Are you considering taking the GRE for business school admissions?
For years, the GMAT was considered the gold standard when it came to b-school admissions tests. But over the last several years, students and admissions committees alike have been turning their attention to the GRE.
While the GRE is not necessarily easier than the GMAT, the test’s format and structure may be a better fit for some students than for others. We devoted a previous article to understanding the basics of the GRE.
If you’ve decided to take the GRE for business school admissions – either on its own or in conjunction with the GMAT – you’ll want to set time aside to study for the test.
Here are six tips for creating a GRE study plan for b-school.
GRE Study Plan Tip #1: Assess Your Knowledge
In order to create an effective study plan, you must know what you need to study.
Grabbing a test prep book off the shelf and working through it beginning to end may work for high school students, but by the time you’re planning for an MBA admissions test, you probably have a lot on your plate in addition to studying.
Taking a practice test is a great way to assess your knowledge. Not only will it give you a sense of your baseline score and the questions that were hardest for you, it can also help you determine whether you need a refresher on test-taking strategies as well.
However, some students prefer not to start with a full-length practice test. Whether due to anxiety, a limited supply of practice tests, or a limited amount of time, some students prefer to create a study plan without taking a practice test first.
Assessing your knowledge is still possible without taking a practice test, of course. It simply requires being ruthlessly honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have that, you’ll know where to start with your GRE study plan.
GRE Study Plan Tip #2: Choose Your Resources
Some people study best on their own, in a quiet environment where they can focus on their own tasks. Some people study best in a classroom or study group, where they can ask questions and bounce ideas off of their fellow students.
There’s no one right way to study for the GRE. But when you’re creating a GRE study schedule, it’s important to plan for every part of the process.
ETS makes some free GRE study materials available on their website. You can find GRE study books in your local library, or from online and physical book stores, and online materials are available through several test prep companies.
You can be successful with any study materials, as long as they are a good fit for the way you learn. If possible, though, you should always take a computerized practice test at some point before taking the real test, so you won’t be thrown off by the format on test day.
GRE Study Plan Tip #3: Make A Plan And Stick With It
Once you’ve gathered your resources and determined the most important concepts for you to study, all that’s left is to create a plan of attack and stick to it.
The exact study plan you choose with depend a lot on your schedule. Most people have trouble focusing effectively for more than two hours at a time. Ideally, your GRE study plan would see you studying consistently for one to two hours every day for several weeks leading up to your test date.
That may not be possible in the real world, especially when you have work and other obligations to deal with. But no matter how much time you have, two factors are absolutely essential: planning and consistency.
GRE Study Plan Tip #4: 1 Week To The GRE
If you have one week to study for the GRE, you should treat it as your full-time job. Hit the math section hard first, as many business schools look for strong quantitative skills in their students first. Brush up on process of elimination and context clues to help with the verbal section.
GRE Study Plan Tip #5: 1 Month To The GRE
If you have one month to study for the GRE, get yourself some vocab flash cards to look through when you aren’t studying. Go beyond the basics with the math section: many questions have multiple parts and it’s easy to get tripped up with a trick answer. Practice active reading on the verbal section, looking for main ideas and supporting context.
GRE Study Plan Tip #6: 3 Months To The GRE
If you have three months to study for the GRE, your biggest challenge will likely be procrastination. Create a study schedule and follow through with it, no matter what comes up or how well you’re doing. Plan for at least one full-length practice test, with time to review the material you missed after you look at the results.
Should you take the GMAT or the GRE? To some extent, it depends on what the admissions committee thinks of your application before they even look at your test scores.
A free MBA application assessment from Expartus gives you real insight into what admissions committees are thinking when they review your application. We can help you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, so you can be prepared to focus on the positives and alleviate the negatives.