It is easy to get burned out on GRE prep. Sure you start off with pistons pumping but by the second month the mere thought of opening a GRE book makes you shudder. Whether you are taking the test after only a month of prep or after six months, you should make sure to spend the last week or two really going full steam on GRE prep.
Below are ways to maintain the intensity during the final push before test day.
1. Take a practice test (or two!)
The first reaction you may have had upon reading the title above is dread. But don’t let dread get the better of you: taking an actual practice test before the real test will help you learn to manage your anxiety test day. It will also help prime you for sitting still for three plus hours, staring a pixilated screen.
Taking a practice test will also help you identify areas you need to work on. And I can think of no other better way to galvanize you to action during the final week, then seeing a score: if the score is lower, you will be motivated to really push it; if your score is higher, you will be exhilarated and want to score even higher than your target GRE scores for math and verbal. Speaking of scores make sure to look at the GRE scores by program to know what you need to get to be competitive.
And if you feel up to it, don’t just take one test, but take another one. Doing so will give you an even better sense of how you’ll do test day.
2. Do questions from when you first started prepping
It’s probably been months since you’ve seen the material you first started using, so you probably won’t remember that much of it. To get an extra confidence boost go back and do the same material to see how much you have improved.
This holds true for practice tests as well. Take the exact same one you took at the beginning of your prep to see how much your GRE percentiles have jumped (going from 45% to 70% will definitely put some pep in your prep!). If you haven’t improved try to understand why. Identifying these areas will help you test day.
3. Find a good GRE tutor
A skilled tutor can help you identify a few things you can tweak during the final week to get a couple of more points test day. If you haven’t been able to shell out the money for a tutor, two sessions of an hour each shouldn’t be too costly—and will probably help test day.
4. Do practice drills
Get a mixture of practice questions (verbal and math), get a stopwatch, and set an aggressive time limit. For example, pick 20 questions and give yourself 15 minutes to try to finish as many as possible (this is far less time than the minute and 30 seconds you get on the test). This drill will take you way out of the comfort zone and put you in a zone that is even more stressful than what you’ll experience test day.
The logic behind this mad plan? Prepare for an intense event (taking the GRE) with even more intense practice (the drills above).