Any goal in life requires a strategy. An accomplished athlete would need to bear innumerable hours of hard work and practice to really stand out and go for the gold. Why wouldn’t that also apply to a GRE test-taker? Preparing for this test also requires hard work, and not just a reliance on undergrad problem-solving, but specific tips and techniques to get the score you need and deserve. Below are five useful approaches and tactics that will prove useful gearing up for test day and help you go for the gold.
1. Guessing on the GRE
Good news: There’s no penalty for guessing on the GRE. Fill in an answer for every question, even if you decide to skip it. Guessing on this test is a skill in and of itself that requires practice. For instance, if you wind up reaching your minute check-in and still have no clue, make yourself write down an answer. Committing quickly to an answer you’re not completely sure of can feel unnatural and nerve-wracking if under-rehearsed. Are you able to solve this question within the minute mark? If not, guess and move on.
2. Backsolve, backsolve, backsolve
Backsolving is very similar to “checking your work.” This is a great strategy as you go through the Problem Solving questions. By plugging each answer into the questions, you’re able to check whether someone else’s answer is correct rather than coming up with your own. By going through the answer choices and plugging each into the question — starting with (B) or (D) — you’ll have a 40% chance of getting the right answer based on your first round of calculations.
3. Mapping the passage
The GRE requires you to engage in active reading. Even though topics can vary, the GRE asks the same types of questions no matter the subject matter of the passage. This requires a different kind of reading and taking notes; more specifically, creating a Passage Map will help you tackle such questions with greater ease. Noting the passage’s main idea(s), any opinions and the source of the opinions as well as the structure of the passage as a whole will benefit you greatly when tackling the GRE Reading Comp section.
4. Don’t use your calculator as a crutch
Pacing is more important than getting every single question. Although a calculator may be helpful for some GRE Quant questions, most can be solved in one to three minutes without one. Save time by doing the conversions in your head and don’t use your calculator as a crutch.
5. The week of the test
The GRE is not a test like the ones in high school where you can cram the week before. Instead, progress is made by studying over time and making last-minute attempts to pack in information can do more harm than good. The week before the test, work on your mindset so you can get a score that mirrors the best of your abilities. It won’t hurt to review all your vocab words one last time. Finally, doing a few sets of arithmetic drills will help maintain flexed math muscles without overwhelming them.
Preparing to ace the GRE takes time and concerted effort. While there are countless more strategies, tips, and techniques worth exploring to attain a high score, these five approaches provide a “taste test” (No pun intended!) for how to tackle this important stepping stone to business school. You want to immerse yourself in your studies the way you were able to immerse yourself in your college environment and even when you were preparing for the SATs. Adopting valuable tactics that guarantee success is critical in achieving an expected high score.