GRE Private Tutoring
Posted on
27
Feb 2021

One on one GRE Tutoring: Your Way to GRE Success

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: February 27, 2021
When it comes to GRE tutoring, we at Apex have learned that there are a set of core characteristics that all successful GRE test takers embody; no matter their industry, degree, personal traits, or prior levels of knowledge. In this article, we’ll:
  • explore each of these eight core characteristics
  • deconstruct a few of the faulty assumptions that test-takers bring to the process
  • distinguish one-on-one GRE tutoring as an efficient way for most people to achieve a competitive GRE score and build a solid foundation for a graduate program.

Many people preparing for the GRE believe that it’s the instructor’s responsibility to implement their own expertise and style to improve one’s current skill level and address one’s weaknesses. The reality, however, is more of a two-way street, where the important element is the compatibility between a tutor’s teaching style and a student’s learning style. A qualified instructor is one that first examines the way a client processes new information and perceives problems, and the techniques he or she uses to address those problems. Only after a tutor has understood one’s learning style can he/she match professional guidance with the needs of the client.

8 Ways One-On-One GRE Tutoring Gets You To A 328+ Score On The GRE

1. Creating a productive & efficient learning structure

Oftentimes, test takers seek GRE tutoring because they have stumbled upon enough types of challenging problems that they can’t tackle alone, or they’ve reached the peak of their self-preparation but still seek higher results. One-on-one GRE tutoring differs from self-prep and group work with a tutor in terms of the learning environment and having the benefit of external perception of your performance. With private GRE tutoring, communication dynamics are on a much more personal, and personalized, level – yielding stronger results much more quickly than alternative solutions.

The privacy and trust inherent in a One-on-one GRE tutoring setup permit test-takers to feel comfortable sharing their weaknesses in a safe environment and tackle those things that are challenging to them without worrying about how it will be interpreted by peers. The comfort afforded by this situation should not be underestimated. A private GRE tutor not only helps with improving one’s technique and self-knowledge but also strives to create a healthy and secure learning environment that is vital for:

  • reducing test anxiety
  • building GRE confidence
  • improving studying habits
  • avoiding distractions and disruptions of the learning process
  • encouraging freedom to ask questions
  • nurturing motivation
2. Constant two-way feedback

A fundamental rule of management states, “No feedback is bad feedback”. Another is “What gets measured gets managed.” When preparing alone or within a group, a future test taker will not have a clear indication about how effective they are performing until they take a practice exam, and even then the exam only focuses on specific metrics. A good private GRE tutor will know what to look for, what to measure, and what feedback to give to provide rapid and lasting results. They will guide you through questions that are matched to your current level of skill, meaning that you will be consistently receiving feedback on your methodology, time allocation, implementation of knowledge, and solution paths as you progress through your GRE preparation. This ongoing back and forth communication will allow you to identify your weak spots in self-prep as well, and revisit appropriate material to deepen your understanding of less comfortable concepts.

3. Learning at your own pace, and then speeding it up

Timing is the most crucial aspect of the GRE that you need to master to achieve a great score. Naturally, everyone excels at tackling some problems and needs more time to solve others. Tutoring can hone your timing decisions and your tutor can create a customized plan for timing allocation across a range of problems depending upon your relative strengths and weaknesses.

Studying with a private GRE tutor will also allow you to spend the right amount of time on each aspect of the exam according to your scoring needs. This lets you avoid inefficiencies and master only those techniques that will be most useful to you in order to fulfill your potential.

4. Developing specific skill sets to tackle each section of the GRE

The GRE test is a complex exam designed not to test high school knowledge, but rather core character traits like adaptability, time management, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and multitasking. You cannot achieve a high GRE score if there is a significant difference between your performance in each section of the exam. A private GRE tutor can give you the best insights on how to build, manage, and combine the different skills needed to get a great end result and achieve parity between your verbal and quantitative scores.

