Let’s Knock Out Your GRE
If you’re here, you’re probably thinking about applying to business school, law school, or graduate school. The GRE is one of the most important steps you will take to get into the college you want, so plan for it. Relying on luck and hope to get a good score is not a plan, but this 12-week guide is.
If you take care of the GRE first, you will have clarity early in the admissions process. You don’t need to do anything elaborate or over-commit yourself. The key is time and consistency.
Many GRE students come into GRE preparation under a deadline. All programs require a score by a certain date, do you know when that is for your target schools? If that date is a few weeks away, you’re under the gun trying to crank out a solid score under pressure. Needless to say, this high-stakes situation makes it more difficult to prepare and execute successfully. The GRE is already a challenging test, don’t add an extra layer of difficulty.
Assuming you left some wiggle room to study for the GRE, let’s get to our 12-Week Study Plan. Below are some of the highlights from our free plan to get you on your GRE journey.
How Does Self Study Work?
Our 12-Week Self-Study Plan breaks your preparation down into a week-by-week guide to take you from start to finish. In order to succeed, establish goals from the outset. What score do you want to achieve? How will you get there? On the way, structure your prep schedule to allow you to learn new material and reinforce skills you already have.
Our plan employs four core resources:
- ETS GRE preparation material
- PowerScore Publications
Here’s what you’ll see on the plan:
- All four official ETS PowerPrep practice tests with instructions for testing and review
- Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning assignments
- Assignments from the ETS Official Guide to the GRE
- Weekly vocab assignments from our Repeat Offenders List
Use Real GRE Practice Tests
It can be overwhelming looking for the right GRE prep tools. There are tons of choices! Some companies promise four or more free practice tests, but be wary of that claim. The catch is that not all companies offer actual GRE practice tests. Every GRE practice test not released by ETS is an approximation of a GRE. It’s an attempt to mimic both the questions and scoring algorithm of the real thing. Why is this an issue? Here are some of the disadvantages of using fake GREs in lieu of official tests.
- Fake tests are developed with a limited data set.
- Every time a student takes a real GRE, they attempt an unscored, unidentified research section within the test.
- ETS has data from hundreds of thousands of such research sections to develop new GRE tests that produce the desired statistical results.
- Fake tests have only the limited subset of released GRE material to copy in order to try to replicate the real thing.
- Fake tests use an inferior algorithm.
- It’s possible to examine the GRE scoring algorithm and approximate your score. You could submit the number of questions correct on each section and predict ±2 points what your scaled score will be for Quant or Verbal. This is a pretty big margin of error!
- ±2 points could make a 17% difference in your percentile score. A 148 puts you in 38th percentile Verbal, while a 152 puts you in 55th percentile. This is an enormous difference. Fake GRE practice tests cannot give you an accurate picture of how you should expect to score on a real test.
While we develop our own practice problems for students to use to prepare and study, we recommend using only real ETS GRE practice tests for self-assessment.
Once you get to work on your GRE preparation, you can proceed confidently with other aspects of the application process. Application schedules get tight! Your recs, diplomas, interviews, and school visits can become overwhelming on their own. If you’re looking to apply to business, grad, or law school, now is a great time to take care of your GRE. Your scores are valid for five years, get the score you want and have it ready for your applications. The GRE is universally accepted at grad and business schools and increasingly accepted at law schools, so a GRE score is a versatile tool.
The PowerScore self study plan is only one resource among many we offer. If you want even more structure, check out our courses or private tutoring options. You should also take advantage of our free GRE resources. Now, go out there and get the score you want!