Happy 2016! This is the year you get an awesome GRE score and are accepted to the graduate school of your dreams. Even if you’re reading this well into the year, or you’re half-way through your GRE prep, you could probably use some guidance, motivation and focus. Here are some New Year’s resolutions to get you started or re-started on your journey to a great GRE score. Read more
In the previous article, we discussed two ways for non-native English speakers to excel at the vocabulary-based question types on the GRE. If English isn’t your first language, check out that article first, and try our two recommendations: keep a list of inconsistent or illogical English idioms, and focus on context as you learn vocabulary. Then, read onward for two more ideas! Read more
If English is your second (or third, or fourth!) language, you might find GRE Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence frustrating. However, you can still improve your performance, and you don’t need to study thousands of flashcards to do it. Here are a few ways to address your weaknesses and play to your strengths.
Fool me once…
English is counterintuitive, but native speakers never notice most of the inconsistencies. As a non-native speaker, you’re in a unique position to notice the quirks of English and turn them into useful lessons. Read more
“When I see this, I will do this”: a GRE study tool
“I know all of the rules, but I’m nowhere close to my goal score.”
“When I study, I understand everything right away. But when I took the actual GRE, I couldn’t make it happen.”
“I never know what to do when I see a Quant problem for the first time. If somebody tells me how to set the problem up, I can do it perfectly, but I can’t get started on my own.”
“I get overwhelmed by Verbal questions. I’ll think that my answer makes sense, but then I’ll review the problem and realize that there were a dozen different things I didn’t notice.”
If any of those statements ring true for you, you’re not alone. You’ve probably been studying for a while, or you at least have a good grasp on the basic math, logic, and vocabulary. But getting a great GRE score isn’t just about knowing the content. It’s also about always knowing what to do next. That’s what the “When I see this, I will do this” technique is for. Read more
When you take the GRE, you need a strategy for percentage problems that works every time. Here’s that strategy, in four easy steps.
Whenever you do practice GRE problems, you should spend significantly more time reviewing each problem than you spent doing it. Many students have asked me this very reasonable question, though: “What am I supposed to actually do when I review?” Here’s the answer. This review process will help you squeeze more out of every problem you do. Read more
GRE high-scorers might not be smarter than everyone else, but they do think about the test differently. One key difference is in how high-scorers do algebra. They make far fewer algebraic mistakes, because, either consciously or subconsciously, they use mathematical rules to check their work as they simplify. Here’s how to develop that habit yourself. Read more
There’s a better way to learn GRE vocabulary, and it’s based on scientific principles that have been demonstrated by researchers since the 1800s. It’s called spaced retrieval, and the basic idea is this: Read more
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This is going to be a short post. It will also possibly have the biggest impact on your study of anything you do all day (or all month!).
When people ramp up to study for the GRE, they typically find the time to study by cutting down on other activities—no more Thursday night happy hour with the gang or Sunday brunch with the family until the test is over.
There are two activities, though, that you should never cut—and, unfortunately, I talk to students every day who do cut these two activities. I hear this so much that I abandoned what I was going to cover today and wrote this instead. We’re not going to cover any problems or discuss specific test strategies in this article. We’re going to discuss something infinitely more important!
#1: You must get a full night’s sleep
Period. Never cut your sleep in order to study for this test. NEVER.
Your brain does not work as well when trying to function on less sleep than it needs. You know this already. Think back to those times that you pulled an all-nighter to study for a final or get a client presentation out the door. You may have felt as though you were flying high in the moment, adrenaline coursing through your veins. Afterwards, though, your brain felt fuzzy and slow. Worse, you don’t really have great memories of exactly what you did—maybe you did okay on the test that morning, but afterwards, it was as though you’d never studied the material at all.
There are two broad (and very negative) symptoms of this mental fatigue that you need to avoid when studying for the GRE (and doing other mentally-taxing things in life). First, when you are mentally fatigued, you can’t function as well as normal in the moment. You’re going to make more careless mistakes and you’re just going to think more slowly and painfully than usual.