GRE Stress
Posted on
24
Sep 2021

How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GRE

By: ApexGRE
Contributor: Nemrout Safarian
Date: September 24, 2021

The Hows:
1. Taking a GRE Preparation Course
2. Creating an Effective Study Schedule
3. Controlling Your Emotions
4. Maintaining Connection to Your Support Team
5. Resting and Getting Good Sleep
6. Celebrating Your Big and Little Achievements
7. Meditate
8. Doing Things You Love

Experiencing too much anxiety over the GRE Exam might cause a negative impact on your mental health and make it difficult for you to keep your sanity. Moreover, it might even make it more challenging to concentrate when studying and disrupt your sleep schedule. However, with the correct test stress and anxiety-busting tactics, as well as an effective studying schedule, your GRE exam preparation may become much simpler.

Here are 8 tips we recommend in order to make your GRE exam preparation stress-free and effective.

1. Take a GRE Preparation Course

Everyone’s GRE story is different. Some people can get a high score based on everything they already know, without opening a GRE book. But, for most students, a preparation course or one-on-one prep time with a GRE personal tutor is necessary for two reasons: first, it puts you in the right direction in terms of exam content, strategies, solution paths, and tactics to tackle problems, by helping you structure a concrete and designated studying plan; secondly, it makes you feel much more confident and emotionally calm, as you work with a trustworthy and an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the exam and preparation for it, and can assist you with anything necessary throughout the process. Apex GRE, for example, offers complimentary consultation calls for interested individuals, looking for structured and personalized GRE preparation. 

2. Create an Effective Study Schedule

Don’t wait for the perfect time to take the GRE. This moment may never reveal itself! Life will always throw you curveballs and can end up curtailing well-thought-out plans. Situations may arise which may interfere with your GRE preparation. During your GRE prep, you should take the extra effort to harmonize any unexpected situations with your study schedule. One effective method you could try is to divide your studying schedule into multiple time frames throughout the day so that you can concentrate in smaller doses rather than studying for 5-7 hours straight and losing your ever so vital focus. Study the materials during the weekdays and devote some part of your weekend to practice tests where necessary. Those, in turn, will help you to assess your progress and help you to understand your main strengths and weaknesses.

3. Control Your Emotions

At some point, the GRE will stress you out, making you feel disappointed and frustrated. This is natural! Whether it is an unsatisfactory score on a practice test or the feeling of giving up, the GRE can make it easy to have an emotional breakdown. However, it is important to be able to take control of your emotions, and have a “never a failure, always a lesson” attitude. Every time you make a mistake, try to dive deep into that specific concept and figure out why you made that particular mistake, and learn from it. This is exactly how you make progress. Whenever you feel like you can’t go on anymore, remember your goals and aspirations, and that this test is a key to the completion of those. With the proper frame of mind, you will find yourself studying again in no time.

4. Maintain a Connection to Your Support Team

The people you communicate with during your GRE preparation process are very important and can hugely affect your frame of mind. Try not to isolate yourself too much from them, spending your whole time in your room cracking all those GRE books and practice tests. Instead, spend time with the people whose presence is pleasing to you, who support and believe in you – whether it’s your family, your best friend, or the new acquaintance that has no idea what the GRE even is. Constant communication with the people you love will positively affect your overall mentality and help you stay positive when preparing for the test.

5. Get Some Rest and Good Sleep

Another essential thing to remember is to arrange your sleeping schedule. When you need to get up at a certain time, subtract half an hour from the number of hours you wish to sleep. This time becomes the designated moment for turning off the lights. The extra half-hour is crucial, as we frequently overlook the time it takes to get ready for bed, set the alarm clock, and so on. This being said, be cautious as to what you are eating or drinking as an unhealthy diet can negatively affect your sleep schedule. Although the effects of caffeine may differ from person to person, try to avoid all sources of caffeine after 3 p.m. and modify accordingly. Aside from coffee, caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, including tea, chocolate, and carbonated beverages. However, there are benefits to caffeine products when consumed thoughtfully. 

