Read this before taking a GRE Practice Test
Are you about to write the GRE? If yes, would you want to know the best way to study or practice for the GRE? Well, you are not alone. Thousands of other students like are you are in need of help in other to ace their GRE. The interesting part is that whether you are first-timer or you have repeated the tests a few times, with adequate practice you can record a very good score.
This blog post is going to help you to find out how best you can prepare for the GRE, how to create a preparation plan and finally important tips that you can use with study plans of any kind.
FIVE TIPS THAT WOULD HELP YOU TO PREPARE BETTER
There are some initial and very important principles that need to be considered when formulating and applying any GRE preparation plan. These principles need to be followed irrespective of the type of preparation that you choose.
These principles are:
Make sure to study what is on the test
What use is it to spend weeks studying a material that would not come out in the test? It would be a total waste of time and resources. Therefore you need to study what is on the test. Now you might think it is cliché, but clichés are clichés because they are true. Do not be wrapped into the air of self-confidence or ignorance.
Ignorance would have you believe that the Verbal section on the GRE test would be the same as that on most of the high school tests that you have written before. That is absolutely wrong. Make yourself familiar with what kind of questions are usually on the test. Only after reviewing the previous GRE materials can you know what to study or practice.
It would also be wrong for you to be over-confident and assume that the GRE is going to be just another test. This is one pitfall that you certainly want to avoid. The way you work on GRE is going to be different from the way you work on other standardized tests. Although some of the skills and techniques you developed from taking other tests might prove useful, you need to approach the GRE in a different way.
Decide what section to focus on
If you are a student that is looking to study a science or mathematics related course then you should pay more than the usual attention to your quantitative analysis score. If you are more inclined towards the humanities field than you should focus on your verbal score. This makes sense because most grad schools actually notice what section you performed better in before deciding whether to admit you or not.
This is not to say that you should focus all of your attention to only one section of the GRE. If you do this, you are only setting yourself up for disaster. Practice all the sections, but pay more attention to the more important one.
Put in the hours
You can only get a boost in your GRE score if you put in the time to practice. Your score improvement is not going to happen overnight; rather it is going to take consistent and deliberate efforts on your part. Some experts estimate that spending 40 hours more on your GRE practice would mean a 5-point increase.
Identify your weaknesses
We all have weaknesses. As you plan on taking the GRE test, you need to know what your own weaknesses are and work to address them. Working on your weaknesses would help you to greatly improve your GRE score because you now get to be better in areas where you normally suck.
If you only work on your strong areas, you would be wasting a whole lot of time. You would be like a carpenter who knows how to cut wood well but doesn't know how to hit the nail on the head.
Practice, practice, and practice
Practice makes perfect. You must have heard your mentor or parent say that to you like a million times. The fact is that you cannot get better at something without practice. In the case of the GRE, it means that you need to practice GRE questions as much as possible, especially on areas that you struggle with.
So if you are failing verbal questions, practice verbal questions more. If your problem is algebra, take on more and more algebra questions until you get the hang of it.
4 METHODS TO PRACTICE FOR THE GRE
There are majorly 4 methods that are employed by students that are preparing for the GRE. You also can use any of these methods or a combination of two or more methods.
These methods are
This is probably the method that you apply already. This means that you gather all your materials by yourself. This method is the cheapest among the four methods that would be considered. All you need is your study material and yourself.
With this method, you are the captain of your ship meaning that you have total control over the entire process. You get to create your study plan by yourself. When you study, what you study, and how you study are all questions that are answered by you.
The downsides to this method of practice are that you can be distracted or unmotivated, and sometimes it is difficult to come up with your own study plan. You can easily get distracted or sidetracked when you are studying along, so it is advised that you inform a responsible of your study plan so that they can help you in making sure that you follow through.
Self-prep might not be a good choice for you especially if you have a problem with identifying your weaknesses or if you are constantly left with a feeling of uncertainty.
In this method, you get to practice your GRE in a classroom just like in high school. There is an instructor and there are also other students like you who are preparing for their GRE.
