2-3 Month GRE Study Guide

Update: This GRE study schedule is now available in a redesigned, printable version!

From my experience, the majority of hopeful graduate school or business school students spend between two and three months preparing for the GRE exam. Given we all struggle to sustain our attention and concentration for more than this long, such a duration of test prep makes perfect sense. After all, there are more opportunities to get distracted in six months of preparation time rather than 2 or 3 months. Here is the perfect GRE study guide for those who can commit both the time and the cognitive resources necessary for a few months.

Unlike our other study plans, this GRE 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, it’s a good idea to shorten this study plan to two months. For the layout below, however, I will use 8 weeks. You can slow down or speed up accordingly — whatever seems to be the best way for you to manage your time.

GRE study guide

This schedule is different from the 3-month schedule provided within a premium Magoosh GRE account. We recently added those schedules within Magoosh; they’re modified to use only Magoosh material and have a slightly different order of assignments. If you have Magoosh already, you can simply use the schedule on your Dashboard to study—don’t worry about the version of the schedule detailed here! But if you started your GRE prep with a schedule on our blog (like this one!), that’s okay too. Both the schedule on the Magoosh dashboard and this blog schedule will get you through everything you need to know on the GRE.

2-3 Month GRE Study Guide Table of Contents

Making the Most of Your Study Schedule

Improve your GRE score with Magoosh.

This GRE study guide gives general goals by week and requires about 2 to 3 hours of studying per day. Within this plan, you’ll receive an overview of how much time to be dedicating to everything — from skills to help you with quantitative reading questions to data analysis math skills — in an effort to improve your median GRE score. If you’d prefer a more specific version, with daily instructions, I’d recommend one of these 3 month schedules instead:

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.

Do you need to adapt this GRE study guide to meet your needs? Check out this blog post for adjustment tips. Ready to get going? Check out these strategies for making the most of your study schedule before diving in.

Go back to the top of this 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide.

Essential Materials:

  • Magoosh’s GRE Book (Check out this new list of books, including the Magoosh GRE Book!)
  • Magoosh GRE Prep– Lessons and Practice Problems
  • ETS’s Official Guide to the GRE, 3rd. edition
  • ETS’s PowerPrep Online
    • If you would prefer to take the practice test on paper, you can print out ETS’s practice test PDF.  Take note that PowerPrep Online 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 PowerPrep Online if you can, since taking the test on a computer is a better simulation of test day conditions. Also, PowerPrep comes with two tests. The PDF is only one test, which overlaps with Test 2 from PowerPrep Online.
  • Magoosh’s online GRE Flashcards and GRE Vocabulary Builder app. They’re free and you can use them on the web, on your iPhone/iPad or Android!
  • Vocabulary.com
  • Index Cards (Quizlet.com)
  • Magoosh’s GRE Complete Guide
    This comprehensive, web-based guide to the GRE gives you the quick but very helpful overview you need to understand this test. You’ll see how the GRE is designed and scored, what skills it tests, how to find and use the best GRE prep, and how to study for each test section.
  • A guide to GRE Practice Test Resources
    This page includes instructions on where to find good full-length GRE practice tests, and how to take practice tests and incorporate them into your studies. This page also has links to Magoosh’s free GRE diagnostic quizzes.

Strongly Recommended Materials:

Supplemental/Optional Materials:

Note: These materials are not extensively broken down within the schedule, as they are optional.

A note about additional materials:

Magoosh contains all the information you need for wild success on the exam and many students have achieved spectacular results using nothing but Magoosh. Nevertheless, this plan recommends that you buy additional materials and use them, in addition to the Magoosh materials. Here’s why: These plans were structured with far-reaching pedagogical principles in mind, and a deep consideration for how the human brain learns. Most people cannot hear or read something just once and, from that single hearing, remember it completely and understand it fully.

At Magoosh, we are very ambitious for our students; we want them to learn as thoroughly and as masterfully as possible. We recommend using these additional resources to provide additional practice, alternative explanations, and extra review. Not every student will need or want additional materials, but for those who do, the books we recommend are the best for the overall goal of doing very well on the exam.

Go back to the top of this 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide.