6. Celebrate Your Big and Little Achievements

Your GRE preparation process aims to help you reach your goals! Reward yourself a little – take a moment and celebrate your achievements – whether it is seeing progress on practice test scores or a complicated Math concept that you finally mastered. It will help you feel more positive and confident about your overall knowledge and skills and be brave enough to challenge yourself with tougher concepts. As you progress down your GRE journey, be sure to celebrate your short- and long-term accomplishments.  These moments of celebration will undoubtedly assist you in keeping yourself on top of your game.

7. Meditate

Studying hard and spending time on your GRE study materials is very important. However, you need to keep in mind that during this process, your mind should be at ease as much as possible, and mediation can provide you with that!

The goal of a study done by Santa Barbara academics was to find an answer to the question of whether meditation can increase students’ test scores on a test. The researchers gave a group of students a two-week mindfulness training course to determine if effective mindfulness practices may help them perform better. Following the program, participants were required to take a GRE reading comprehension test. The test takers who followed the mindfulness training protocol fared better on their examinations, with considerably higher average marks, according to the researchers. So, you can be sure that by meditating you will definitely improve your overall performance on the test.

8. Doing Things You Love

Nothing can ever make you happier than doing what you love. Whether it’s singing, dancing to your new favorite pop song, or watching movies, you should devote some time to distracting yourself from studying by doing the things you enjoy. Not only will this help you not to feel pressured and overwhelmed by all those GRE materials, but it will also make you feel much more energetic, full of life, and HAPPY. These are absolutely necessary for you to perform as well as possible on your GRE test.

Good luck studying and remember to believe in yourself!

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GRE Guide
Posted on
10
Sep 2021

9 Daily Practices For GRE Success

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan
Date: September 10, 2021

Tips:

1. Visualize success and the value you will get in the end
2. Review the GRE sections
3. Set a time limit for each day
4. Do not forget to reward yourself
5. Forget about the target score only focus on improvement
6. Give yourself a pep talk
7. Be your own critic
8. Strategy is important
9. Be confident and remember that everything is in your hands

                                                                                               

     Studying for the GRE exam can be an extensive burden on your shoulders, especially if you are a non-native English speaker. For making your time manageable, you definitely need to come up with a study plan. So how do you design one that works? The paramount thing that you should consider is keeping you on track and studying not less than intended. You need to have specific goals for each day to become more accountable for your daily actions. We offer 9 tips for GRE test preparation that will help you address your lowest and weakest points. Even though every individual taking the exam has different expectations, you should gain greater focus by prioritizing your day along with GRE preparation. Sticking to a daily routine is an integral part of life; the most difficult thing is adhering to it, avoiding procrastination, and maintaining motivation. Therefore, after learning all the exam basics, such as the timing, the sections, and the preparation materials, it is worth creating a checklist by using our recommended tips.

1. Visualize success and the value you will get in the end

The thought of success can create happiness! Once we attain something that seemed hard initially, the suspense wears off, and the excitement rapidly comes in. By taking time every day to imagine achieving your goal you can stay motivated and on the right path. When we experience happiness our brain releases serotonin, the hormone responsible for happiness. By keeping the picture of accomplishment in our mind’s eye each time, the happiness never fades away. Hence, if every day contains even a tiny drop of happiness, even the most complex struggles seem to be a joy. Whether the GRE exam is a struggle or not, happiness and motivation are something that one undoubtedly always lacks. Do your best to look at the bigger picture and think of the steps that will expedite reaching the top.

2. Review the GRE sections

As GRE might imply struggles and confusion in your head because of your previous lack of math or verbal knowledge, by reviewing sections daily you need to make sure that the question types and the overall format are a piece of cake at the end. Whether you have a private GRE tutor or are studying on your own, be sure to review the format every day before going through your study materials. You may do short quizzes on analytical writing, verbal or quantitative reasonings to keep pace with timing and question types. You can consider this form of revision as stretching your brain muscles before the main exercise. Doing a simple GRE quiz each time will make you more cautious about time management and remind you about the type of questions that might pop up afterward. You can even shortly look into some question types from the unscored section to acquaint yourself with the question types.

