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GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition

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GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2018, 03:41
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GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition

Another year of GRE preparation is upon us. Students around the globe have starting for the exam dates before the Fall 2018 application season. Here we outline how to get the most out of your preparation.

Why make a GRE Plan

Firstly we need to justify the need of making a GRE plan. A GRE plan should help you answer these 3 fundamental question?

1. What is your current level? What do you hope to achieve?

The decision to go to Grad school is a big one in itself. The biggest hurdle that students face in the process is the GRE. Although GRE is easier compared to other standardized tests such as GRE, it is extremely competitive. Students require high accuracy and speed in solving GRE Questions. Hence it is of great importance that a student has a well crafted study plan to bolster her/ his hard work. A systematic study plan has shown to achieve better scores. In order to come up with a realistic plan, it’s a great idea to take a practice test early to at least generally gauge where you are scoring. Although one exam does not give you a complete picture, it at least gives you a sense of where you are at at that particular time.

You should also take a look at the schools you want to apply to and determine what GRE score you will likely need to qualify for those programs.If you are already very close or inside the range the school accepts, a shorter timeline may work but you’ll want to put a much heavier emphasis on consistency as opposed to acquiring knowledge.

2. How much time do you need?

If you are trying to raise your score by a significant amount you need a solid time commitment to make it happen. Whether you’re studying for 1 week or 6 months, it definitely helps to add some structure to your GRE action plan to keep you accountable and motivated.

Super Intensive One Week Study Plan

1 Month Study Plan

3 months plan to ace the GRE

3. Plan for oter commitments?

Life, jobs, relationships, and other factors will also take up your time and influence how and when you can dedicate your hours to studying. Give yourself the necessary opportunities, but don’t drive yourself mad by scheduling the most study hours for when you’ll be most busy. Remember, you will need to give yourself days off to rest and recharge, as well.

Work Hard AND Smart

It is imperative to classify all the material available on the GRE into two catagories:

1. Questions for practice

While there are many GRE study resources available ETS provides an exhaustive lsit of materials for GRE Prep. Manhattan, Kaplan, Barrons and Princeton are also popular names one might consider.

ETS Official Guides

Manhattan Quant and Manhattan Verbal

Princeton Quant and Princeton Verbal

Together these resources account for more than 3000 question, more than enough for any GRE prep.

Use our workbook feature to track your progress.


Learn More about the Workbook

2. GRE Tests
Test resources are discussed in detail below. While the number of tests are limited there is more than enough resources freely available online for a fruitful GRE preparation.

Ideally one should start their preparation with a diagnostic tests and guge their current level of competance in order to make a detailed plan on action.

How to use the tests

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the GRE Environment The first step of GRE preparation is understanding the test if you haven't done so already - See GRE FAQ for Details. This step is very important an often ignored by test takers. It is important that you understand how GRE works and why it is important for your Grad school application. Feel free to poke around the website of ETS. While you are there feel free to download the PowerPrep test. These are the test by the makers of GRE and contain real GRE questions. They are at any given point of time the best tool to evaluate your scores.

Step 2: Take a Diagnostic test After you have familiarized yourself with the GRE the next step is to take a diagnostic test to evaluate your current position. The Official GRE test might be the right weapon of choice. The main reason it is a good use is that you can see your starting point (now) and then compare it against the ending (taking GRE). Alternatively you can use any other computer adaptive tests:

PowerPrep GRE Practice Tests by ETS

ImageGRE Prep Club Practice Test

ManhattanPrep GRE Practice Test

Kaplan GRE Practice Test

Princeton Review Free GRE Practice Test

Other Major Tests

Step 3: Outline your requirements and expectations Find out what GRE score you actually need. Just to give you an idea the current top 10 Grad schools require 330 plus GRE in the highly competitive departments. Most people are able to improve between 20 and 40 points - that should give you an estimate of what you can count on based on the diagnostic test you just took. You can check out the Current Average GRE Scores for US Universities.

Step 4: Identify your weaknessesTake a look at your practice test score and note the raw score distribution topic wise. This would enable you to identify the area where you might be particularly week. It is good practice to maintain an Excel file having your score distribution and how it changes over time. This tool might be particularly helpful in tracking improvements over time. You could use the following Format:

TopicsTest Name 1 and DateTest Name 2 and DateTest Name 3 and Date
% Score% Score% Score
Algebraic Expressions
Absolute Values/Modules
Coordinate Geometry
Counting Methods

I highly urge you to make this file yourself. Its very important that you identify individual topic on the GRE and work on them, and making the excel file is a very important part of the process.

