Prepare For The GRE By Self-Study

The Best Study Plan for GRE Preparation

The GRE revised General Test aims to measure a student's verbal reasoning, quantitative analysis, analytical writing and critical thinking skills useful in a graduate school environment. Tens of thousands of students take the test every year in order to gain admissions in the world's finest graduate schools, including the topmost MBA schools. Achieving a good score on the test is not difficult if you study systematically.

Test Format

Before starting to study, acquaint yourself with the format of the test. The Computer-based Test has a duration of 3 hours 45 minutes in which you have to complete six sections. These include 2 sections of Verbal Reasoning having 20 questions with 30 minutes time for each section. Quantitative Reasoning also has 2 sections with 20 questions each and 35 minutes allotted to each section. Next is Analytical Writing which has 2 tasks - Issue task and Argument task - with 30 minutes for each task. The last section is an experimental section which is not scored and could be an additional section based on any of the above described sections. ETS tests new questions through this method.

The Paper-based Test follows more or less the same format but has 25 questions each in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Analysis sections with 35 and 40 minutes allotted respectively for completing the sections.

Time Needed and Schedule

In order to ensure that you have enough time to prepare for the test, register for a test date that is at least 4 months away. This is the minimum amount of time that you will need to prepare well. It is recommended that you put in at least 4 hours of study in the beginning and slowly increase it to 8 hours of study as the test draws close. Begin with a subject that you find interesting, be it Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics or Writing, so that you take interest in your preparation. Since having a good vocabulary is essential to doing well in the test, one thing that should form a permanent part of your study routine is vocabulary practice. It takes time to learn new words so do not leave it for the last.

ETS's Official Materials

ETS would be the authority when it comes to telling you what kind of questions will appear in the exam. Since the GRE Revised General Test has replaced the older version, it would be better off consulting preparation materials offered by the developers of the test themselves. You will find access to questions on all sections of the test by visiting this link - In addition to question types, you will also come to know of the correct way to attempt them and you will also learn about questions solving tactics.

PowerPrep II Software

This is free software provided by ETS that is helpful for those taking the Computer-based Test. It contains a practice test that simulates the test taking experience and hence, familiarizes you with what you should expect on the day of the test. It also includes extra questions for practice as well as tips and strategies for better performance.

The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test

This is the official guide provided by ETS and comes with a CD ROM containing the PowerPrep II software. The complete package has two full length practice tests as well as hundreds of practice questions that have been developed by the makers of the test themselves. This book is a bargain at $35.

Barrons's New GRE - 19th Edition

Anybody's GRE preparation is incomplete without consulting Barron's New GRE which is priced at $17.09. The book contains a vocabulary word list that is the most popular word building tool used by students. Students swear by the fact that at least 1/3rd of the total words that form a part of vocabulary or are asked indirectly in other questions in GRE come from this list. The difficulty level of questions in this book is harder than in other preparatory book. It is also seen as the best book to prepare for the Quantitative Analysis section.

You can supplement your preparation by joining courses. Classroom study is an invaluable resource and you can clear any additional doubts that might arise by consulting your course instructors. Your study plans will only take a turn for the better.