3. Set a time limit for each day

As it is said, time is the only non-redeemable commodity, so proper allocation is a fundamental key to success. Hence, determining how much time you exactly need to allocate each day will foster productivity and make you avoid GRE burnout. Try to study every day at the same time by finding the right spot in the day when your brain picks up and retains the most out of the bunch of materials and information, which rapidly sinks in. You can even think of studying some time for weekday preparation and extending on the weekends. Just know that GRE preparation takes around from 4 to 20 weeks in general. As the hour allocation differs from person to person, it can range from 5-6 hours per week to 2-3 hours a day or even 120 hours studying ten hours a week. The answer here is that it depends. You may even do quizzes for testing your knowledge to define a daily hour limit. You can search for a large number of those quizzes on the internet. Besides, ensure the limit you set for yourself is reasonable because procrastinating one day and doubling the hours the next day does not seem plausible. It does not matter how many months you have on your hands; the significant thing is precise allocation. Remember that time is the most expensive investment you are making. Never forget that your study-life balance should be of utmost importance. 

4. Do not forget to reward yourself

It is no secret that the GRE, besides being burdensome and overwhelming, is also not considered to be an ordinary exam. This is why you cannot exhaust yourself by wasting time without scheduling mind gainful breaks. Sometimes your body just needs to do nothing for the sake of evading GRE scoring plateaus. Even though this might sound counter-intuitive, there are times when you need to prepare without studying. Therefore, not having small rewards in front of you every day will drain your energy. As GRE is mainly concept-focused and tests your understanding of certain structures and techniques, breaks ease your mind allowing better integration and memorization of concepts. Those rewards are things and rejuvenate your broken concentration. You can try something like the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps break down time into intervals with short breaks. Instead of breaks, you can think of something ‘non-GRE related’ that will make you regain focus. For example, by grabbing a quick snack, meditating, or walking around the house. Even though small rewards are significant, the GRE strategy also involves a larger reward; a big break. As depleting yourself over some time is a grind on your body and mind, even leading to serious fatigue, taking a break for one or two days can sometimes be the best action. Whichever works best for you, make use of it; even those brief respites retain your stamina. Finally, never forget about the grandiose reward; your final score. During small daily rewards or even larger breaks, always remind yourself of the one thing you are putting arduous effort into. Remember possible competition; maybe your friends are also preparing, think about the bragging rights after you have a successful finish! 

5. Forget about the target score, only focus on improvement

GRE preparation practices do generate plight both in physical and mental states. It is crucial to remind oneself of the improvement phases. We agree that everything you are going through is for the final score, but focusing too much on it deteriorates the mental support you could get by concentrating on what you are gaining from that infuriating experience. All successful practices dictate that you should focus on one thing at a time, which improves every day until the exam day. When the exam day comes, you will utilize all the knowledge and effort to get the highest GRE score possible. Keeping daily track of your improvements relieves some of the weight. Even the tiniest advantage acquired can be a game-changer. For instance, finishing each section a minute earlier than before will eventually contribute to achieving more significant results on the exam day. 

6. Give yourself a pep talk 

I am sure you receive a lot of support from the people surrounding you. However, self-encouragement is of the utmost importance. Look around, see what others are doing at your age and inspire yourself. Choose wisely between the tradeoffs. Such as choosing to study instead of partying. Giving a short talk to yourself every day will make you more enthusiastic about reaching your objectives. A recent scientific study has shown that talking to yourself dwindles anxiety and stress while boosting performance. This is no less true for exam and test prep. Give yourself motivational and instructional speeches and reiterate the same order daily. Both methods promote positivity as motivational talks cheer you up and keep up the eagerness to study and strive for more, while self-instructional talk directs detail-orientation and accentuates what exactly you need to do for that particular day. For example, start every day by loudly stating what should be done for the day. It helps with thinking about the mechanisms of every individual task and visualizing methods to complete them correspondingly. 

