What is the best way to prepare for GRE in a month?

Answer by Jamboree Education:

The best way to prepare for GRE is to give it more than a month, but the world is full of people who got huge scores on the GRE in less than 30 days. In our experience, here are some things those people did that set them apart, and enabled them to break the 325 barrier with a time investment that was much lower than that of anyone else. Here it is – the blueprint for a 30 day 330:

1. Postpone all other commitments; you should have all day for GRE preparation: If you have a month, you can definitely get a great score, but only if you prioritize GRE preparation over everything else. You need to take time off from whatever else you’re doing and reserve a 10+ hour block every day for GRE time. As time goes on over the month, you will need every second of it. Reserving this time for GRE prep will also increase your commitment level; you are essentially telling yourself how important it is, and making a firm resolution to give it your everything, and perform as well as you possibly can.

2. Get a coach: You should not do it alone – you need to work with someone who has a history with helping people crack the GRE in an extremely short period of time. Whether it’s an individual mentor or a coaching centre, you need to evaluate the level of access you will be given, the level of resources you will be able to get, and the quality of the advice you will get. Remember, you can only be as good as your coach.

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3. Get the resources: Once you’ve signed up with someone to train for the GRE with, you need to lock down all your learning and practice resources. The practice resources should be easy – most such places have extensive libraries, and you should choose one with as many practice tests as possible. The preparation resources should be chosen for their probability of success and quick absorption capacity rather than their extensiveness. You don’t want to learn everything; you want to learn that which will most likely stand you in good stead. Ask all the right questions when you are being given study material and practice books; it will only help make your month more efficient and focused.

4: Create a practice test timeline: One thing you need from day 1 is a timeline of when you will take practice tests, and you should use your coaching centre to make the tests frequent and graded in difficulty. Only by taking many practice tests can you truly immerse yourself in the world of the GRE, and get comfortable with the interface, the question grading, and the 4 hour grind of sitting in one place using your brain for a lot of different things. In a one month prep period, practice is as important as new learning – maybe even more!

5: Study Verbal smart: GRE Verbal is not something that is the exclusive preserve of those who have vast vocabularies, or those who have spent a year improving their word power. Instead of studying 3000 words, you can group those same 3000 high-frequency words into about 300 high probability word groups, within which every word has the same meaning. This is a 90% reduction in meaning memorization, and converts a lot of rote learning into pattern recognition, something which correlates more highly with intelligence and logic, and less with time spent in preparation. Study Verbal smart and a month is more than enough.

6. Practice Quant smart: Quant is all about understanding and practice. If you had 3 to 6 months, you might have spent a lot of time in understanding before you moved on to practice. In your shortened time window, you might be well served to prioritize topics that you are confident that you know and quickly practice a representative cross section of problems from those topics. If you ace all of them, you can cross that topic off your preparation list. This ensures that you are able to reduce the list of chapters that you revise in detail by up to 80%, and helps you concentrate on and treat your weakest areas.

7. Beat your target in each practice test; only move upwards: Now that you have a practice test regimen, it’s important to get better and better. With a longer time window, you might have the luxury of dipping up and down in tests scores, and analyzing why those happened. When it’s a question of just a month, you need to move upwards constantly – this is necessary for both your morale and your final performance. One way to do this is to identify a big problem area from each test that you do (with the help of your coach) and fix this in the next test.

8. Compare your performance to those who have many months of preparation more than you: Your final GRE score will not be calculated against those who have tried to prepare in just one month, so you need to get used to the full weight of expectations very soon. To make this happen, you should look around you in your coaching class batch, and consistently try to perform as well as those who have been around much longer than you. This is the quickest way to get very good, very fast.

9: Slow down in the last two days: You might spend the entire month like an speeding bullet train, but the last few days should be more relaxed. You want to peak during the test, and the best way to do that is to make sure that your body is in the best condition possible. One or two days before, shift to a routine of long sleep hours, alertness spikes at the time of the test, and complete physical training.

10: Don’t let your short test prep time get in your head, during the test: The GRE is not the easiest exam out there; you might hear voices in your head telling you that it will be hard to compete with those who have spent close to a year on test prep. Dismiss those voices; with intense, focused preparation that concentrates on your skills, you will be able to get the highest score there is, beating out people who have replaced quality with quantity.

Do all this, and time won’t matter; you will hit a 325+ even though you have only comparatively few days to do it in. All the best!

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