GRE study guide weeks 1-2

Primary Goals During Weeks 1 & 2 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Work your way through Magoosh’s Math and Verbal Video Lessons. Your aim should be half of the verbal videos and about a third of the math videos (there are more of these). An effective learning strategy is to follow up a video by practicing questions that relate to the concept discussed in the video. Don’t simply watch hours of lesson videos without doing questions. You will quickly forget what you learn, unless you do practice questions to back up those concepts. For instance, if you watch a few lesson videos on exponents, make sure you complete the quiz that accompanies each module. (Using the McGraw Hill book will give you even more practice with the fundamentals).
  • Where necessary, work through practice problems in the ETS Official Guide or the two ETS practice question guides, if you need to reinforce a given concept. It is okay to skip around in these books looking for relevant questions.
  • Complete 100 Magoosh practice questions each from Verbal and Math (this can include quiz questions that come after the lesson videos).
  • Determine which of the Manhattan GRE guides will help address your weaknesses (the math guides tend to be better than the verbal ones).

Secondary Goals During Weeks 1 & 2 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Read two articles from The New Yorker/Atlantic Monthly/Economist/ALDaily.com. Find fifty words you do not know. Reference in Vocabulary.com (articles should be 4 – 15 pages).
  • Write a quick summary/review of one of the two articles you read, threading new words you learnt these two weeks (can come from any of the sources, e.g. lesson, sample questions, etc), and apply them where necessary.
  • Make your way through 10 words a day from Magoosh free 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.

Go back to the top of this 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide.

GRE study guide weeks 3-4

Primary Goals During Weeks 3 & 4 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Finish watching all video lessons within Magoosh
  • Take the PowerPrep Online Test 1 to assess your level.
  • Check your answers to review mistakes. Watch explanation videos in Magoosh forums.
  • 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, and cover the easy and medium sections at the beginning of the book for both math and verbal.

Secondary Goals During Weeks 3 & 4 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Continue working through vocabulary from Magoosh GRE Flashcards, five a day, quizzing yourself on all the words you have learned up to this point. Don’t forget to use the Magoosh Vocabulary Builder app.
  • 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.)
  • If you are strong with math concepts, then move directly to the ETS Official Quantitative guide, working through specific problem types contained towards the beginning of the book.
  • For the high scorers, take a practice Manhattan GRE test, reviewing all your mistakes once you are done.
  • Instead of the MGRE tests (or in addition to), work through the practice sets in the ETS Official Verbal and Quantitative question guides.

Go back to the top of this 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide.

GRE study guide weeks 5-6

Primary Goals During Weeks 5 & 6 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Practice 175 more questions for Verbal and 175 Math within Magoosh.
  • Work through the rest of the ETS Official Guide questions up to the practice tests at the back of the book.
  • Return to any Magoosh lesson videos in which you need a refresher

Secondary Goals During Weeks 5 & 6 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Continue practicing vocabulary in the same manner described above.
  • Work through much of the Official GRE question guides (quantitative and verbal section). Work on specific sections and do at least one practice set for each.
  • Depending on your level (master, beginner, or somewhere in between), complete all the math problems from the Official GRE Quantitative Questions 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.
  • Just for advanced verbal learners, do some reading passages and paragraph assumptions (Logical Reasoning in the LSAT guides). Do one timed test, not including “games” section.

Go back to the top of this 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide.

Weeks 7-8 GRE study guide

Primary Goals During Weeks 7 & 8 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • 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 Online 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.

Secondary Goals During Weeks 7 & 8 of the GRE Study Guide:

  • Continue learning vocabulary as before, perhaps challenging yourself with more advanced words.  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 online practice tests.
  • For advanced Math students:

    • Finish two Manhattan GRE online tests (focusing just on the math sections).

Good luck!

P.S. Ready to improve your GRE score? Get started today.

Most Popular Resources

73 Responses to 2-3 Month GRE Study Guide

  1. Andrew March 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Does this study guide apply to the revised computer-based GRE? Thanks!

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette March 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi, Andrew

      Yes, it does! 🙂


      • Andrew March 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        Thanks! This is very useful.

