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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Barnwell

GRE Prep: Where to Start

Preparing for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) can feel overwhelming, especially when you're unsure of where to begin. With so much material to cover and various study resources available, it's crucial to have a clear starting point. In this comprehensive blog post, we will guide you through the essential steps to kickstart your GRE preparation effectively. Whether you're a recent graduate or a working professional looking to pursue a graduate degree, this guide will provide you with the necessary tools to lay a strong foundation for success in the GRE.


Understand the GRE Format: Before diving into your preparation, it's important to familiarize yourself with the GRE format. The exam consists of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Each section assesses different skills and requires specific strategies. By understanding the structure and content of the GRE, you can tailor your study plan accordingly. We will delve into the details of each section, including question types, time limits, and scoring.


Determine Your Target Score: Setting a target score is crucial as it helps you stay focused and motivated throughout your preparation. Research the score requirements of your desired graduate programs to determine a realistic goal. Keep in mind that different programs may have different expectations, so it's important to prioritize accordingly. We will provide insights into score percentiles and how to interpret them in relation to your target score.


Take an Official Practice Test: To gauge your current skill level and identify areas of strength and weakness, take a full-length, timed practice test. Because you'll be using your score on this initial practice test as your starting point, it is crucial that it is as accurate of an assessment of your current ability as possible. For this reason, you'll want to be sure that your practice test is the official GRE (made by ETS). You can access a free practice test by downloading the POWERPREP Online Practice Test 1 here. Analyze your performance and use the results as a starting point to tailor your study plan. We will provide guidance on how to interpret your diagnostic test results and identify areas that require improvement.


Develop a Study Plan: Creating a study plan is essential for effective GRE preparation. Determining how you'll learn the GRE content and strategies needed is just as important as the learning and review process itself. Consider factors such as your target score, available study time, and personal commitments. Break down your study schedule into manageable chunks, allocating dedicated time for each section. Be realistic and set achievable goals to ensure steady progress. We will provide a step-by-step guide on creating a personalized study plan that fits your needs.


Gather Study Materials: To start your GRE prep, gather the necessary study materials. There are numerous GRE prep books, online resources, and study guides available. Look for reputable sources that cover the GRE syllabus comprehensively and provide practice questions and explanations. Online platforms like ETS (the official GRE website) and Manhattan Prep offer a wealth of study material and practice tests. We will recommend top study resources and provide insights into how to make the most of them.


Focus on Content Review: Dedicate time to reviewing the content tested in each section of the GRE. Understand the question types, concepts, and strategies required for success. Use study guides and online resources to reinforce your knowledge and practice solving different types of questions. We will delve into the specific content areas tested in Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing, providing tips and resources for effective content review.


Practice, Practice, Practice: Regular practice is key to improving your GRE skills. Solve a wide range of practice questions, both timed and untimed, to build speed and accuracy. Focus on identifying patterns, learning from mistakes, and understanding the underlying concepts. Additionally, take full-length practice tests to simulate the exam environment and assess your progress. We will provide strategies for effective practice, tips on time management, and recommendations for online platforms that offer practice questions and tests.


Seek Additional Resources: Consider supplementing your preparation with additional resources such as GRE prep courses or private tutoring. Not only can these resources can provide expert guidance, personalized study plans, and valuable tips and strategies, they can also save you valuable time. By working with a GRE tutor, for example, you can accomplish your targeted score increase in a fraction of the time it would take you to do so working independently. You'll also have the added benefit of done-for-you structure, organization, and vetted study materials. We will explore the benefits of GRE prep courses and provide insights into selecting the right course or tutor for your needs.


Track Your Progress: Keep track of your progress throughout your GRE prep. Maintain a record of your practice test scores, section-wise performance, and areas that require improvement. Data doesn't lie: tracking your progress will help you identify trends, adjust your study plan, and ultimately let you know when you're finished with your GRE prep and ready to test.


Stay Motivated and Take Care of Yourself: GRE preparation can be challenging and demanding, so it's crucial to stay motivated and take care of your well-being. Set aside time for relaxation, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, or fellow test-takers to share experiences and stay motivated. We will provide tips on staying motivated, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance during your GRE preparation.


Starting your GRE preparation on the right foot is essential for achieving your target score. By understanding the GRE format, setting a target score, creating a study plan, and utilizing appropriate resources, you can embark on a successful GRE prep journey. Remember to stay focused, practice consistently, and maintain a healthy balance between preparation and self-care. With dedication and the right strategies, you can conquer the GRE and unlock new opportunities for your academic and professional future.


If you are interested in working with GRE tutor, PrepNation can help! We offer offer comprehensive GRE tutoring packages designed to help you achieve significant improvements. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your needs and goals.


Good luck on your GRE journey towards graduate school success!

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