Preparing for GRE

Whether you are retaking the test or appearing for the first time, here are some quick tips on preparing for GRE.

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(Photo: The Indiana Hoosiers warm up for a practice.)

There is actually one correct answer to the question, “how should I prepare for GRE?” and that answer is: Practice! Practice! Practice! You probably have never seen a football player reading books about how to play football. You always see that football players are working out and practicing their game and forming strategies.

Begin your preparation with a practice test. Taking a practice test will help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Maximize your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It is important to work on your strengths; because you don’t want to lose any points in the area of your expertise. Your strike rate in these areas must be close to perfect, which would require constant practice. Working on your weaknesses could lead to speedy improvements, if not exponential.

Frequent evaluations: After your first practice test, you must again take another practice test within a week or so. This new feedback will be an opportunity for you to evaluate your efforts of preparation. If need be, you can change your strategies and tactics. You must ascertain “early”, whether your methods for preparation are working or not.

There is no maximum limit to how many practice tests one could take, or how early (i.e. six months or one year) one could start preparing for GRE. In reality, people take anywhere between five to ten practice tests. While it is customary to start preparing at least two or three months in advance, a time-intensive focused effort in a short term could possibly yield improved scores for people who are retaking the test.

Obtaining practice tests!

(1) ETS provides official practice tests (these are free)

(2) Several websites would have practice questions for free

(3) Buy GRE prep books on amazon, from Barnes and Noble or from other booksellers

(4) Your school library or public libraries

(5) You can purchase practice tests as well. There are websites dedicated to this. This option strictly depends on your budget. You have to decide your priorities, whether spending money in buying practice tests is best for you or not, whether you can spend money in preparing while saving money in other activities.

Similar entry: Retaking GRE.