PREPARING FOR THE GRE
Strategies for Raising GRE Scores
1. Make a study plan and follow it.
The right study plan will help you manage time in preparing for the GRE whether you have three months, three weeks or only a few days to prepare.
- First, ask yourself two questions:
How much time can be devoted to GRE study?
- Second, take the Diagnostic Examination. From the scores, youll be able to see where you need to concentrate your efforts.
- Third, develop a plan:
Best Plan: 2-3 months to prepare for the GRE. Complete all exercises in preferred study guide, engage
in small group study; take multiple practice exams.
Accelerated Plan: If you only have 30 days to prepare, youll have have to sacrifice a bit on the
practice exams, but youll have time to work through sample questions.
Top Speed: If the GRE is coming up in two weeks or less, you may only have time to concentrate on the
Diagnostic Examination and hit critical parts of each chapter in a GRE study guide.
2. Learn the directions in advance.
If you already knows what to do for each question type, you wont waste precious test time and you can jump right in and begin answering questions as soon as the bests begins.
30 seconds reading directions = 3 or 4 questions in each section
3. Always guess.
On the GRE, its to your advantage to answer every question; youll be penalized for any questions left unanswered when time runs out. To make an educated guess by eliminating one of more answer choices is a good thing!
Play the odds.
Eliminate one answer choice = 25% chance of guessing correctly
Eliminate two answer choices = 33 1/3% change guessing correctly
Eliminate three answer choices = 50% chance of guessing correctly
4. In sentence completions, look for clue words.
If you cant come up with the missing word immediately, look for clue words which will reveal the meaning of the sentence and point you in the right direction.
5. In analogy questions, a sentence can make the connection.
GRE analogies are all about word relations. They test your verbal reasoning ability to see a relationship between two words and to recognize a similar relationship between two other words. The key to analogy success is being able
to express the relationship between the words in a pair.
6. In reading comprehension, read for structure, not details.
When you read GRE passages, dont let the details bog you down. Most of the questions will ask about the structure of the passage rather than specific facts. If you need the facts, theyre always there in the passage.
Theres no need to worry about what you know or dont know about the topic. The information is based on the information in the passage. Most details are irrelevant. The key steps are:
- Preview key sentences. The first sentence of the paragraph is often the topic sentence. View key sentences by scrolling through the passage.
- Read for structure; ignore details.
- Do a mental wrap-up. Before moving to the questions, pause for a few seconds and review what you have just read. Summarize in your own words the main point of the selection (think up a title for the passage!) and visualize mentally an outline of the passage.
GRE problem-solving questions test your math reasoning, not your ability to make endless calculations. If you find yourself mired in calculations, you probably missed a shortcut that would have made your work easier.
The quantities in GRE problem-solving answer choices either go from larger to smaller or the other way around. Remember that when trying to eliminate or test answers.
Break down complex word problems into easy-to-handle steps. Compare what you are asked for with what you are given and build a mental bridge between the two before you start tart doing math. This words for complex
graph questions, too!
8. In quantitative comparisons, consider all the possibilities and memorize the answer choices.
Read the centered information for each question since this information governs the entire problem.
Compare the quantity in Column A to the quantity in Column B. See how each quantity related to the centered information.
Do only as much work as is needed to make the comparison.
Choose the answer and make the answer sheet carefully! There are only four answer choices, so dont mark E by mistake.
9. For analytical reasoning questions, set up a bookkeeping system to summarize the information.
Use your own notional devices or adapt ones that work best for you.
10. In logical reasoning questions, start by finding the conclusion.
Since the conclusion is the main point of the argument, its the key to answering every question of this type.-- an initial paragraph or statement that presents an argument or otherwise states a position.
The three building blocks of logical reasoning are:
- Stimulus Material = the content of the item
- Question stem = tells you what to do with the stimulus material (e.g., identifies conclusion of an argument; points out a premise of an argument; identifies strengths and weaknesses in an argument; recognizes parallel reasoning; draws conclusions and makes inferences)
- Answer choices = possible responses to the stem. The right answer is the credited response. The wrong answers are distractors because they are carefully written to distract your attention away from the right answer.
TestSmarts to Prepare for Exam
1. Buy, beg, borrow or rent a computer. Just as there is a big difference between knowing what a car looks like and knowing how to drive one, there is a big difference about studying about the computerized GRE and taking it. If you have to, go to a local office service store and buy an hour or two of time on a computer. Play with the machine. Buy a practice GRE review book which has a disk version of the guide and take the disk with you. A technical support rep will help you load it onto the computer so that you can practice taking a CAT.
2. Use the tutorials! CAT GRE practice tests begin with a tutorial program which shows the test taker how to use a mouse, how to select an answer, how to use the testing tools and how to scroll. Time spent on tutorials is extremely valuable, even if the student is computer literate, since it shows them the idiosyncrasies of the CAT program e.g., how to indicate an answer, how to change an answer, how to move forward and backward, and what the various screen icons mean.
3. Practice, practice practice!!! There is a direct correlation between the amount of hours spent on practice exams and with actual GRE exam scores.
Test Smarts on the Day of Exam
1. Biorhythms count. Some of us are morning people; some afternoon. Schedule your appointment for the GRE for a time when you are likely to be at your peak.
2. Set your watch to exam time. At the beginning of each test section, set your watch to 12:00. Then, all you have to do is glance quickly to see how much of the section has passed.
3. Dismiss the directions. The on-screen directions do not disappear automatically. Instead, you have to dismiss them by clicking on the Dismiss Directions: box. Do this immediately so you can get started on the test.
4. Scrolling. In many computer programs, when a body of text is too long to be displayed in its entirety on the screen, you have the option of scrolling through the text. You can scroll up or down. While your first experience with the scroll function may be a bit frustrating because it can be very sensitive, you should
5. Take mental breaks. The GRE is an arduous task. There is no way that you can maintain concentration throughout the entire exam. There will be times when your attention begins to flag. Learn to recognize this. If you find that you are reading and rereading the same line without understanding:
Take deep breath (or two!)
Get back to work
6. Dont spin wheels by spending too much time on any one question. Give it some thought, take your best shot and move along.