The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are the cause of stress, heartache, and consternation for thousands of college students, recent graduates, and young professionals every year. There is no denying the fact that a GRE score literally can open or close graduate school doors and, subsequently, make or break a student’s graduate education. So much pressure focused into a single day’s performance can lead even the smartest students to study for the GRE in unhealthy ways that only seem like they might help, whether through panicky late-night cram sessions, repetitive and unhelpful practice testing, or disorganized flipping through prep books.
A quality GRE study program, however, engages the student in test preparation using a systematic, progressive series of steps that, when followed, all but guarantee higher test scores and the ability to score at your maximum potential.
It is no secret that tutors and teachers who regularly sit for the GRE for tutoring/teaching purposes are regularly able to score in the 99th percentile, oftentimes with perfect scores. Is this because they are smarter than everybody else? As a tutor who has scored in the 99th percentile on the GRE, I can confirm that we are not! No, rather, it is because we practice day in and day out on GRE questions, we know what to expect on the exam, and we approach it from a relaxed, systematic point of view.
Importantly, though, this does not mean that a “one-size-fits-all” solution exists. People learn most effectively in different ways, and what works for one person might — or might not — work for you. This is why, in the first few days (or even weeks) of studying, you should regularly revise your methods of studying to refine them and find what works best and most efficiently for you.
With that said, however, there are several systematic steps that anybody can take that are proven methods of boosting your potential and your GRE score to its maximum.
Start with a practice GRE
Practice tests are available from a wide variety of sources, including in books available from your local bookstore or at the official Educational Testing Services (ETS) website. You will take a lot of practice tests throughout your GRE preparation, but starting with a practice test before you even begin studying is a vital and crucial step that will tell you what your strongest areas are, what your weakest areas are, and even (in some ways) how to study.