How to Study for the GRE


Step 1: Understand the Structure of the GRE

Before setting your study schedule, it's important to know what you'll need to study. The GRE revised General Test is broken down into three main sections that each cover important business skills - verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. Start out by understanding the purpose and question types you'll encounter in these sections.

Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning Analytical Writing
Tests your ability to: Evaluate written material, synthesize information, and analyze relationships Interpret quantitative data, solve mathematical word problems, and apply basic and elementary arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis math concepts Perform critical thinking, articulate complex thoughts, and maintain a coherent discussion
Types of questions covered: Reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence Quantitative comparisons, one-answer multiple choice, one-or more-answer multiple choice, and numeric entries 30 minute analyze an issue task and a 30 minute analyze an argument task

Step 2: Try Some Practice Questions

Once you understand the exam content, find out what you already know and what you still need to work on by answering simulated practice questions similar to those found on the actual exam. Finding out your weak points helps you focus your study on the specific sections you need help with the most.

Step 3: Utilize Study Groups, Tutoring and Online Courses

If you require more support, studying with your peers or getting a tutor can help provide the extra boost you need to ace the GRE. Using these methods can allow you to get instant feedback on areas where you need to improve and draw from the knowledge of others to accelerate your learning.

When considering group study, you should assess if your study partners are the type to stay focused or engage in too much small talk, which can be a distraction. With private tutoring, keep in mind that this would be an additional cost and multiple tutoring sessions could be expensive. Another option you have to help you prepare for the GRE is completing an online prep course, such as's GRE Test: Practice & Study Guide.

Step 4: Quiz Yourself as You Study

You can test yourself as you go along by taking short quizzes available through several of's GRE courses. If you need to brush up on your math skills for instance, you may review the GRE Math Subject Test Study Guide & Test Prep that contains lessons on topics like calculus, partial derivatives and trigonometry. To evaluate your understanding of a subject like psychology, you may take the quizzes included in the GRE Psychology Study Guide & Test Prep course.

Step 5: Complete Full-Length Practice Tests

To close out your preparation for the GRE, consider taking a full-length practice test. ETS offers simulated computer-based or paper-based versions of the GRE exam if you visit their site and download free software or a PDF that contains full-length practice tests covering topics for each section. If you would like to practice for a particular section of the exam, ETS offers official GRE verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning practice questions in ebook and paperback formats for purchase as well as an online writing practice subscription service.

Continue reading: Average GRE Scores

Determining when and where to take the GRE is an important step in test preparation. Learn how to find the right date and location for the GRE general test and the GRE subject tests, as well as helpful study tips.

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