5. Realizing better use of your time

Flexibility and accessibility of learning are key to maximizing your potential. One-on-one GRE tutoring is:

  • Usually offered online. This means that you can schedule sessions at the most convenient time depending only on your flexibility. You can have lessons in your breaks from work, gaps between classes, during daily commutes, during holidays, in the park, etc.
  • Available at any time. This is not the case with group GRE tutoring as classes are scheduled depending on the instructor. Apex works globally and has tutoring available in every time zone around the globe. Private GRE tutoring should be designed to meet your lifestyle requirements and you should aim to schedule sessions when you are most productive. A technique that the best GRE instructors adopt is to schedule sessions at a time of the day when you are supposed to sit your actual exam. This can help you simulate conditions similar to those on test day and give you important insights on how to maximize your productivity at that specific time frame.
  • Offered with different options depending on duration and material covered in the program. Whether you are a beginner or someone who already has a strong understanding of the GRE, you can choose a specifically designed GRE curriculum depending on what you strive to achieve. This is reflected in the amount of hours you are going to spend with an instructor and in the price of the service. At Apex we offer a complimentary first call to help you determine what course of action will be the most suitable for you depending on your current level of preparation and your GRE aspirations.
6. Understanding where you excel and what you struggle with most

If you are aiming for an elite GRE score, you’ll need to leverage your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Understanding the meaning behind each question, its structure and underlying testing purpose, and the methodologies the test writers use to construct the problems are essential for success. The best one-on-one GRE tutors are aware of the subtleties of the exam and can not only guide you around them but teach you how to leverage these subtleties for high-level insights into the hardest 330+ problems. This will predispose you to uncover features of the test that most preppers have never even considered.

7. Utilizing learning aids

Finding and gaining access to challenging GRE problems, authentic and reliable practice tests / mock exams, and appropriate study tools can take ages to hunt down (and cost a fortune). One-on-one GRE tutoring allows you to refocus your valuable time as experienced instructors will already have compiled a solid database of resources and questions and show you the ones that are most relevant to your success at your current level. That way, your instructor, and not you, will spend the time filtering them according to your needs and present the ones that will have the greatest positive impact on your GRE preparation.

8. The expertise and professional mentorship of a private GRE tutor

Working with an expert GRE tutor who has scored well into the top 1%, and who knows the exam inside and out will help you accelerate your learning and move the needle of your progress in ways you only read about on GRE blogs. Experienced instructors are trained to teach you how to overcome the different GRE scoring plateaus and meet your personal target. The goal of great tutors is not only to show you how to answer a question correctly, but also to help you extract a methodology that can be continuously applied to other questions across the GRE, and to problems beyond.

Apex’s tutors focus on teaching the higher-order strategies that are necessary for the achievement of a 328+ score and bringing out your optimal performance. Enlisting the help of a one-on-one GRE instructor is recommended for those who are short on time or those who already have a solid understanding of the exam and are scoring well (mid-200’s), but are looking to gain those extra points that will make them get into their dream graduate program and lay the groundwork for a challenging, engaging, and lucrative career.

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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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Successful GRE
Posted on
24
Feb 2021

5 Takeaways from a Successful GRE Journey

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: February 24, 2021

Each client that contacts us is in a different stage of their GRE prep, but a universal constant is that each is striving for a great 328+ GRE score. The threshold difficulty standing in their way is the lack of a proper mindset, which in turn can lead to a poor performance, whether due attitude, inefficient solving mechanisms, misplaced focus, or myriad other issues. No matter what, mindset leads the way to performance.

To adjust one’s way of perceiving problems requires much more intricate work than cramming a bunch of material, facts, and figures. Taking the time to understand this and elevate your approach to the test is challenging but ultimately rewarding come test day. Here are five takeaways that anyone scoring 328 or better on the GRE comes to realize along their GRE journey. These insights that help test takers thrive help top performers continue to excel in their grad school programs and in their post-graduate school careers, long after the GRE is a distant memory.

It is not what you know… it’s what you do with it

The GRE is a psychometric exam. It expects you to be knowledgeable in a core group of secondary school concepts. It’s not a knowledge test, but it uses this universe of information as a baseline that everyone reasonably has been exposed to long before they thought about the GRE. The exam tests not so much your knowledge but your creative application of that knowledge.

