GRE Study Schedules for Various Needs, Time Frames and Budgets
Whether you've got one day or one month to prepare for the GRE, try to set priorities. On this page are four realistic GRE study schedules, which vary according to how much time you have until your test date. Choose Plan A
if you have 2 days, Plan B
if you have one week, Plan C
if you have 2 weeks, or Plan D
if you have 3-4 weeks.
Plan A (2 Days)
Have you scheduled a GRE testing appointment for tomorrow or the next day but put off any GRE study until now? Assuming you don't want to (or can't) reschedule your test, here's what you need to do:
Read the GRE information, testing tips, and tutorials at this site, and then try your hand at all the multiple-choice questions here. Then, compose two practice GRE essays — one of each type — each under a strict 30-minute time limit. (Select any Issue prompt and Argument prompt from the complete list of essay prompts provided at the official GRE website.)
At the official GRE website, review the general test-taking strategies, and attempt the example multiple-choice questions. You'll find at least one example of each basic question format. Be sure to read the analysis for each question.
Download the GRE POWERPREP® software available for free at the official GRE website. Review all the available test-taking tips, and attempt all available multiple-choice practice questions, preferably under timed conditions. Be sure to read the analysis for each question you answer incorrectly so that you learn not to commit similar errors during your actual GRE exam.
Plan B (1 Week)
After carrying out Plan A
, if you have at least a few more days before exam day, here's what you should do (in order of priority):
- Take at least TWO full-length practice tests (all sections) under timed conditions. Why are practice tests such a high priority? When it comes to the GRE, building up endurance and finding your optimal pace is half the battle. After each test, review the explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly, but don't dwell on your scores.
- View or download the official GRE essay prompts. Then, as time permits, implement these strategies for GRE-essay preparation.
- If you have more time, concentrate on your weak areas. If your Quantitative skills are weak, search the Web for additional additional free math review. (You can download a free PDF-format math review from the official GRE website.) Or if English is your second language, study online vocabulary lists and work through some Verbal Reasoning lessons at other GRE-prep websites.
Plan C (2 Weeks)
For many individuals, two weeks is enough time for comprehensive GRE prep. Carry out Plan A
and Plan B
, but augment Plan B as follows:
- Work through the lesson materials in a comprehensive GRE prep book. Find a book that provides skill-building lessons, and not just practice test questions. Pace yourself so that you complete the lesson materials at least 3-4 days before exam day.
- In tandem with performing step 1, take at least four full-length practice tests (all sections) under timed conditions. (Remember: building up endurance and finding your optimal pace is half the battle.) Take one practice test every 2 or 3 days, but not more often; full-length testing day after day can very quickly result in burnout. After every test, review the explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly, but don't dwell on your scores.
- The day before the exam, unwind. If possible, spend the day engaged in relaxing leisure activities. Don't talk about the GRE; in fact, try not to even think about it.
Here's a sensible 2-week GRE prep schedule:
|Day 1:|| Review this site's GRE practice questions and test-taking tips.
|Day 2:|| Full-length practice test #1 (and review) |
|Day 3:|| Self-study: Quantitative Reasoning (lessons and practice questions) |
|Day 4:|| Self-study: Verbal Reasoning (lessons and practice questions) |
|Day 5:|| Full-length practice test #2 (and review) |
|Day 6:|| Download the official GRE essay questions|
Self-study: Analytical Writing
Practice writing two essays
|Day 7:|| Take the day off|
|Day 8:|| Full-length practice test #3 (and review) |
|Day 9:|| Self-study: Quantitative Reasoning (lessons and practice questions) |
|Day 10:|| Self-study: Verbal Reasoning (lessons and practice questions)|
|Day 11:|| Full-length practice test #4 (and review) |
|Day 12:|| Self-study: Work on your weakest areas|
|Day 13:|| Full-length practice test #5 (and review) |
|Day 14:|| Take the day off|
Plan D (3-4 Weeks)
If you have more than two weeks to prepare for the GRE, expand the 2-week study schedule
to fit your time frame, budget, and needs. Here are some suggestions:
- Augment your study materials with workbooks and other materials aimed specifically at your weakest areas.
- Take additional full-length practice tests. (Be sure to stagger them evenly over your 3-4 week prep period.)
- Follow the 2-week study plan, but take more days off (perhaps one of every three days).
Widely recommended for GRE prep: