Some students prefer to teach themselves, perhaps by starting with a free online or classroom GRE prep online test. Although the GRE is primarily a computer-based exam, preparation in either medium is efficient. This first attempt at the GRE serves as a baseline for the subsequent scheduling round. Poor performance ought to encourage at least purchasing a book, basic study program, or perhaps extensive distance education or classroom training sessions.
Poor performance, however, is not the only criteria for more in-depth test preparation. Even performing well on a practice test is no guarantee, so you should still refine your skills.
- Start reading– The Verbal section of the GRE is known for being challenging. The best way to tackle it effectively is to read every day. Reading advanced material from academic journals and scientific articles will enhance your vocabulary, language comprehension skills, and reading speed. It will also help you get familiarized with the kind of language you will encounter in the GRE.
- Learn vocabulary– Set a goal to learn a certain number of words every day. Pick a limit that works for you. Don’t cram. Attempting to memorize a long list of new words and their meanings in one sitting will not only confuse you, but it will also be a fruitless exercise, as you will be unable to recall the meanings of all these words at a later date.
- Test your skills– Take a practice test to see where you stand. Don’t be discouraged by the results, but instead, use it as a foundation for building your preparation strategy. Note down your strengths and weaknesses, i.e., the areas in which you scored well and those where you performed poorly. This will help you understand where you need to improve to achieve your target GRE score.
- Prepare a study plan– Review the GRE syllabus and, based on your practice test results, prepare a study plan. It is important that you start your prep with a solid outline to help guide you and ensure that you stay on track. Focus on your weak points, but don’t forget to review the other portions of the syllabus as well.
- Study consistently – Study regularly, but take intermittent breaks to process the information you absorbed. If possible, set a particular time to study every day. Incorporating prep into your daily routine will help you stay on track even when you feel unmotivated.
- Attempt Mock Tests– Timed Mock Tests that mimic the actual exam will give you clarity on the exam pattern and improve your confidence. They will also help you understand whether you are improving and to which areas you need to dedicate extra preparation time.
- Comprehensive preparation– Apart from the syllabus, factors such as time management, reading speed, and even typing speed (for the AWA section) can also play a role in determining your score. Hence, ensure that you keep an eye on these areas and include them in your study strategy. For instance, timed practice tests are an effective way to improve in these external aspects.
- Take the GRE– Once you have completed your prep, schedule your exam and do your best.