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GRE Student Post: How to Stay Organized and Productive

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Today, Stephanie gives us some great tips for staying organized, focused and motivated, even while juggling classes and 2 jobs. Thanks, Stephanie! 🙂 

About me: Throughout my life I have traveled and lived all over the world, so it is very hard for me to pinpoint exactly where I am from! Currently, I live in Utah and go to the University of Utah where I am studying Materials Science & Engineering with a minor in Arabic language. I am so excited to go to graduate school! My dream school is John’s Hopkins where I would love to study Biomedical Design and Innovation and then after I am planning to go to law school to ultimately become a patent attorney! You could say that I am literally obsessed with education and learning, I love it and I just never want to stop! I absolutely love traveling and reading (when I can), also, I am a HUGE foodie.

My test experience: For me, the most difficult part of the GRE was the realization of how “difficult” and different it is from any test I have taken. I went into it assuming it would be like the ACT or SAT which I was able to get very high scores on without even studying. I thought I had prepared enough when I purchased and read every one of the 8 Manhattan Prep books (which are very thorough and the 6 included practice exams were extremely useful), but was in for a HUGE shock the first time I took the GRE and saw my score–I almost cried! The math questions especially were a lot different than what I am used to. It is so weird to have successfully passed upper-level differential equations classes but fail so miserably at basic math concepts! The GRE really forces you to think “outside the box” and the only way I could really practice this was to do the Magoosh practice problems and then watch the answer videos.

Advice for other students: The best advice I can give is that studying regularly and making time for GRE study is very important. Even though it is summer, I have been taking classes and working two jobs–I have a pretty full plate. However, I made it a priority to study as regularly as possible for the test. I used the month plan provided by Magoosh to really get me started and “in the groove.” I printed off a blank calendar and filled in the lessons and problems that the study plan suggested into the calendar on all of the days. That way, I had a visual of when and what I had to study each day. The best part was that when I completed the studying for the day I could cross it out–it was a great motivator to me to be able to visualize my progress as well as watch as test day crept closer, reminding me to get studying! In general, I am really big into using a planner and take mine everywhere I go. I highly recommend one if any students have multiple activities or assignments to juggle–mine has proven to be invaluable to my success and sanity.


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

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