Step 5: Adopt a winning strategy You need to build up your toolkit and get some ammo for the GRE. You will need books or a course (online or in person) to refresh/learn fundamentals and then test taking strategies. You will also need GRE tests to practice those strategies and also evaluate your prep level. See these links for: Official GRE course reviews by GRE Prep Club, GRE Courses General User Reviews and Resources GRE Books reviews. If you need some motivation and need to find out more about other students who have been successful in the past have a look at GRE Experiences

Step 6: Polish your test taking skillsHere is the most common one I see - jumping into questions and tests completely unprepared and expecting results/miracles. GRE consists of several layers and it is important to master each one before moving on to the next - think of it as of Maslow's need hierarchy of needs. There is no use in satisfying your social needs before you can take care of basic needs such as safety and food. The same is here, if you don't know the underlying principles that GRE is testing (such as grammar, arithmetic, etc) there is no use in solving hundreds of questions or taking multiple GRE tests. This means that if English is not your native language, you should not work on the RC strategies if you can't understand half of the passage - you need to get comfortable reading long passages of text before moving on. To illustrate this principle, consider the following hierarchy for the GRE:


Step 7: Quantify your Improvement To do this you need to maintain a detailed error log. This error log can be used for tests as well as regular practice problems. Maintaining a detailed error log will help you identify your weaknesses and help map your study strategy. The error log would have a structure similar to Step 4 score log. It is very important that you do not spend too much time obsessing over your scores. The error log addresses the following issues:

  • Time Management: You can monitor if you are spending enough time on questions. Conversely if you spend too much time you would have to rush through the final few questions which is undesirable.
  • Question Management: You can also find out if you are effectively able to solve difficult problems. Although difficult problems are far less in number on the GRE but for a high score you need to perform well on these questions. You can also find out if you applied the best problem solving strategy for the easy questions
  • SWOT Analysis: With en error log you can clearly identify your areas of strengths and weaknesses. These could be particular Question type or even a topic. For example you might be consistently scoring low on Numeric entry question or you might be scoring particularly low in Permutation Combination. Once you can identify your weaknesses you can proceed to work on them.

Step 8: Get the right Temperament There are many highs and lows of a GRE Prep. We all went through it. Sometimes we are able to solve quite difficult problems with relative ease and other times we might commit a silly error. It is part and parcel of the prep and you need to move on after learning from your mistakes. There a few key good attitudes that you can cultivate, these might help you in GRE and Grad School:

  • Researching a topic on your own: It is very important that you take the pains to research a topic or a problem on your own. It is a very important character building step that would later enable you to solve tough problems.
  • Asking for help from an Expert: There are places you might get stuck and you might not be able to find a solution without sacrificing a huge chunk of your prep time and resources. In those circumstances it might be a good idea to approach an expert. Experts are useful in helping you out of tough corners and can make your life easy. However your effort is the key ingredient in the test, hence use the power of experts but don't abuse it.
  • Knowing when to give up: Sometimes a problem or a topic might be particularly difficult for you. If a particular topic is becoming a huge drain on your resources it would be advisable to abandon that topic and focus on others.
  • Understanding the test and how it is scored: As we have stressed this before, understanding the GRE test is the key. Once you know what the test is looking for and what kind of questions it might through at you your prep becomes efficient and effective.

Best of luck with your preparations.


Hope you find this study plan helpful - please PM me any of your tips or suggestions for those just starting out on their GRE Journey You can bookmark this topic on GRE Prep Club by clicking the STAR button to the top right corner or you can print it out for future reference.

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Last edited by sandy on 24 May 2018, 06:28, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2018, 00:34
guys, I going to start my preparation, please tell from where I have to start and basics what I have to acquire
1 KUDOS received
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Re: GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2018, 16:31
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Krishnaa96 wrote:
guys, I going to start my preparation, please tell from where I have to start and basics what I have to acquire

The best place to start is to give one of the Free ETS practice tests. It will give you a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses.

Don't use up both ETS tests as the second one would come in handy later. You can also consider other tests such as our own GRE prep club free tests. We also provide a detailed topic wise analysis after each test.

Capture.JPG [ 142.97 KiB | Viewed 3696 times ]

This can easily be used to identify areas of weakness.

If you found this post useful, please let me know by pressing the Kudos Button

Try our free Online GRE Test

Re: GRE Study Plan 2018 Edition   [#permalink] 12 Nov 2018, 16:31
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