In the process of preparing for your GRE it is vital to maximize your performance, which necessitates deep understanding of seemingly straightforward concepts so that you can be flexible in how you navigate them. For instance, in the Integrated Reasoning section there is a high chance that you will come across an unfamiliar graph you need to use. In such a case the ability to draw conclusions from known graphs and apply them to the new situation is much more valuable than having seen the specific graph before.

This holds true well beyond the exam. The amount of information you will be exposed to within the 2 years of a top tier graduate school program is staggering. In order to thrive in this demanding environment you must be selective, actively deciding what information you take on to master, and use universal thinking tools (heuristics and mental models) to be adaptable as new concepts and information come your way.

For the GRE, the core concepts are indeed essential. But it is also important to notice what concepts and information you can derive from fundamental knowledge and how to do so, hence not needing to memorize it. Knowing how to successfully apply your knowledge will result in efficiency which will afford you the ability and time to excel in the GRE, explore what your graduate program has to offer, and be a thought leader in your chosen career.

Prioritization is crucial 

On the GRE there are harsh penalties for unanswered questions, so it is vital to complete each section in the time allotted. Therefore, proper time and process management are critical when sitting the exam. Essentially, each problem represents a decision where you must weigh the likelihood of obtaining a correct answer, your time commitment to that problem, ancillary considerations like stress and focus management, and how this problem fits into your larger strategy for the section and the exam. Ultimately, you must decide how much time it is worth expending on each problem as part of your core process.

This mental cost-benefit analysis must be deeply embedded in your thought process to achieve an elite GRE score. With the proper calibration, this sense will certainly be useful in graduate school and beyond. In the professional world, there will always be time constraints – be it stringent deadlines or time zone differences. Being able to prioritize focus and make decisions quickly and accurately while navigating uncertainty and incomplete information is a huge strength. Similarly, actively choosing to abandon a low value or less important task so that you can fully devote to solving an issue of importance is not a sign of weakness or incapability, but rather an asset in a world that will always ask more of you than you can give. Time is scarce in the workplace, and just like on the GRE, you should prioritize what adds the most value to your bottom line.

Every problem has multiple solution paths

A common theme in our client’s feedback is their fascination with a core principle that we teach; that every GRE problem has multiple solution paths and that sensitivity to how you solve the problem is more important than simply arriving at the correct answer. Let’s take a means and averages problem from the Quant section as an example. Many would be tempted to solve this mathematically straightaway, but this problem can be solved more efficiently using a scenario or a graph rather than processing equations, delivering greater clarity and freeing up valuable time for other, more challenging problems.

Wresting yourself away from the paradigm that a problem has a single “correct” solution path is essential to conquering the GRE but is also valuable in life. Very few things are clear cut and unambiguous, and training yourself to recognize multiple ways to get to the same destination is important, especially if you can recognize them before committing to any specific path. Seeking answers beyond the ordinary and obvious will provide you with innovative ways of overcoming obstacles and drive progress, and make you a thought leader among your peers and in your graduate program and organization.

Focusing on the structure of the GRE helps you compare solution paths and choose the best for the current challenge, resulting in not only a correct answer, but a timely one. Moreover, thinking of a problem from multiple perspectives means that you take into consideration unlikely or unnoticed features of a problem, and when applied to a professional setting, this added vision can drive great insight into stakeholders interests and uncover innovative solutions to intractable problems.

In order to succeed first know yourself

The GRE is not an exam where you can get 100% of the problems correct. In fact, your score will not depend on the number of questions that you get correct, but rather by the difficulty level of the ones that you do get correct. Since the GRE is computer-adaptive, it increases in difficulty until it matches a candidate’s capabilities, and the aim as a test taker is to get to the most difficult problems that you can handle, and then get most of those correct. In this way, the GRE drives you to perform at your best rather than spending a lot of time testing fundamentals.

Ultimately, this means that you must decide how to allocate your time and energy to produce the best performance. This means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, evaluating each problem in light of those, and then deciding which problems make sense to handle, which make sense to invest extra time in, and which (few) problems you might want to walk away from right off the bat in order to preserve your valuable time for higher value problems. Don’t simply put your head down and try to get everything right – at least not at first.