  2. Michelle August 27, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m about to purchase the ETS Official guide but I had a quick question: I noticed that I can purchase this book on kindle. Would you recommend buying a hard copy of the book or would the kindle version be alright?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Hi Michelle,

      I really don’t see too much of a difference. One could argue that the real book allows you to write in it; then again, you won’t be able to write on the real test so being able to do so with the book isn’t necessarily an advantage.

      My only concern is that the Kindle book does not come with the PowerPrep tests. You should check to see. If it doesn’t, then definitely get the book version.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Ahmed August 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    This website is very useful. I plan to take the GRE by November and having been reading up on it and found that a lot of websites were suggesting ETS Big book. I have two questions:

    1) With the revised GRE, should the big book be a primary source of practicing
    2) since the book in no longer in print it is difficult to find it but I found a blog:

    which has 27 tests but i dont know whether they are authentic or not. Any help and feedback on this would be very useful.



    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Ahmed,

      I think the keyword is ‘primary.’ I would not use the Big Book as a primary source. The primary source should be the current Official Guide by ETS (2nd. Edition).

      That said, the Big Book is an excellent source of practice content by ETS. True, many question types do not overlap, but even ostensibly moot categories such as Antonyms can help provide strong vocab practice. The reading passages, while more narrow in scope, can help you strengthen your approach of academic-oriented passages (a few of which you’ll see test day).

      Finally, the practice tests you see there look like the real thing to me. Not sure about the whole copyright thing, but I’ll leave that up to others to deal with :).

      Hope that helps!

  4. Divya July 26, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Hey Chris ,
    Really need your help . I am planning to give my GRE in october first week . Please tell me which books are “must haves “and how should I start my preparation . Also guide me how many practice test should I take to get a decent score in GRE and which site offers best practice test so that I can time myself . Also how much time i should devote each week ? And do i need to learn the words for the new GRE pattern ?


  5. deepali July 26, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am planning to give GRE exam in Nov 2012 for Fall 2013.

    Its july 2012, My Vocab and Maths both are not good. I want to know that 3 months are sufficient or not to crack the GRE. I left with no other option because deadlines of colleges are in Dec and Jan. I have started working hard on it, but still I am afraid.

    Can you suggest me a single book for New GRE pattern and few tips to crack GRE in 2-3 month?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Hi Deepali,

      If I had to recommend one book for cracking the GRE, it would be the Manhattan GRE series, which is actually a few books. There is no one single book if you are serious about doing well on the exam. Many beginners do find the Princeton Review book helpful, however the questions are much easier than actual GRE questions.

  6. Alan July 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Do you have suggestions for using this study guide with a more verbal focus? I realize there’s a 3 month study guide with a verbal focus written by Mike but I really like your teachings and believe you have more of a verbal bent than Mike does.

    Also, I remember reading a blog post by you saying that making sense of sentence structure is more useful in getting the right answers for text completion and sentence equivalence than spending time learning vocab. With this in mind, do you think the study plan could use some updating since it still has somewhat of a vocab focus?


  7. Xuhair July 14, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Hey i am Xuhair and i have 80 days to prep but i want to wrap it all in 60 days. i want more and more practicing material. Please tell me if you book is available in hard format in Pakistan?

    At this point i have gone once through Barron’s GRE book but its insufficient , i need to practice more and more.

    What are the other famous books should i go for?

    how to increase my vocabulary, would Barron’s 3500 words list would be sufficient. there is not going to be analogies or antonyms. this list would be enough for me to prepare for the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence section..

    how should i tackle this section.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Xuhair,

      Magoosh only has an ebook – not a hardcopy book. The good news is you can download it right now, and for free.

      In the Vocabulary book you should find an answer to your question on how to study. Even this blog is filled with this info. if you click on the tab bar at the top.


      Good luck, and don’t hesitate to ask more questions!

  8. Sergio July 13, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am going to take my first GRE test on septemeber. I am non native english speaker. I have done a lot of research on what books better fit for me and the conclusion is that there is no bible, so instead of walking around, my thoughts are to focus on the ETS Official guide and to be a member with you. Base on the above, do you think that this will give me good fundamentals to take the test?

    i know that a couple of months is maybe rush for my case, since non native, but this is what i have.

    Any thoughts?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      Hi Sergio,

      Welcome to the Magoosh community :).