7. Be your own critic

Of course, you need all the encouragement and self-support to reach your goals, but especially during GRE exam preparation, you need to criticize yourself. If you need a 330+ GRE score, you should be aware that it will not come effortlessly. Give yourself credit on what you are doing right, but also consider aspects of the GRE problems that you need to elaborate on and master additional skills. The GRE is not the only requirement in applying to an MBA program. Top graduate schools do not come easy, which is why learning to grow from the beginning will come in handy even after taking the GRE and being admitted to the desired university. The dominant thing is separating the action from the person because you are criticizing your actions and not you as a person; you should not humiliate yourself, detect the triggers of low performance and failure and make yourself accountable for such actions. Ultimately, the ability to discern your flaws and work on personal evolution is an inherent quality for capacitating your abilities and aptitudes and pulling it off in life. 

8. Strategy is important 

As you already might know from applying to an undergraduate program, preparing for a test that measures your critical, analytical, and problem-solving abilities is bothersome. Coming up with a plan puts you on a strategic path. Your organization efficiency and strategizing skills will be the first and foremost things to aid in your success and aim. You need to think like you are taking the test in 12 hours for example. Which sections would you work on the most? How fast can you adapt yourself to the exam pace? In order to have the answers to these questions, you must spend huge amounts of time on your strategy review and have a clear mindset on what you are working on.

9. Be confident and remember that everything is in your hands

Have you ever thought about the law of attraction? It is basically a belief that everything you imagine is accomplishable. As positive thoughts bring in positive outcomes you should believe in yourself. Of course, maintaining a solid focus on your weaknesses is important, but you should intuitively know that you are the one who is capable of transforming weaknesses into strengths. Sometimes during practice tests and even the exam, you can trust your gut feeling, because if you have studied enough your instincts may sometimes subconsciously rationalize your final decision. So whenever your consciousness hesitates, the subconscious mind comes into play by literally forcing you to choose the correct answer. Just make sure to dedicate enough of yourself to set up a study and practice plan for executing some of the most significant strategies. The thing is to never doubt confidence and face the situation with your head up. 

 

We do understand that you may be struggling with GRE preparation. However, make sure to follow our recommendations. Create a daily checklist and think of other tips that may be useful to you. GRE prep will help you use time more productively and make you become strategic. Of course, physical preparation is essential, but the mental direction is just as important, as you need to have the mental focus on your goal and the determination of how you will reach it. Whether you have a GRE private tutor or not, you are your tutor, and it is on you to maintain motivation during the entire process and ace the exam. We suggest you develop a GRE strategy along with these nine tips to attain greater productivity, address your weaker points, and eventually manifest superb performance. Make studying for the GRE a daily habit, and keep yourself posted on the GRE advice, techniques, and instructions APEX always provides you with as concentrating only on the score will not amplify the methods and techniques you use to approach each question. Building up more practice is something that will retain your track and focus.

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GRE Studying
Posted on
01
Mar 2021

How to GRE: Efficient Learning

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ivan Minchev
Date:  March 1, 2021

Studying can be a daunting task for many, especially when there is a limited amount of time, and when the exam – like the GRE – isn’t a standard standardized test. Lack of interest (it’s ok to admit it… not everyone is as excited as we are about the GRE), stress, and exhaustion can be distractions that hinder one’s concentration and progress. There are a myriad studying techniques out there to tackle these obstacles, with some more effective than others. This is why this list of 8 studying tips is aimed to assist you in preparing for the GRE in the most efficient manner possible.

1. Avoid Last-minute Cramming

Make sure you have enough prep time before the exam: our tutors recommend spending about 90-120 days on your GRE preparation from start to finish. Shorter time frames can work too, but if you can, give yourself the privilege of not having to rush.

Last-minute cramming is the most inefficient way of preparing for an exam, and can be counterproductive for the GRE, which tests your flexibility, not your knowledge. Cramming can result in added stress and anxiety, which can further detract from your performance. Moreover, the GRE doesn’t lend itself to cramming, meaning that you’ll need to dedicate some time to get used to its format, the types of questions, and most importantly the skills required to tackle the test to achieve a successful outcome.

2. Designate A “Study Spot”

Find a place where you feel relaxed, but alert – cozy but serious, without the presence of any stress-inducing or distracting factors. Be sure to keep your spot clean and tidy, and only use it for studying or similar mental work. The more you become accustomed to studying in your spot the easier it will be to transition into ‘study’ mode and you’ll be able to get the optimal yield of your GRE prep time.

