What is the Best Way to Prepare for the GRE?

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Jul 15, 2011
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I started doing GRE prep within last couple of weeks and I was wondering what is the cheapest and most efficient way to study. I get the Kaplan GRE question of the day and I downloaded the free software from the ETS (it had an overview of each section, discusses what to expect in each section, and two full length practice tests). I also found this website called magoosh.com which seems to have some good resources. I obviously want to get a good score, but I'm not sure if I'm headed in the right direction in terms of the resources that I am using at the moment. I don't have the time or the money to spend to take a class but I would be ok with buying a book or computer software. I plan to take the test mid-June and it is my goal to spend at least 30 min day on test prep. How did anyone with a good score prepare for the GRE?

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I used Magoosh. Good practice questions and videos going over most questions.
I used Magoosh as well, it's a great way to study online.
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Hi! I used Magoosh I bought the membership it was $100 for 6 months. I then downloaded Magoosh GRE vocab flashcards app on phone you can get it on a tablet as well. I liked their text completion and math explanations. I also bought Manhattan Prep GRE . I used the 3rd edition, they have a 4th edition that came out but the 3rd edition is almost identical. I bought all the books except their text completion because I read a blog on Magoosh that explained it was not as strong and has weird examples. Here is a link to the full set for $75
Amazon product

BUT on amazon you can look up each book and find them used for SUPER cheap. that is what I did. I also purchased some via ebook.

Just my two cents. You can read more about what I did for the GRE etc. on my blog!
I used the Kaplan GRE Premier and the Manhattan 5 pounds of GRE questions. The Kaplan book was nice because it has so many practice tests, I did a test every 3 days leading up to the GRE. However, I wish I spent more time doing the 5 pounds of practice questions. I think that focusing more on the math from that book would have boosted my quantitative score. Practicing the verbal questions and going over the essays from the Manhattan book definitely prepared me well. Also, I saved the ETS practice tests until the very end, and those tests were very accurate of my actual GRE score.

I know it may seem overwhelming at first, but just start somewhere! I knew math was not my strongest point so I just did a bunch of math problems and then really tried to understand the ones that I got wrong and supplemented that with YouTube or the Kaplan book. I also made a schedule of when to take practice tests and that seemed to help me focus. Good luck!
I got the Kaplan book with online practice quizzes; I believe it was $30. The first time I took it I did terribly (I have bad testing anxiety) and just through working with this for a week, my math score went up about 8 points and my verbal score went up 14. They have a "most used vocab word" section and I actually found it to be spot on. The online quizzes really helped because something I struggled with was the format and time management, so just taking a few of those helped tremendously. You can also make your own quizzes based on what kind of questions you're getting wrong most often.
I really liked the kaplan book to study the math portion because there were so many formulas I hadn't needed in 8 years. I also did magoosh flashcards.
When I first started I took a practice test to see what I needed the most help on. I would continue doing this either once or every other week to make sure you are on the right track.
I didn't write any practice essays and I really wish I had because that was my worst score.
Does anyone have a good app that's good for studying on the go?
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i used the manhattan 3rd ed book(s) - reading comp & essay, and also the 5lb practice workbook. i suggest buying one of the 3rd or 4th ed. books NEW so you get access to 6 free practice tests (the 5lb book does not give you access to free tests).

I also memorized the two sets of flashcards - my vocab is horrible (500 essential & 500 advanced words). You hear mixed opinions on memorizing words but for me this really helped eliminate incorrect answer choices during the text completion and sentence equivalence sections.

SO what books do you go with? You need to identify strengths and weaknesses and attack those weaknesses and fine tune your strengths. I was comfortable with math but working thru the workbook def. helped with specific problems. my main concern was essay & verbal reasoning. I focused on those, turned out slightly above average scores, and was rewarded by being accepted into my #1 PT program.

If you go the Manhattan route and get the free practice tests (which compared very similar to my actually scores) I suggest with the practice tests you DONT skip the essay portions - i always did but it is better to practice under normal testing conditions (skipping essays cuts your testing time short by an hour) - many will get tired and worn out during the actual test - it is long!

I had horrible experience with kaplan first time around (my problem was probably that the textbook was several years old). I continually answered 85-95% of the maths questions correctly…then come test time… 151.​
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Thanks for all of your input. I took the 1st full length practice test from the ETS the other day and scored a 148 on verbal and 146 on quantitative. The only prep I had was doing the Kaplan GRE question of the day so I think my scores could have been worse. With that being said, I know I still have some work to do. Is the GRE similar to the SAT in that there's tips and tricks you can use so you don't have to actually figure out the answer or is it a "true" test of your math, verbal, and analytical skills?
1) Magoosh (focus on the easy/medium questions at first, if you are looking for a 315+ mix in some of the hard and difficult level questions).
2) Manhattan Prep Books (take your time, work through every book you can. Word problems and Geometry are my favorite).
3) ETS Powerprep online practice exams (old tests from the test maker that will give you a score, invaluable..use these two weeks and one week out from the exam and go over your right/wrong answers).
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Not sure if anyone has said this yet but READ... a lot. Read as many newspaper articles as you can and try to comprehend what the author is trying to say. Look up any word you don't know and then read the article over again so you have the new word in context. Think at the end what the author's point of view was, what he/she was trying to convey. Just being exposed to higher level writing on a daily basis is more helpful than going over vocabulary flashcards (at least this is what I've found). Quant wasn't as easy for me, but kaplan's practice sets helped a lot. Took some work. I really think the smartest thing I did was buy a subscription to WSJ and read it everyday. Whether you agree with their positions or not, reading well written and well argued pieces are the best practice for that test.