      I think using Magoosh in conjunction with the Official Guide will work well. Make sure to exploit this blog as often as possible, esp. our ebooks (link for general ebook below). Using this recipe you definitely won’t be lacking in fundamentals.

      Finally, many non-natives are scored well with us. With a couple of months of diligent practice, you too will do well.

      Good luck!


  9. Nupur July 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    Hi Chris,
    Can you guide me as to which version of the ‘PR Word Smart’ I should buy (choose from the two links below) considering the fact that I don’t have any reference book for vocabulary as yet ? I’m just about to buy Magoosh Premium, so will Word Smart along with vocabulary part from Magoosh suffice for my Vocabulary Reference( in addition, off course, to reading in context from journals et al) or do I also need to buy ‘Barron’s 1100 words you need to know’ (and embark upon doing 20 words daily as mentioned in the 90 days study plan in this site)?

    Also I think the last offering from ‘Word Smart for GRE’ is 2007 edition (1st Link below) which was before the change in GRE pattern, so will it be suitable for prepping Vocabulary for revised GRE?




    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Nupur,

      One of the Word Smarts is for the GRE, one is general vocab. I actually favor the general vocabulary one. Though you could get both, I recommend the 5th edition general word smart book (the second link).

      For now, you do not have to buy the Barron’s 1100, unless you feel that the Word Smart is not working out for you. One of the reasons is that Word Smart is alphabetical and makes for a better tool to check words you encounter while reading.

      Hope that helps!

  10. abdul Waheed Siddiqui July 9, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Hi Chris,
    You said the you guys are just a click away, but I still do feel there should be direct email or chat box where Magoosh registered users should be able to contact you ( I know there is Help option but I was told that it is not a proper way to ask direct questions).
    I would be glad if Magoosh comes up with a way of being in constant touch with their users.

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette July 9, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Hi, Abdul

      The Help tab is definitely the right way to ask us any direct questions– feel free to send us any questions you have through it, and we’d be happy to help!


  11. Sally June 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Chris, did you mean Math and VERBAL Lessons? I was closely examining the study guide to see when I have to watch verbal lessons after the first 2 weeks but failed so i am guessing that you meant Math and VERBAL not Video? Please clarify!! 🙂

    “First Two Weeks

    Primary Goals:

    Work your way through Magoosh’s Math and Video Lessons (All of them!)”

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Sally,

      Yes, this pertains to the lesson videos for both math and verbal.

      Hope that clears things up :).

  12. Jacqueline June 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m planning on taking the GRE in September and have been reading through this blog and have my list of books to order online. I noticed that the GRE official guide 2nd Edition is due to be release Aug 3rd and I was wondering if I should wait to get the new edition or will the current one be good enough? Do they tend to change much from year to year?


    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Jacqueline,

      I really wish I knew the answer to this question! Unfortunately, it is really tough to say how much new content will be waiting for us in the 2nd Edition. I recommend buying the 1st Edition now. If there happens to be a trove of new questions in that book, then you can buy that book when it comes out in Aug.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  13. Saagar June 19, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have been reading up on the Magoosh blog for the past few hours and honest, am quite impressed with the kind of help that guys are extending to all of us GRE-aspirants out there!

    I happen to be taking the GRE on 14th August and was actually quite confused regarding creating a plan to go about the preparation. Especially regarding the resources that can be used. Currently I have Barrons NEW GRE book but that seems to be having limited number of questions. Which other books/resources would you suggest?

    Apart from that, regarding the wordlist, some people say that its a must to go through the Barrons 3500 word list. what your view on this?

    Lastly, is there some reliable test out there to assess what my current level is before starting of preparation?

    Thanks a ton for your time.

  14. Sarat June 12, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your quick reply. Your suggestions and motivation help me to move further. Thank you :). I will wait for your Verbal questions. They are amazing.

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      You are welcome! Hope you enjoy the verbal questions 🙂

  15. Sarat June 12, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I had forgotten to include for the peparation
    a)Official guide to GRE
    b)Big book
    Can I use Big book for practicing RC and SC?

    is it wise to include GMAT OG for the verbal part? and I had been preparing Nova’s book for Maths! Do I have to prepare MCGraw hill also?

    I bought kaplan verbal practice book. You had mentioned its not good for practice. Can I do it or leave it and concentrate on GRE OG?