3. Listen To Music (Optional)

Some people don’t fancy studying in silence, while others do. In fact, many people find it harder to concentrate due to the lack of background noise. The solution is simple – music. Play some calm background music to go with the study session. The genre depends solely on one’s musical tastes but typically jazz, lo-fi hip-hop, and classical music are go-to’s. Try to focus on instrumental music and avoid anything distracting.

Keep in mind that on the GRE itself no music is permitted, so your use of music is only to get into a flow state for studying. This means that on the GRE you’ll most certainly have to contend with annoying noises that you’d typically not notice. Especially when the testing room is silent and crowded, even the smallest of noises can become irritating. To counter this, also try studying in places that mimic the test environment in this negative sense. Total silence on test day is not a realistic expectation.

4. Don’t Forget To Rest

Taking a break is an essential component of progress. When somebody works out, they don’t train for 3 hours straight without any rest. Build a routine. Determine the best and most productive time of the day to study and take regular breaks to let your brain rest. For most people mid-morning and mid-evening are peak times for productivity in this regard. When preparing for the GRE try to spend 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15-minute units.

good night’s sleep is also crucial for a sharp mind, especially with mentally exhausting tasks such as the GRE. However tempting it might be to stay up late at night, not getting enough sleep will lower a person’s ability to concentrate and will greatly hinder your brain’s functionality when the time to study comes around. In fact, sleep has been shown in many scientific studies to be essential for long term retention of information and new ways of doing things, meaning that a good night’s sleep can actually be more valuable than a few more hours of studying.

5. Maintain A Healthy Diet

Food has an enormous impact on energy levels and focus; two things essential for success on the GRE. Keep your brain fueled by snacking on healthy and nutritious food.

Ideally, snacks should be slow energy release foods, such as nuts, some fruits like blueberries, green vegetables (avocados, broccoli, spinach, celery), yogurt, and even high protein foods like fish and eggs.

Avoid junk food, especially things that will cause fluctuations in your blood sugar. Also watch out for highly processed products (chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, and even fruit juice). Such food might give your body an energy surge for a while, but a crash will follow soon after.

6. Hydrate 

Just as eating the right way is of vital importance, staying hydrated is equally essential. Around 60% of the human body is water, with the brain being composed of almost 73% water. While this isn’t a scientific argument, numerous studies point out that in order to retain a higher level of focus and cognition, the brain, and the human connected to it, needs to be well hydrated. Make sure to drink enough water during study sessions and exam day. On test day, be sure to be hydrated, but don’t get stuck having to “go” in the middle of the test. There is nothing as distracting and hindering performance as being under pressure.

7. Try To Explain New Concepts Out Loud And In A Clear Way

As soon as a new strategy, concept, or technique is learned you should try to explain it out loud as if trying to teach it to someone else. Better yet, find someone to teach! And this doesn’t only apply to GRE prep but to efficient learning in general. This is a great way to make sure that it is thoroughly understood and can be successfully implemented. It also forces you to develop a vocabulary so that you can speak to yourself about a challenging problem in a productive way. Try doing this multiple times until you are able to explain it so effortlessly that another person can grasp it without much trouble. This is easier said than done but will accelerate your preparation immensely, even if imperfectly implemented.

8. Learn From Your Mistakes

Go over past GRE practice tests and redo them to see if there are still problematic sections that need extra focus. Keep track of past and current scores to measure progress more comfortably, and maintain an error log to track the types of problems that challenge you most frequently, as well as those that you understand but tend to sink a lot of time into due to inefficient solution paths.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it: 8 great techniques to enhance your study time. This isn’t a comprehensive list, though. Always actively try out new tactics to find what works best for you. At the end of the day, everybody has a unique way of learning, and your strategies should reflect your unique approach. If you have difficulty figuring out what works best for you and are in need of some guidance on your GRE prep journey you can schedule a complimentary call here

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GMAT vs GRE
Posted on
27
Feb 2021

GMAT vs GRE – The Most Competitive Jobs On The Market

By: Apex GMAT
Date: February 27, 2021

If you’re on the verge of pursuing a professional career in business administration, finance, marketing, marketing management, accounting, or law, etc. then taking the GMAT or GRE will be a detour along the way to the top. The type of exam you choose matters. There’s a positive correlation between test scores and future earnings; with higher test scores, you may qualify for a more competitive program, and ultimately, a more lucrative career. This article describes applications of the GMAT and the GRE in today’s labor market, as well as their similarities and differences, to help you determine which test is right for you.

