Mistakes in GRE prep
Posted on
07
Jan 2022

5 Rookie Mistakes To Avoid In GRE Prep

If you are reading this you are probably an ambitious high achiever, firmly determined to pursue a graduate degree. In order to achieve your goal, however, you’ll need to face and conquer the GRE. Many people find this “battle” daunting until they realize that the right study plan and strategy can turn the GRE into their friend rather than an opponent.

The process of “befriending” the GRE is not a straightforward one. There are inevitable mistakes in GRE prep that every test-taker makes. The good thing is, mistakes exist to teach us how to perform better.

In this article, we’ll give you hints on how to overcome the 5 most common mistakes in GRE prep.  

1. Preparing without a GRE study plan

As you may already know, the GRE is not a test you simply sit and study for. It’s rather a test that requires constant improvement of the necessary skills. Meaning, the GRE is not concerned with one’s knowledge but rather with their individual and creative approach to completing the exercises. That said, memorizing a bunch of textbooks and doing as many practice tests as possible, wouldn’t develop the needed skills to conquer the GRE.

Therefore, no matter what you do right during your GRE prep process, if you don’t have a study plan, all efforts will be in vain. The reason is that a clear GRE study plan ensures that future test-takers maintain focus and coherence throughout their entire prep process. Having a focused study plan helps you follow your progress much easier. What’s more, you can detect what your shortcomings are with plenty of time to better them. Having a proper prep plan will work with you to improve your overall performance.

That being said, a clear study plan ensures that your GRE prep will be tied to your personal needs and capabilities and thus, help you excel on exam day.

2. Avoiding weak spots

As in every other test prep process, test-takers do a great job on some sections while not so much on others. That’s also the case with the GRE and this is absolutely okay. What is not okay, however, is merely focusing on strengths and neglecting your weaknesses. Many people take this approach in order to become even better on the sections where they perform well and potentially compensate for the lost points on sections they struggle with. While this strategy might work with other tests, in the GRE’s case, just focusing on the parts you excel in, is not sufficient for achieving a satisfying score.

The GRE is a section adaptive test designed to assess a candidate’s intelligence by asking questions that adapt to his or her own answers – if they are doing well on a given section, the next becomes more challenging and vice versa. Therefore, your GRE score depends on your complete skill set and overall performance on the exam.

That said, to achieve a score that would put you in the shoes of a high achiever, it’s important that you pay the required attention to your weak spots, work on them, and become as well-rounded skill-wise as possible. After all, you never know which “small leak” can “sink the whole ship.”

3. Procrastinating

One of the very common mistakes in GRE prep is putting off your preparation with the excuse that “there is still enough time until the exam, I’ll practice tomorrow/next week.” While there’s nothing wrong with having a rest for two or three days, this attitude, if repeated, could impair your performance and respectively, your score on the GRE.

To lower the risk of failing on the GRE, and feeling guilty about not having put enough effort, we’d advise you to do the following things:

  •   Create a GRE study plan with clear goals for each period of your prep process.
  •   Decide which days of the week you are going to study and how many hours.
  •   Distribute your efforts evenly throughout the prep process e.g., don’t exhaust yourself one week and then be forced to rest for the next two.
  •   Track your progress and adjust your study plan accordingly.
  •   Don’t forget – “Many a little, makes a mickle,” or in other words, it’s better to study less per study session but do it regularly, rather than to study many hours over a short span of time.
  •   Stick to the aforementioned mindset and follow your study plan!

4. Last minute cramming

Another very common mistake test-takers make is underestimating the GRE to such an extent that they start preparing for it at the last possible minute. While this practice might have worked during college years, it could easily prevent you from reaching your desired GRE score.

As already mentioned, the GRE requires putting consistent effort to develop analytical and critical skills rather than cramming a textbook’s worth of content. Thus, rushing through textbook pages wouldn’t do you any good in reaching your desired score. What’s more, a typical GRE preparation takes from a minimum of 6 weeks to a maximum of 24 weeks. So, even if you had to just memorize a bunch of terms and definitions, it wouldn’t be possible to do it on the night before the exam.

5. Compromising rest

Having spoken much about how important hard and consistent work is, it’s time to turn our attention to something as important and as neglected. Many test-takers are so obsessed with acquiring their desired GRE score, that they forget to put their minds to rest and recharge. Taking care of your emotional and physical health is as important as building the skill sets required for conquering the GRE. What’s more, no matter how skillful you’ve become, if you feel exhausted, this will affect your mental health negatively and also affect your score.

Therefore, to prevent yourself from failing the exam due to increased tiredness and anxiety levels, make sure to not underestimate the power of good rest. This will not only keep you away from burnout but will also improve your memory and learning skills in the GRE prep process.

 

These five rookie mistakes in GRE prep are some which all test preppers make. BUT, these ‘mistakes’ are easy to correct. All you have to do is check your work, your study plan, and your focus. By consistently checking in with your progress you can catch mistakes in your GRE prep early. If you are looking for support in your GRE prep, our Apex Tutors are here to help. We offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls where we can chat with you to discuss your GRE and graduate school goals!

