Its Stressful – I know.
Okay so if you’re reading this then you’re considering taking the GRE or are in the midst of prepping for your first round or a retake. Just know – it’s going to be okay. All that you need to do is be diligent and committed to succeed.
Step 1: Set your Goal Score
Choose your intended schools and note down their average GRE score ranges. You need an idea of what the higher end of your ranges is so you can adequately set your goals. Your goal should be in the mid-high end of that range of your top choice. Shoot for the stars, you’ll at least end up in the clouds
Step 2: Pick Your Study Tool
I chose and stand by Magoosh. Here are all of the reasons why I love Magoosh as a study tool:
- Incredibly reasonably priced: Study tools are exceedingly expensive, don’t break the bank.
- Daily, Weekly and Monthly Study guides: You should not be spending more than 2-3 months studying for the GRE. I studied every day following the Magoosh study guide for 3 months. It is time intensive, but you do not need outside help to succeed.
- Resources: Magoosh tells you all of the resources that they would like you to utilize outside of their online platform and mobile apps. Buy the books (cheap on amazon) and knock them out
- Smart Platform: Their online platform is only getting better. It will track you on both the desktop and mobile app and allow you to target your growth areas easily.
Commit To Your Timeline
You have to be dedicated if you are applying to top programs because your scores do matter as much as I hate to say it. You need to perform as a bottom line. Set yourself up for success.
When I started studying, I let my friends and family know what I was doing and that I would need their support throughout the process. I had a very strict routine that I followed for three months, which required getting through my daily assignments and learning vocab daily. I will admit, I did not have much of a life but I knew what it was going to take to succeed. I used every minute that I had to try to improve my score, because the GRE is not a knowledge test, it is a skills test with vocabulary. Skills can be learned and acquired.
If you have not taken math in 5+ years, you will need time to readjust. If you do not read regularly, you will need time to build your lexicon.
The GRE is not hard, but to score competitively you need to commit. Be hard on yourself and have your friends be your accountability partners. You know what you need to get done each day via your study guides. Dont falter. Stay strong.
Take Practice Tests Regularly – Practice What You Suck At
Yes, blocking off the first half of your Saturday or Sunday sucks. But it is necessary. Take your practice tests diligently and seriously. Go back through your incorrect answers and practice whatever you got wrong. Never waste time on what you already know, tackle items that you struggle with – you will gain more points and a higher score in the long run.
On test day – be calm. Don’t do anything the day before and relax your mind. There’s nothing that you can do once that day comes. Breath in and know that you’ve done the best that you can do to prepare. Be careful about leaving the room for your break, come back with adequate enough time to be checked back in. During my second test, another test taker was struggling to get checked in which led to me losing 5 minutes of my test time. Don’t let that be you.
If you get a score within your range – great! You do it.
If you didn’t get the score you were shooting for – see how your test scores compared with your practice test. If you are in your target range don’t kill yourself over getting a higher score. But, if you are too far from your target range brush off the disappointment, get back in the saddle and reschedule your test for a month or a month and a half later. You can get the score you want by honing in on your struggle areas.
You Can Do It!
I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself too. If I crushed the GRE, then you can crush it too.