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What to do 2 Weeks Before the GRE

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.

 

The Marathoners

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.

Review

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.

In math, the example could be applying the wrong formula. Of perhaps, you need practice with negative exponents. Whatever the case may be, your review should be specific and thus manageable.

 

Routine

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

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.

 

The Sprinters

Learn

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.

 

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17 Responses to What to do 2 Weeks Before the GRE

  1. iqra June 19, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    hi chris!
    how many practice tests should one take before giving the exam?Also after I attempt a practice set,what should be learnt from the test that I continuously improve in the next practice sets?please suggest some free or paid resources for practice test!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 21, 2017 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Iqra,

      Unfortunately and fortunately, there is no set number of practice exams to take before the actual exam as this number will vary from person to person. As long as each practice exam is utilized to its maximum potential, you’re on a good path. That being said, if you have flexibility, try to take at least 2-3 mock exams. If you’re in the last two weeks, I’d shoot more for the 2 mock exams. As you alluded to, the important part will be to learn from the exam and improve upon it. Specifically, try to identify your areas of weakness that you should spend more time on, see if you have pacing issues, determine if you fall for certain test maker traps or have common careless errors. If so, make a proactive effort to work on these areas between each mock exam.

      With regard to resources, I would recommend checking out the ETS official material, Magoosh, and Manhattan! This will be a great place to start! Best of luck! 😀

  2. Nikita February 5, 2017 at 3:12 am #

    I have my GRE in over a month. I have taken 1 mock test so far. How many more mock tests should I write before my actual exam?
    Also,please let me know from where can I arrange for these mock tests apart from Magoosh and ETS?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 5, 2017 at 10:32 am #

      Hi Nikita,

      How many practice tests you should take really depends on your comfort with standardized tests, ability to apply your pacing and problem-solving strategies effectively, test stress and test stamina. Practice tests will help you to improve all of these things to give you the best chance at a strong score! We recommend that students try to take at least three mock tests before their GRE exam so that they become comfortable with the test and know what to expect. However, the more test you take, the more you will improve! If you have a little over a month, I would recommend that you try to take a mock test each week. If you can, try to take it around the same time of your actual test (i.e. in the morning or afternoon). Make sure that you spend ample time studying your results and looking for areas for improvement!

      Besides the ETS Powerprep II tests and the Magoosh practice tests, there is a free Manhattan GRE test that you can take. This will also provide high-quality practice. If you want even more tests, you can also buy any of the Manhattan Strategy Guides, which will give you access to 6 full-length online tests.

  3. sweta December 20, 2016 at 6:08 am #

    am writing my GRE in a week.. I have practised questions.. but tend to get nervous a little and do some simple mistakes.. how to overcome this?.. currently am getting >158 in quants and verbal on lower side(145’s).. so how to increase quant >163 and improve verbal by at least a 150+?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 21, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      Hi Sweta,

      Unfortunately, there is no magic way to increase your score by so much in a short time. The GRE is testing your overall critical thinking abilities, and those are skills that take time and effort to build! You can, however, leverage your current knowledge to see some improvement in your last week 🙂

      First, make sure that you understand the strategy for each question type. You will find plenty of information about the best methods and strategies in our blog! Then, take some time to go over the questions you have already done, especially the ones you got wrong. Make sure that you understand everything about the question: why the right answer is correct, why the wrong answer isn’t, the methods used and the best strategy. This will help you to understand the questions that you will see on test day so that you can quickly and efficiently solve them.

      And finally, read the following blog posts about how to avoid simple mistakes and learn from them: Avoiding Silly Mistakes on the GRE and learning from GRE math practice

      Don’t give up! Keep working hard and believe in yourself, and you can see improvement in your final weel 🙂

    • Raviteja Reddy Zakkam December 21, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      I can see a pop-up which says free 7-day gre email course. may be use that. Buy word power made easy and complete it in 5 days. Complete all 3 free ebooks by magoosh. practice and review your mistakes. Don’t spend more than 1 minute. I dont remember how many questions in how many minutes now. Assuming you can dedicate all 7 days for test preparation other than sleep/ contact me if otherwise. can help in making a plan

  4. milan July 14, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    I have 14 days until my test just started prepping, I need to score in the 40th-50 percentile in Math and Verbal. Any idea what I need to do? I have been so confused on where to begin and I feel like I am weak in Math. I want to do everything that I can.

