GRE Study Plan Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting It
Posted on
29
Apr 2022

GRE Study Plan – Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting It

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a very popular exam that thousands of students take every year. A large percentage of these students find the GRE extremely challenging, so don’t worry if you feel the same way. However, if you are determined to succeed in your exam, you should have a well-developed study plan. An important aspect to consider when drafting your GRE study plan could be some of the most common mistakes that test-takers make in the creation of their study plan or schedule. In this article, we’ll give you more information on some of the most common mistakes in drafting GRE study plans and tips on how to avoid them.  

1. Dedicate enough time to preparation in your GRE study plan

The GRE is not an exam for which you can prepare within a matter of days. Although some students may be lucky enough to pass the exam with only 2-3 weeks of studying, do not rely on that. Most of them probably won’t get a satisfactory grade that will help them get into their dream school. To avoid such unpleasant situations, we suggest spending sufficient time and attention on your GRE prep. Different people take a different amount of time to prepare, so there is really no ultimate rule that applies to how early you should begin your preparation. However, it may be a good idea to start at least 3-4 months before your planned exam day in order to have enough time both for the exam preparation and the documentation part.  

The most important thing to remember is that preparing for the GRE should be a methodical process. You can’t cram it all in two weeks and expect to achieve a satisfactory result. Give yourself the time you need to succeed. Start your preparation on time and go with the pace that fits your abilities. Eventually, your persistent gradual work will pay off.

2. Prepare equally for every section of the GRE exam

While drafting their GRE study plan, many students make the mistake of devoting too much time to the section they find the hardest. When they start preparing, they get carried away with this particular section and underestimate the others. Unfortunately, this mistake often hurts their overall score. No single section should be avoided or paid less attention to. Each section is equally important for your overall score and you have to spend as much time on it as you feel you need. 

For example, the Quant is often considered the most difficult section by many students who tend to spend an enormous portion of their GRE prep time on it. However, you should not forget that you also get a large portion of your points from, for instance, the Verbal section. This means that you cannot overlook this section because you risk losing valuable points from your final result. Try to balance the different sections and spend enough time and effort on each of them, so that you can make sure you will achieve the highest result possible.

3. Take time to destress 

We have already mentioned the importance of hard and consistent work while preparing for your GRE exam. It’s now time to turn our attention to something very important, which many students wrongly neglect. Many students are very ambitious and they want to achieve a high GRE score. They are ready to work for hours and hours to perfect their knowledge and skills. However, they often end up overworking themselves and forgetting to put their minds to rest and recharge. This is a major mistake. It doesn’t matter how skillful or knowledgeable you are when you can’t put into practice what you know because you are overworked. Pushing yourself too far will not only negatively affect your score but also your mental health.

You should learn to take care of your emotional and physical health because they are crucial for gaining knowledge and building long-lasting skills required for acing the GRE. Make sure to not underestimate the power of good rest and separate enough time for it when drafting your GRE study plan. By doing this, you will be able to improve your memory and learning skills in the GRE prep process.

Conclusion

Knowing the most common mistakes that test takers make when preparing and undertaking their GRE study plan can help you avoid or deal with them effectively. Here at Apex, we know that preparing for the GRE exam day may be a challenging task. For this reason, we are more than happy to support you on your GRE journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you with every stage of your GRE journey!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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GRE As A Returning Student How to study for the GRE?
Posted on
01
Apr 2022

GRE As A Returning Student – How to study for the GRE?

Been a while since you attended university? Even in the best of circumstances, the GRE can be a daunting undertaking. But the thought of taking the GRE as a returning student – a decade or two after university – can be downright frightening. The tutors here at Apex often work with clients who have spent years in the professional world and outside of an academic setting. Our tutoring experts have compiled tips and tricks for returning students who want to make sure they are on the studying path of ‘least resistance’. Browse our 5 suggestions to make your return to high-caliber preparation as easy and productive as possible. 

1. Take a GRE practice test

This may sound like a no-brainer, but we cannot stress enough how vitally important it is that you take a practice test even before cracking open your first GRE prep book. This test gives you a baseline of where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where you need to grow your skills. Though you may use math skills on a daily basis, your quantitative knowledge – as it pertains to test taking – is of a different vain. By taking a practice test before you begin studying, you can be certain you are assessing your current skills level and knowledge as accurately as possible. From there, you can build your GRE study schedule and timeline and establish out which parts of the GRE deserve the majority of your dedication. 

