You most likely fall into one of two camps. You’ve been prepping for the GRE for months, and with the test date about two weeks to go, you are getting very nervous wondering what to do in the remaining time. I will call you the marathoners.
On the other hand, you just started prepping and think it pretty crazy that many have spent months prepping. You have been improving steadily during your first two weeks of prep, but hope there is some way to accelerate the process in the remaining two weeks. I will refer to this group as the sprinters.
Though you may be tempted to start sprinting in the last two weeks, feverishly pulling all-nighters, resist that temptation. You want to continue at about the same pace. Indeed you may even want to taper in the last few days—as I’ll elaborate below.
Now is a good time to review questions you’ve missed in the past. Understand why you missed those questions, and see if you continue to get those questions wrong. If not, that is great. Be sure to identify how your thinking/approach changed. If you continue to miss the questions, do your best to determine why.
This reconnaissance should inform your prep, to an extent. For instance, if you missed a question because you did not know vocabulary, trying to memorize 1,000 words in the last two weeks is not a good idea. On the other hand, if you mixed up one of these pesky ‘p’ words, say ‘portentous’ with ‘pretentious’, you may want to review them. Better yet, you may want to revisit those words that you tend to often confuse.
Stick to your study routine. If this means taking a test every week, then do so (you may even want to throw in an extra test, though, remember, no all-nighters!).
Another important routine should be a consistent time falling asleep and waking up each night. Establish this routine no less than a few nights before the exam. You want to make sure you are rested and in your natural flow for the day of the exam.
Rest is summed up nicely above in routine. But there is more to add. In general, you should not be studying three to fours hours a day leading up to the exam. Taper back a little. One to two hours should be fine. The key is you don’t want to be overtaxed, but be ready to perform your best test day.
You are only midway in your GRE prep. There is still a lot to learn. It is very important, if you haven’t already, to take a full-length test. You may even want to throw in the essay portion, just to get a feel of what it’s like to sit for almost four hours in front of a monitor.
At the same time, you do not want to whip through practice questions, stopping only to see which ones you missed. To get a sense of what to do, take a look at the “Routine” section from the marathoners.
Routine and Rest
Okay, sprinters. You are on a different track. You do not have the luxury of tapering off much before the end. After all, you are not just reviewing, but learning new information. Still, you do not want to be hurtling pell-mell towards your test date, eyes glazed and hair a flutter. So condense the rest and routine bit from the marathoners down into a 48-hour time frame. If your test is on Thur. at 8:00 A.M., get to bed at a reasonable hour on Tuesday night. Doing so will make it much easier for you to get to sleep at a reasonable hour Wednesday night.