You know you need to get a good score on your GRE and have to prepare well for that, but what does that actually mean? Should you study more concepts or take more practice tests? Should you spend three weeks preparing for the GRE or should you take three months?
The GRE can be intimidating, but knowing the right way to approach the exam will help you maximise your score. This GRE preparation guide will walk you through the most frequently asked questions such as- how long does it take to prepare for the GRE? When and how to start preparing? What should my GRE study schedule look like?
How to start with the GRE exam preparation?
The GRE is a test of patterns, not facts. Therefore, to ace this exam you will need sufficient time to understand and practise these patterns. There is a wide difference in the amount of time people take to prepare for the GRE, depending on a number of factors such as availability of time and resources, target score and target university.
We suggest you lock in anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks for your GRE exam preparation. In order to come down to a more definite time, you first need to set a target score and figure out how far you are from it by finding your GRE foot score.
How to find your GRE foot score?
The foot score is the starting point of your GRE exam preparation. It is the score you would receive if you took the GRE right now! To find your foot score (also known as baseline score) the first step is to take a full-length GRE practice test and see where you stand.
Before you design your GRE study plan, take a full-length practice-test under the same testing environment as you would experience on the exam day. Simulating an actual exam environment will help you determine your focus and stamina for a 4-hour long exam.
Determine your target score
If someone were to ask you ‘how much do you want to score on the GRE?’ What would your answer be? 330+ or would a 300+ suffice? To find the right answer to this question, you’ll need to determine your target GRE score first. Here’s how to go about it.
Shortlist the courses and universities you’re targeting and find out their respective GRE score cut-offs. University cut-off scores should be the primary determinant of your target score. Once you know the score you are aiming for, you can plan your study schedule accordingly which will eventually determine the amount of time you require to study for the GRE.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
GRE is a four-hour exam, and you have to be well prepared to sit for that long to answer the questions correctly. If you’re not alert enough throughout the exam, you can easily make silly mistakes. Practice tests are essential for building the proficiency for the GRE.
Taking mock tests (a lot of them) will help you build up that concentration and alertness. Practice tests also help you evaluate your performance critically and assess how you have improved in various sections of the GRE. When you’re ready, take a fully computer-adaptive test to test your overall efficiency and time management.
You’ll find several GRE practice tests on the internet, but finding the most reliable and relevant ones is difficult. Developed with over 28 years of experience and expertise, here are some Jamboree’s GRE practice tests we recommend for you to take.
Design a study plan
While taking the mock tests for the GRE, you’ll identify your strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to build a GRE study plan targeting your strong and weak areas. Dedicate more time for the areas you need to improve in while also focusing on sharpening your strong suits.
Vocab is an important part of the verbal section and demands dedicated practice time (minimum half an hour a day). Absorb as many words as possible- read up academic journals, newspapers, and other practice resources; prepare an Excel sheet where you can keep a tab of all the new words you come across along with their meaning.
How long does it take to prepare for the GRE?
The amount of time test-takers spend preparing for the GRE can vary widely. Most people spend about 1-3 months studying a few hours a week, take practice tests, read up on the different exam sections, buy and read a prep book or join GRE classes to train under expert guidance, or a combination of the above.
You don’t have to “learn” verbal and maths for the GRE. It is an aptitude test–a test of pattern, not facts. It is a test of your ability to perform your best while concentrating for over 4 hours. You can only prepare well for it by practising.
The answer to the question, ‘How to prepare for the GRE?’ depends on the hours you can allot each day for your test preparation, besides considering the resources you have at your disposal. Give yourself sufficient time to prepare for the GRE test. Submit your college applications with a stellar GRE score, a strong profile, and winning application essays along with the required IELTS/TOFEL score.
Jamboree guides GRE aspirants to schedule a test-prep plan and build speed, accuracy, and stamina for the test. Jamboree′s online test-prep packages like GRE live for online classroom like prep, GRE online, which provides prep flexibility, and GRE Test series with dedicated vocab tool- optimised for the GRE.
Book a free fifteen-minute session with our expert counsellor to know more about the importance of GRE scores in your college applications.
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