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Taking the GRE: 6 Study Tips & Tricks

test prep

Are you hoping to get into grad school? Chances are pretty high that you'll have to take the GRE to even be considered for admittance. This blog post will cover some little-known tips to help you pass the test.

GRE Preparedness

If you're planning to take the Graduate Record Examinations, or GRE, in order to get into grad school, we're willing to bet that you really want to pass. In fact, you're probably willing to do a lot in order to get there, including researching unique tips and tricks that you can use to increase your chances of GRE success. The following six tips are the ones you've been looking for - so read on.

Tips and tricks for the GRE exam

Study Tip #1: Practice, Practice, Practice

This first trick isn't a groundbreaking one, but it is important: do practice tests. Do a lot of practice tests. Because at the end of the day, there's no better way to prepare for a test than to take that test. The more GREs you take, the more prepared you'll be for the real thing.

Ideally, when you sit down to take the GRE, you won't find any - or many - surprises; that's the result of doing practice tests. They're easy to find, so do them.

Study Tip #2: Start - and Stop - Studying on Time

The GRE isn't a sprint. It's not even a marathon. It's an ultra-marathon. It tests you on the knowledge you acquired all the way back in high school.

Additionally, the GRE isn't an exam you can cram for, which is why you need to start studying well in advance. Like six months, at least.

But - equally importantly - you also need to stop studying on time. Don't keep shoving information into your brain up until the last day before, or even the morning of, the test. Allow yourself at least one or two nights of sleep where you stop studying and instead start focusing on getting yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for the test.

Study Tip #3: Warm Up Your Brain

Speaking of being mentally ready for the GRE, in much the same way that you do dynamic stretches before physical exercise, warm up before the GRE. Use your brain, but not for GRE practice problems.

Instead:

  • Read the newspaper
  • Do cryptic, logic, math, or trivia puzzles
  • Solve the daily crossword
  • Play Tetris

Warm up your brain for the GRE with crossword puzzles

Study Tip #4: Revisit the Hard Questions

Every question on the GRE counts for the same number of points, regardless of how hard or easy the problem. That means that it's to your advantage to answer all of the easy questions, thereby collecting those easy-to-get points. You don't want to waste too much time laboring over a hard question, only to miss two or three easy ones at the end of the test.

For that reason, skip over the hard questions. Mark them as a guess and go back to them later. Just make sure that you don't forget to answer every question by the time the test is over. Remember, you won't lose any points for wrong answers, so use guessing to your advantage.

Study Tip #5: Don't Read the Instructions

As a general rule, we would never recommend not reading instructions (especially when constructing IKEA furniture). But when it comes to the GRE, we're going to contradict ourselves: don't read the instructions. By the time you take the test, you should have already taken so many practice GREs (Remember tip number 1?) that you should know the instructions by heart. Rereading them will just be a waste of your precious test time.

Study Tip #6: Become a Reader

A general lifestyle tip that will help you not only on the GRE but also on every test you may take is to become a person who reads. By this we mean books, not Instagram captions. Research shows that people perform better on tests when they're well-read.

Reading books will:

  • Stimulate your brain
  • Expand your vocabulary
  • Learn how to use context clues to deduce the meaning of new words

There's a book out there on every subject imaginable - even GRE prep - so get out there and get to reading.

Habitual reading will help with the GRE

Pro tip: Reading will also help you once you get into grad school, which you will. Amazing GRE score incoming.

For more GRE tips, tricks, and resources, check out this page on Study.com.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
September 2019

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