 

Contributor:  Bilhen Sali

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GRE percentiles
Posted on
31
Dec 2021

GRE Percentiles – Understanding Your GRE Score

ETS, the official makers of the GRE, compile and publish statistics on the GRE. We have reviewed the statistics and organized them for you to peruse below. If you are in the middle of studying for your GRE exam and are looking for expert help, our professional tutors at Apex GRE are available anywhere in the world. You can set up a 30-minute, complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors if you are considering a private GRE tutor. 

The following data has been collected by ETS between July 1st, 2017, and June 30th, 2020. 

Performance Statistics on the GRE

When applying to graduate school, the GRE is often an inevitability. Most top-tier business schools require students to take the exam. While many programs claim that they do not have a GRE minimum for admissions, it is important to aim for a score that lands you in a top percentile. Achieving a top score may not guarantee admission, however, it will offer you a better shot at getting into the school of your dreams. 

GRE Quant & Verbal Reasoning Percentiles 

Below is a chart of recent GRE percentiles (Collected between 2017-2020). When looking at potential graduate programs, take a look at previous admissions statistics.

GRE Quant Reasoning Percentiles

Knowing the average GRE score of previously admitted students can give you a baseline to aim for. Striving for the average, means you have a better likelihood of getting a score above or around this. Giving you a higher chance at admissions. 

Interpreting the GRE percentiles requires knowing how the GRE is scored. The total score comprises the Verbal and Quantitative sections plus a third analytical writing portion. These scores show the admissions committee your higher-order reasoning skills. These scores are able to predict a student’s success in graduate school.

The scores range from 130-170, with the analytical writing portion being scored from 0-6. When comparing your score to other test-takers, it is important to look at percentile rankings. When reading a percentile ranking chart, find your score on the chart.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Percentiles

Let us assume you scored 156 on the verbal portion. This lands you in the 72nd percentile. Meaning your score is higher than 72% of test-takers. Those scoring a 170, for example, are in the 99th percentile. This means that they achieved a score higher than 99% of all test takers. Important to remember is that percentile rankings change each year. This is because as more and more students take the exam, the total scores achieved change, and your percentile ranking changes with it. 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Cumulative 325+ GRE Score
Posted on
24
Dec 2021

Can You Achieve A Top GRE Score On Your Own?

Those of you who are preparing for the GRE have probably come across the price tag of a private tutor. You are not alone if the cost is a bit off-putting. Too often those put off by the price of a private GRE tutor attempt to achieve a cumulative 325+ score on their own. Some are successful. Many more are not. There is more to achieving a cumulative 325+ than what meets the eye. 

We here at Apex have helped dozens of clients achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE. All of whom realized during their prep that the only way to achieve their goal is with help. Asking for help is a noble thing to do and, more often than not, those highly successful individuals you see attend a top-ten graduate program didn’t go it alone. They had help. Often, in the form of a private tutor. 

But we are not here to convince you that a private tutor is the be-all and end-all to GRE studying. In this article, we break down whether you are one of those few who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score without the support of a private tutor. 

YES, you can! But…

To answer your question. Yes. It is possible to achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE without hiring a private GRE tutor. But just because one can doesn’t necessarily mean one should. What do we mean by this? Well, studying – as you are well aware – is stressful. Attempting to ‘go it alone’ is even more stressful. 

Let’s assume you study 10 hours a week, and you notice practice exam after practice exam that you are not surpassing a cumulative 310 or 315. Sure, you can bump up the amount of hours you are studying, but this might just turn into a waste of time. You see, studying doesn’t always come down to the amount of hours you put into it. Achieving success on the GRE is highly dependent on your testing strategy. A strategy that even an extra 5 hours of studying won’t help you fix. 

Your testing strategy is EVERYTHING

The testing strategy you choose to adopt is the one that can make, or break, your GRE goal. If you are determined to ‘go it alone’ and not hire a private GRE tutor, then watch videos where professionals can help break down different types of test taking strategies. If your strategy works for you, that is great! But often some test takers can’t seem to figure out what they are doing wrong, or they don’t know how to maximize their strategy for the greatest results. This is where a private tutor comes into play. They analyze your test taking strategy and tailor your prep to best suit who you are as a test taker. 

The Pros and Cons

Weigh out the pros and cons. Studying, if you do it right, is time-consuming. GRE private tutors, if you choose a good one, are pricey. And while a private tutor may not reduce your studying time to 0.5 hours a week, what they can do is guide you towards your goal without having you waste your precious time. An excellent one-on-one GRE instructor has a keen eye, and is able to notice where you might be struggling – or excelling – without you ever knowing it. And while a private tutor may be pricey, at the end of the day achieving your goal of a cumulative 325+ GRE score will pay back the cost of a private tutor 10-fold. Don’t believe us? Getting a high GRE score can open doorways to top graduate programs and even future professional opportunities.  