During your GRE preparation you should be conscious of how you perform and how you have progressed from where you began. If you struggle to finish a practice exam in a timely manner, this is a sign that your time management skills require polishing, and that you’re not making timing decisions well. If you perform well on Sentence Equivalence but not on the Reading Comprehension, then that means that you can spend less time on SE questions and reallocate that time towards Reading Comp, thereby increasing your score and building confidence in your GRE allocation decisions along the way.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the workload you handle best will help you excel in your career. Furthermore, knowing your capabilities can aid you when setting work boundaries and defining your professional skill set on the other side of graduate school. Successful professionals know how to focus on what they do best, and remove those tasks that impinge upon their productivity and value.

In this way, they don’t find themselves taking on too much, and are able to have work-life balance, all while placing them in a position to continue to achieve because of that balance. Overworking is counterproductive because it drives burnout and reduces focus and efficiency. In much the same way that athletes require proper rest for peak performance, those working in intellectually rigorous fields requiring creativity need mental breaks for better focus, clarity and job performance. In this sense, being aware of your own limitations will guide you towards a healthy work-life balance and in turn increase productivity.

5% talent and 95% hard work

Being naturally intuitive with numbers or extremely well-read can provide a great footing for your GRE preparation. Without further development, however, natural talent can only take you so far. The GRE begins testing you the moment you can no longer trust your intuition and talent, and then need to rely upon knowing what you don’t know, and navigating towards deeper insights. The GRE tests a range of skills such as critical assessment of data, ability to reason and analytical thinking. This means that being knowledgeable and skilful with fundamentals, or being a strong student only lays the foundation for success. It’s persistence, determination, and having a comprehensive study plan and clear understanding of GRE architecture that defines those who score a 328 or better.

The good news is that the skills necessary to get a 328+ GRE score can be cultivated and enhanced with hard work, perseverance and determination. Moreover, these same skills can help you get the most out of your graduate program and career and enhance your skill set. For example, in graduate school you may come across an exceptional mathematician pursuing a concentration in  economics because she has identified a weak point, and wants to focus on how to conduct research, to write and communicate clearly and effectively and to understand and implement data in the decision making process. Similarly, someone with average mathematical Mathematical ability might excel in Finance courses because of the skills he has developed – analytical thinking, problem solving, and constructing mental models.

Conclusion

The most important thing is to put in the hard work (effortful learning, not just a lot of prep time) to grow those top-level skills, regardless of how naturally gifted you are in a given subject. Graduate programs aren’t all creativity or math, and in this way professional challenges are similar to the GRE itself, which is neither about Math nor English grammar. Compensating your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths in your chosen concentration will be a vital part of your graduate school experience, and it should start with your GRE preparation.

Your GRE journey can be pleasant and enriching rather than an arduous, distasteful experience that you dread having to go through. With the proper mindset, guidance and support you can grow through your GRE experience to acquire valuable skills that will help you for years to come.

Schedule a call with one of our experienced GRE consultants  and get a head start on the road to achieving your goals!

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Private Tutoring GRE
Posted on
24
Feb 2021

How Can Private Tutoring Help You Score 328+ on the GRE?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Irena Georgieva
Date: February 24, 2021

Achieving a 328+ score on the GRE is not a simple task – it requires significant preparation, excellent organization, and continuous motivation to learn. Studying for an exam can be overwhelming, especially when there is no one by your side to keep you motivated. Perhaps you’re struggling with quant problems or you’re not sure how to apply the strategies that you have learned. Well, don’t worry… This is where private GRE tutoring comes into play.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should start working with a tutor in order to ace the GRE.

Index:

1.     Individualized Learning Experience

Although the GRE is a standardized exam, there is no “one size fits all” approach to success. While some students favor graphical solution paths, others are more analytical or methodical in their approach to answering GRE questions. Some struggle with geometry, others with algebra, yet others with critical reasoning. There are learners who have excellent writing skills, while others, particularly ESL students, require practice to achieve a good score on the analytical writing assessment. The existence of these differences indicates that there is not only a singular path to studying for such a nuanced exam and that preparation should be customized to maximize one’s strengths and abilities.