    Is it a good idea to register for GRE after few months(suppose if I get less score for the first time and seats all filling up so fast for the months of October and November :()??

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 12, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Hi Sarat,

      Seems like I already anticipated a few of these questions in the previous post :).

      As for Kaplan, it will hurt your score. Nova should be fine for Math. McGraw Hill is in the same category as Kaplan. Avoid.

      The Big Book is def. fine for RC and SC. Sure the test is changed a little, but those questions are expertly crafted and will get you into fine shape for the exam.

      As when to sign up, you should try signing up a few months in advance for the Oct./Nov. period. Doing so will help to motivate you even more.

      Good luck 🙂

  16. Sarat June 12, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Hi Chris,

    This is Sarat from India. First of all I wanna say BIG THANKS to you for creating this beautiful site and helping many people like me. I always look for your blog when ever I need any inspiration for GRE. Today I am writing my first mail for your suggestions.

    From the past three months I had been preparing for the GRE. I had studied following materials:
    1)Nova’s GRE math preparation guide
    2)Barrons 800 essential words
    3)Kaplan HIGH frequency words
    4)Manhattan’s 500 essential words (yet to finish 500 advanced words)
    5)Manhattan books for RC, TC and SE(online)
    6)GRE BIble 3000 words(it was good and it was having examples, synonyms and few word games)
    6)Manhattan GMAT book for CR
    7)Magoosh lessons for Verbal
    8)Magoosh practicing verbal questions(275)
    and 9)Magoosh 300 words E-book(it was amazing :))
    10) I had finished reading DH Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s lover” and learnt so many words. currently reading “Animal Farm” :)(it is wonderful)

    Overall I started loving English language so much and loving to learn new words. And my 9 month french classes are also helping me to learn few English words quickly ;)..

    I have still two months left for the actual GRE. Currently I am planning for revising Nova’s math book and practicing Magoosh practice questions for MATHS simultaneously.

    I need you suggestions for the study plan for next two months.

    I got 53% for the Magoosh verbal practice(275q). I am aiming for getting 1400+(old format) to get into Top 10 universities for MS Computer science. I have 6 years of work experience.

    Trust me I really want to get good score :(. As I got mere 53% marks in Magoosh verbal practice test(275Questions), will I get same marks in the actual test also??. I really want to improve them. As I was practicing last 100 questions in Magoosh, I was getting 60-70% answers correct.

    I am thinking of studying below for the next two months:
    1)ETS original guide for GRE
    2)Revise all the words I had learnt through Quizlet by creating flash cards.
    3)Practice Manhattan and Powerprep software tests.
    4)Read Aldaily ,Newyorker, scientific america, economic times etc and practice words

    Can you suggest me when can I take Power prep tests?

    How many practice tests are enough for the GRE?

    As I wanted to follow your two month plan, but I most of the things I had studied already :(.

    Any suggestions please???

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 12, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Sarat,

      Great to hear that you are really applying the blog strategies for learning vocab. And that reminds me, I really have to underscore the importance of reading the classics to reinforce vocabulary. Animal Farm is full of great words, and a great message :).

      So good news on the verbal side – we are adding verbal content, and already have up over 80 new Sentence Equivalence (there should be a total of 240 new questions in the coming weeks).

      In your remaining time, you might also want to consider picking up a copy of the GMAT Official guide to help you with Reading Comprehension. The guide offers hundreds of questions to help with the GRE (if you are really feeling plucky you can pick up a copy of official LSAT materials).

      Coupled with the Manhattan tests and the new Magoosh questions that should keep you busy–and consistently improving–until test day.

      Finally for Vocab make sure you quiz yourself frequently. You should be able to go through Lady Chatterly’s Lover and readily define the words you’ve underlined (turning the tricky words into Quizlet cards).

      Also, for your percentage on Magoosh that is a rough estimate. And as you’ve been steadily improving you are mixing the older results with the new results, potentially skewing your results.

      Hope that helps :).

  17. shuvolina June 8, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Hello Chris,

    I am a GRE aspirant and wish to apply for doctorate program in molecular biology in fall 2013 when is the best time to give the exam( i wish to give it in september) also my BSC marks are average (55%) while Msc marks are good(75%) will it be a problem in my selection?Please reply

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 9, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Hi Shuvolina,

      There is no perfect time to take the GRE – it depends on you. One thing you may want to keep in mind is that Sept. to Nov. is when most take the GRE. It can often be very hard to get an appointment unless you reserve well in advance.

