The GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is a standardized and the most popular admission test for graduation schools worldwide. It is your pathway to Ivy League colleges like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and other reputed institutions. You know the drill- register for the GRE exam, enroll in GRE classes, do your GRE prep, give GRE mocks, get good gre scores, ace the GRE examination, then apply to the colleges, go through the loan procedures, and tada! You are on a flight to reach your dream college.
But wait. There are some hiccups. And it starts with the GRE preparation. You are looking at a Fall’21 admission, yet, even as July 2020 comes to an end, you still do not have a GRE preparation strategy in mind. The GRE exam is only 3 months down the line and though you have enrolled in GRE online courses, you are yet to give any GRE mocks.
We get it. We have been in similar positions. After all, procrastination is our second most favorite thing to do after binge-watching Netflix!
And so, we bring you this article to get you out of the GRE preparation strategy woes. We will give a detailed 3-month GRE preparation plan to get good gre scores. We are assuming you will be starting from scratch and you have access to good GRE mocks, sectional tests, and GRE exam syllabus topic videos. If you do not, you can check out the GREKing course page here for accessing all the materials and GRE mocks.
First, we will give an overview of how to approach and prepare each section of the GRE exam. Then we will give a weekly study plan for your benefit.
Books for the GRE Exam Preparation
Here we are mentioning the books and materials you would need for your overall GRE preparation. If you feel you’ll need special attention to any particular section, we will be mentioning books specific to each section below.
- ETS Official Guide (OG) – for GRE
It is the official book written and compiled by actual paper setters of GRE. The book will give a very clear idea about the paper pattern, type of questions, and formats.
- BARRONS NEW GRE (19TH EDITION)
The Diagnostic Test of the Barrons Guide will help you to gauge your preparation. Besides, the content for both the Verbal and Quant section is comprehensive. However, the difficulty level of questions in this book is not on par with the actual GRE exam. So it is recommended to use this book as a supplement.
- GREKing Free GRE Ebooks
The content of these e-books is designed keeping in mind the actual GRE exam paper. The questions are of different difficulty levels to help you from an amateur stage up to the pro level.
Some of the Ebooks are:
1. GREKing 50 Most Repeated Words
2. GREKing 50 Must Solve Text Completion Questions
3. GREKing 50 Must Solve Sentence Equivalence Questions
4. GREKing 100 Must Solve Quantitative Comparison Questions
You can get the ebooks here. We are adding more Ebooks every day so that you can have access to more resources and get good gre scores. So be sure to check back and refresh the website regularly.
GRE Preparation- Section Wise
1. Verbal Reasoning
This is considered the toughest section of the GRE exam. This perception is partly because of the high usage of tricky vocabulary in the questions, partly because of the obscure and long Reading Comprehension passages and partly because of how confusing the answer choices are deliberately made. We will cover vocabulary as a separate section in this article. But the first thing to keep in mind for both vocabulary and verbal preparation is that the GRE exam tests the logical application of the words, not the words itself. So you need to ace this section to get good gre scores.
This forms 50% of GRE Verbal Reasoning. So, read one article every day from either the New York Times, Economist, Wall Street Journal, or Forbes. The language of articles written in these newspapers is similar to what you will find in the GRE exam. Next, refer to the Reading Comprehension tutorial videos on the GREKing Youtube page for learning about the types of GRE RC and strategies to score higher in this section. If you have enrolled for the course, you will get access to more videos on this topic in your dashboard. Once you are clear with the fundamentals, it’s time to start practicing the theories. Check out the free GREKing Ebook- “GREKing 50 Must Solve Reading Comprehension” and solve all the questions. And finally, test yourself by giving GRE Sectional mocks and full-length GRE mocks regularly.
Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence
The approach is similar for these two question types too. The first step is to clear your concepts by going through the tutorial videos. Then refer to Ebooks- ‘GREKing 50 Must Solve Text Completion Questions’ and ‘GREKing 50 Must Solve Sentence Equivalence Questions’ for your practice. And finally, give enough GRE mocks to perfect your preparation.
While the resources mentioned are more than sufficient for your preparation, in case you need more help, here are some additional books:
- ETS Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
- Kaplan GRE Verbal Workbook
- GRE Verbal Grail – Aristotle Prep
2. Quantitative Reasoning
The GRE Quant questions are rudimentary by itself. However, the GRE exam syllabus for Quants is exhaustive. Besides, the time duration for the section- 20 questions in 35 minutes, is highly limited, so solving the questions faster should be your goal while preparing for this section to get good gre scores.
While the syllabus is vast, there is a silver lining. From the past years’ trends, it can be concluded that Arithmetic and Geometry comprises almost 50% of Quantitative Reasoning. GRE gives a lot of word problems and Quantitative comparison type of questions, so give special attention to these two question types to get good gre scores. The preparation strategy is simple. If you have enrolled for the course, you will see several tutorial videos on your dashboard. The first step is brushing up the concepts. So go through all the fundamental videos and practice from the free GREKing Quant Ebooks. The next step is to give GRE sectional mocks, again available on your dashboard, and full-length GRE mocks.
