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HOW TO prepare for GRE exam, coaching centers, etc.

Planning for your GRE preparation can be as daunting as the preparation itself. Questions like where do I start, how much time should I spend each day and how early should I start, hit us at some point in time. I think what GRE really requires is consistent study for a considerable period of time. Starting early might give you an edge. But even if you are say 3 months away from your d-day, a consistent plan to spend a fixed number of hours, depending on what your schedule and capacity allows, every day might just be the key.

Most of us prepare for our GRE while we are in college or working. College or a new job can take up most of your time. It is thus imperative to plan ahead of time. You must know beforehand how many hours a day can you devote to your preparation. And even more important is to stick to that schedule. I don't think their is any disagreement in how spending 3 hours every day for say 3 months is way more beneficial that spending 12 each day for 10 days before the exam date. Moreover, it can be tedious and boring to study for the GRE. Even more difficult is to keep the course, to stick to your schedule.

And this is where the coaching centers might be helpful. Now this might vary from one person to another, and I know a lot of people who can chart out a study schedule and really stick to it for months; but if you are an average Joe like I, coaching centers can really help you in the critical preparation phase of you GRE. The main benefits are that these guys do all the homework on what material is current, so you are spending your time on only on the right material, something that a person preparing on his own may not be doing. Then, you will not be wasting hours fishing for GRE preparation materials on the internet like so many other students. And with weekend classes that most of them offer, it is easier to stick to the preparation schedule. Most places also have a test every other week, which by the way I feel is the best way to prepare for GRE, that tells you where you stand amongst the other students in your class. While you should not allow a low rank in your class bother you too much, you should still use it to see where you stand and how you should modify your preparation plan to improve your rankings.

On my last trip back home, I had a chance to meet some students who were preparing for the GRE. These guys had formed a study group, and it was kind of working for them pretty well. They downloaded tests, and then took them together on their computers in a same room, basically to simulate the actual GRE center environment. And one of them said that when you are taking a test with two other students in the same room, it kind of replicates the same feeling of competition (by all means, healthy), and nervousness that you will encounter when you take the actual GRE. So that was one idea I liked and wanted to share with your guys.

The other craze I see among some students preparing for GRE is stacking up on all sorts of material. I know of students who've spent 1000s on stacking up their book shelves with GRE preparation books like Barron's, Kaplan's, Big book and what not. But seriously guys, do you think you can really cover 3 or more books effectively. I am of the school of thought that if you did even one book, cover to cover, and like really absorbed it, it should be more than enough. Claims like the GRE exam has more words from book A compared to book B are crap. Drawing of words on your GRE exam is a totally random process. So the point is, while it is good to have a variety of material, please do not spend too much time gathering too much material, and ending up with only little time to cover this material.

The last important thing for your preparation is to not compare your preparation habits with other. While it is important to know what methodology worked for others, you and only you can decide what will work for you. My friend does a whole word list in a day, I have to do that too. WRONG, please never think that way. Realize that every person has a different capacity. It is very important to know how much your brain can absorb in a day, and trying to exceed that just because someone else seems to be doing that might not be useful. It is your GRE preparation, and you should approach it the way that is best for you.


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