How to Prepare for the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, commonly known as the GRE, is a crucial exam for many aspirants wishing to pursue higher studies abroad. Many candidates appear for the GRE to go abroad for Masters studies, whereas several others attempt the GRE to go abroad to pursue a Ph.D. Regardless of the reason, the most daunting challenge these students face is the preparation of an effective study plan and this is where the top scorers differ from the also-rans.

A strong study plan goes a long way in helping you assess your initial aptitude, which will have a major role to play in determining your preparation timeline and identifying weak areas that need more attention. A good study plan includes diagnostic tests, conceptual reviews, solving questions of all types, and of varying difficulty levels and periodic evaluation with the help of progress trackers and simulated mock-tests.

There are many tips and tricks out there to help you solve the various types of questions that appear on the GRE, however, there aren’t many free study schedules for the GRE. To address this imminent problem, we have outlined below a broad study plan to help you ace the GRE.

Case 1 – You have limited time due to college or work:

Study Time: 3hrs/day

How to split it: For the first 2-3 weeks, familiarize yourself with all the concepts of the GRE quantitative syllabus and practice a few questions of easy to moderate difficulty level. Do this before you start solving complex problems.

Subsequently, the 4th week onwards, start solving the GRE Official Guide and Manhattan 5lb Book.

Once you are familiar with the GRE math problems, the next step would be to focus on learning the definitions and usage of the 4000+ words for the GRE vocabulary section. A good pace to learn at would be about 20-30 words everyday initially and then push that up to 40-50 words after 4-5 weeks.

Following this plan will get you up and ready to take the GRE mock tests in about 4 months. It is highly advisable to take your time in preparing for the GRE and not rushing into it to meet some deadline.

Case 2 – You do not have college or work to hinder your GRE preparation:

Study Time: 6hrs/day

How to split it: For the first 2 weeks, you familiarize yourself with the GRE quant syllabus AND begin learning 20 words per day from the vocabulary syllabus.

Next, the 3rd week onwards, begin solving the GRE Official Guide and the Manhattan 5lb Book, all the while continuing to learn 20 words per day.

By about the 6th-7th week, you should have completed solving a large portion of the GRE quant syllabus, which should then lead you to learn more words per day – about 40.

This method will take you about 3 months to be ready to start taking the GRE mock tests.

For All Cases – Taking the Mock Tests:

It is imperative to understand that the true practice for the GRE is when you take the mock tests and not when you are solving the problems. Solving problems only ensures that you are practicing the concepts and you should know that the GRE is not testing you just on concepts.

You must ensure that you take a minimum of 4 mock tests before your exam and each mock test should be taken within an interval of 3-4 days. The time in between mock tests must be spent in evaluation of your answers that you got both right and wrong including guesswork if any.

Attempting simulated mock tests is extremely important not just to assess your potential score, but also to prepare yourself to solve questions under pressure. This crucial step in the preparation process is likely to make or break your score on the final day. It is advisable to time your study sessions to 3 hours and 30 minutes each since that is the duration of the examination and your mind and body need to have the endurance to perform optimally throughout the test. Moreover, attempting mock tests and studying at the same time of the day as when you will write the exam also goes a long way in preparing you psychologically as well as physiologically for the all-important examination. For example, if you intend to give the exam in the morning, try to study for three and a half hours in the morning or if you intend to give the exam in the evening, it would bode well to study in the evening.


Following these basic tips and preparing an effective study plan is the formula to ensure a stellar GRE score. Learning concepts and solving questions are no doubt important, but they are not sufficient. We at Plan A ensure that our students not only study hard but also study smart so that they can extract the maximum value out of the limited time they have to prepare for the GRE examination.

To know more about the GRE or to register for online classes, kindly feel free to contact us using the contact form on our home page.

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