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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.


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