Update: This study schedule is now available in a redesigned, printable version!
Before you begin, check out some strategies for making the most of your study schedule.
From my experience, the majority of students spend between two and three months preparing for the GRE. Given we all struggle to sustain our attention and concentration for more than this long, such a duration makes perfect sense. After all, life’s inevitable “bumps” and distractions are far more likely to derail you during a six months studying for the GRE that you are better off giving it your all over a period of 2 to 3 months. Here is the perfect plan for those who can commit both the time and the cognitive resources necessary for a few months.
Unlike my other two weekly study guides – the one week and one month – this study guide has a range of two to three months. This wiggle room allows those who have unpredictable schedules – or who simply cannot allocate enough hours each week – to choose the three-month plan. For those who have the time and/or simply want to be more aggressive, the study plan below can be shortened to two months. For the layout below, however, I will use 8 weeks. You can slow down or speed up accordingly.
This study guide gives general goals by week– if you’d prefer a more specific version, with daily instructions, I’d recommend one of these other 3 month schedules instead:
- 90 Day Daily Study Plan for Beginners
- 90 Day Daily Study Plan (Math Focused)
- 90 Day Daily Study Plan (Verbal Focused)
- 90 Day Daily Study Plan for Advanced Students
Finally, if English is not your first language, and you are struggling to learn vocabulary–while trying to wrap your head around academic prose–you may want to consider my six month plan. The bottom line is that you will need a competitive score. Those students – at least those who posted their scores on the blog – will want to reconsider the 2-3 month plan if their verbal score is still in the 140-range or below. You should do your best to at least get into the mid-150s in verbal. Of course, achieving this feat will require the six month plan.
2-3 Month GRE Study Guide
- Magoosh GRE Prep– Lessons and Practice Problems
- ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE, 2nd. edition
- ETS’s PowerPrep Software
- If you would prefer to take the practice test on paper, you can print out ETS’s practice test PDF. Take note that the Poweprep software and the paper-based test have overlapping material, so it won’t be of much help to do both, unless you space them out far enough so that you won’t recognize the questions and answers! I recommend using the Powerprep software if you can, since taking the test on a computer is a better simulation of test day conditions. Also, PowerPrep 2.0 comes with two tests. The PDF is only one test, which overlaps with Test 2 from the PowerPrep 2.0 Software.
- Magoosh’s online GRE Flashcards. They’re free and you can use them on the web, on your iPhone/iPad or Android!
- Index Cards (Quizlet.com)
- Stopwatch or Timer
Note: These materials are not extensively broken down within the schedule, as they are optional.
- McGraw Hill Conquering the GRE Math (for those who need additional work on math fundamentals)
- Manhattan GRE (including 6 extra online practice tests)
- GMAT Official Guide (for 160+ math scorers)
- LSAT 10 Actual Tests (for 160+ verbal scorers)
- Work your way through as many of Magoosh’s Math and Verbal Video Lessons as possible (aim for more than half!). An effective learning strategy is to follow up a video by practicing questions that relate to the concept discussed in the video. For instance, if you watch a few lesson videos on exponents, make sure you complete the quiz that accompanies each module.
- Where necessary, work through practice problems in the ETS Official Guide if you need help on a given concept.
- Complete 100 Magoosh practice questions each from Verbal and Math
- Determine which of the Manhattan GRE guides will help address your weaknesses (you only need to purchase one in order to access all of the 6 online tests)
- Read two articles from The New Yorker/Atlantic Monthly/Economist. Find fifty words you do not know. Reference in Vocabulary.com or Word Smart and make flashcards (articles should be 4 – 15 pages).
- Write a quick summary/review of one of the two articles you wrote, threading GRE words you learnt these two weeks (can come from any of the sources, e.g. lesson, questions, etc), and apply them where necessary.
- Make your way through 10 words a day from Magoosh GRE Flashcards. The goal should be 150 words after 15 days. For further context on how the words you are learning are used consult Vocabulary.com.
- Use quizlet.com to quiz yourself on 200 vocabulary words from articles and continue to quiz yourself with Magoosh GRE Flashcards.
- Finish watching all video lessons within Magoosh
- Take the Powerprep 2.0 Test 1 to assess your level.
- Check your answers to review mistakes.
- Use the test to identify areas in which you need more practice.
- Practice 75 more questions for Verbal and 75 Math within Magoosh.
- Work through the beginning of the ETS Official Guide 2nd. edition, and cover the easy and medium sections at the beginning of the book for both math and verbal.
- Continue working through vocabulary from Magoosh GRE Flashcards, five a day, quizzing yourself on all the words you have learned up to this point.
- Up your reading to two articles a week
- Solidify fundamentals using Magoosh and any Manhattan GRE guide
- Pick fifty words each week from the two articles (a total of four articles for each week)
- Make sure you continue practicing problems from the McGraw-Hill Math if you are struggling with any fundamentals (fractions, exponents, etc.
- For the high scorers, take a practice Manhattan GRE test, reviewing all your mistakes once you are done.
- Practice 175 more questions for Verbal and 175 Math within Magoosh.
- Work through the rest of the ETS Official Guide 2nd. edition questions up to the practice tests at the back of the book.
- Return to any Magoosh lesson videos in which you need a refresher
- Continue practicing vocabulary in the same manner described above.
- Work through much of The GMAT Official Guide (Only do the Problem Solving, Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension sections, as those overlap with the GRE.)
- Depending on your level, complete 100 math problems from the GMAT Official Guide (the higher the number, the harder the problem). You may also want to pick and choose based on your perceived areas of weakness.
- If lower level math, focus more on Manhattan GRE math and easy-level Magoosh questions.
- From the GMAT OG, do ten timed Reading Comprehension Passages. Time yourself on five Critical Reasoning questions each day.
- Customize practice sessions within Magoosh product to target weaknesses. You should complete all of the verbal and all of the math questions.
- Take both tests at the back of the Official Guide, including the AWA section.
- Take the Powerprep 2.0 Test 2.
- Make sure you are doing as many timed sections as possible from various sources. If you can’t work through an entire section, always have a stopwatch whenever you work through questions.
- Continue learning vocabulary as before. You should know at least 800 words by now, and should probably know even more from working with the GRE Official Guide and Magoosh product.
- Take a Manhattan GRE practice test. (Review mistakes).
- For advanced Verbal students:
- Do a timed verbal LSAT Reading Section each day and 5 Critical Reasoning questions. Try to determine why answers are wrong on your own.
- Take no fewer than two Manhattan GRE on-line practice tests.
- For advanced Math students:
- Finish all Problem Solving questions in GMAT OG and every very hard problem on Magoosh.com. Also, go through College Board SAT book, and be able to complete every difficult problem (usually last 5-6 problems of each math section).
- Take no more than two Manhattan GRE on-line practice tests.