Wondering how to study for the GRE? You will do well after taking a closer look at the intricacies of the examination at the outset. You will have to craft a solid strategy for preparation and cover all the major sections of the test.
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How to study for GRE- Crucial preparation tips
If you want to know more on how to start preparing for GRE, here are some essential pointers that you should keep in mind:
Preparing for the Analytical Writing section
It is a given that the analytical writing portion of the test assesses your critical writing and thinking capabilities and analyzes your abilities with regard to expressing complex concepts in a highly effective and clear manner. Several students often miss out on the fact that this examination is not a test of their knowledge of content. You should make a note of the fact that the AWA will be chosen from the task pool published by ETS (www.ets.org/gre/awtopics). Get your essays reviewed and scored while writing responses during full-length practice examinations.
Learn about all the instructions from the Official Guide. There are instructions 6 and 8 that are linked to the issue and argument tasks respectively. These determine the manner in which you address them. Create a mental template for writing responses as well. In the argument task, you are not required to discuss or comment regarding the truth or falsity of the statements given. You should not be stating your agreement/disagreement in this case. You only have to analyze the soundness of the given argument on the basis of specific instructions.
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Preparing for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section
The Verbal Reasoning section of the examination is often perceived as tough owing to the vocabulary quotient. The aim here is to analyze your capabilities to comprehend material and evaluate the same. Your skills in sentence structure and understanding of concepts and words are also tested here. Keep learning and practicing words along with understanding their meanings. Do not have only a single word retention technique. Create and maintain your own vocabulary register or journal.
You can also use flashcards, mnemonics, or other games for assistance. You should also practice answering questions for Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion. Emphasize on using your own phrases or words for these questions instead of plugging in answer options.
Preparing for the GRE Quantitative section
Those wondering how to start preparing for GRE should greatly emphasize upon this section which tests mathematical abilities, understanding of concepts, reasoning and problem solving. Avoid neglecting fundamental Mathematics concepts and put more focus on extensively tested topics instead of those likely to spawn a lesser number of questions. Emphasize on topics like percentages, averages, ratio and proportion, the number system and so on. Do not spend as much time on probability and permutation-combination. You may focus on them after completely understanding tried and tested aspects.
Take reference from the official guide and remember that the calculator provided will only have basic functions like multiplication/subtraction/addition/division. Start using the drop-down calculator right from the outset in order to get some practice.
Read More: GRE Syllabus
Read non-fiction and analytical content
Aspirants often get advice and recommendations regarding reading non-fiction and analytical texts or other similar content. Try and cover such materials whenever you have any time to spare. Experts feel that those scoring well in the verbal section are mostly people from liberal arts or philosophy backgrounds, possessing thorough understanding of several types of academic content and narratives as part of their coursework for undergraduate degrees. Reading more about topics which are not directly linked to your core subjects will ultimately bring you rewards. reading and familiarity with different types of content will always help.
Build a regular study blueprint
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for the time required to study and achieve great GRE scores. However, students will need at least three months of extensive preparation according to experts. If you can devote some more time, then five months would be ideal as well. The key here is to create a properly structured plan of action. If you are already a voracious reader and have scored well in Mathematics in school, you may not require as much preparation time as those with slightly lower aptitude in these fields.
However, overconfidence is never advisable since GRE is a tough examination at the end of the day. Create a practical study schedule for each day with suitable time allocated for each section in the GRE.
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Take as many practice tests as possible
You should know that stress is one of the biggest hurdles towards scoring well in the GRE. While each section may be manageable individually, completing the entire examination in 3 hours and 45 minutes is like a grueling race against time! You should be prepared amply in terms of building your knowledge, and mental abilities over a few months. Those with lower mental stamina will not be able to score optimally in the GRE.
Going for practice tests will help you overcome stress and build your confidence while learning how to pace yourself during the test as well. It will give you several valuable reference indicators while also building overall endurance. Practicing the entire GRE examination will help you get a real feel of what it takes to physically and mentally clear the examination successfully. Ensure that practice tests are taken in environments that are not completely dissimilar to actual GRE testing conditions. Your brain should be used to taking the examination in actual testing conditions.
Understand your own weaknesses first
The areas that are most challenging for you in the GRE are mostly subjects or portions that you do not like. If you are good at Mathematics and do not like writing on abstract concepts, then you will find it tough to ace the GRE. On the flipside, those good at reading and writing and poor at Mathematics will naturally experience the same fate. Understand your own weaknesses first and how you can keep eliminating them in a strategic manner over a sustained period of time. Make sure that you do this while playing to your strengths as well. Do everything required for structuring your study blueprint carefully in order to effectively target your weaknesses.
Things will ultimately get less challenging once you progress in some of these areas. When it comes to things that you are comfortable with, select study resources that will build upon your knowledge instead of offering exercises that you find simple enough. You should strive to eliminate your weak points gradually while sharpening your strengths.
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Track your own progress carefully
In several interviews or tests, potential employers or admissions committees usually require proof of contributions of applicants towards initiatives and projects. They always appreciate proof of achievements which have been numerically or statistically compiled, i.e. growth in revenues by 10% or even cutting costs by 40% for instance. Preparation for GRE will also improve if you have clear-cut performance benchmarks mapped out. Track your progress since it will give you an insight into improvements in your own score and objectively analyze how well your study strategies are working.
Your enhancement metrics should be based on criteria that remain consistent and progress should be tracked on a daily or weekly basis. Self-evaluation on a regular basis is vital towards highlighting your improvements for all types of sections and questions in the GRE. You can also nip potential issues in the bud with this approach.
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Trust your instincts more
Keep trusting your own instincts and they will be useful in various scenarios. Suppose you find several multiple-choice questions but cannot decide between two possible answers. The process of elimination has already taken you from analyzing the question to mapping mental information, analyzing options, and narrowing them down to two final ones. In such a situation, relying on your instinct is the best way to get through the conundrum.
In fact, experts feel that if you have sincerely prepared for GRE and practiced all types of questions, then your instinct may help you make decisions that are more rational. What matters is preparing well in advance and implementing your strategies for the GRE suitably.