Study Resources for the GRE

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I recently did a post about why the GRE is required for PA schools, so now I want to discuss some resources that you can use to make sure you get the scores necessary to impress the admissions committees and score an interview. One thing is for sure, you need to study for the GRE! Don't write it off and waste your money on the test without taking the time to prepare. I'll discuss things I used, what I wish I used, and recommendations for what you should use to study. This post includes some affiliate links. 

Let's start with my technique. The first thing I recommend doing is taking a practice test to gauge where you're at and what areas you need to focus on. This will also help you to familiarize yourself with the testing software so you're more comfortable on test day. I have good news! There are two free practice tests offered on the GRE website. There are also two full-length practice tests that you can purchase for $40 each. Once you have targeted your weak areas, you can tailor your studying more specifically. 

Now for the actual studying! My technique consisted of using 2 different books - one that focused on strategy and one that had practice problems. to save some money, these books can often be found at the library, Goodwill, or other second hand book stores. Just make sure that you're using a book for the most recent GRE because the format was changed in 2011. Anything older than that may be inaccurate. 

Here are some options for strategy books: 


And the practice problem books: 


I would go through and study the strategy in one book and then immediately do the relevant practice problems. This helped me to see if I was really understanding the techniques. The GRE is not a knowledge-based test. If you have the basics down, then you need to focus on the problem-solving part of the test by understanding the various question types and how to address them.

After you've put in the time to actually study, I recommend taking a second practice test. Hopefully, you should see some improvement from the first test, and then you'll be able to determine what areas you need to revisit. 

I'll be honest and say that I did not do the best job of planning out my studying for my GRE. I finished finals, and then I had 1 week to study. I locked myself in my room at home and crammed for 12 hours each day. (Try to do better than me and plan at least a month to study.) Traditionally, I know that I do pretty well with standardized tests, but the one part of the GRE that is impossible to learn last minute is all of the vocabulary. If you know the GRE is in your near future, start studying vocab ASAP! There are a lot of different options: flashcards, apps, podcasts, etc.

If you feel like you need more structure or a set plan, you may want to use an organized program. Although I didn't personally use one of these, I've heard great things about Magoosh. You can try their GRE program free for 7 days and get 25% off with this link! (You should see a pop-up if on a computer, or use the code SAVE25GRE at checkout to save on the 6 month plan through January 2019!) The Magoosh prep includes video lessons, practice problems, and practice tests (basically everything I recommended in this post).