Best 20 Ways to Study for GRE

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Best 20 Ways to Study for GRE


Acing an exam is not only based on how intelligent you are. How smart you prepare for an exam also contributes immensely to getting good grades. It is essential to develop a systematized approach in preparing for GRE tests. This would highlight areas where more pressure should be put and where to keep the flowing going.

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In developing a systematized approach in preparing for GRE tests, you need to understand what works best for you. Some people work better when studying in groups; some are better off learning alone. In some cases, a person may need a tutor; in other cases, a person may not. It all depends on your style of studying that has proven to work best for you. I have enumerated how to look for GRE in the top 20-tips below:

1.Understand the GRE Test Format

The GRE tests its applicants in three areas; verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and Analytical Writing. The verbal reasoning section consists of three sub-sections; Sentence equivalence and text completion, which are focused more on vocabulary, and reading comprehension, which requires you to answer questions based on a comprehension passage.

The quantitative reasoning section comprises of various topics in maths such as statistics, ratios, fractions, algebra, geometry, etc. It is divided into two parts; The Quantitative comparison requires you to identify the relationship between two quantities. Problem-solving requires you to break down arithmetic exercises. The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections have their scores ranging between 130-170 marks in one-point increments.

The analytical writing section tests the logical reasoning of an applicant. It requires you to analyze the issue and argument in the passage given to you. This section has its score ranging between 0-6 points in half-point increments. Once you understand the GRE test format, you will know precisely what you are dealing with and how to prepare for it.

2.Identify Which of the GRE Sections is More Important to You

In applying for graduate school, you will be specializing in a particular field. If the domain is a maths-related one, then automatically you have to ensure that you get your best grades in quantitative reasoning. If your domain is more English/communication skill-related, then you will need to confirm your best scores are in the verbal reasoning section. Having this knowledge will also help you in strengthening your focus on your most important areas. But notwithstanding, you need to work on all areas to avoid getting good grades in one section and bad grades in another.

3.Take Mock Tests

This is very important. Not only will it give you an in-depth look into what you will be facing in the GRE test, but also what your strengths and weaknesses are. An ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses will simplify your task. This way, you know in what area you need to double up your efforts.

4.Draw Up a Study Plan

When you have your time all planned out, confusion cannot set in. A lot of times, people get discouraged by the bulk of work they have ahead of them. But with a properly planned study schedule, things will be made easier. You will know the amount of time allotted to each section as well as when to take a break.

When drawing up your study plan, you need to consider certain factors. These factors could include your strength and weaknesses, and what areas are most important to your field of study. This will determine the time to be allotted to each section of the GRE you are studying for. During this period, your study time is paramount. Any other activity should be made to fit around your study schedule. Exceptions could be made in cases of emergency.

5.Get Good Quality Study Materials

Now you will need to get study materials of high quality that will prepare you for the GRE test. Do not pick out random materials for general exams. Pick out the ones specifically designed to prepare candidates for the GRE. These materials will give you realistic sample questions. It is even more advisable to get official ETS resources since they were made by the people who are in charge of the GRE itself.

6.Work on Your Time Management

As much as you want to get your answers correctly in the GRE tests, it would help if you also remember your time. The examination will be limited to a few hours. Therefore, you need to work on how long it takes you to answer your questions. The faster you get to understand and answer your questions, the higher your chances of finishing your exam in time.

7.Break Down the GRE Syllabus

The GRE syllabus may seem bulky and discouraging, but you can pull it off if you set your mind to it. Breaking down the syllabus will help you understand the GRE better. It will also help you gain mastery of each section if you go about it properly. Once you have broken it down, your work will become much more comfortable.

8.Choose a Study Method That is Best for You

Everybody is different in terms of assimilation. Putting this into consideration will help a great deal. This way, you don’t go switching in and out of other study methods; meanwhile, only one works for you. By identifying your study method, you will as well save time.

There are different methods of studying. Some people love to self-prepare for tests. This way, they do all the work themselves. This stems from selecting study materials to drawing up a timetable, to the eventual studying and assessment. This way, they have total control over their study process. This is one of the most common forms of studying. If you happen to always need a push to be motivated, this method might not be the best study method for you.

