the baseline that establishes your strengths and weaknesses.

Step 3: Analyse your strengths and weaknesses

As the old saying goes “Failing to plan is planning to Fail”. All wins are backed by a sound game plan. Now that you have a factual understanding of the gap between your score and the target score, you can allocate your resources accordingly. Depending on your current score, you will be able to estimate the time you require to master specific concepts from the syllabus. You should also determine the overall time you would need to cover the entire syllabus. Your study plan will also have to factor in your learning style. Every test-taker is different with respect to their learning style, speed, target score, and time availability. That's why a customized study plan is a must for each student.

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Step 4: Fix your GRE date
Typically, students book their exam dates and then worry about preparing for the exam. This is not the most effective method as it ignores how much time you would need for test preparation. Once the date is fixed, the time available to you for preparation is also locked-in. A better approach is to first make your GRE study plan and then fix the date on which you would take the exam. Yes, the date on which you take the exam is determined by the application deadline. But another important factor that comes into play is your preparation for the test day. Remember, the date you choose early in your preparation is to set a deadline. You don’t have to book it till you are three weeks away from the date, and are consistently achieving target scores in GRE sample tests.

Step 5: Get started!

Now that you are clear on how to prepare for GRE, all you have to do is get started! Split your preparation into learning, practice and feedback sessions. It is important that you understand key concepts before you test yourself, and it is equally important that you get feedback on your performance to finetune your GRE test preparations. This practice lies at the heart of the success of 50,000+ students at GREedge.

The LPF method, also known as the Learn Practice & Feedback method, that we employ utilizes the three techniques required to cement any kind of learning.

LEARN: Get a holistic understanding by breaking down the syllabus into simple, easily understandable concepts like Permutations & Combinations or Text Completion. By learning specific techniques, you can tackle different questions and identify variations to a particular type of test question as well.
PRACTICE: Strike while the iron is hot! Take a practice test as soon as you are done learning a particular concept. With GRE-style questions for specific concepts, you can get an immediate picture of where you stand and how much you have learned.
FEEDBACK: Worried about not understanding Reading Comprehension thoroughly enough? Don’t worry. Get immediate feedback for every session you learn as well as every practice exam that you take. This combined analysis will help your expert trainer spot flaws in your learning style and suggest remedies.

Check out our video on Preparing for a 320+ in 30 days!

Tips for the GRE Test Day

Time Management

The new GRE format allows you to revisit questions within a section, but remember that you need to manage your time well enough to respond to all questions. Since this exam has no negative marking, you should attempt all the questions on the exam.

GRE Test Strategy

Remember that the highest score will open up only if you perform well on the first set of questions presented to you. Therefore, you need to devise a strategy that lets you reduce the chances of guessing the wrong answer when you are in a rush. Eliminating incorrect choices can be a great help if you run short of time. You will be able to devise the right strategy for this once you have attempted enough GRE sample tests.

Physical and Mental Preparation

While the questions on the GRE exam test you on your verbal and quantitative skills, the test structure itself tests the state of your mind and body. Do not get so caught up in your GRE exam preparation that you ignore your daily regimen – including a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. You must maintain a positive attitude to succeed in the test and be able to relax even on the test day.

Would you like to prepare for the GRE with a personal trainer who takes care of the planning so that you only have to focus on the most important thing - your GRE preparation?

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