It comes down to statistics

Still wondering whether you can achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score on your own? Only about 20% of the test takers achieve a cumulative 325+ score. And the majority of them utilize help in some form or another. We have found very few individuals who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ purely on their own. And while it is possible, sometimes skill isn’t the only factor at play for achieving a cumulative 325+. 

As we talked about earlier, strategy plays a huge factor in your abilities as does looking at things from a fresh perspective. If achieving a cumulative 325+ on the GRE was easy, well, then everyone would do it! But it is difficult for a reason. Graduate schools want to be sure that their students are up for the challenge of a Graduate program. And just like you won’t go through Graduate school all alone, why expect to go through the GRE studying experience all by yourself as well? 

We here at ApexGRE pride ourselves on helping clients achieve a GRE score above a cumulative 325+. We often get clients coming to us who have found themselves plateauing around the 315 mark after attempting a cumulative 325+ on their own. We are able to develop a strategy with them. Keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses. And because all of our tutors have scored above a cumulative 330 on the GRE and have years of tutoring experience behind them, we are well equipped to help any type of learner. 

 

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute, consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us! 

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GRE Procrastination
Posted on
17
Dec 2021

Overcoming GRE Procrastination

You have everything prepared. Your desk is neat and tidy, your books are placed perfectly within reach, your computer is on, and your flashcards are written. Perhaps you have brewed a fresh cup of coffee and have just settled in with every intention to study for the next few hours. But lo and behold, 3 hours later, you find yourself glued to your phone, having wandered down the YouTube rabbit hole and watching your fifth 20-minute video on how paint dries! 

You can’t help but be frustrated with what just happened. And it happens more often than people would like to think. Whether it is spending hours cleaning your room or gazing wistfully out the window, procrastination is every student’s worst nightmare and biggest foe. When studying for the GRE, you will encounter opportunities to procrastinate around every corner.

So how do you overcome these distractions?

We have 5 tips and tricks which you can incorporate into your study schedule to avoid GRE procrastination Whether you are just starting out, or you are already months deep into your study schedule, these habits can be incorporated now and follow you throughout your GRE journey and into your professional future. 

1. Acknowledge when you procrastinate

Maybe you are staring out the window because it is a beautiful day, or you are maddeningly vacuuming your home because it’s been needing to get done. Regardless, you’re procrastinating. And the first step in overcoming procrastination is to admit when you are procrastinating. If you find yourself in the middle of a cleaning session, there is no need to stop in the middle of your task. Rather, re-evaluate why you are cleaning. Is it to avoid studying or is it because you’ve been meaning to vacuum for a while. Regardless, finish what you are doing. Finish vacuuming, finish staring out the window, finish cooking or cleaning. While completing your task, however, begin thinking about your study schedule. What will you be studying and for how long? Once you complete your procrastination task, sit down and begin studying. You should have spent the last hour(s) mentally preparing for the studying session, and by the time you are ready to begin your body and mind should be fully primed. 

2. Create a list and a reward system 

Yes, this may sound cliche, but lists (and rewards) help! Before sitting down to study, write out what you are planning on doing during the session. Create a list with high-priority and low-priority tasks. Establish a rewards system. What do you crave most when studying? Do you want to take a walk? Clean? Chat with a friend? After completing a high-priority task, reward yourself with a cleaning session, or a quick walk around the block. This will keep you on your toes and create a rhythm which your body adapts to. 

3. Free yourself of perfectionism 

It’s important to expect the best for and from yourself. However, striving for perfectionism on a daily basis can lead to stress and anxiety. Be realistic in what you can accomplish while studying for the GRE. Not every day will be a perfect study day. But studying every day, whether perfect or not, will bring you one step closer to achieving your GRE goals. Also, recognize that you may not find the perfect time to study every day. Some days are more full than others. On days where studying is difficult to sit down and accomplish, find time in between the chaos to review old concepts. Whether it is flipping through vocab flashcards or attempting a couple of math problems, any form of studying is worth doing (whether perfect or not). 

4. Improve your surroundings

The age of technology is full of distractions. We suggest putting away unnecessary technology. If necessary, put your phone in another room, set it to silent, and close all unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you study better with music, we suggest listening to music which is calm and without lyrics. Lo-Fi study beats, for example, are opportune for the studying brain to zero in and focus on the task at hand. Additionally, make sure your desk and study center is free of clutter. This removes visual distractions and forces you to focus on the studying materials lying directly in front of you. If you live with multiple people, let them know that you have blocked out a certain number of hours for studying and ask them to not distract you during this time. 

5. Forgive yourself

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We hear this a lot. But what is in the past is already behind you! So don’t fret about trying to fix what has already passed. Instead, train your focus on the task that lies in front of you, and trust that you will make the best decisions for your study schedule going forward. 

Your GRE score and future graduate school opportunities are dependent on how hard you are willing to work for it. GRE procrastination is a normal part of studying. Developing habits now which can help you manage your procrastination will make a world of difference during your GRE journey.