Having a private tutor is another way to study. This way, you will have someone to help you break things down. Your tutor will motivate you and keep tabs on your assessment and progress. All you need to do is sit, learn and do the work assigned to you. This method is not as cheap as the self-prepare method. It is also not in all cases that you get the right tutor anyway. There are other methods such as studying in groups, In-self prep and so on. You need to identify what works best for you.

9.Take a Break

Rest is essential. It would help if you avoided over-working yourself. Take a walk, watch a movie, or do something fun to get your mind off work for a bit.  Afterwards, you can go back to work and this way you could assimilate more. If you do not get adequate rest, your brain gets exhausted. At this point, anything you try to incorporate will be a waste of time.

10.Set a Goal Score

When you set a goal, it in some way dictates your study pace. This will motivate you to study and give you the mental strength to achieve your goal as well. It is true that not in all cases do people reach the goals they set for themselves, but at least it helps them get close to it. It is an excellent thing if you aim for the sun but fall on the moon instead. Either way, you will be way up there.

11.Take Note of Your Mistakes

When you make a mistake while taking the mock tests, please take note of it. This way, when next you come across it, you won’t make the same mistake again. The brain can recognize a mistake once made and how it was corrected, which is why people are encouraged to make mistakes so they can learn. There is no smooth road to success. As said, experience is the best teacher.

12.Study Real Analytical Writing Prompts

For the Analytical Writing section, you will need to study the analytical writing question bank released by the ETS. This will give you a glimpse of what your test will look like. Practice them and assess yourself as objectively as possible. This way, you will be able to answer questions in this section with ease.

13.Learn New Words

Developing your vocabulary is the secret to getting high scores in the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. Make use of flashcards to memorize your vocabulary. Once you develop your language, sections containing synonyms, antonyms and homonyms will be manageable for you to answer.

14.Learn the Secret of Acing Reading Comprehension

When it comes to passages, there is a proven strategy to ace it with ease. The first step is to read the questions first. When you read the questions, you already know the points you should be looking out for when you start reading the passage.

The second step is to read the entire passage. Just because you think you have seen the answer to question one doesn’t mean you should rush to answer it. There may be something up ahead you may need to take note of before answering the question.

15.Get an Area of Concentration (AOC)

The ETS syllabus will provide you with all the topics in the various sections you will be asked questions from. When you couple this with your knowledge from the Mock tests you have attempted, you will know what areas to concentrate on fully.

16.Make the Calculator, Your Friend

For the quantitative reasoning section, you would need to use the Calculator. This will help you do your calculations faster and save time. You also need to understand the capacity of the GRE calculator. Using a calculator similar to that of the GRE will be of immense help. Learn not only how to do necessary calculations on the Calculator, but also how to take square roots, add decimals, change signs, parenthesize, etc.

It should be noted that not all calculations are done quicker using the Calculator. Some problems are solved faster without it. For instance, a problem like (48000/100) or (8*5) is faster and simpler to solve by hand.


Focus is the secret to understanding and assimilation. If you do not focus on what you are studying, your mind will keep drifting to things other than the GRE, and you won’t achieve your goal. Everybody has one thing that helps them focus. It could be studying in a serene environment, sitting in front of an idol, etc. Whatever helps you focus is essential at this point. Do away with every distraction, and you will achieve your goal at the maximum level.

18.Do not Force Things

Take your time. This is why it is essential to start preparing for the GRE a few months before the test date. At some point, you will be in no mood to study. Your reading mojo might have gone on a break and still won’t return after you have taken a break from studying. Calm down and do not force things. This is where you will need to start finding motivation and the things that could help you focus and put you back on track.

19.Keep a Positive Mindset

When a person has a positive mindset, things get a lot easier to handle. Do not be shaken by what you hear about the GRE and rush to study for it in panic. Stay calm and be positive.

20.Take Care of Yourself

Asides are studying and taking breaks now and then, and you also need to take care of your health. A lot of people neglect self-care while preparing for exams. After the exams or even before, their health deteriorates. If you need to go to the hospital, you should. Eat properly, and sleep properly.


I have put together how to study for GRE in the top 20-tips to simplify your study process. If you can keep these tips in mind while looking for your GRE test, there is a high chance you will ace your test. The aim is to study intelligently and not just to study hard. I do hope you find this helpful.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.