Even with a bachelor’s degree, you may now have your eyes set on that coveted post-graduation degree. You may be considering the grad school option where you took your undergrad classes, but it is best to apply to a variety of universities. Not only will these universities look at your GPA and application, they will likely also want to see your GRE scores.
Preparing for the GRE can be very expensive and frustrating if you don’t choose a good prep course. Some students spend up to $9,000 on test preparation services to make sure they get great results. Those who don’t have a huge budget can settle for $149-$629 preparation courses that are offered at discounted rates. Fortunately, there are ways to take the GRE without breaking the bank. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you just know where to look.
We’re here to help you ace the test and avoid paying for costly tutors, books, and preparation services if you don’t need them. On the other hand, we’ll make sure you do get the support where needed so you can feel confident on test day. Get ready to master even advanced topics using these tips.
Know what the GRE test is for
Before anything else, take time to get to know the test first so you can learn how to crack it. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is commonly requested in the US before students can enroll for a Master’s degree. It is also the most popular test that Business Schools require from future Master of Business Administration (MBA) students.
What’s great about the GRE is that you can select which grades you want to send to the university after taking it. You can retake the test if you want to improve your grades then send the result with the higher grades. Moreover, you can re-answer the questions you got wrong which can make the test easier to answer the next time.
Learn how the test works
The test will measure 3 categories that will be encountered more often by students who are studying for Business Master’s degrees. It is important to know that each has its own rules when it comes to testing your skills. These are verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.
Knowing this can help you familiarize yourself with the kind of questions that you will face and the topics to learn. You should also learn about the test’s format and rules about how the test is taken during preparation so that you can feel more comfortable during the actual test.
Determine your strengths and weaknesses
For this step, you need to take a diagnostic test first. Contrary to what others think, a practice test shouldn’t be taken only after you study for the test. It shouldn’t be taken as a benchmark either to represent your final score. Instead, the diagnostic test is designed to help you know where to focus more while preparing for the test.
You can answer free practice tests from different websites. Depending on the site you visit, you can even get practice tests that include explanations in the answers. You can also select which one from the 3 categories you want to take first. At the end of the day, the purpose of taking diagnostic tests is to help you determine your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you can focus on improving your weaknesses.
Set your target score and make a study plan
We get it that you want to ace the exam. However, it’s still better to set a more realistic target score to keep in mind. You can compare the score in your practice test with your target score. This will help you estimate how much you learned and how much you still need to study.
If you like keeping writing notes, you can even write your target score on a board or sticky notes. Post it somewhere you can always see it to serve as your motivation. Then, estimate the time you need to prepare for the test to make a study plan. If you’re still in college or have a current job, don’t forget to consider your schedule while making a study plan and deciding when to schedule your test. Even if you end up having to adjust your plan, it’s always best to start with one than to not have a focused goal.
Go back to the basic concepts
Review the basics, especially when it involves math. This will help you prepare your brain for more advanced concepts and understand them better. If you have a lot of time before the day of the exam, it is better to start from scratch first. If you’re retaking the exam, you can skip the other questions and focus on what you’ve missed before.
Practice time management
It is easy to drift and spend more time on tough topics or questions than necessary sometimes. You should balance your time by reviewing each topic or chapter while preparing for the GRE. If you need to improve your vocabulary, study it in context so you retain it. Don’t waste your time going through each word you see in the dictionary. Balance enough time for each topic according to your study plan.
Prepare early and be consistent
The earlier you start to prepare the better even if you’re still in college. This way, you don’t have to rush and can be more relaxed. Once you’ve started following your study plan, be consistent. It’s good to take a break after spending long hours of studying. However, keep it short to avoid forgetting the concepts you just drilled.
Stay focused on your goal
Studying can be hard if you have a short attention span. Hence, it is easy to be distracted or feel tired until you postpone the things you have to accomplish. Once you have cleared your mind of all the unnecessary things, studying any concept for hours will be easier. Whatever your study plan is, stay focused and stick to your schedule if you are determined to ace the GRE. Things may get tough sometimes but keep your head in the game. Staying fit physically and mentally helps a lot.
Taking a prep course can be valuable for some students, but it’s also not bad to take advantage of free resources online. Once you’ve found the right material to dive in, keep at it until you accomplish everything according to your plan. Take note that some materials also have a particular way of explaining concepts so don’t skip topics. Maintain a positive outlook and complete practice tests regularly. Never cheat or peek at the answers until you have finished the entire test. Beat your previous scores until you’re confident that you’ve improved enough to take the actual test.