GMAT vs GRE | Admissions Differences

By far the most important factor to consider is which exam your desired institution accepts and prefers.

Traditionally, the GMAT is the more common option when it comes to pursuing an MBA or a similar program at a business school. The test is specifically designed to evaluate skills that help MBA admission committees determine not only industry knowledge but also critical traits like risk and time management, problem-solving under pressure, and adaptability, all of which are essential for a successful business career.

The GRE’s most distinguishing feature is its suitability for a wider variety of graduate school programs in fields such as business, education, engineering, humanities and arts, life sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. If you’re targeting a non-MBA graduate discipline, pursuing a dual-degree, or you’re still unsure, then taking the GRE may allow you to kill two birds with one stone. It’s also worth noting that about 90% of MBA programs also accept GRE scores.

To determine which exam will make you the most competitive, ask the institution’s admissions counselors if they prefer the GMAT over the GRE. Despite many business schools’ claims that they don’t have a preference, around 90% of applicants decide to apply with a GMAT score. This discrepancy might be the result of test takers’ desire to show admissions committees that they have a clear understanding of their graduate program goals and career aspirations. If you aren’t sure which type of graduate program you’re interested in, then the GRE might be the better option. However, if you want to make sure you will be as competitive as possible for an MBA program, then pick the GMAT. In both cases, ranking among the top performers requires rigorous test preparation.

GMAT vs GRE | Structure, Timing, Scoring, Costs

gmat vs gre

GMAT vs GRE | Job Prospects

Also, consider each exam’s structure to determine which you’re more likely to perform well on.  GMAT prep will involve more focus on the quantitative section, which is more challenging than the GRE’s. MBA committees agree that an applicant’s performance in the quantitative section is one of the strongest indicators for a successful career. Conversely, with GRE prep, there is a strong focus on sentence equivalence and text completion sections which require a skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary. This may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers.

The choice between the GMAT and the GRE may affect long-term career earnings beginning at the graduate level. Applicants with strong GMAT scores are more likely to receive MBA scholarships, which are usually not available for GRE applicants. Some companies even finance GMAT tutoring and exam fees for their employees or interns as an investment that will yield long-term results. When it comes down to actual labor market opportunities, however, the GMAT has an even stronger influence. Many firms, especially in consulting and finance, explicitly require a high GMAT score upon recruitment.

Lifetime Earnings Difference

Moreover, there is a high correlation between GMAT score and post-MBA salary. Over the course of 12 years working with applicants to the top 10 MBA programs, we at Apex have been able to track their progress from pre-GMAT to their post MBA careers. With data gathered from admission consultants who work with elite programs, as well as financial data from clients who have completed their MBAs, we conducted an internal analysis of the relationship between the exam score and post MBA financial gains. After correcting for other factors, our study suggested that each ten point increment in one’s GMAT score equates to $80,000 – $90,000 (NPV) of extra lifetime earnings.

An investment in GMAT preparation can result in a successful high-paying professional career in the most competitive fields that draw MBA graduates:

  • Finance – Financial Analysts, Financial Advisors, Investment Bankers, Investment Fund Executives
  • Management – Marketing Managers, Business Operation Managers, IS Managers
  • Business Consulting – Management Analysts, Marketing Managers, Business Operations Consultants, Information Technology Directors, Operation Research Analysts and all C-level positions

If you excel at test-taking and exam preparation, your GMAT or GRE journey can also lead you to secure a job as a GMAT instructor or GRE instructor. The concept of private, one-on-one GMAT or GRE prep that Apex’s GMAT tutors offer is built around a customized GRE curriculum and  GMAT curriculum. The goal of this approach is to work with both native and non-native English speakers to build cognitive skills that can be applied in and adapted to diverse working environments, resulting in career success.

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