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio 

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90th percentile on the GRE
Posted on
10
Dec 2021

How Those Who Score In The 90th Percentile On The GRE Actually Do It

You’re on your GRE journey, and your exam is a few weeks away. You start talking to people who went through the same experience as you, and you look for some answers. You notice that many people have scored in the 90th percentile on the GRE, and you start to doubt yourself,  wondering if you are also capable of achieving that score. Of course, everyone aiming to take the GRE exam will want the highest score possible. And, as you could guess, this is no easy task.

So, how do those people who score in the 90th percentile actually do it?

Is it because of their study plan? The critical-thinking skills they learn before even starting to prepare for the GRE? Is it just genetics? Are some people born to excel in exams? 

To say you want to score in the 90th percentile is just the beginning of actually achieving one. You need to have a long-term plan in mind and be ready to face some challenges. First of all, you need to figure out what score the university you’re applying to actually wants. If the average is 150, you’ll probably have a good chance of getting in with a 150! Thus, scoring in the 90th percentile isn’t always a necessity for getting into your dream school. Do your research first. Then you can start implementing a plan for achieving a 90th percentile GRE score. Be warned, before you lies a rocky road on your way to ace the exam. Those who do score 90th percentile do not just say they want the score. They work hard and organize their time efficiently to get where they want to. 

1. Start with a GRE Diagnostic Test

Take a test before you start your journey, see what the GRE is all about and how it is structured. Look at your score, and from there, you can already tell which sections you need to work on. This way, you have a baseline on what you need to do.

2. Know how long  studying for the GRE Exam will take

It is crucial to manage your time in a way where you can complete your study plan in time. Each person is different in the way they comprehend things. Thus, it would help if you were realistic about how much time it will take to be ready. Maybe it will take you 130+ hours, or even 300+. You need to know YOUR abilities and track your time.

3. Be consistent with your GRE plan

Those who score 90th percentile do not change their study plan each week. You need to stick to a specific book/material/group study so that you do not go off track! But be flexible to change things up if you are realizing that something isn’t working for you. We are all unique learners. 

4. Create a board for time allocation

Know how much time you’re going to spend on each section. For example, “I have to spend no more than 3 hours a day on quant, two on verbal, etc.”. Try to use online whiteboards or create a mood board for yourself so that it is easier to track and remind yourself of the GRE plan.

5. Get to know your mistakes and improve them

It is very crucial to take note of your mistakes and try to improve them. It is one thing to know your mistake and just move on, and another to actually work on it and make sure it does not happen again. You have to track your GRE progress, and learning from your mistakes is one way to go!

6. Learn from other GRE test-takers 

Listen to successful people who got 90th percentile on the GRE, try to take each piece of advice from each one, and you’ll come up with your own. It is essential to learn from others’ mistakes as well as your own. See what they did, how they did it, what it took them to get there. Be curious and ask questions, always. As Steve Jobs once said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

7. Take GRE mock tests

At last, mock tests are your friend! Take them as much as you can, and you’ll more or less know where you stand.


Final Thoughts 

To conclude, it is easier said than done to score 90th percentile on the GRE. It works differently with different people, so make sure to try as best as you can to learn from others, and more importantly, from yourself as well. If you would like to start with a tutor, check out our tutors at APEX GRE to help get you started. Most successful GRE test takers hire a private tutor to push them past the 90th percentile mark after taking the test without a tutor. It is shown to be effective, you can take a look at this article about private tutors and why you should consider hiring them.


Contributor:
Sarin Sulahian

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Before taking the GRE
Posted on
03
Dec 2021

Before Taking the GRE, You Should Do These 3 Things

Imagine that you wake up on a sunny day, you feel energized and positive about where your day is headed, and you have a plan in your head on how to organize your time efficiently so that you can begin preparing for your GRE exam. Then, suddenly, you realize that you only have a few days left before your GRE exam date. You start overthinking about what you know or don’t know about the exam, its procedure, the dos and don’ts, and you feel yourself getting stressed. This is a normal feeling for most people who have exams coming up and feel like they lost track of time. There are a few things you can do to help with the process.

1. Get yourself accustomed to the exam procedure

It is of utmost importance that you know the GRE exam procedure by heart before taking the test. This can help by making sure the exam goes smoothly and so that you are not worrying about making silly mistakes. So, how is the GRE structured and what are its procedures? The GRE has three sections:

    • Quantitative Reasoning, two sections (35 minutes per section).
    • Verbal Reasoning, two sections (30 minutes per section, 20 questions per section).
    • Analytical Writing, one section with two separately timed tasks (30 minutes per task).

The total time it takes to complete the GRE, with breaks, is usually 3 hours and 45 minutes. If you’re interested in learning some test strategies to boost your score, check out our article 8 GRE test strategies to help you boost your score.” 

