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GRE Student Post: Three Weeks of Prep

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.59.28 PMToday, we’re hearing from Nolan. Nolan only studied for 3 weeks, but managed to get a great score! Read on for his tips. 

About me: Hey I’m Nolan. I am from Atlanta, GA. Interestingly enough, I majored in International Studies with a pre-med track. Right now I am pursing a Masters of Public Health.

For me, the hardest part of the test was: When I was studying, the word problems, counting, and probability questions were most difficult for me. I worked to improve on them by flagging questions and simply writing down the question and answers in a notepad so I could review them on paper in addition to online. On the actual GRE, it’s hard to say what was most difficult but I would single out the double/ triple blank text completions just because there were several that I marked on the test. The main thing for verbal in general is studying vocabulary. I followed the Magoosh suggestion of using Quizlet and found sets of Magoosh vocab words someone already made. When reviewing practice tests I used Wordnik for other difficult words and made a Google Docs list of words/definitions.


My advice: If you are reading this while undecided on your test prep, go ahead and buy Magoosh! When taking a standardized test, having online test prep is a must because you need to simulated this aspect of the actual exam. With that said, I’m still old school and like to write things down, so I suggest keeping a notepad to write both the question and answers to problems you get wrong. The practice tools are extremely useful, and after practicing categories individually, you should start grouping them together (specifically did this for math). It is most important that, no matter what, you put proper time into studying. I am on break currently so even though I only took 3 weeks to study, I still logged in over 60 hours- this includes all the videos I watched and when I was writing stuff down as part of my review process. Halfway through my studying, I decided to color-code 4 different sets out of the Math categories (i.e. algebra, percents, stats were marked blue) to facilitate finding certain problems in my notepad. Similarly, I began using this system to manage my studying each day. Practice tests are vital to success and I would take 4 minimum (the 2 free ETS Power Prep + 2 Magoosh) before the actual GRE; I took 5 total. Take these tests around the same time you intend to take the real thing. Vocabulary review is also a must! I was more comfortable with verbal than math, but I could not have done well without Quizlet & Wordnik- both are free web tools the Magoosh staff themselves actually suggest. I found sets of Magoosh words on Quizlet already made and studied the cards and played the games. I immediately saw results on subsequent practice tests. Finally, as your test date draws near it is a good idea to take quizzes consisting of problems you have flagged. Two days before your test date you should NOT be doing any practicing. I caved in and reviewed some vocabulary for a bit, but other than light review you should simply relax and know that by using Magoosh you have had ample preparation.


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.

One Response to GRE Student Post: Three Weeks of Prep

  1. Cherie October 4, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    This is helpful. Thanks for the very specific tips! I’m inspired to believe that I can successfully prepare in the 4 weeks that I have left 🙂

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