The week before the GRE is the time to put the finishing touches on your preparation. It’s also time to taper off so you are completely rested and ready for Test Day.
If your GRE is a week away and you believe you won’t be able to get the score you need, keep in mind that the testmakers allow you to change your test date for a fee of $50 if you do so no later than 4 days before your appointment. If you change your test date later than this, then you will be charged the entire $250 test fee.
Take a GRE Practice Test
Take your last practice test a week before the real test. Focus on your timing and on applying critical reasoning skills: answer questions efficiently by using strategic shortcuts whenever possible. Over the next day or two, review every answer explanation thoroughly.
If you got the question right . . .
Reading the explanation will reinforce your understanding, allowing you to approach a similar question confidently and efficiently on Test Day.
The explanation might point out a more efficient way to arrive at the answer or explain some math facts or vocabulary you didn’t know. If so, do the question again using this knowledge so you internalize it. Even though you are working with new information, you are applying it to a question you are already familiar with, so you can master this new material.
Review the GRE words in your flashcards or vocabulary journal that you have learned. If any words that you have studied are difficult to recall, think of a way to use them in a sentence that you will remember, maybe by associating them with someone you know or something you’ve done. Reviewing the words you have already learned will help you remember them during the test.
If you answered the question incorrectly . . .
Use the explanation to understand where your thinking went off track.
- If you simply did not know how to approach the question at all, put this type of question in the “write-off” column; do not spend time studying it this week, and if you see a similar question on Test Day, simply guess on it and move on.
- If you were on the right track to getting the correct answer—maybe you were able to eliminate some incorrect answers, or maybe you did part of the question correctly—then once you understand the explanation, do the question again. If the process still feels uncomfortable, do the question yet another time. Actually doing the question correctly gives you the experience or “muscle memory” of doing it right, which is more powerful than just reading about how you could have done it right. This experience of working toward the correct answers will transfer to similar questions you see on Test Day.