Introduction to GRE Preparation
In preparation for graduate school, you of course hear about the importance of internships, applicable skills, job experiences, and good grades. Additionally, you will hear something about the GRE. What is it? The Graduate Record Examination is a required part of application to most accredited universities, testing vocabulary, basic math, and analytical writing. For colleges to gain accreditation they often must require an admittance exam; for you to gain acceptance, you often must study and prepare. Your GRE score lasts for five years, and while retaking it may become part of your ultimate test preparation, the more you can do before sitting an exam, the better.
GRE Preparation FAQs
How should I begin preparing for the GRE?
GRE preparation begins with understanding exactly what is required by your desired program. Many schools or departments ask for the GRE only as a formality, but many consider it almost as high as or higher than grades, resumes, and experiences. When you know how significantly your target schools and programs weight the GRE, you know how best to approach it.
To be ready to take the GRE before applying to a Master's degree or PhD program, you should start at least a year before your anticipated graduation date. Once you have chosen your target programs and universities, determine your readiness, budget, and needs. If you have a history of poor exam performance, begin immediately to study. Consider diving right into a complete preparation course. GRE preparation courses either are hosted in the classroom or are accomplished through distance education. While the GRE covers generic skills, it does those in a standardized testing format. If tests are a difficulty for you, tap into that structured education early on.
What about distance learning and the GRE?
Distance learning provides an excellent option for those who might not have the resources to accomplish a complete, accredited classroom course. Because the GRE focuses on hands-on activities-vocabulary, mathematics, and writing-the need for immediate feedback, as you would get in a classroom setting, may not be as high. Especially if you are already skilled in test-taking, consider paying for a distance learning course. (Naturally, if your test-taking history is poorer than most, remember that you may need more that this.)
Can I study for the GRE on my own?
Some students opt to teach themselves, perhaps by beginning their GRE preparation with a free online or classroom test. The actual GRE itself tends to be computer-based, but preparation in either medium is effective. This first attempt at the GRE functions as a diagnostic for the next round of planning. Poor performance ought to encourage at least purchasing a book, basic study program, or perhaps extensive distance education or classroom training sessions.
Poor performance, however, is not the only criteria for more in-depth test preparation. Even performing well on a practice test is no guarantee, so you should still refine your skills. Performing any lower than you need, hope, or expect will lessen your chances of obtaining your desired education and career. Be sure that your scores match your ambition. That ambition will get you started, but knowing where to go and how to get there are what land you your desired skills, jobs, and eventual career destination.