How to prepare for GRE & tips to get into your dream college

Are you a GRE aspirant with dreams to secure admission to one of the best colleges in the world? Then, this blog will show you the right path to prepare and achieve excellence in GRE with appreciating scores. A high score in GRE is one of the prerequisites for getting yourself into your dream school. Although GRE is not an easy nut to crack, however, with the right strategy and preparation, you can easily achieve the correct score needed to enter into your dream school. 

Every year, millions of candidates appear for GRE from 160+ countries worldwide. This level of participation calls for meticulous preparation on your part to ensure your success. 

Proper strategizing and investing yourself in the competition is the best way to go about your GRE preparation. 

If you are planning to attempt a GRE test soon, then take a look at this easy to follow GRE guide that will surely help you with your GRE preparation.

How to prepare for GRE?

Familiarize yourself 

The first step towards your GRE preparation is to familiarize yourself with GRE’s exam, format, scoring scheme and syllabus. 

GRE is primarily divided into three different sections – 

  1. Analytical Reasoning – 20 questions – 30 minutes
  2. Verbal Reasoning – 20 questions – 30 minutes
  3. Quantitative Reasoning – 20 questions – 35 minutes

Finalizing which program you want to pursue and the target school/s would also help you prepare for the exam. Once decided, you can find out the average score of the aspirants accepted by the schools and go for it. One of the best ways to prepare for this exam is to aim for a top score that the previous years’ toppers achieved so that you can create and update your preparation plan accordingly.

A high GRE score is necessary for receiving an admit. However, apart from GRE scores, your academic performance also matters for boosting your profile. Thus, if you plan to join a program in the fall, you will get sufficient time to go for the test by November. 

Test yourself

Once you have familiarized yourself with the exam’s pattern, test yourself! 

Take a GRE mock test and determine your position in terms of the exam. The aim behind this test is not to take you on a guilt trip towards the fact that you are unprepared. It is a way to understand the strengths and weaknesses concerning the GRE. 

Once done, analyze your results. Even if you have scored low, you need not get demotivated. Instead, try to find your baseline score and take the right steps to increase this score. 

Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Once you are familiar with your path and standing over it, you should identify the sections you need to focus upon. 

Using your mock test’s analysis, customize your study plan. It’s important to understand that weak areas need more preparation time. Balance your time and focus accordingly. 

Moving ahead, try to calculate an appropriate time within which you can wrap up your studies. Your study plan should be under this time limit. 

Mode of preparation

Most candidates preparing for GRE does not pre-decide the mode of study they will go for. This lets them into indecision and further affects their preparation. For exams such as GRE, one should pre-decide regarding every preparation phase. 

There are two types of preparation modes one can choose from self-study and joining a coaching institute. 


GRE can be prepared by self-studying at your home or in the library. In addition, you can find multiple online courses and tests that do not require candidates to pay for practice. Self-studying can be tough at times. One needs to be very disciplined and consistent in their approach to self-studying.

Further, one needs to be able to analyze their mistakes to improve their performance. One needs to be smart enough to find out the weaker sections and create a study schedule that will aid in the preparation in the best way. 

Nevertheless, during modern times, most test-takers conveniently prepare for their exams within the comfort of their home. 

Joining a coaching institute 

Another option these days is to enrol yourself into a paid coaching institute or an online program. Taking professional guidance is one of the best options for aspirants who have no idea how to prepare. 

These professionals have both experience and the capability to guide candidates. For example, a mentor can help you in learning tips and tricks for better preparation. Further, they can easily clear all your doubts and guide you to overcome your fear. 

Online training is another form of coaching that is popular amongst GRE aspirants. Online mentors are best for aspirants who cannot learn in a coaching institute’s hustle and bustle. 

