How Long Does it Take to Prepare for the GRE?

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How Long Does it Take to Prepare for the GRE?

Time, they say, heals all wounds, but not only that. Time is your best friend when preparing for the GRE General Test. In this article, we will discuss how much time is healthy to prepare for the GRE General Test. This article, How Long Does it Take to Prepare for the GRE, will not be useful if I do not explain what the GRE test looks like and the requirements of test-takers.

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You do not plan to defeat a nation in battle without first learning how the army operates, knowing their kind of ammunition, and the strength of their men. Allow me to help you. I shall analyze parts of the GRE General Test, the time allowed, and some regulations. After that, we shall learn how much time is required for one to prepare for the GRE test and pass with a jaw-dropping score.

Parts of the GRE Test

The GRE General Test has three major sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytic Writing. In the Verbal Reasoning section, your ability to draw a conclusion from and analyze a discourse is tested. Among other skills, you should be able to make reason from incomplete data and understand literally and figuratively, the intent of the author.

Quantitative Reasoning tests measures your ability to understand, interpret and analyze information, solve problems, and apply the basic concept of algebra, geometry and data analysis. While Analytic Writing tests your skills to think critically and analytic writing. You should be able to articulate and support complex ideas with relevant reasons and examples.

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning each have two sub-sections. At the same time, Analytic Writing will require you to write on two tasks: to analyze an issue and to analyze an argument.

Time Given

Overall, the GRE General Test lasts for 3 hours 45 minutes. This time includes breaks between the sections. For proper management of time, I suggest you follow this time division:

  • Spend 1 hour on the Verbal Reasoning section
  • Spend an hour and 10 minutes of the Quantitative Reasoning
  • Spend 1 hour on Analytic Writing

Topic Areas to Prepare On

As writing in the section above, there are core areas to focus on when preparing for the GRE General Test. The GRE General Test is so peculiar because the test measures patterns, not facts. Below is a list of points to work on for the GRE General Test.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Analyzing and conclude discourse
  • Drawing reason from incomplete data
  • Understanding the author’s intent
  • Text summary
  • Understanding the meaning of words
  • Understanding relationships among terms and concepts

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Interpreting and analyzing quantitative information
  • Knowledge of geometry and data analysis
  • Knowledge of arithmetic and algebra
  • Solving problems with mathematical models

Analytic Writing 

  • Critical thinking skill
  • Analytical writing skill with accompanying evidence
  • Articulating and supporting complex ideas

If you improve on all these points, your GRE General Test score will be large and healthy.

How Long To Prepare

As previously stated in this article, the GRE General Test measures the pattern and thinking process. So, it is futile to cram for the GRE General Test. A crash course approach to preparing for the GRE General Test is not advisable. It is no news that individuals process data in various ways and at a different pace. Hence, what might take Jake two hours to process might take Alice five or six.

1 to 5 months (4 to 20 weeks) is sufficient to prepare for the GRE General Test. If you are like Jake, one or two months should be enough for you to prepare for your test. In contrast, if you are like Alice, you would want to prepare for longer months.

It would help if you recalled that the GRE General Test is out to measure your thinking pattern and not facts, so you need to have gone through sample questions for a long time to be familiar with their question types and create for yourself a unique pattern.

Resources to Prepare With

You have learnt the type of questions to expect, the time given, and how long to prepare for this test, your next ammunition is a useful resource to train with. There are thousands of ways to achieve this. I shall discuss two methods with you: website and physical books.

Website: There is a couple of websites dedicated to helping you prepare for the GRE test. They offer quality materials for your study at a desirable rate. All you need to do is subscribe, pay, and access these practise materials.

Books: Books that help you prepare for the GRE test are endless. A few recommended books are ETS’s official GRE guide and Barron’s 1100 words. There are specialization books in a particular section as there are general guides.

These resources, as well as sample test questions on the website, will allow you to prepare for the GRE test at your own pace.

A Few Rules

Here is a shortlist of rules to help you with your forthcoming GRE General Test.

  • Strictly adhere to the study plan provided by the GRE preparation programme
  • Do not waste time on a challenging question, move on
  • Avoid cramming words, by all means, learn meanings and usage
  • Make efforts not to guess answers
  • Organize your thought before answering analytic questions
  • Support points with plenty of details and examples
  • Read vastly (newspapers help inform you on different topics)
  • Do not go to your exam venue with calculators
  • On-screen calculators will be provided to computer-based test-takers
  • Do not go to the test venue with friends and family


In conclusion, the length of time it takes to prepare for the GRE General Test is dependent on you. From 4 to 20 weeks is a healthy time to prepare for the test.

If you are an Alice, then prepare to spend a longer time. If you are a Jake, you know what to do. However, the most important thing is getting the hang of the test pattern and getting familiarised with the way the GRE sets questions and the type of answers they require. Happy studying.

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.