      As for your marks, I don’t really know how admissions work at that level. I can definitely say that a strong GRE score can only help.

      Good luck 🙂

  18. Laila June 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Hello again Chris. I’m happy to be following this plan now instead of the one-week plan, haha. With this plan, how many hours each day is recommended for reasonable or preparation? I don’t want to burn myself out too fast or get behind…

    • Laila June 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      oh, I forgot to mention I have 2 months.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      That depends on the student. Ideally between 2-3 hours. Of course that is very difficult to sustain, especially with a hectic schedule. So do your best, and do not burn out 🙂 (if you feel burnt out just scale back the studying :).

  19. Chris June 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Hi, Chris! I am planning to take GRE in about three months (end of August) and due to some applications deadline, I cannot take it a second time so I only have one chance to do it right. I want to ask, what is the average new revised GRE score? (the program I want to go into does not require GRE but I still want to improve my chances by taking it and doing decent on the GRE)

    Also, I have only been memorizing vocabulary words but want to try reading in context, can you please recommend some books/papers to read that will cover vocabulary most common on GRE?

    Thank you!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 9, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Hi Chris,

      Ideally, meaning if the statisticians at ETS got it right, then the average score for Math and Verbal is 150. Of course, there still may be some slight deviations, e.g., 148 – Verbal, 151 Math). To be competitive, so you don’t have to take the test a second time, score 160 in both sections.

      For approaching in-context vocab, I think you’ll find the Magoosh ebook helpful:


  20. Lindsay May 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Why does the study guide advise against taking more than two of the Manhattan practice tests?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      During a two-week stretch students should have enough time to take and review the test (not to mention complete the other stuff in a two-week time period). While you can take more than two, especially if you aren’t missing too many questions, for most students two is enough.

      Hope that helps!

  21. Nitish April 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your reply.

    On my last post I mentioned that i was preparing for the new GRE verbal using GMAT materials (for RC and CR).

    Now, I feel that – since I am very thorough with the GMAT CR and RC materials – I might as well prepare for GMAT only. My intended course accepts either GRE or GMAT.

    I had solved 100 (50+50) RC and CR questions on Kaplan’s GMAT premier and got only 10 of them wrong. This made me contemplate about taking the GMAT.

    I am right now working on sentence-corrections, which should not be a big hurdle either.

    Can you comment on the relative difficulty of the new GMAT and new GRE, and whether this whimsical decision of mine is a good one?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      That’s a great question!

      The GMAT is much more difficult quant-wise. So if this your strong suit, then your whimsical decision is a sound one.

      Sentence Corrections aren’t too tricky so if you are doing well on the GMAT verbal definitely take the test.

      In the end, I’d recommend you take both tests. Whichever score is better, i.e., has a higher percentile ranking, then submit that one.

      Best of luck, and don’t forget that Magoosh can help you score very well on both tests: gre.magoosh.com and gmat.magoosh.com.

      Hope that helps :).

  22. manal April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Hello Chris:

    I’m manal from Saudi Arabia I have been studying English for one year now and I took the GRE last December after studying English as a second language for 9 months and preparing for GRE for 3 months. My score was very low in all the sections as 11% in writing, 26% in Q , and 18% in verbal. Now I need to retake it and my goal just to reach the 30% in all the sections to be accepted in the university. What is your advice for me because I’m really felling lost . In the first time I used Barron books for math and general test and voc.

    Thank you

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm #


      Let me just say congratulations :). For somebody who has only been studying English for one year, your ability is phenomenal. That you are even attempting the GRE after such a short time studying English is an accomplishment in of itself.

      With your natural ability–and I presume drive (English isn’t easy)–you should, with a little more practice, be able to reach your goal of 30%. Anyhow, you used Barron’s, which isn’t the best source out there.

      For textbooks, I recommend Manhattan GRE, and for computer-based learning, I recommend magoosh (Check out our product at gre.magoosh.com).

      Let me know if you have any more questions :).