Unlike classroom teaching where the teacher rarely deviates from the prescribed syllabus, a competent private tutor will tailor your learning plan based on the knowledge and skills you currently possess and their expertise. By identifying your learning style and framing your entire prep program around it, a skilled GRE tutor will ensure that you are not only progressing through your prep but enjoying it as well.

What’s more, a perceptive private GRE tutor will also focus your attention on the areas where you experience difficulties or need improvement, especially those areas that you can’t see for yourself. Due to this guidance and direction, you will be able to spend more time on improving, and less time repeating the same mistakes or going over content that you’ve already mastered. You’ll develop new skills that were previously lacking and adopt more favorable methods to solve difficult problems. Additionally, you will learn how to organize your time more effectively which is essential for you on the exam.

2.     Personalized Attention

Although classroom teaching can prove beneficial for mastering the fundamental knowledge needed for higher-level approaches, one disadvantage of learning with others is the lack of personalized attention and focus on the lowest common denominator type construal of the concepts being taught. Teachers in any classroom cannot pay attention to all of their students’ needs, especially those who struggle differently than most, or who have higher goals than their classmates. While one student might be struggling with the clustering principle that defines standard deviation as it applies to comparing different sets, another might require a refresh on calculating variance and how the underlying concept operates. Whatever your specific case may be, the help of a private tutor can address it.

By working with a top-notch tutor outside of the classroom, you’ll be able to rapidly progress and draw on personalized mental models to confidently approach GRE problems of the highest complexity. A skilled GRE tutor will not only help you acquire new knowledge but s/he is also going to teach you valuable meta-strategies that can be useful for you when you study for the exam. At Apex we focus on solution paths, problem forming, and many other innovative techniques that make for high-yield self-preparation, and top-level scores.

Moreover, a highly qualified private tutor will have a team behind him/her and copious amounts of materials and drills, while drawing upon a flexible curriculum so that your preparation can be as personalized and efficient as possible and result in the score you are striving to achieve. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak openly with your GRE tutor about any concerns you have regarding your preparation, and your tutor should always be open to your feedback and input, rather than trying to “run the show”. Recall that the purpose of engaging a tutor is not only the acquisition of knowledge but also the attention and support you will be given.

3.     Improved Confidence

Working with a proficient private tutor will definitely boost your confidence, and confidence is essential to exemplary GRE performance. After a few sessions, you should expect to see how much your tutor has helped you learn and adopt fresh skills and additional perspective – about the GRE and about yourself as a test taker  – and address the problems you thought impossible just a few short weeks prior. Almost imperceptibly you will become more proficient in your execution and more sensitive to the different ways the GRE modulates complexity and delivers hints about the most viable and efficient solution paths (here at Apex we call these “Test Reads”). Thorough preparation will marginalize your fear of failure and help you combat latent (or not so latent) test anxiety so that you can manifest the high expectations that you’ve likely set at the outset of this process.

In addition, a capable private tutor will ensure that you address your anxiety about the exam in a healthy way. Aside from designing a study plan customized to your learning style, your GRE tutor will focus on other salient, but less popular factors that affect GRE performance; the amount of sleep you get, and overstudying, to name just two. While you might not have considered these factors, or believe them to be unimportant, they drastically influence productivity and affect test day performance. That is why an experienced GRE tutor will do everything s/he can to make you ready, and make you feel ready, for your exam.

4.     Greater Motivation

Constant preparation can be exhausting and without the proper support and encouragement, it’s normal to lose your motivation along the way. A tutor, however, can provide that motivation and understanding of what you’re going through – something well-meaning friends and family cannot – so that your goals become reality.

Apart from ensuring your efficient preparation for the GRE, a personal GRE tutor will also be your greatest mentor, motivator, and cheerleader. S/he will be the person who will check in, see how you’re doing midweek, and encourage you the most because he/she will be personally invested in you and will have a professional stake in the outcome of your preparation. The best tutors take their clients’ successes personally, and this informs their attentiveness and personal pride. The faith that your tutor has in you should inspire you so that you can achieve your dream score and satisfy your collective expectations. Thus, you will be even more motivated than before and you will perceive the exam as an opportunity to demonstrate all the novel skills you have developed and trained throughout your preparation.

