Score High On the GRE Without Putting a Dent In Your Wallet
So you're applying to graduate school, and you want a great GRE score to impress the admission committees, but you don't have the time or the money to spend on an expensive preparation course.
The good news is that it's possible to score high on the GRE simply with the right study materials and the right study plan.
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy test preparation course to get the score you want. In fact, with the right plan, you can spend much less, study on your own, and score just as high, if not higher.
Step One: Stop Looking for GRE Secrets
Many people think that if they fork over a few thousand dollars, they'll get "secrets" to getting a high GRE score, but here's the simple truth. There are no GRE secrets.
Yes, the test prep groups will teach you strategies, but those strategies are exactly the same as the ones you can find in a used book off eBay for two bucks.
So toss out that mindset that you're going to find a quick fix for getting a great GRE score. It's not going to happen. There is something that you can do though. You can study. You can study the right things, do it efficiently, and practice, practice, practice.
Step Two: Find the Right Study Materials
Your books, flashcards, etc. build the foundation of your preparation. You need good stuff to study from to study well. Otherwise all is lost. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on all the shiniest and newest GRE books out there though.
When you buy only brand new books, you're throwing away money that you can for more important stuff (like electricity).
You can find used books on the cheap and lots of free materials online. Don't worry about stuff being out of date, because the GRE hasn't exactly changed a lot over the past decade. Yes, it's a computer adaptive test now, but the types of questions are still the same, and that's really all you need to practice.
Step Three: Maximize Your Studies
A lot of people study for hours and hours, but don't get anywhere because they don't know how or what to study. Some have to study in between work, raising kids, or in between classes, if you're finishing up a bachelor's degree.
The key is picking the right study materials and focusing on the aspects of the GRE that you need the most work on.
You also need to learn from your mistakes. Make a mistake, learn from it, and then don't make the same mistake again.
Think about it in terms of your GRE score. You're going to get about ten points for each correct answer. For each mistake that you learn from, you're going to get at least one more question correct, and oftentimes it'll be more than that. Learn from ten mistakes, and you've potentially improved your score by 100 points.
Step Four: Practice, Practice, Practice
With steps one through three in mind, you need to practice as much as you can. Like most things, your GRE score is going to improve the more you practice. Utilize your collection of study materials and learn from your mistakes each time you take a practice test or go through sample questions.
Step Five: Start Right Now
The longer you wait, the harder it will be to improve. One common mistake in GRE test preparation is waiting to get started. Don't sit around wondering what you should study. Start studying now to make the most of your time. Lots of people wait and wait and wait, and before they know it, there's just one week before the big day. They try to cram as much as they can, don't get much out of their preparation, and don't score as well as they could have.
Here's the problem. You can't cram for the GRE, so the sooner you start, the better.