2. Take the GRE practice exam during the same time as the real one

Having routines in life helps us manage our time efficiently. The same can be said for the GRE exam. It is crucial that you know what time your real exam is going to be so that you can start preparing and practicing during the same time of the day. Why is this important? Let’s say you usually wake up at 11 AM and start studying around 1 PM. If your exam starts at 10 AM, you’re going to have a hard time functioning to the best of your abilities. Thus, it is suggested that you create a routine around your exam time so that your brain and body can get used to it.

3. Revise your previous GRE mistakes, but don’t acquire new knowledge

Cramming in new information a few days before taking the GRE does not usually result in effective learning. It is a student’s habit to start learning new material at midnight, but this will not help you solidify your knowledge. GRE needs practice and time, and you simply cannot learn new things in a span of a few hours. That is why it is better to go over what you have learned thus far, which will help in remembering what you already know. If this makes you feel like you have to have a plan, that is great! You can start with study plans months or even a year beforehand. Take a look at these GRE prep tips to help you start with your GRE journey in an efficient way. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, it is often easy to get stressed before the exam and lose track of time. To feel prepared to take the GRE, we that you get accustomed to the exam procedure, take the practice exam during the same time as the real one, and revise your previous mistakes, but don’t try to acquire new knowledge a day or two out. These are only a few tips to help you feel more confident about the big day! If you would like to read more about GRE and what to expect on the test day, we have answered some FAQs for you. Some people feel more assured about taking the exam when they have GRE tutors. If you can do it on your own, then good job! If you are thinking about having an instructor help you with the GRE, you can sign up for a complimentary consultation call.

 

Contributor: Sarin Sulahian

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GRE Private Tutor
Posted on
26
Nov 2021

Why You Should Get A GRE Private Tutor

Achieving a great score on the GRE is necessary to be considered for a spot in a top graduate school program. So it is in your best interests to prepare for the test in the best manner possible. When it comes to GRE prep, there are a variety of options on the market, from GRE self-prep to online classes and GRE private tutors. The method you select is a personal choice and is based on factors such as your needs, budget, and learning style.

Benefits of having a GRE Private Tutor

One-on-one GRE tutoring is undoubtedly the best way to prepare for the GRE if you are aiming to achieve an elite score and obtain acceptance to a top graduate program. There are various factors that make this prep option integral to not only attaining a high score on the test but also achieving in graduate school.

1. Customized Learning

With a one-on-one GRE tutor, instructors focus on teaching you what you don’t know or might find challenging rather than what you already know. Often in larger settings, tutors will have to go over materials that you are already confident in, resulting in periods of times where you have nothing to do and are bored in your prep. This can also derail your GRE prep goals and in some cases confuse you about the skills that you already know.

Furthermore, your brain works differently from someone else’s, therefore, your go-to problem solving methods will be different. When tackling a test like the GRE, which involves utilizing creative thinking and unique problem solving skills it is beneficial to have a tutor to help you identify new approaches that might be easier for you, as well as to heighten the skills that you already possess. Having the versatility and focus to go over different explanations and methods to tackle specific problems in a group setting is often overlooked due to time constraints and the rigidity of the course material.

The main benefit of having a GRE private tutor is that the lessons, self-prep, schedule, and infrastructure for successful studying are customized around you and your needs in order to achieve GRE success.

 2. Pace

Preparing for the exam can take between 90-120 days, but with a GRE private tutor, prep goals can be achieved in a shorter amount of time. Albeit, this is dependent on your starting skills and dedication. With personalized instruction, your time will be used more efficiently and effectively. Lessons can be targeted to topics you need improvement on and can be changed according to your style of learning. Go as slow or as fast as you need, and spend as much time improving whichever section of the GRE you require assistance with. With the guidance of an instructor, you can accomplish all this while avoiding the typical GRE prep traps.

3. Flexibility

Private tutoring gives you the flexibility to study on your own schedule. So if you are a full-time employee, student, or have other responsibilities to work around, one-on-one instruction can be tailored to those needs. This is why Apex has tutors across the globe who can fulfill your tutoring needs in any time zone.

 4. GRE Intangibles

Great test performance does not just encompass the material that you have to learn, but also entails intangibles such as test anxiety, sleeping habits, and more. Making sure that you eat right and get enough sleep may seem like a trivial matter but they can have effects on your focus and hinder the time in which you achieve your GRE prep goals. 

Apex Instructors know the ins and outs of the GRE and this includes covering all these intangibles. If you already know all the material to achieve a great GRE score, you don’t want to get to the test and sabotage your score by bringing your stress along. This is another key way that one on one tutoring can help you be certain that when test day comes around, nothing stands in the way of you and your dream GRE score.

 5. GRE Scoring Plateaus

Each level of scoring on the GRE requires you to have certain skills. Therefore, if you want to score in the 325 range instead of the 300s, you will have to do things differently. GRE preppers often find themselves hitting a plateau around the higher 315s, failing to break the 325 mark. This is mainly due to a limited understanding of the GRE and its requirements to score at this high level. 

