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Preparing for the GRE

GRE Prep Instruction

All students taking the GRE must undergo substantive preparation, regardless of prior academic achievement or ability. Though the skills tested on the exam are fairly general, GRE exercises must be practiced to be mastered. The best way to do this is with the assistance of an experienced GRE educator. Test prep firms offer a variety of GRE learning options, usually either in classroom or individual learning contexts. GRE prep courses or private tutoring plans feature course content and structure with proven results, assuming that the student chooses reputable instructors and companies. Teachers can also abbreviate the preparation process by correcting common mistakes and providing detailed assessments of performance.

Online GRE Options

Many test prep companies offer GRE instruction in online format, allowing students to study for the exam in the comfort of their own homes. Online study for the GRE may require greater self-discipline from the student as well as reliable technology, but the convenience of this preparation method is highly attractive. A wealth of preparation materials are available on the ETS website free of charge, including GRE math review and math conventions, overviews of each GRE section, and links to Khan Academy instructional videos on the GRE.

GRE Official Guides and Other Books

ETS is the author of the Official Guide to the GRE General Test, now in its third edition. An essential resource on the GRE, the Official Guide includes thorough discussion of each GRE section, general information on the exam, and four practice tests with answer explanations. Unofficial books on the GRE (not published by ETS) are widely available, but test-takers should carefully review the credentials of the authors and publishers before purchasing these titles.

ETS GRE Practice Materials

The online store on the ETS website sells a number of other useful titles for GRE study. The Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, volume 1 includes 150 exercises written by the same people who create the exam, and there is also a similar volume for GRE quantitative. Test-takers can also purchase ScoreItNow! Online Writing Practice, with which students can write essays and receive feedback. ETS materials may be bought in various bundles of several titles each, which is less than the cost of buying each book individually.

Using GRE Practice Tests

Regardless of your preferred method of GRE study, we strongly recommend that you incorporate practice tests into your preparation plan. In addition to the practice tests published by ETS, many test prep companies have written unofficial practice tests that duplicate the real GRE, and some firms will provide these tests for free. Practice testing is the best available indication of your current GRE skill level, and your performance will help you determine which areas you need to improve. Practice tests also increase testing stamina and reduce testing anxiety.