There are many reasons students lose motivation while studying for the GRE. For some, studying for three months, hours each day, is a draining experience, especially when their scores are not going up. For others, they are taking the test a second, or even a third, time. If any of these scenarios describe you, here are a few tips to help you stay positive.
Vary up your study routine
Perhaps GRE studying means the same thing for you each time. You (grudgingly) take your practice materials, sit in your usual spot, and open the book. After a few minutes you already feel your eyes drooping. This reaction isn’t necessarily because the material is exceptionally dry (though that is one factor); you are so accustomed to studying in the same place and in the same manner that your brain has become bored.
Ways to vary it up include studying in a different place: a quiet café, library, friend’s place, or simply a different room in your home. Also, if you always start with math, start with verbal. Or, during your quantitative practice set, throw in some reading passages. If you only look at the answers after solving all the questions of a practice set, try another approach. For instance, look at the answers after each question and try to figure out your mistake, before moving on to the next question.
Basically, there are countless ways to vary up your studying. Yet once you become habituated to a certain way of studying, you can easily forget this. Staying positive, sometimes means keeping it fresh.
Use different materials
Are you only using one prep book? Even if the prep book seems to be helping, remember that there is a wealth of prep materials out there—some very good, some not so very good. Simply reading about a different approach to the test can help you change something you were doing incorrectly—which, in turn, can help boost your score and help you stay positive.
Spend some time with a good tutor
Oftentimes when you are in a rut, you might not exactly know why. An experienced tutor can help you pinpoint where you are struggling. Indeed, just a couple of hours may be all it takes to help snap you out of your GRE funk. That few point boost can turbo charge your motivation.
Take a break
This may sound highly counterintuitive. However, if your test date isn’t right around the corner, you may want to take a break. For one, taking time off from something can help you recharge your batteries. GRE-wise you can allow much of the vocabulary you learned to incubate. The same applies to math formulas and concepts. When you do start up again, you will surprise yourself: you will see GRE concepts and questions with fresh eyes.
Go on the forums
Other GRE test takers are struggling with the very same problems you are, whether those problems consist of staying motivated, learning vocabulary, or how to best crack long science reading passages. You can find them on the GRE forums. Just make sure you don’t get caught up with the people obsessing over their scores. That’s a surefire way to get burnt out.
How do you survive the studying doldrums? Let us know below!