Working with an instructor will give you the opportunity to add new skills to your toolbox to help you think like a GRE test writer and not a test taker. That way you can understand what each question is really asking you to do. With these new techniques and mind frame, you can cut down on solving time and quickly identify what is needed to answer each question. This is where GRE self-prep often fails and the best way to overcome this hindrance is to seek the help of someone who is an expert on the test.  

 Apex instructors have all scored elite scores on the GRE and have extensive teaching backgrounds. Due to this, they have successfully shepherded countless clients from middling scores to 325 and above on the GRE. 

 To take advantage of our free 30 minute GRE consultation call with an elite scoring instructor visit: Inquire Now. 

 

Contributor: Natalie Mathews

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GMAT Prep Best Practices
Posted on
19
Nov 2021

How Top Scorers Study for The GRE

GRE Prep Best Practices 

Whether you are still preparing to take your first GRE exam or aiming to get a higher score than on your previous one, you need a certain routine or a study plan and a determination to invest your full capacity into diligent and dedicated hard work. The top graduate school programs usually require a GRE score of cumulative 320 or above. Spending your time and energy inefficiently or not investing in proper preparation, may significantly, if not completely, reduce the chances of pursuing your graduate school aspirations. In this article, we will explore some of the effective methods you can integrate into your prep to get a score on the GRE of a cumulative 320 or above.

The Fundamentals

Firstly, let’s settle the most fundamental requirements that you need to make sure are inherently engraved into your approach. Those are unshakable dedication, efficient time management, wise prioritization, hard work, and diligence. While some of these can be considered common sense, in the long run, many students usually get distracted and forget about those. More commonly, the accumulated stress from the GRE prep can shatter the pillars that these students have once so proudly built to hold the weight. 

Figure Out Your Learning Style and Find a Fitting Resource

After you’ve set your graduate school goals and feel determined to start preparing for the GRE, it’s now time to figure out your learning style and find a resource that fits. Nowadays, there are far more resources available than ever before. As such, it can be quite overwhelming to make a detailed choice. One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is what is your current or potential score? If you haven’t taken a GRE test yet, maybe you should first find resources that start with the basics. Alternatively, if you’re aiming to get your current score to the top, you may also consider taking a one-on-one GRE tutoring course. There are a myriad of companies that offer private GRE tutoring services both online and in-person. ApexGRE, for example, is more focused on increasing your current score to a cumulative 328+. Once you’ve set your current level you can then start working on that and find the best method for your preparation, given the abundance of resources available.

Manage Your Time Efficiently

Another, not less of an important aspect you should consider is time management. How much time can you dedicate to your prep daily? Many top graduate school schools prefer a cumulative 328+ GRE score, which, in turn, requires a minimum of 100 hours of productive study in total. The word productive is essential here, as it is sometimes rather easy to mistake your activity for achievement. It’s not the matter of how many hours you can sit in front of your desk with an open book, but how much of it you can absorb, understand, and actually prepare for during that time. Too little time devoted will never be enough, while too much study can cause severe stress, and in fact, the next day you may not remember half of what you’ve learned. So, be realistic and honest with yourself, find that sweet daily time slot when you can prepare for the GRE, having enough energy and no external distractions, be consistent, strategic, and habitual, and, overall, manage your time efficiently during the day, prioritizing your studies.

Focus on Weak Areas and Improving Your Strengths

Start with a diagnostic test to figure out areas that need improvement first. It would be especially helpful if you’re just starting, as it may let you understand your weaknesses and strengths, and therefore what route you should take further. It will also give you a picture of how the actual exam will look like quite early in your preparation creed. After you’ve identified your weak points, it’s time to address those. If you seem weak, for example, in the quantitative section, then it’s a good indicator that you should put much more focus on that. That being said, you should not neglect the sections and types of problems that you do well on. One of the reasons the GRE is challenging is its time pressure. The more you can nourish your strengths, the better you’ll be able to deal with the time pressure. Not only that, the GRE test is adaptive, so the further you go with the streak, the harder the questions will get.

Get Plenty of Sleep and Try to Reduce Stress

Lack of sufficient and healthy sleep is probably the number one obstacle standing in most students’ way of effective GRE preparations and, consequently, top GRE performance. Your sleep hygiene plays a key role in allowing the brain to absorb what’s been learned during the day, as well as preparing it for the prep of the arriving day. As such, one of the best practices the top scorers integrate into their preparation is a good 8 hours of sleep every night. In turn, not only will this benefit your GRE prep, but also your overall and mental health. Even if it will take you away from GRE exam studies, it’s still worth it. You can learn more about how sleep helps you improve your standardized exam prep time in this youtube video.

Start and Plan Early

As for the final tips, there are a few things you can do to eliminate a huge portion of stress from your test preparation studies and, in fact, significantly contribute to your preparations. Firstly, make sure you start as early as possible. Just as soon as you decide on your graduate school goals, if possible, start figuring out your study plan immediately. Even if it may seem that there’s no need to rush just yet, in the long run, it will prove worthy and will increasingly boost your confidence before your exam day. Secondly, plan on the date early. Test centers may just have very limited spaces, and if you won’t be able to reserve your desired date, it may become a heavy burden. And lastly, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself the day before your GRE exam. Grant yourself a good resting day in a calm, positive, and stressless environment.