Hiring a personal trainer can also be very helpful. Some of its advantages include the following:

  1. Personalized training
  2. Convenient timings
  3. Personalized learning pace
  4. The comfort of getting guidance at any time

Book a GRE date 

One of the biggest mistakes GRE aspirants make is that they prebook their GRE dates. Once booked, it is recommended to consider these dates as deadlines and prepare accordingly. 

The is certainly not the most practical approach on your part. Prebooking exam dates even before you have started preparing for the exam is absolute folly.  

The best approach you can take is first to follow all the steps mentioned above. Then, once you are confident that you are ready, choose and finalize a date for the exam.  

Tips to get into your dream school

Find your present study level

Before making a full-fledged study plan, take a test and find your baseline score. Then, use these scores as a guide to preparing an appropriate, personalized program.

Get yourself a mentor 

If you are doubtful that you can ace GRE simply by self-preparation, then it is recommended that you hire a mentor. GRE mentors are professionals who can guide you throughout your GRE preparation journey.

Set a target score 

A target score is the score that you would prepare to affirm your chances of admitting yourself into your dream school. So, first, make a list of programs you would prefer to attend and accordingly set a target score for yourself. 

Strategize your preparation

Analyze your mock test results and strategize your preparation. Strive for smart preparation that saves your precious time and achieve your exam goals successfully.

Focus on your technique 

Try to focus on the best ways to tackle every section while taking mock tests. Unfortunately, most candidates focus on getting optimum results and do not focus on methods. 

Finding and using the fastest and accurate methods would enable you to mark correct answers within the specified time limit. 

Try to mimic GRE conditions

Pursuing pen and paper tests or solving answers at home in your answer copies would strengthen your techniques. However, they would not give you the experience of giving a real-life GRE. 

Practising in GRE exam-like situations would enable you to adapt to the exam’s conditions. Thus, saving you from the surprise of suddenly facing and adapting to the computer-based exam. 

Target GRE vocabulary 

Building vocabulary would enable you to improve your performance in the GRE vocab section. The best method to go on about this is to go through trusted sources such as newspaper, journals, magazines, to name a few. 

Moreover, you can also find multiple books that will aid you in your GRE preparation. 

Practice using the GRE calculator

GRE test takers are given access to an on-screen calculator, which can be used during test-taking. The calculator becomes especially useful while performing complex numerical based questions in the exam. 

However, because of its time taking nature, it can prove itself as a liability. Thus, the best option here would be to practice questions both with and without a calculator. 

Strategize the use of a calculator. For easier questions, use your mathematical capabilities, spare calculator for making complicated calculations. 

Physical & mental preparation

While preparing for an exam such as GRE, make sure to keep your body in a healthy state. A healthy body and mind would allow you to perform to the best of your capabilities. 

Some easy steps that you can follow for a healthy mind and body are:

  1. Take a healthy yet balanced diet, 
  2. Exercise regularly, 
  3. Get quality sleep for at least 8 hours a day, 
  4. Take regular short breaks, 
  5. Hydrate yourself
  6. Recognize and respect your body’s limitations

Get set, go!

After going through all the preparation steps and tips, you must have gained an insight into how to ace your GRE preparation. GRE’s preparation is mostly focused on mastering its multiple sections. You can further divide your preparation into four stages mentioned below:  

Stage 1 – Learning

Stage 2 – Practicing 

Stage 3 – Receiving feedback 

Stage 4 – Analyzing

Upon analyzing, try to find your shortcomings and start the process again. Good luck with your GRE preparation and final exam! 

Author Bio: 

Abhyank Srinet, the founder of MiM-Essay, holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe. He is an entrepreneur who is passionate about digital entrepreneurship. Following his passion, he started his first company while he was a student at the ESCP. He managed to scale it up by 400% in just 2 years. 

Being a B-School Alumni, he recognized the need for a one-stop solution for B-School admission process. This encouraged him to create MiM-Essay, a one-of-a-kind portal with cutting edge profile evaluation and school selection algorithms, along with several avenues to stay informed about the latest B-School Updates.