The GRE test does not have any prepared syllabus and is meant to test your language, logical and quantitative skills. It doesn’t demand academic knowledge beyond high school level but draws upon the expertise developed over a period.
This by no means is as simple as it sounds. You cannot just walk in and ace the test. GRE needs serious preparation to ensure good scores.
Locate Your Weak Points
To begin with, it is advisable to take some free online tests, offered by ETS and others. Taking a timed test and following all the rules, you will be able to get a fair idea of your strengths and weaknesses.
Next, start work on rectifying your weaknesses. Get hold of the various guidebooks available in the market. You could also attend prep classes where tutors will provide guidance, join online prep courses or go in for private coaching.
Enough study materials are available in various formats, including online tutorials. Let’s look at some of these.
Practice Tests & Study Materials
The PowerPrep Practice Tests by ETS are a good way to begin your campaign. PowerPrep Online includes two free practice tests that simulate the actual test. ETS says the tests will help you become familiar with the various question types and the testing tools, including the on-screen calculator.
It will also help in fine-tuning your strategy, including time management, as you will be able to take the test under timed conditions. You will also be able to develop an understanding of the scoring pattern.
The PowerPrep Test Preview Tool contains information to help familiarize you with the question types, test features and help tools that are available during the actual test.
This free tool can be found in the “My Test Preparation and Services” section of your ETS Account.
PowerPrep Plus Online has three official practice tests. These are sold separately. ETS says each has a set of real test questions being published for the first time.
The tests replicate the computer-delivered test experience and provide the scores within minutes. You will also get explanations for the correct answers and a score report with performance summary.
GRE Prep courses by Kaplan, Princeton Review, Magoosh, examPal, Manhattan Prep, The Economist are some of the other well-known aids available in the market.
When you start the actual preparations for the test, you need to decide whether to opt for self-study keeping in view the time available, the months or weeks before the test date and plan accordingly. Thus, you could get some of the GRE guidebooks, enroll in a coaching class,go in for private coaching or online courses.
Plan Your Study
Having identified your strengths and weaknesses through practice tests, how would you tackle the situation? If you are hard-pressed for time with just a few months to go before the test date, you should adopt a focused approach.
You could sign up for an online course and buy guides from reputed companies. Some of them have CDs of practice tests and past questions. You could also search for in-person classes.
You can also draw up your own study timetable or go in for model programs created by experts available on the internet. The best time to embark on serious preparations is four to 12 weeks before the test.
Some of the must-have resources are the ETS Official GRE guide and PowerPrep software. You could keep a notebook to keep track of study progress.
ETS also publishes the official GRE quantitative practice questions and the official GRE verbal practice questions. It is also a good idea to subscribe to online magazines such as Time, Newsweek, NYT, New Yorker, and Economist.
Considering that the biggest difficulty the candidates have in the verbal section is y the vocabulary, you should not just memorize words but learn their usage in the proper context.
In the quantitative section, you need to be adept at solving all the types of questions and also familiarize yourself with charts and graphs. No high-level math concepts are used in the test beyond the high school level. But you should have a clear understanding of the fundamentals.
Analytical writing segment requires you to make an argument and to critically analyse a given argument in clear and simple English.
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