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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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 Prep Calendar: How To Create Your Perfect GRE Prep Calendar?
Posted on
05
Sep 2021

GRE Prep Calendar: How to create your perfect GRE prep calendar

Introduction

Congratulations, you have decided to continue with your education! Deciding to attend graduate school is a big step. It will open up doors to further opportunities for you, both intellectually and professionally. Having a master’s degree under your belt can help you earn that promotion you have always wanted or allow you to pivot your post-undergrad career into an area you are super passionate about! Regardless of why you are deciding to attend graduate school, one large hurdle stands in your way: the Graduate Record Examination or GRE for short. 

For many, the GRE can seem like a daunting task. Especially for those individuals who are returning to school years after completing their undergrad. But the task of successfully studying for and taking the GRE is doable. As long as you are driven, determined, and willing to set a strict study schedule, your graduate school dreams are within your grasp. 

Here at ApexGRE, we have created the perfect GRE calendar preparation for future GRE test takers. By following the simple steps we have laid out, you can get the most out of your GRE preparation and ace your exam! 

Steps to your Perfect GRE Prep Calendar

First, grab a calendar, yearly planner, or your phone. You will need to mark the dates and times necessary for studying. 

1. Figure out when you want to take the GRE

Once you have figured out what you want to study, you need to find the perfect graduate school programs. For most graduate schools, a GRE entrance exam is required. Some schools offer GRE waivers, however, these are rare and are usually offered on a case-by-case basis. Once you have found the programs you are applying to, check out their application deadlines. Based on these deadlines, you can figure out when you need to take the GRE. It would be suggested to take the GRE well before the admissions deadlines. Often, your GRE scores last at least 5-years, meaning you could technically take the GRE a few years before you apply to graduate school. However, here at Apex, we suggest you take the GRE at least a couple of months before the admissions deadline. This is because, if you happen to get a score lower than expected, you will have time to retake the test and aim for a one.
Count back 3 months from the test date. THIS is the day you will begin your official GRE test prep.

2. Take a free practice test

Before you even begin studying for the GRE, you need to take a practice exam. By taking a practice exam, you will know right away where your strengths and weaknesses are. It will also give you a baseline to know how to study and which parts of the exam require the most effort and attention. By keeping track of your score, you will also see your progress as you go along your test prep journey. 

Determine Strengths and Weaknesses

3. Capitalizing on when you can best prep. 

Are you a morning bird? A night owl? Do you find your brain works best during the afternoon? Knowing this about yourself can help you set your daily study schedule. If you find that your brain works best bright and early, then try to carve out an hour or two each morning to study before heading off to work or going to class. If you enjoy studying late at night, then find time after work or after dinner where you can spend two hours preparing. Once you have decided what time of day you want to study, it is important to keep a daily schedule. It is best to find a rhythm that you work best with so that your mind and body are prepared to study each day. 

Are you a Morning Bird? A Night Owl? 

4. Week 1 – GRE Basics

Great. You have decided on your test date, you have counted backward by 3 months, and you have determined what time of day you wish to study. Pull out your calendar, yearly planner, or phone and mark out the first week. Putting aside 1 or 2 hours each day in either the morning or the night where you study for the GRE. During this first week, you will get acquainted with the GRE Test Basics.
– Become familiar with the GRE format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your GRE exam. A good start is reading articles that introduce you to GRE’s structure, sections, timing, and scoring. 
– Analyze the results from your practice test. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your practice test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?

5. Week 2 – Quant Section

Great, it’s week two! During your first week, you have overviewed what to expect on the GRE overall. Now it is time to get a little bit more specific. Keeping your same daily schedule (whether you study in the AM or PM), change your study content to familiarize yourself with the GRE quant section. Read about which types of quantitative questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the GRE test.

Review GRE Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section. Make flashcards with the necessary formulas so you can memorize which formula should be used for which problem(s). If you found that during the practice test the quantitative section was easy-breezy, consider studying exceptionally difficult problems. Since the GRE is a computer adaptive test,  your questions will get exceedingly harder the more right answers you give. The more questions you answer correctly, the more difficult they will become, and thus the more likely you are to receive a higher score. 

Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.

6. Week 3 – Verbal Section

It’s week three! Bearing in mind how you have been studying for the past two weeks, be sure to maintain your same study schedule for this week. During this week it is time to get acquainted with the GRE verbal section. A great way to start working with the verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. To learn more about this section, how it is scored, and some insights about its subsections click here.

Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the verbal section (Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completion, and Sentence Equivalence) and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies. 

Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days. For example, your third week could look something like this: Monday & Tuesday Reading Comprehension, Wednesday & Thursday Sentence Completion, and Friday & Saturday Sentence Equivalence, with Sunday being a rest day.

7. Week 4 – Monthly check-in

It has been a month since you started studying. If you have stuck to your study schedule, you have most definitely made progress. Now it is time to put that progress to the test! 

Take your second practice test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to GRE practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.

Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.  

Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster. 

8. Week 5 – Quant Review

It is week five, and you now have two practice tests under your belt. You should be seeing progress in your ability to take the exam. Time to refine your reviewing and fortify your strengths while strengthening your weaknesses in the Quant section. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of data analysis, Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic questions. Now that you are familiar with these terms it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of quantitative question types. There are four types of quant questions. These are Quantitative Comparison Questions, Multiple Choice (one answer), Multiple Choice (one or more answers), and Numeric Entry Questions. Memorize how these question types look so that you are prepared for the official exam. 

9. Week 6 – Verbal Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Equivalence questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Correction questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Reading Comprehension questions. Besides reading articles related to tips and common mistakes, reading Reading Comprehension-like writing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the style and content of Reading Comprehension passages.

10. Week 7 – Analytical Writing Section

Make yourself acquainted with the GRE Analytical Writing section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you. 

Review sample Analytical Writing templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your GRE essay.

11. Week 8 – Monthly Progress Check

Time for another practice test!  After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress. 

Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help. 

Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.

12. Week 9 – Review your Weaknesses, solidify your strengths

You have been spending a lot of your time preparing for the GRE. It is an arduous journey, but you’re not alone! During week 9, it is best to spend time reviewing the parts of the exam that you are most struggling with. Whether it is quantitative or verbal, spend a few hours a day reviewing those parts of the exam that you are most worried about. 

At the same time solidify your strengths. If you are a powerhouse on the verbal section, that doesn’t mean you should no longer study that portion. Switch between your strengths and weaknesses during this week in both the verbal and quantitative sections. If you know of someone else who is taking the GRE, get together with them and swap tips and tricks on how they are tackling studying. Finding a study buddy is especially helpful as you can both be emotional support from one another! 

13. Week 10 – Time and Stress Management

Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the GRE test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills.

14. Week 11 – Review and Relax 

During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough.  Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your GRE preparation journey.

We at the Apex team hope that you find this GRE study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly have some one-on-one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a GRE instructor here

 

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