    • ravi July 16, 2015 at 7:57 am #

      Complete the math formula ebook of magoosh and then take the test, analyze your mistakes understand in which concepts you are weak. then again see related videos and articles in magoosh. Practice more problems from the topics where you feel that you are weak. Then write one more practice test.

      Repeat the same thing.

      All The Best

  5. Sherri December 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    I just realized that I need to take the gre in less than a month. I have not started studying. Guess you could call me a super sprinter! Could you please recommend a strategy and suggest all the tools you think will be most beneficial?
    Thank you,
    Sherri

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi Sherri,

      I like the attitude – super sprinter :). Well, first off, follow our 30-day guide (posted below). But make sure you slip in all four ETS tests. You will also want to target the areas you need the most work on. Let’s say math number properties. Buy the MGRE books and go through the Magoosh lesson videos, focusing on these question types. As soon as you become more confident move to another weak area, say geometry. That way, you are being a generalist (taking timed tests) and a specialist.

      http://magoosh.com/gre/2011/30-day-gre-study-guide/

      Hope that helps!

  6. Z RAVITEJA REDDY December 16, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I am writing GRE on Jan 4th 2013 . I would like to know which way will be better to learn words in context? Studying Magoosh Vocab Book will be enough? i am using gre-center.appspot.com app in which i will have pictures associated to meanings. i think it is time consuming as i am learning 100 words per day of 3hrs into short term memory . is there any good way?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      Hi Z. Reddy,

      Well…it is a tough, time-consuming battle, this GRE vocab learning. But you are on the right track! Mixing the visual component is a great way to learn words. Still, you must always remember to revisit words. You are really do nothing at all if you memorize 1,000 words only to forget all but 50 of them test day.

      For context building, I recommend the following post:

      http://magoosh.com/gre/2011/five-ways-to-become-a-gre-vocabulary-detective/

      Good luck, and keep learning all those vocab words :).

  7. Chi December 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi,

    You recommend following routine, which for some (as you mention here) can be taking full length practice test weekly, e.g. the “marathoner.” In this vein, where is the best place to get full length GRE practice test that are most like the ones that we will encounter on exam day? After reading this post, your review of GRE books, study schedules, etc, it seems like you might recommend Manhattan GRE – since you get access to 6 – and the ETS Official GRE Guide 2nd edition – since you get access to 4. But that is only 10 full length test, and for the “marathoner” who is studying over the course of 6 months or so, may not suffice. Are there other recommendations you have to get quality, full length test? And how many GRE test do these recommendations offer?

    Thanks,

    -Chi

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi Chi,

      Good question!

      For one, I wouldn’t do to many practice tests at the beginning, if you are prepping for the long haul. But you are right – you will run out very soon, with only 10.

      So in addition to MGRE and ETS, Magoosh offers up to 4 mock tests. The questions are as difficult, if not more difficult, than the actual test. You’re not only getting a grueling workout, but your test scores on them – like MGRE and ETS – are very similar to your actual test score.

      That of course leaves you with about 14. Nonetheless, I’d recommend doing them again. With enough space in between taking 14 tests, say 6 weeks, you will probably forget most of the material (unless you have phenomenal recall).

      Hope that helps, and I commend you on your marathon sprinting :).

  8. Ahmed Fahad December 12, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Hi,

    I took the test a month a go and was not satisfied with my score so my expecatio was higher.

    In fact I lost he interest to sudy even after I regsiterd to take the tes which will be next Sunday.

    Any advise on how to refersh knowing hat i studies two months non stop before my last test. My score was 154 and i aspire for 151 in verbal only as they dont need math score. they also need 4.5 in AWA but I scored 3.0

    Advices please

    • Chris Lele
      Chris December 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      HI Ahmed,

      It seems as though you only have about 10 days to go. That is not much time…still, that should give you enough to go through the Magoosh ebooks. Not only will you learn helpful strategies but you’ll get advice on the best sources to use, etc.

      http://magoosh.com/gre/gre-ebook/
      http://magoosh.com/gre/2012/gre-vocabulary-ebook/

      I am confident the ebooks will help you out a lot :). Let me know if you have any other questions!


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