Efficient, Effective GRE Studying

January 27, 2014
Gina Allison

Photo Credit: cityyear via Compfight cc

Try teaching a GRE practice problem to another “student.”
Photo Credit: cityyear via Compfight cc

We often post GRE practice problems for you to try on your own, and then follow up with answer explanations. In my experience as a Kaplan teacher, I’ve found that many students read through the explanations quickly and move on, missing out on the wealth of learning that can be had from thorough engagement with answer explanations. It’s my mission to help you make your GRE studying efficient and effective.

Here’s how to get the most out of every GRE practice problem that you try by using the answer explanation effectively.

  • Work through the problem using the answer explanation as your guide. Take as long as you need to understand the explanation fully. Ask questions – if it’s here on the blog, ask us in the comments. If you’re taking a Kaplan course, ask your teacher. If there are specific rules or strategies that you aren’t yet familiar with, make a note to learn those.
  • Once you’ve absorbed the problem and explanation fully, note the takeaways, including any specific content and test taking strategies you need to study further. Make a plan for how to master those – via flash cards, math content drills, etc.
  • Set the practice problem aside for a week or more. Later, go back to the original practice problem when you’ve had sufficient time away from it, and try it again on your own. Can you recall the concepts you need to know for similar GRE Test Day problems? Are you approaching these problems efficiently?
  • Advanced Level: Try teaching this problem to someone else. If you’re really grasping the concepts, you’ll be able to teach them to a willing victim…er, student. Teach them to a fellow GRE prepper. This is a great way to solidify the methods, strategies, and content in your mind.

This won’t be a full drill, since you have seen this problem before, but will allow you to test yourself to see if you have fully absorbed the lessons that you needed to learn from this practice problem. That’s the point of each and every Kaplan practice problem you complete – to take it as an example of the types of problems you will see on GRE Test Day, and to learn the content and strategy lessons you must master in order to excel on the real thing. Every practice question acts as a model, or archetype, so that you can call up your previous experiences of practice when you are testing in the Pearson center. You shouldn’t encounter surprises on Test Day.

Questions? Topics you’d like to see covered in future blog entries? Talk to me in the comments!

Gina Allison Gina Allison has been a Kaplan instructor for over six years and was named Teacher of the Year in 2008. She has an MBA and would like to further her studies in Education or Botany. Gina loves working with students to help them develop study schedules and to motivate them to achieve success on test day and beyond. She likes to read, see movies, and work in her garden.

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