So, you’ve decided to apply for graduate programs. You’re getting your transcripts together, asking people for letters of recommendation, and daydreaming about your doctorate. It then occurs to you that yes, you must take the dreaded GRE. Lucky for you, keeping a few tips in mind makes the testing process smooth and non-intimidating.
1. Take a Practice GRE
This will help you to assess your skills so that you can see what you’ll ace on the test and what you should spend your time studying. Spending time effectively on skills that you may struggle with now will go a long way toward boosting confidence on test day.
2. Check the Library
Rather than heading to the nearest bookstore or making an online order, visit your local library first. Often, libraries carry several course prep books in the oversized or education section that you can borrow. Save your money for GRE and application fees. Depending on the type of prep book you choose, you’ll be invited to explore different strategies for getting to know GRE-style problems.
3. Pace Yourself
Understanding your natural pace for answering different types of GRE questions can help you devote an appropriate amount of time to each on test day. Taking as many full-length practice GREs as possible before your test day can help you to get to know your own style. Perhaps you take lots of notes as you read passages for verbal questions. You’ll be able to streamline your note taking process to allow plenty of time for responses. Similarly, you can review formulas for quantitative questions so that time is spent solving rather than recalling.
4. Don’t Stress
There will be questions of varying difficulty on the test; it’s designed that way on purpose. Don’t spend time stressing over questions you can’t answer quickly. Instead, answer the ones you can and leave the rest for last. Make sure you try on every single question in order to maximize your chances of answering correctly. Unanswered questions offer no benefit with regard to score.
5. Know the Rules
Prepare for rules and regulations ahead of time by researching them thoroughly. The GRE comes with a lot of formalities, and there is typically a fairly extensive check-in process at the testing site. Understanding this before you go will help to calm any test day nerves. Wearing comfortable clothes and no extra jewelry will also help to streamline the registration process.
Taking the GRE can be a little daunting at first thought. Realistically, it’s just like any other sort of endeavor. The right amount of GRE test prep and planning can help tremendously with all aspects of execution. The most important takeaway for GRE test prep is to understand yourself. If you are comfortable with your testing style, knowledge base, and pacing, you will be all set for the big day.
Afterward, take some time to celebrate. You’ve worked toward something really important, and no matter what your scores are, you deserve to celebrate after your test is complete.