 

Contributor: Narek Petrosyan

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How To Study For Your GRE Retake
Posted on
05
Nov 2021

How To Study For Your GRE Retake

You’ve studied countless hours, canceled plans with numerous friends, and even changed your diet and caffeine consumption to fuel your brain as best as possible. And yet, after all that, your final combined score result is just a 320. Not bad, but also not perfect. This score can get you into most graduate school programs, but can it get you into that elite ‘top’ school you are aiming for? If you have the resume and top-notch essay responses to back up your GRE score, then you may feel comfortable applying to your dream graduate school with that score.

But what if you are still unsure? Is it worth spending the hundreds of dollars, and continuing the stringent study plan you had just spent months trudging through to try again? Perhaps a second attempt means you will bump up your score to a 324, or maybe your second attempt will land you with a score of equal or – gulp – lesser value! After going through the cost-benefit analysis of such an undertaking, you may have decided on the undertaking of retaking the GRE.

But how do you study for the GRE the second time to guarantee a higher score?

You are not alone in asking this question, and, unfortunately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer or study plan that can guarantee a higher score and make the retake worthwhile financially and timewise. However, there are some things you can begin doing now which can help you embark on your GRE retake journey.

1. Book the GRE retake sooner rather than later

Deciding on ‘when’ to retake the GRE can have a huge effect on your ability to succeed in the test. We suggest booking the retake sooner rather than later. This will help set a definite timeline of how long you must study and how you can expect to structure the coming weeks. Additionally, don’t wait months to retake the GRE. Once you have decided that you will retake the exam, be sure to schedule it a couple of weeks after the last test you took. While it may seem to be a time crunch, this is because you are not starting from scratch when studying for your retake. You already have a whole host of wealth stuck in your head! It will hang around for a few weeks, requiring only brief reviews and refreshers to keep the knowledge up to date.

2. Focus on your weaknesses

So, you have taken your first GRE test. You now know how you test under time pressure, and you can adjust your studying accordingly. Did you find that you struggled with the time constraints? We suggest focusing on different studying methods which will help you feel more comfortable under the time constraints. During the test you may realize that you did not study enough for certain quantitative-type questions, or your GRE vocabulary was lacking. In this case, spend time before your retake focusing on the areas you found most challenging. By no means does this mean ‘ignoring’ your strengths, rather, spend the most time on your weakness, being sure to set aside a few hours a week to review and rehash the parts of the exam you feel most comfortable with.

3. Consult with your network

Whether you recognize it or not, the people around you are important to your mental health and wellbeing. Because studying for the GRE is a mentally draining venture, relying on your network can help you get through the most difficult aspects of studying for the GRE. As you already experienced over the last few months of studying, an effective student may opt for moments of quiet study rather than social events with friends and family. This doesn’t change your second time around taking the test.

However, your friends and family may be disappointed to hear that you are extending your absences from events further to study for your second round. It is important, then, to confer with them. Let them know what you are doing and why. Perhaps someone in your network had a similar experience and they can offer you advice and tips on how to rock your second round. Additionally, do not be shy to let them know how you are feeling and how they can best support you during your studying. This can help alleviate any further stress you may accumulate during the time you sequester away over the books.

4. Get a private tutor

It may seem obvious but hiring a private tutor who specializes in the GRE can help push you to the next level. Often, your struggles with the GRE can be alleviated by the unique perspectives and solution paths a private tutor can give you. Our GRE tutors at ApexGRE specialize in working with students who want to achieve an elite score and are looking to develop the skills to do just that. We invite all interested potential clients to sign-up HERE for a complimentary consultation call where we can discuss your GRE and graduate school goals. Our tutors are happy to work with an array of clients. Whether it is their first or fifth time taking the GRE and whether they have 6 months to prepare or just a few weeks, we can work within your time frame and skill level to help you achieve your goals.

Finally, deciding to retake the GRE means countless more hours of hard work. Deciding whether it is worth it is up to you, however, being prepared for the process of retaking the GRE can help alleviate the stress of the decision.


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GRE, GMAT, or EA - Which Test Should You Take For Business School?
Posted on
29
Oct 2021

GRE, GMAT, or EA – Which Test Should You Take For Business School?

So you’re dreaming of getting your MBA. Part of the hurdle of applying to business school is taking a standardized test to fulfill application requirements. With so many different standardized tests being offered, and with numerous schools allowing applicants to take different exams, it is often hard to know which exam best aligns with your goals. We have broken down the top three standardized testing options for MBA programs so that future MBAs can have a better grasp on their application process.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, allows prospective graduates with varying educational backgrounds to apply for master’s, MBA, or doctoral degrees to “show off” their skills to prospective schools. The GRE is accepted by thousands of graduate schools, including business and law schools.

Why do you need GRE?