With the classroom setting, you are forced to follow a study plan unlike with the self-preparation method. Some GRE prep companies that organize these classes often offer students the promise of meeting a specific score. If that score is not met, they offer the students a refund or additional tutoring at no extra cost. This serves as some kind of protection against wasting your money.
In this method, there is rarely a one on one interaction as the subject material is prepared for the entire class and not for only you. It could also get boring especially when your instructor or teacher is not particularly great. There is also the case of the class been taught something that you already know, therefore you might gain only little from the class.
Classroom preparation would be good for you if you really have a hard time studying on your own. You also get to be surrounded by others who are motivated towards achieving the same goals as you are. If possible make sure to choose a center that offers a score improvement guarantee with a refund policy.
Online Preparation Course
We live in a digital age now and that means that learning too has gone online. With online GRE programs, you can easily identify your weak points and strengths based on some quick practice exercise that is a common feature of the program.
At the beginning of most online preparation courses, you are provided with the overview of the topics that would be covered in the program. With a monthly subscription fee, you gain access to practice questions, explanatory content and answer explanations all on the same platform.
If you decide to go with online preparation courses, you need to make sure that you choose the right one. This is because many of the online courses available today are just a waste of time. Many contain substandard content that would make you dumber than when you started the program.
A private or personal tutor is considered to be the best method to guarantee success in your GRE test. If you do find yourself a good tutor then you would have the best one on one GRE coaching ever. These tutors are expected to help you identify your weaknesses, explain difficult concepts, select the best materials for study, and help you out with your study plan.
There are a number of sub-par tutors too who would just waste your time and money. Since hiring a personal tutor can be somewhat expensive, it would be wise for you to take your time and choose wisely.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO PRACTICE FOR THE GRE?
If you want to see improvement in your score then you have to practice. Aside from following the mentioned 5 tips and 4 methods to practice for the GRE, there are some other things that you need to do.
Aim for a specific score.
When you set the goal to meet a specific score you would be better motivated to reach that goal. Your goal score should be well above the cut-off score for the school that you are applying to.
Use only the best material
To be able to get the best result, you need to practice with the best materials that you can lay your hands on. ETS provide the best practice materials for the GRE, so be sure to check them out when you are about to study.
Work on your timing
Knowing all the answers to the questions in an exam is useless if you cannot answer the questions. This is why it is vital that you work on your pacing or timing. Doing so will earn you some precious minutes that you can use to answer more questions in the test.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PRACTICING FOR THE GRE
If you have read this blog post up to this point then I am sure that you really want to ace your GRE test. This section of this article highlights some mistakes that you need to avoid so that all the time, energy and resources put into your preparation do no waste.
Not starting preparations on time
If you are hoping to nail your GRE tests, then you need to dismiss the idea that all you need is two weeks to cram all the workload. You would fail. Instead of doing that, start your preparations right now. Complete practice exams now and see how well you score so that you can quickly start working on areas that you failed on.
Studying only on weekends
From Monday to Friday you do about your normal business of life, then on Saturday and Sunday, you read so much that you even forget to eat. This method might have gotten you through high school, but you would fail if you use this method in the GRE.
Your situation is like someone who wants to lose weight but eats junks on Monday through to Friday and then spends Saturday and Sunday at the gym. That person would just continue to be fat and out of shape.
So instead of going all your reading or practice only on weekends, span it across the whole week. Practice every single day as this would help you to learn faster.
Reviewing only the answers that you got wrong
When you make mistakes, it is essential that you try to understand the reason for the mistake and try to correct it so that it does not happen again. While doing this, you might neglect the answers you got right, thinking why you should review it since you got it right.
Review the answers you got correct too so that you know how you got them and check to see if there is a faster and efficient way of the getting the answer.
Success in the GRE test is dependent on the effort that is put in by you. So make sure to follow the tips, method and avoid the mistakes that have been highlighted in this post for the best way to practice for the GRE.
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