  23. Nitish April 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm #


    I have been doing a lot of critical reasoning questions from GMAT materials for my GRE prep. Am I on the right track here, considering the shift in focus of the new GRE towards reasoning type questions?

    Also, on average, it takes me about 2:00 minutes to answer medium-hard CR questions. Is this a good enough time, or should I be working towards speeding up a bit more?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Hi Nitish,

      That’s definitely the right strategy :).

      The GMAT is very similar to the GRE RC, especially now with the Critical Reasoning questions.

      About 2 minutes is not too much time, provided you are answering the questions correctly. On the GRE you will only get a few CR questions that are at the GMAT medium-hard level.

      Let me know how prepping goes, and don’t hesitate to ask any other questions :).

  24. WL3 March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Hey Chris,
    I was wondering if there is a daily 2 months plan?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 29, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Hi WL3,

      As of now we don’t have any 2-month daily plans. You can adjust the three month plan accordingly, perhaps giving yourself even more to do (esp. if you are ambitious :)).

  25. abhay March 5, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Hi Chris,
    To guage my initial level, I had given ETS PowerPrep test and my score range is following.
    Verbal – 400-500
    Quant – 750-800

    Can you please advise me what will be the right course of preparation for me. I plan to take GRE in July and have 3-4 months at hand. The above plan sounds good for me but I feel that I can stress more on Verbal part to improve my score.

  26. krishna February 19, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I have a very low gpa in engineering (55% from my 1st semester to my 8th); I’m a computer science student. After cracking the GRE with good marks, do you think I’ll get admitted to a US school for an MS? I have no work experience or research papers, so what should I do? Is it the right decision to do the GRE? Please help!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Krishna,

      A good GRE score could definitely help you gain admission to an MS program. By good GRE score I mean 90% Quant, 80% Verbal. I do not know anything about specific schools in MS – so getting into a competitive program on a solid GRE score alone will be difficult.

      Hope that helped!

  27. Gaurav February 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    hi chris.. i was wondering you provide full-length tests or just provide practice questions. Actually i’m concerned only with verbal part .

    • Chris Lele
      Chris February 20, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Hi Gaurav,

      We do not provide full-length practice tests – as of yet.

      What you can do, as a Magoosh user, is create mock practice tests (https://magoosh.com/gre/2011/mock-tests-for-the-new-gre/). Essentially, you can focus only on harder and very hard questions, thereby modeling the difficult section on verbal.

      Does that help?

  28. jia February 1, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Hi, I’m from Pakistan. I’m a medical student planning to do the GRE. I have no idea how to start my prep. Being a med student I cannot afford more than 2 hours studying for GRE each day. Please tell me how to begin. I’ll be very thankful.

  29. sur January 24, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    Hi chris,

    After taking serious initiatives i’m able to crack the quans easily, but still i am weak in vocabulary section; could you please guide me through this? Currently i’m using baroons 3500 wordlist.

  30. elnaz January 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Dear Chris, I appreciate your attention. I’m sorry in advance for my delay. I started my magoosh using from 11th-Sep-2011
    I used its lessons videos, especially in verbal part; after that started my tests on magoosh, ETS, kaplan and Barrens.
    I read the 1100 Readings and its vocabularies and some other verbal packets like Guru with around of 5100 vocabs, but unfortunally, I am still not having success. I am so worried for my next exam on 22th March.
    Thank you for replying to me.

  31. Lnaz January 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Hi dear Chris,

    in advance, thank you so much.
    I took 2 GRE on 5Nov2011, and 3Jan2012, and other one will be likely on 27March2012. unfortunately, despite taking all time on preparing for revised GRE(magoosh 2 times, ETS, Kaplan,…) but my scores are not good at all. first one was( Q 152, V 137), second one was(Q156 V136). now, I need good score for university, and I don’t know what should I do now. in advance I appreciate you to help me.

    Thank you,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Lnaz,

      Sorry about your scores – though I definitely appreciate your perseverance.

      A few questions – how did you prepare given that you were using Magoosh.How often did you take practice tests? And how did you focus on your weaknesses? Finally, what method did you use to learn vocabulary?

      The answer to those questions should help me provide you with a study plan over the next couple months. I want to make sure that this time around you achieve your goals.

