Getting into graduate school is an intimidating task that requires you to go through an entire application process.
And while there are many things you need to include in this application, one of the most stressful aspects of it is actually the test that most people need to take before applying.
This test, for those that don’t know, is called the GRE and stands for graduate records examination. It’s essentially the grad school equivalent of the SATs.
It’s the examination that most grad schools require test results from, in order to evaluate your skills. Sometimes they even have a minimum score required to apply.
For this reason, sufficient prep for the GRE is important for students looking to get into their dream grad school. Which is why I wanted to share some study tips for that purpose!
Before I dive into the tips though, let’s discuss some common questions surrounding the GRE.
How long does it take to prepare for the GRE?
The amount of time it will take each person to adequately prep for the GRE will vary, so there’s really not a timetable that’s set in stone.
But usually, the minimum amount of time that you should spend preparing for this test would be about four weeks.
Although this article by The Princeton Review actually suggests that some people take up to twelve weeks to prep, if they feel it’s appropriate for them.
Is the GRE hard to prepare for and take?
The GRE test itself is definitely more complex and difficult than lower-level tests like the SATs. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll find the preparation more difficult.
And if you’re dedicated to your test prep, then you might even find that the GRE itself is easier than you thought it would be.
Really, it’s all just a matter of how much time you’re willing to put into it. And it also helps if you’re using the right studying strategies for you and your learning style.
How can I efficiently prepare for my GRE?
But now let’s get into the main part of this article, or aka, the three tips that will make prepping for the GRE a lot easier.
1 – Take Plenty Of Practice Tests
By far, one of the best things you can do in terms of studying for any big exam is to take practice tests. They are beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, they can bring your weak spots to your attention.
For instance, if you find that you don’t do well in the math portion of your practice test then you might need to allocate extra study time to that section.
Secondly, if you try to take the practice test in environments that closely resemble real exam environments, then it can help your nerves when the actual test date arrives.
And lastly, it will let you know what your baseline score for your GRE is. Which will, in turn, allow you to figure out how much more studying is necessary.
That actually brings me to my next tip…
2 – Know What Your Goals Are
Of course, everyone would love to get as high of a score as they can. But it’s best not to aim too high, as that puts undue pressure on you during the exam.
So instead, you should be aiming for the score you actually need in order to reach your goals.
This doesn’t mean you can’t score higher than you’re expecting, but it might relieve that unnecessary pressure.
As an example, your dream grad school may have a minimum GRE score requirement. In which case, your target score could be that requirement or a bit higher just to be safe.
And if your baseline score is lower than your goal then it’s a signal that more studying is needed.
Whereas, if your baseline score is in line with your goal, then it can be an encouraging sign!
3 – Don’t Be Discouraged By Things You Find Difficult
It can be easy to get discouraged by study material that’s hard for you, and at times, it can even lead to anxiety that you’ll fail that section of the test.
But it will be far better for your study session and mental health if you look at these difficulties in a different way.
Difficulties don’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong, and most people have their weak spots when it comes to exams.
But avoiding study materials that don’t come as naturally to you, can cause you to be underprepared when you actually take your GRE.
So even if you find something challenging, you still need to study it. And in fact, you probably need to study it more than the sections you find easier.
Is GRE prep stressful?
Hopefully by reading these tips, you’ve realized that prepping for the GRE doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.
If you outline a dedicated study plan, allot plenty of time for that purpose, and have the right mindset; then you can efficiently complete your GRE prep with minimal stress.
And I’d also like to mention that if you feel your current study plan isn’t adequately preparing you for the test, then there are other options.
You could consider something as simple as trying out a new study method, or you could even hire a tutor to prepare you for the exam.
Over To You
What are your main study strategies when you’re prepping for a big test? I’d love to hear about them in the comments at @netwerkmovement.
And if you know someone who is going to be preparing for their GRE soon, then make sure to send them this post!