5.     Higher GRE Score

Last, but certainly not least, preparation with the help of a private tutor will result in a higher score on test day when compared to classroom learning or self-preparation alone or in combination. As we have already mentioned, lessons from a devoted private tutor will provide you with an individualized learning experience and more personalized attention which will lead to an increase in your confidence and motivation for the exam. Finally, you will learn more than just GRE strategies from your tutor. You will learn critical and creative thinking skills, heuristics, mental models, and other thinking tools that will help you make the most of all future learning opportunities. The best tutors, like the ones here at Apex, teach you how to better learn, and become mentors and trusted advisors as you progress through your graduate school and further career.

Final Notes 

To sum things up: private GRE tutoring can be expensive but the value it will deliver will be more than worth the money. The best tutoring stays with you and will add color and perspective to your future learning, whether in your graduate program, on the job, or as you progress through your career. If you want to embark on your GRE journey with a private tutor, make sure you:

  • speak to several instructors at first. Apex offers a complimentary consultation call and you can schedule one HERE
  • hear the opinions of others who have already tried private GRE tutoring HERE.

Thanks for reading this article and good luck with your GRE preparation!

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The Best GRE Prep
Posted on
23
Feb 2021

The Four Ps of the best GRE Prep – Find out which of these three types of GRE preparation suits you best

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: February 23, 2021

If you are already preparing for the GRE or researching how to do it in the most efficient way, then you will want to know about: The Four Ps for having the best GRE Prep experience. Over the course of more than a decade coaching GRE and GMAT test-takers to elite performance, we have created The Four Ps of GRE prep – Practice Prevents Poor Performance. These words have proven to be essential to achieving GRE success. It all might sound obvious at first, but we bet it is easier said than done.

All practice, however, isn’t the same. It’s vital to engage in high yielding, iterative practice that engages the brain in the ways that are most efficient to learn. This is different from memorizing material or even being able to recognize particular problems; strong GGRE practices entails internalizing how the GRE operates, recognizing underlying structural patterns, and mastering flexibility in the face of highly familiar concepts.

While these are beyond the scope of this article, today we’ll take you through the most significant stepping stones of your journey to accomplish your graduate school goals and help you select the best GRE preparation plan for you, depending on your aspirations, timeline, budget, and current level of skill.

KNOW YOUR GRE NEEDS

The cornerstone of the GRE is having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and the proper roadmap to follow to attain the desired results. The most common motivation for many of our clients is the positive correlation between a high GRE score, prestigious graduate school admission, and long-term career goals.

Also worth mentioning is that a good GRE score is relative. Even if you achieve a score that is competitive, there is always someone out there with a stronger score… until you get to 340. What this means is that there’s always room to grow, and that learning – in life and in the GRE – is never finished, but also that the tools to learn never go out of style.

Universities view your full portfolio; resume, essays, recommendations, interview (read as personality), and much, much more. A strong academic record at college/university both does not guarantee admission, nor does it equal success on the GRE. In fact, a high GPA can be a liability if your GRE score comes in significantly below where one would expect it to, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. Our advice is to research the programs that you are interested in by speaking to admission counselors, school alumni, and current students and look at both the range and the average GRE scores of admitted students. This way you will have an idea and make an informed prediction about how competitive you need to be.

A great GRE score is one that complements your portfoliohighlights your strengths, and covers for your shortcomings. From our experience and those of our clients, extensive focused GRE preparation is central to getting those extra points under your belt.

THREE TYPES OF GRE PREP

In your search for the best GRE prep plan for you, we wanted to lay out the connection between your current ambitions and future career goals. Therefore, we’ve divided this concept into three key distinguishable subcategories based on factors that have a significant effect on productivity: personalized approach, group vs solo work, and time spent preparing.

Self-prep

Self-prep refers to preparing for the GRE by yourself, without the help of a tutor or an instructor using published resources, message boards, and the help of friends or family.