Some additional resources for GRE Quants are:
- Nova’s GRE Math Bible
- Manhattan Prep 5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems
- Princeton’s Math Workout for the New GRE
We kept vocabulary as a separate section as this is the area most students struggle with. Remember, learning and memorizing vocabulary is an everyday practice. Learn 20 words every day. These words should not be random. They will be among the most repeated GRE vocabulary words. Some sources to find those words:
- Norman Lewis Word Power Made Easy- Try to complete this book in the first month itself
- Download the Merriam Webster dictionary app in your phone and refer to it anytime you find a new word while reading articles from NY Times or Forbes.
- Check out the free E-book- ‘GREKing 555 Most Repeated Words’ and also subscribe to GREKing’s Youtube Page for a daily dose of GRE Vocabulary
AWA or Analytical Writing Ability tasks is an underrated GRE section. However, it can majorly affect your chances of admission to graduate schools. So make sure to practice at least one AWA topic every alternate day. Subscribe to GREKing’s Youtube channel for weekly new AWA topics. You can also refer to GREKing’s free ebook: ‘GREKing 50 Most Important AWA Topics List’ for your practice.
Some additional resources are:
- ETS Topic Pools, Argument, and Issue
- Vibrant’s GRE Analytical Writing: Solutions to Real Essay Topics Books
Analyzing GRE Mocks
Once you are done with solving enough practice problems, it’s time to start attempting the GRE mocks. It is recommended to give at least 5 GRE Mocks before attempting the GRE exam. However, just giving GRE mocks is not sufficient at all. An even more important exercise is to analyze the mock results. This is the way to ensure that you will get good gre scores. Here’s how you can do that.
- In an excel sheet mark three columns- Unaware of the concept, Unable to understand the concept, Time Management Issue. Now put every question you got wrong in the GRE mocks or any question you did not attempt, under one of these column heads. This way you will get to see your performance in a structured, quantifiable format.
- Color code the three columns and track the sheet. The goal is to have less and less of the first two columns as you start learning and practicing. Now go through the solutions of the GRE mocks and consult with your mentors to shorten the time taken for solving each question.
Weekly Study Plan for the next 3 Months
- Start with giving a diagnostic GRE mock test. If you have enrolled for the GREKing course, you will have access to about 15 GRE mocks. Attempt the first one. Alternatively, you can attempt the diagnostic test of the Barrons GRE Guide. Do not be concerned about the fact that you haven’t started your GRE preparation. Once you receive your scores, analyze it in the format described above.
- Start with Norman-Lewis Word Power made easy. Attempt to complete one session every day along with the exercises given. Make notes, write down all synonyms and antonyms of the words you are learning.
- Read one article every day from the sources mentioned above. Check the meaning of difficult words and make notes in the above method.
- This week, focus on clearing the Quant concepts. Refer to the foundational and advanced videos on the GREKing dashboard and Youtube page and go through one topic a day. Make sure to practice some questions from the relevant topic Ebooks.
- Continue learning from Norman-Lewis in the same way as last week. However, try to increase the frequency to 2-3 sessions a day.
- Continue Reading articles from sources mentioned.
- This week, focus on clearing the Verbal concepts. Again refer to the foundational and advanced videos on the GREKing dashboard and Youtube page. Make sure to practice some questions from the relevant topic Ebooks and attempt the practice tests on the Youtube page.
- The other two practices continue as before. By this time, you should be halfway across or almost close to finishing the Norman- Lewis book. Make sure to revise the previously learned words.
- In the final week of the month, the focus will be on completing the GREKing Ebooks for Verbal and Quant. Mark the questions you can’t attempt and consult your GRE tutor or get on a one-to-one mentorship to clear your doubts.
- Continue reading one article every day from NY Times or Forbes or Economist. You should be able to finish the Norman-Lewis book or be close to finishing it this week.
- We will be starting with the sectional tests from this week. Continue practicing from the GREKing Ebooks, and if you are done, start referring to the other two sources mentioned. Try to give one sectional test every day, alternating between Verbal and Quant.
- Give one GRE mock this week and analyze it in the proper method.
- Continue reading the articles. If you are done with Norman Lewis, start referring to GREKing Vocabulary Ebooks.
- We will follow the same approach as the previous week. However, start writing one AWA topic every 2-3 days.
Week 3- Week 4
- Focus on giving more and more sectional GRE mocks. Continue the practice of giving one GRE mock a week, reading articles every day, and learning 20 GRE Vocabs a day.
Week 1- Week 2:
- By now you should have scheduled the GRE exam. The study plan for these two weeks will be to give one sectional test every day and attempt two GRE mocks a week. Continue Reading articles and learning words in the same way as before. If you are done with the Ebooks, you can refer to the GREKing Youtube page for additional vocabulary videos.
Week 3-Week 4
- In the last two weeks, focus on understanding the GRE exam paper completely and getting attenuated to the GRE exam duration. So the main target is to give more and more GRE mocks and analyze, improve on the results. Stop learning any new vocab in these two weeks. Rather, revise all the words. Relax and eat well. Don’t stress yourself out. Refer to the ETS official book extensively for any updated information.
- Follow this strategy to ensure that you will get good gre scores.
Hope this study plan helps! Feel free to contact us for any customized GRE preparation strategy and clearing of doubts!
All the best! Carpe Diem!