Besides being accepted at graduate schools with a variety of backgrounds, in recent years the GRE exam is also accepted by many prestigious MBA programs too. However, be mindful that the GMAT is still the most relevant exam which you can take to show off your skills.  Especially when it comes to the field of business. One of the reasons behind this is that the GMAT was specifically designed for MBA programs and business school admissions. Also, unlike the GRE, the GMAT has an additional section – the integrated reasoning section – which will give you the possibility to prove your data analytical skills. We aren’t trying to scare you away from taking the GRE. You must decide on the right path for you. For example, if you believe you will perform better on the GRE than on the GMAT then deciding to take the GRE is the best decision for you.

What is the content of the GRE exam made of?

The content of the GRE is divided into three sections, these being: analytical writing section, quantitative section, and verbal section. The first section measures your ability to communicate complex ideas and use standard written English to prove an argument. The second section is to measure your ability to solve math, algebra, and geometry problems. The last section is to measure your ability to analyze sentences and writing passages.

GRE Scores Explained

The GRE score range is from 130 to 170; 130 is the lowest possible score, whereas 170 is the highest. The verbal and quantitative sections are scored from 130 to 170 and the analytical writing section is scored from 0 to 6 points.

Where to begin?

Similar to GMAT, once you decide on taking the GRE you need to plan your future steps: how to prepare? With whom to prepare? In-person or online? Etc. If you are interested in working with an experienced GRE tutor to help you prepare, we offer individualized and specialized tutoring for motivated students.

The Graduate Admission Management Test (GMAT)

What is the GMAT?

If you are aiming for your dream MBA school, the GMAT is an important part of the application process. The test is developed and administered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Your final GMAT scores can help bolster your chances of getting into your dream MBA program. While scores are not an exclusive part of the admissions committee’s decision, the GMAT is still taken into consideration during the admission’s process as it evaluates the necessary skills needed to succeed in business school. Additionally, the process of studying for the GMAT emphasizes the qualities necessary to advance your future business career.

Why do you need the GMAT?

Once you go through the GMAT preparation phase and you are ready to reach your GMAT goal, you will get the opportunity to stand out among other applicants and raise your chances of getting in. A high score on the GMAT will have a positive impact on your business school application.

What is the content of the GMAT exam made of?

The GMAT exam has four sections: analytical writing assessment which aims to measure your ability to think critically, integrated reasoning is for measuring your ability to analyze data and evaluate information that is presented in multiple formats, quantitative reasoning is used for measuring your ability to analyze data, and lastly, verbal reasoning measures your skills to read and understand written materials to conform to standard written English.

Good to know: before the test begins, you can determine the order you wish to take each section of the exam in.

GMAT Scores Explained

The score that many business schools and MBA programs pay the most attention to is the combined 200-800 score scale. Each section of GMAT has a separate scoring system: the analytical written assessment is scored from 0 to 6, whereas the integrated reasoning is scored on a 1 to 8 scale. In addition, the quantitative and verbal sections each have a scale score of 0 to 60. In the end, they are all combined to generate a score on the 200 to 800 scale which is the one you are most familiar with.

Where to begin?

Let’s say that you decided to take the GMAT, what are the steps that you need in order to reach your GMAT high score? First, you need to decide if you are going to start this journey on your own or you need a tutor to help you out. First of all, we suggest deciding on how you structure your GMAT studying. Are you hoping to find a premier GMAT tutor? Are you planning on doing it solo? Will you study with friends? Do you want to be part of a GMAT prep group? Figuring out how you want to study is vital to begin the process of GMAT preparation on the right foot.

If you need a 700+ GMAT score, check out our tutors here at Apex GMAT who are ready to help you from anywhere in the world! 

Executive Assessment Test (EA)

What is the EA?

The Executive Assessment, or EA, is an admission exam designed for Executive MBA programs. Just like the GMAT, the EA is also administered by the GMAC.

Why do you need EA?

Besides being an indicator of your skills for your admission process towards an EMBA program, the EA mainly helps already experienced managers, who want to advance their careers, get to even higher levels by attending an Executive MBA program. Most MBA programs and EMBA programs accept the EA as an admissions exam from applicants who have a certain number of years of professional work experience under their belt.

What is the content of the EA exam made of?

The EA test is composed of three sections: integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning with a total of 40 questions. These sections test similar qualities to that of the GMAT exam.

EA Scores Explained

The scale for each section is from 0 to 20 with a total scale range from 100 to 200. All three sections are equally weighted in determining your final score. 

Where to begin?

You guessed it: the same as for GMAT and GRE, there are a few decisions to make before starting your EA journey. Look for a platform, a tutor, and plenty of other tools that can be beneficial for you to reach your EA high score.

Which one is the best for you?

After familiarizing yourself with the above-mentioned standardized tests you might wonder which one to go for. This all depends on what you are aiming for. From business school admissions to advancing your career, each of these tests can help you prove specific and required skills in different fields. Once you decide what your goal is, it will be easier to decide which test is the best way to show your strength and skills and to get into the program of your dreams!

Contributor: Arin Agich 

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