PROS
  • Working at your own pace – Often, many test takers to-be are engaged with a heavy workload during their GRE preparation. Self-prepping allows them to devote time as they can without having to coordinate with any external schedules.
  • It is cost efficient – As this approach does not involve tutoring services, it is likely that you will be spending money only for learning aids. Moreover, there is an abundance of free resources online that you can take advantage of if you have the time to distinguish which ones will serve you well. That said, there are a lot of very poor resources out there, so proceed with caution.
CONS
  • Over-Reliance on Practice exams – When you are prepping alone, it is natural to refer to practice exams as your main baseline for your performance. However, the main purpose of GRE practice tests is not to “learn” new knowledge about a topic or a specific problem, but to improve your timing or identify weak points in your conceptual understanding. This makes practice tests by themselves fairly insufficient for thorough and effective GRE prep.
  • Ineffective prep time – Spending too much of your valuable prep time on searching for the right questions, learning aids, study guides, etc. is a very low-yielding strategy. A bit of expert direction can save a ton of time that can be used to focus on amplifying your skills.
  • Lack of professional guidance – if you opt for self-prep you must be aware that you will miss out on working with GRE tutors who understand the exam backwards and forwards and have years of experience helping others achieve their goals. They can be a sounding board, coach and disciplinarian, recommend (or better provide) the highest quality resources, and make the learning more personal.
  • Lack of self-discipline – Depending on the person, one may find it hard to be self-disciplined enough to maintain a schedule and commit to studying regularly so that they’re as prepared as possible by test day.

A GRE prep course or GRE bootcamp with a tutor (either online or in-person)

This concept involves future test takers gathering in a study group, class, or a bootcamp and working collectively with a professional GRE tutor who will guide them through their GRE preparation.

PROS
  • You can ask others for help – As you will be working not only with an instructor but with a group of other prospective test-takers, you’ll be exposed to an environment that brings together various skill sets, learning backgrounds, and experience. You can capitalize on this opportunity to network and build relationships that will not only help you with your prepping, but also potentially with your career beyond.
  • There is competition – Despite the negative connotations of competition, it can boost your motivation and even make you want to work harder in order to become better or the best in the group. The best teams have healthy competition where each individual is driven to excellence by their teammates, so having a good study companion or three is a great way to have a successful experience.
  • Learning aids and supplementary materials are usually included in the price – this saves you money because you do not have to purchase materials outside of the class or to supplement your prep. When considering more than one course be sure to consider what each course includes as this can be a key deciding factor.
CONS
  • Lack of personal attention and individual feedback – Having one tutor for all means that the instructor cannot concentrate on individuals and their unique needs,  which becomes especially important past the 156 level scoring plateau. The instructor must instead concentrate on helping the wider group by going over topics generally, and at a level that speaks to the majority. Inevitably, you will be forced to cope with teaching practices that might not be perfectly aligned with the way you learn best, simply because they are more universally teachable. This can prevent you from focusing on the areas you need to improve in the most, and can certainly drive down the efficiency of your GRE preparation.
  • Not everyone works well in a team – Peer pressure, social distractions, and low group chemistry are factors that might negatively affect not only your individual performance, but also that of the whole group and can ultimately result in a waste of valuable time.
  • Having to cope with the group’s pace – Timing is one of the most vital aspects of the GRE that you must master if you want to even give yourself a chance to achieve a good score. Studying with a group where people differ in terms of availability, previous knowledge, skill sets, educational backgrounds, and, most importantly, learning styles creates many time-constraints. Even when it comes down to GRE fundamentals, you ought to focus on mastering them in an un-timed environment before you proceed with bringing them in under the exam’s time constraint. When in a group, you will be improving as a unit rather than as an individual. This does not ensure that you will outperform your peers.
  • Finding your own unique solution paths – Everyone has a preference when it comes down to using a solution path. To be efficient on the GRE, you will not only need to refine the ones that you’re used to applying, but to also master other approaches that will be more effective when it comes down to tackling different types of problems. When studying in a group, it will be hard to gain such new skills as all of you will be progressing as a unit and employing universal tactics rather than learning as individuals.

