I am sharing my opinion in this post. Any brand mentioned is not sponsored or endorsed.
The GRE General Test, which stands for the Graduate Record Examinations, is something that stands between you and Graduate School. This test is similar to the SAT/ACT you took to get into college. We all have to take it, and no one likes it! Of course, the GRE is more difficult than the SAT/ACT you took back in 11th grade, but in reality, it should be, right? It is a test for people who are applying to Master’s Programs and even Law School. There are 3 parts to the exam: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. You take the test on a computer at a testing center. There are testing centers all over so you most likely will have one within an hour drive of your home. Check out this website to learn more about the details of the exam. Let’s get into how I conquered the GRE.
My personal journey with the GRE was truly a roller coaster ride. It began with me signing up for a date to take the exam. The recommendation is to take it the Summer before your Senior year of college. I registered in January for a test date in May. I am very much a planner, but when I look back, I realized I did not have to register so early. I recommend registering for 2 months in advance because trust me, you will get the date and time you desire. It costs about $500 to take the exam. You can take it more than one time, but who wants to spend that kind of money? Not me, so I wanted to make sure I studied enough to only have to take it once. I went to Barnes and Noble, bought the GRE Prep books, and started studying. I followed the book’s recommendations for studying, used the online resources on the GRE website, and even created a study plan. Months went by, and I felt ready for the exam. May finally rolled around, and I took the test. The test is about 4 hours long of you staring at a computer screen reading, solving logic problems, and writing an essay. You get your results as soon as you are finished the exam. Your score pops right up on the screen. The score I got left me in tears. I was devastated. I realized that studying on my own was not going to work. I went home and brainstormed what I could do to improve my score. I decided to signup for an online GRE tutoring course through Kaplan Test Prep. It was a 6-week long course that taught me tricks to taking the exam. I took the test in July and got higher than what I ever strived for. It was the best accomplishment!
Learn from my mistakes, and use these tips:
- Take a tutoring course. I used Kaplan’s Online GRE Tutoring course. It costs a pretty penny, but let me tell you, it is totally worth it! My score went up drastically and put a smile on my face. It also got me into grad school. The course teaches you HOW to take the exam because the GRE is truly a test of your test-taking skills, not your knowledge. Save your time and money by taking a course. [I pretty much wasted $500 because I thought I could study on my own. You live and you learn.]
- Have someone drive you to the testing center. The last thing you need is extra stress on the day of testing. Also, when you have finished the exam, you will be mentally exhausted. It is much more relaxing having someone drive you, plus, it is great to have support.
- Take a deep breath. You can take the exam more than once. You can take it more than twice. You won’t need to, but you can so do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself that you need to get a perfect score the first time or you will not get into grad school.
- You are not your score. You are a beautiful human being who cannot and will never be defined by numbers. Your score does not define you.
I want to let you know that YOU CAN DO THIS, and YOU WILL conquer the GRE.
I tried to make this post general so if you have any questions, please contact me. I would love to go into further detail.