2. Find the school  and score that suits you

What are your goals, both professionally and personally? It may sound like a simple question, and one that you get asked a lot, but interpreting the answer could take time. It is important that you are honest with yourself when it comes to what your goals are and if they are achievable. Achievable is the key term here.

A mere desire to attend a top graduate school and earn a GRE score in the top 95% is a difficult challenge, especially if your time out of school has been full of non-graduate school-level opportunities and tasks. Perhaps your goal is simply to earn a graduate degree so that you can climb the professional ladder at your current place of employment. In this case, your dream isn’t to attend Harvard or Yale. Decide on which schools you want to attend and the GRE score needed for admission. Our advice is to find the average GRE score of the most recently accepted class in the program of your choice and aim for a score a few points higher than the average. 

3. Get a consistent schedule

As a professional, you are no doubt busy. Most likely, working full-time, raising a family, and living a 9-5 life for a decade or so make even the best of students forget the rigors of school. Wanting to earn a graduate degree will put you right back into the world of late-night and early morning study sessions. The GRE is your first step into that world. So be sure to create a study schedule that will work with your personal and professional life. We have created a 3-month timeline template which you can adjust to fit your own needs.

Once you have created a schedule, be sure to Stick. To. It. Of course, make adjustments where you deem necessary. This may sound obvious, but we find our clients have a difficult time sticking to a study schedule. We get it, your personal life is your priority and we know it is always changing. But keep in mind that as intense as your GRE journey is, it is quite short compared to your graduate school journey. If your goal is to earn a graduate degree, the GRE is a necessary stepping stone on that journey. 

4. Learn the GRE basics

Let us assume that you have already done your due diligence. You have taken a practice test, have chosen the school(s) you wish to attend, and have come up with a consistent schedule which works for you. The next step is to unwrap the basics of the GRE. Understand and become comfortable with the layout of the test, and the many different types of questions you encounter.

But learning the ‘basics’ goes beyond a simple understanding of the test and its structure. You also need to get comfortable with the many skills you learned during high school, yes, that’s right…HIGHSCHOOL. The quantitative, qualitative, and analytical skills you learned during high school play a large role in your success on the GRE. While this may sound like an exaggeration, remember how much you have grown intellectually and professionally since your time in high school. The skills you gained during those years have helped you develop and grow. 

5. Utilize the proper resources and Find Help! 

Not all GRE prep books are made the same – nor are all GRE tutors. You need to browse the market and find the books which are best structured for you. With so many different types of books on the market, it might be difficult to find which ones are best for you. We suggest looking for books which offer various solution paths to the same question. This gives you the best chance to find the strategies which work for you and your skill sets.

Additionally, working with private GRE tutors can set you down the right path. A private tutor is ideal for someone who is taking the GRE as a returning student. Our Apex tutors are professionals in working with our clients’ strengths and weaknesses. We also have a unique way of teaching the exam where we show our clients how to consider testing questions from a tester-maker’s point of view, not a test-taker.  

6. Bonus Tip: Be proud of yourself! 

Your decision to return to school and earn a graduate degree after years out of academia is an incredible choice. You should be very proud of yourself. Such a decision is not an easy one to make, and yet your decision to broaden your horizons and achieve your goals is inspiring. During your GRE journey, remember to stick with a structured schedule and find help if you need it. Most people don’t go down the GRE journey alone, and neither should you! 

 

If you are considering taking the GRE as a returning student and are interested in getting help on the GRE, we offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls with one of our top GRE scoring instructors. 

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio 

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GRE test strategies
Posted on
25
Feb 2021

8 GRE Test Strategies To Help Boost Your Score

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Ivan Minchev
Date: February 25, 2021

More than 500,000 students take the GRE every year as a requirement to get into the thousands of different graduate and PhD programs worldwide. However, due to the complexity of the exam as well as its adaptive difficulty, only the top 10% of test-takers manage to score 328 or above. Here are 8 GRE test strategies you can utilize to achieve a higher score on the exam, no matter where you currently are on your GRE preparation journey.

1. Adopting the proper mindset

Perspective is everything. It is very important to understand that even though getting in the top 10% of test-takers might seem like a spectacular achievement (and don’t get me wrong, it certainly is) setting your goals on a certain score tends to be counterproductive. Instead, focus on attaining specific skills, knowledge, and command, and the score will follow. Goals lead to expectations and fear of failure, and fear of failure, in turn, results in stress, which can greatly hinder performance.