Private, one-on-one GRE prep with a tutor (either online or in-person)

Individualized GRE involves a single test taker spending time with a single instructor in a private environment.

PROS
  • Customized lessons tailored to match your specific learning needs – This is a mixture of the Pros of both self and group prep. You get to move at your own pace, but accelerated by the personalization element. You  can also concentrate on concepts and question types that are most challenging for you, and solution paths that most naturally fit the way your brain likes to solve problems. A strong private GRE tutor should adapt his or her teaching style to your specific learning style to help you gain the most of your preparation.
  • Convenience – Sessions, especially if held online, can take place anytime, day or night, whenever most convenient to you.
  • Flexibility – as private prep is personalized, tutoring firms offer different options for the length of the program and the content covered. You can customize your GRE preparation in such a way so that you save time and concentrate on the aspects you choose. Having a mentor to guide you also allows you to gain insights about yourself that you were not aware of before that will help you excel in the areas you need.
  • Instructors can provide specific content related to your progress – tutors will quickly understand your GRE needs and provide only the materials that will be most beneficial to your process. In this way you will get the most suitable problems, views, and exercises without spending additional efforts on research. Moreover, you will save a lot of time reviewing things that you already know (happens in classes), or strategies that aren’t efficient for your learning style.
  • The best GRE tutors will teach to your skills, not simply tell you about theirs – as mentioned, moving up your learning curve happens when an equivalence between an instructor’s teaching style and a student’s learning style is in place. Individual work allows the best tutors to create an efficient and realistic action plan for your GRE preparation and to tailor their skills to match your needs.
CONS
  • Expense – one-on-one GRE preparation is the most valuable option, but also runs at a premium price point compared with classes. The most highly qualified instructors are worth it, however, if you are aiming for a 328+ admission to a top-tier graduate program.
  • Some private tutors do not have their own materials and curricula – This means that some extra costs might be necessary. Having access to high quality material is vital, especially if you are aiming to score above 328 in the test as real value begins where the books end. Commercially available materials are designed for the heart of the market, and designed to be consumable by everyone.

THE BEST GRE PREP FOR ME

We can distinguish these three approaches based on the score goals one has. If you are looking to get from a 304 to a 314 or even a bit more depending on how good your  knowledge is, then the self or group approaches might be more beneficial if cost is a factor in your decision. They can give you a solid base, while saving the frustration of self prepping or the cost of personalized attention that you might not require.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking at the premiere Graduate programs, you’ll need to be included among the GRE’s top performers. Aiming for a 328+ on the GRE, will require you to leverage your own strengths and combat your cognitive liabilities in an optimal manner. You’ll need to closely examine how you approach math and the written language, as well as your overall problem solving techniques, heuristics and mental models to reach top marks. Further, the best GRE performances come not just from ruthlessly solving problems, but from understanding the real structural aspects of the GRE that drive complexity and make it so challenging. Recognizing the meaning behind each question, its underlying purpose, and the subtleties that GRE test writers embed are just as important, if not more so, than the fundamentals.

To achieve this private, one-on-one tutoring is the best overall GRE preparation option. Naturally, it is more expensive, but the most highly qualified tutors, like the ones here at Apex, usually focus teaching the higher order strategies that are necessary for the achievement of a 328+ score and bringing out your optimal performance. Enlisting the help of a one on one instructor is recommended for those who already have a solid understanding of the exam and are scoring well (low-300’s), but are looking to gain those extra points that will make them get into their dream graduate program and lay the groundwork for a challenging, engaging, and lucrative career.

THE TYPE OF GRE PREP TOP PERFORMING STUDENTS IDENTIFIED AS THE BEST

The concept of private, one-on-one GRE prep is exactly the type of service our tutors at Apex offer. We have built our own GRE curriculum and created guides, learning aids, and other resources that help the highest achieving test takers understand what they excel at and identify where they must focus. The goal is not only to tackle a question by answering it correctly, but also to extract a methodology that can be continuously applied with other questions, in a time efficient manner.

This approach permits students to move up their learning curve and to get to the 328+ score that they desire. The feedback they provide helps us understand the needs of each future test taker better and to accelerate even more at providing the best value for clients.

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