The GRE can decide whether you get into your desired graduate school and as such it should not be taken lightly. As with any standardized examination, you will need to put in some time to get a good score. Unless you are some kind of an extraordinary genius but then I suspect you wouldn’t be reading this guide.
Start the preparations as early as possible so that you have ample time to study and improve your score. It’s said that raising your score by 10 points takes on average around 80 hours of study. Can you do that in two weeks? Technically perhaps yes but studying this much in a short span of time definitely isn’t effective and won’t give you the results you’re hoping for.
Take a mock exam
The first step to any test preparations should be conducting a mock exam. You can do it by yourself at home. Take the full test by yourself and see how you scored on each section and what was the overall result. This will give you a rough idea of how much study you need to do to get to your desired level and which sections you should focus on. However, remember that it’s just that, a rough idea. You might have lucked out and gotten some of the answers right by accident. A good strategy is to leave the answer boxes empty in the questions you aren’t sure of – this way, you will be able to measure your actual knowledge rather than your guessing skills.
Figure out your best study method
The key to effective studying is finding a method that fits you. Not everyone studies in the same way. Are you more of an individualist that likes to set their study plan on their own? Or maybe you prefer someone to take over and give you a thorough course on all the material needed to get a good score on GRE?
If you decide to do everything by yourself then remember that you will need to be able to motivate yourself to study all the time. For some, thinking about their dream school is enough but others will need something more to feel properly motivated. If you find yourself feeling lost and not knowing how to move next then self-preparation might not be the best idea and a paid GRE course will suit you more. On the other hand, the good thing about self-studying is you will be able to freely choose your study times and adjust them to your schedule. Good GRE prep books are of utmost importance here – the better the material you work with the better the results.
Another factor to consider is when and where you study best. Are you more of a morning person or do you prefer to sleep in and start the study sessions in the afternoons? Can you find a quiet place at home to study with no distractions? If no, then maybe a local library would be more suitable.
Achieving a good GRE score is possible for anyone, as long as they diligently study beforehand. So go on and find your most effective study method.