The Graduate Record Examinations or GRE is conducted by ETS or Education Testing Service. There are two types of GRE namely General Test and Subject Test. GRE general test examines the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and the critical thinking and analytical writing skills. The GRE subject test examines knowledge in the specific field of study and is generally required for admission in a master's degree program.
The main aim of GRE prep should be to get ready for GRE and score high. There are some basic rules for preparing for any task. Preparation should be well planned and should aim at delivering the best results. Similarly GRE prep or preparation for GRE general test must be well planned. A good plan will provide a good beginning for GRE prep. It should cater for a good time plan, suitable books and appropriate method for study. It is not an easy task to get a high score in GRE. It requires sheer dedication and hard work. Therefore, you should approach the preparation in a systematic manner.
GRE prep can be divided into four major parts. The first part is familiarization with the format of the exam and various requirements. The second part is studying and there is no alternate solution to this part. You have to study hard to do well in the exam. We will discuss about methodology for study later in the article. The third important part is to practice well to get a high score. Last but not the least is mental preparation for the exam. This will give you a lot of confidence for taking the exam.
Before we discuss other important parts of GRE prep, let us discuss the time plan for preparation. As discussed above, the test examines verbal skills, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking etc. Preparation for such skills cannot be done overnight and it is the knowledge that you have gained over the years which will help you to score high in the exam. Therefore, it is difficult to specify the time required for GRE prep as it depends on your present level of preparation. It may vary from one person to another. However, it is estimated that three to four months of study should help you do well in the exam.
The most important thing in GRE prep is to know the format of the exam. There are presently two types of formats, PBT or Paper Based Test and CBT or Computer Based Test. Therefore, you should find out which format of the exam is available in the test center of your choice. Depending upon which format is available in your country, you can get yourself registered and do your GRE prep accordingly.
Once you know the format that you will appear for, the next step would be to know about the syllabus of the exam. An early decision on the selection of date of the exam will also help you plan your preparation. GRE test is conducted throughout the year on the specified dates. You should find out about the details of the exam like the number of sections, the number of questions in each section, time for each section, maximum marks for each section etc. It will be very useful to read some old GRE tests. You may choose any method of study for GRE prep. You can study using books, online tutorials, in coaching centers or with friends. Whatever method you choose it will be your hard work and sincerity that will help you score high in the exam. It is certainly possible to choose a combination of these methods.
It is important that you choose a good book for your preparation. Firstly, decide what a good GRE prep book is. There are a large number of prep books available and each claims to be better than the others. You should preferably choose a book that is compiled by a good publishing house. There should be explanations of the concepts along with the sample questions. It should have few practice tests as well. The print should be clear and legible print that should keep you interested throughout the preparation. Most of the books are accompanied by CDs containing instructions and sample tests. It is advised that you have a closer look at at least two books before making your final decision. You can look for information on specific books and second hand/fresh copies of the same on web sites like amazon.com. There are certain books published by ETS itself which are very helpful.
The other option available to you for GRE prep is that of a coaching institute. At a coaching institute there are different types of GRE prep courses. There are complete courses and courses specific to improve your specific skills. There is a choice between classroom teaching and private tuitions. You should choose the coaching institute based on the time available with you. The cost of some of these institutes may be very high, so you should choose one if you can afford it. Remember, the most costly institute may not be the best one. You may attend some free classes before finalizing your institute. There are numerous benefits of coaching institutes for GRE prep. For instance, while you are attending GRE prep classes you can share experiences of the teachers and fellow students, which can be very helpful in your preparation.
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