“Isn’t the GRE just another SAT?” by Paulina

12 Apr 2019 2:39 PM

Guest Blogger Guest Blogger

“Isn’t the GRE just another SAT?”

Well, yes and no. The GRE or the Graduate Record Examinations, is considered a pretty general entrance exam for anyone looking to apply to graduate school or certain professional schools (like veterinary medicine). While most of us think of it as a standardized test that covers Math, English, and Writing, it’s important to know it’s not just like the ACT or SAT. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been told you’ll need to take it, but have no clue how to study for it or what’s considered a good score. From my experience, knowing how to study will be based on the score you’re wanting to get. This is why it’s probably best to always look online and do your research. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of useful tips I wish I would have known when preparing for the GRE:

Don’t think in terms of best or worst, it’s all about what YOU need to get in.

  • If you can find the average score from folks who got accepted into the programs you’re looking at, then you’ll have a better idea of the kind of scores you need to be a competitive applicant for your programs of interest. I also recommend asking for firsthand experiences; if you know people who are already in the types of programs you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience and if they personally have any hints!

You already use your phone all the time, make that habit work in your favor.

  • Download free apps that allow you to practice vocabulary flashcards and different example problems. You can find them in any app store and there are separate applications for help with English and Math. As someone who uses their phone a lot, I found it to be really helpful to keeping my mind active and curious, even when I wasn’t intensely studying.

Use your resources and ask for help.

  • Don’t be afraid to buy a book or two when preparing for the exam. They can be found online easily and usually over how to best study for your desired score in addition to having some practice tests within the book itself. These were instrumental for me when it came to having material to practice and study with, especially since they have a wide array of problems that help you visualize your strengths and which areas need more practice. (Try brands like Kaplan or Princeton Review)

Timing is everything.

  • Make a plan and stick to it; it’s better to dedicate a solid two hours three or four times per week than to try cramming 8 hours of studying into just one day of the week. With this in mind, the same preparation/study books listed above can come with a schedule. This is to say, they can have different study plans from which you choose the amount of time you’ll dedicate to studying, and the book already has pre-determined sections to go through. It’s set up in a way that if you choose the “8-week plan” and actually go through the designated sections weekly, you’ll have studied through the entire book in those 8 weeks. I strongly recommend this if you’re good about sitting down to study but feel you could use more structure when doing so.


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