Your Guide to Summer GRE Prep

Do you plan to apply to graduate school this fall? If so, you will likely need to take the GRE in order to gain admission to your program of choice. Summer is a great time to ready for this exam, and to help you in your quest for a high score, here is your guide to summer GRE prep:

1. Understand what is on the test

The GRE consists of three sections. These sections are similar to the SAT, but with more challenging material. The Verbal Reasoning portion asks you to analyze written material, while the Quantitative Reasoning section tests your problem-solving skills in algebra, arithmetic, data analysis, and geometry. Finally, the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE evaluates your critical thinking and writing skill sets. 

2. Explore the ETS website

ETS, the company that offers the GRE, provides several resources to help you prepare for your test day. For example, they provide descriptions of the exam, as well as registration and testing information. This content can be immensely helpful during your summer of GRE prep. You may also want to consider consulting a GRE tutor to help you study for the test.

3. Hone your Verbal Reasoning skills

Read as much as possible during your summer GRE prep. The Verbal Reasoning portion will require you to have an advanced vocabulary, and reading can expose you to unfamiliar words.  Use a dictionary to look up those words that you don’t know. You can also practice using advanced vocabulary regularly in your speech and writing. Make or buy GRE vocabulary flashcards, and work with them several times per week. Use these GRE verbal flashcards to help you. You might even try to create word associations to help you remember definitions. 

4. Master the Quantitative Reasoning section

To prepare for the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE, utilize electronic or print study resources. You can practice solving sample math problems online to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and you can seek help to tackle the math concepts that you struggle with. Studying with the help of a GRE quantitative reasoning tutor may help you grasp this section words more quickly.

5. Polish your Analytical Writing abilities

In the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE, you will be expected to analyze an issue and an argument. ETS publishes its pool of writing topics for your review, so no matter your current skill level in writing, practice answering these prompts. Since the GRE is timed, you will need to be ready to write quickly and clearly. Have a trusted peer or mentor read your samples to give you feedback on where you can improve.

6. Take practice tests

Taking GRE practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for the GRE exam. It may seem tedious, but this is a critical step in acing the test. Set up your practice test environment just like the ETS would on your exam day. Remove distractions from your testing area, and keep track of the time. Your performance on GRE practice tests can serve as an indication of what subjects or topics you need to study most. Many test-takers also benefit from using GRE tutors in conjunction with practice tests. You should also consider doing these 6 tasks the summer before graduate school.

These are just a few of the ways that you can be proactive in your summer GRE prep. If you take the exam early in the fall and are unhappy with your test score, return to your prep, study hard, and take the exam again. A higher score may improve your chances of admission to your top graduate schools.

Best of luck on the GRE!