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If you are planning on applying to grad school, then you will most likely be taking the GRE test. For many graduate programs, the GRE serves the same function as the SAT did when you were first applying for college. It is an admissions test and your score can be a large determining factor for admittance into a graduate program. The GRE itself is designed to evaluate your readiness for the rigors of grad school. The better you do on your test, the more favorable your application will be viewed by your potential new school. Obviously, you want to be as prepared as possible for this test. Here are some tips.

Take Practice Tests

Several organizations offer GRE practice tests and guide books. Our recommendation is to utilize these resources. The GRE is designed to measure how well you analyze, extrapolate and quantify information. It’s not a test over specific information. Instead the test is designed to measure your ability to analyze information and use reasoning to provide correct information. Likely the best thing you can do to begin your preparation, is to take a practice test. Then you can evaluate where you did well, and where you did not so well. If you’d like to improve on the quantitative reasoning section, then you can hone your math skills. If you didn’t do so well with writing or verbal reasoning sections you can work on your writing, grammar, sentence structure and reading comprehension skills. After a period of studying, take another practice test to see how much your scores have improved.

If Needed, Take Advantage of Prep Courses

If you feel that practice tests and self-guided study is not enough for you, take advantage of one of the many GRE prep courses that are available. Many of the courses are at a reasonable cost and can help improve your scores.

Tips for Right Before the Test

This is a test that you’ll need to prepare for. Our suggestion is to start preparing early and stop preparing at least a couple of days before the test. For most people, cramming does not work. Spending the last couple of days feverishly studying will not prepare you nearly as well as a slow and steady preparation over several weeks. Once you are a couple of days out from the test, you are as prepared as you are going to be.

Take good care of yourself before the test. Get good sleep the night before the test. A tired brain simply does not work as well as one that is well rested. Eat healthy, get some exercise. If your body is feeling good and healthy, your mind will function better.

Remember That You Can Re-Take the Test

One of the ways to keep from stressing out about the GRE, is to remember that you can take it again if you don’t like your score. You can take the GRE several times, and you direct which set of scores get sent off to your potential grad school. Relax and do your best. If it turns out that you feel your best effort on a particular day was not good enough, then hone your skills and take the test again.