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How to Cram for the GRE

  • by John
  • Jun 10, 2011
  • GRE Blog

You shouldn’t try to cram for the GRE! You should plan a three-month study schedule and allow plenty of time to work on improving your scores.

But, let’s say that your GRE is in, like, a week, and you haven’t studied, and you’re desperate. What do you do? Here’s a step-by-step plan:

1. Take a free practice GRE! Two are available from the GRE website, here: . Take each of them, in timed conditions, in a single sitting. This will get you familiar with the test format and instructions, so you won’t be surprised when you show up for the test.

2. Learn and apply basic test-taking strategies. Don’t just give up on a question if you’re not sure how to answer it– try to eliminate a couple of answer choices, then guess. Practicing elimination strategies is one of the quickest ways to improve your score.

3. Focus on the math section! If you only have a few days to prepare, you probably won’t be able to pull your verbal score up that much, since it tests knowledge and skills that are either the product of a long educational development (critical reading) or very time-consuming to acquire (vocabulary). The math section is quite different: many of the skills you’ll need to succeed here are basic math techniques which you studied in high school but may need a refresher on. Once you have begun studying the math, you’ll be surprised at how much you already know and merely need to be reminded of.

4. Get enough sleep and stay calm. You’re not going to improve your score by staying up all night cramming more math skills into your head. The best way to do well is to remain calm, cool and collected so you can apply what you do know on the test.

Next Step Test Preparation offers complete packages of one-on-one GRE tutoring for less than the price of a packed prep course.  For more information, see our GRE tutoring page, contact or call 888-530-NEXT.

Photo credit Calebcherry under a Creative Commons license.

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