      Hear from you soon!

      • elnaz January 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

        Dear Chris, I appreciate your attention. I’m sorry in advance for my delay. I started my magoosh using from 11th-Sep-2011
        I used its lessons’s videos, especially in verbal part; after that started my tests on magoosh, ETS, kaplan and Barrens.
        I read the 1100 barren’s Readings and its vocabularies and some other verbal packets like Guru with around of 5100 vocabs, but unfortunally, I am still not having success. I am so worried for my next exam on 22th March.
        Thank you for replying to me.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris January 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

          Well, I just finished advising a student about the importance of understanding words in context. Hopefully, you were learning some of these words, not just as definitions, but the way in which they are used in sentence (Barron’s 1100 does a little bit of this).

          At this point, you’ve basically seen every word you could possibly encounter on the GRE. My suggestion: read.

          Read often from the New York Times and even Newsweek magazine. You will encounter words you’ve learned. Can you define them in context? Have wordnik.com open on a browser just to check words. But without really understanding how words work in a sentence you can memorize thousand different word lists and complete a thousand practice problems without really learning words.

          Let me know if that makes sense :).

          Also, I can provide more advice on reading.

          Best of luck (and with this approach you should have enough time before Mar. 22nd)

          • elnaz February 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

            Hi dear Chris,

            I appreciate your guidance.
            I have started to read more than in the past.
            I am new to this approach and it is difficult for me to adapt to it, but I’ll do my best.

            Kindest Regards

  32. sur January 8, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I just have 2-3 months to take my GRE exams, i spend about 6-8 hrs a day preparing for my exam, i use Barron’s book for vocabulary, kaplan and manhattan for quans,but still could’nt get my practise tests right(i score low marks) , could you suggest me a study plan

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      If you are still struggling after going through those books, even the best study plan can’t help. You might consider a class or a private tutor. Magoosh offers a combination of the two – you have a private video tutor who you can pause whenever you want (it’s purely a video based format). Give it a try – we offer a free trial!

  33. Arun December 5, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m planning to prepare for a little under 2 months before I take the revised GRE. I’ve taken the old GRE and scored a modest 760 Quant and 550 Verbal. I spent about 10 days preparing the first time around and focused my time on the Quant section.

    My question is whether or not my old prep material (Kaplan OG, Princeton Review 1014 GRE questions) will be of any use? Also, would you say that preparing using Magoosh alone should be sufficient to score well or is the ETS OG absolutely necessary?

    Thank you,

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      I had bad experiences using the 1,014 from Princeton Review with students on the old GRE. Riddled with errors and typos it was rush to print in this specious conclusion that more questions equals greater quality. Strong material for the old GRE can be used to prep. Don’t forget there is an old GRE powerprep test (1 and 2) that would be helpful.

      That brings me to your last question: I would always supplement any prep books/system with original material. While some out there will claim you can use only their content, this claim is disingenuous. Practicing with some content is better than practicing with no content, but if you want to maximize your potential you should always use ETS material. As for complimentary prep material nothing out there is as complete as magoosh.

  34. Sebastian October 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Chris, you mentioned doing timed RCs. What type of speed should we be targeting? And how much do we expect to shave off?

    Could you elaborate on this further?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm #


      For the longer passages, I would focus on bringing your time down to 2 to 2:30 seconds. The key though is not simply reading the passage, but, upon finishing it, knowing what’s at issue, what are some current theories/opinions on the issue, and what the author’s take/main point is.

      To get to this point, you may need to practice underlining/marking up the passage, but eventually you should be able to do the above in your head.

      Hopefully that helps!

  35. Siva September 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm #


    I have seen the Barron’s 1100 words book. That book is very big… and it has a the time table of around 50 weeks, which is a very long period. Is there any way to crack the book in one month?

    Please advise.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Siva,

      I know – that must seem pretty daunting. In the 30-day study guide plan I noted that it is a very aggressive one. For the Barron’s 1100 words, luckily, there are some words that are very basic. Therefore, for most, it is more like the Barron’s 800 book. That works out to a little less than 30 words a day. Again, that is a fair amount, but I’ve seen some students handle as many as 50 words a day.

  36. Arif September 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you, Chris!!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris September 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      You’re welcome!

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!