2. Overcoming stress!

Stress and fear can greatly influence your results, but there are ways to manage these very normal responses to a high-stakes situation. One of the ways to reduce stress and boost your confidence is by beginning your preparation process as early as possible – ideally 90-120 days before the exam. This provides enough time to fully grasp the complexities of the exam, and more importantly internalize a new set of skills to handle that complexity.

A test taker’s greatest enemy is test anxiety. Understand that anxiety happens to everyone. What sets top performers apart is how they handle that anxiety, and how they direct it back into their performance. Many people use a variety of relaxation techniques for dealing with test anxiety. The most common and easy to use method is to practice deep and controlled breathing in combination with visualization techniques.

3. For exam day…

Are you a coffee drinker? Surprisingly, caffeine can really help your performance on test day. Caffeine is a powerful nootropic that will help keep your senses sharp and will also boost the oxygenated blood flow to your brain, subsequently enhancing your performance. For more info on how coffee affects your performance click here.

Remember how we said that it’s important to begin your exam prep early? This “early bird” attitude can be applied in more ways than one. What this implies is that you must (not might, not should) prepare your GRE Test Day Survival Kit on the previous day and not leave this for the last moment. Everyone has waited for the last minute to do something, and chances are everyone has left something crucial behind. With the GRE being such an important exam such situations should be avoided as much as possible. Try having a mock exam day. Map out the whole test day and practice it as if it were real, including your trip to the testing center. This will help you normalize the process and alleviate anxiety on test day.

4. Value your time and manage it efficiently!

Since the GRE is a timed exam one’s planning and strategic skills are put to the test as they have to come up with an efficient time management strategy.

Use mental math tools whenever possible and also try getting used to reading and analyzing charts, graphs and tables efficiently for the data interpretation section.

Once you’re further along in your preparation and have mastered seeing multiple solution paths before engaging any of them, familiarize yourself with common problems, and built up test reading and perspective skills, then you can begin dedicating yourself to timed sets: working on a cluster of 10 consecutive questions for each section of the exam when on the clock. This helps you calibrate your timing decisions and more readily notice when they require adjustment.

Remember, just because the GRE is a timed exam, this doesn’t mean we must learn under a time constraint. Like good cooking, good learning takes time. Give yourself sufficient time to learn, while also making sure the learning time is spent as productively as possible.

5. The Data Interpretation section

A good way to rapidly identify information needed to solve a problem is knowing what to look for. Read the problems carefully (and this applies to all sections) and proactively determine what you want out of the information or solution path. This way, you will sift out most unnecessary information in advance, saving plenty of time along the way. However, this does NOT mean ignoring the text written around the tables/graphs/charts.

6. The Analytical Writing section 

Failing to plan is planning to fail! Always plan your essay! Set aside 4-5 minutes to plan what you are going to write and how you are going to structure your essay.

Create an essay template in advance! There are many ways you can go about making one but usually, the more you practice your essay writing skills the more used to a specific writing style you are going to get ultimately resulting in your own template.

7. Ask for help

There is nothing embarrassing about asking for help, especially when it comes to an exam that is so vital to one’s future. There are numerous GRE forums and courses on the web, where you can ask and get help from people who have already taken it.

However, if you would prefer a more personal and individualized approach you could consider hiring a private tutor. The benefit of not preparing alone but hiring a tutor is that it allows for direct feedback on what are an individual’s strengths and what needs improvement, while also receiving advice on how to achieve those improvements. As a result, when the exam day comes you will not only be well prepared but will also know it, having built up confidence in your abilities.

8. Practice, practice, practice!

No doubt you’re familiar with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” There is a reason why this is such a popular saying: it’s true! Not all practice is equal, though. Varied practice that aims at building on existing skills and knowledge is much more high yielding than repetition. No matter how clever you are, no matter how good of a student you’ve been or how proficient you are in math, if you do not put enough time and effort into your prep you are not likely to be happy with the end result. Even the top tutors and courses out there won’t be able to help you out if you don’t give your best. So remember, don’t just go through the motions, but practice by constantly looking at the same problems and concepts in new ways, and trying to use them in novel situations, and you’ll find your GRE prep vastly accelerated.

That was the list of 8 GRE Test strategies to help you score high on the exam. Keep in mind that what works for one person will not necessarily work for another as everybody learns differently. It is only through practice and proactive learning that you will be able to find what are the best methods for your success

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