How to Prepare for the GRE: Top Tips

How to Prepare for the GRE
September 7, 2023 5 min read Liaison

Check out our guide on how to prepare for the GRE. By reading our article, you will get tips and tricks on how to study for the GRE.

Key Takeaways

Understanding the GRE's Structure is Crucial: Whether you're familiarizing yourself with the old format or the changes implemented in 2023, comprehending the structure is the cornerstone of effective GRE preparation.

Personalization of Study Plans: GRE preparation is not one-size-fits-all. Factors like personal strengths, academic background, and commitments will influence an individual's study plan.

Significance of Practice Tests: One of the most important strategies is taking practice tests. They not only familiarize test-takers with the exam's layout but also improve time management. Statistically, taking more than 6 practice tests can lead to a higher score.

Identifying Weaknesses and Balancing Study Content: While focusing on challenging areas is crucial, maintaining proficiency in comfortable areas is also essential for a balanced preparation strategy.

Importance of Complementary Learning: Diversifying learning methods, such as reading analytical non-fiction, can enhance vocabulary and comprehension skills passively, providing a break from intense GRE-focused studies.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is often required for admission to graduate programs across the United States and in many other countries. The exam measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. Preparing for the GRE can be a daunting task, but with careful planning, diligent study, and the right resources, success is attainable. In this article, we will explore the best ways to prepare for taking the GRE test.

Unraveling the GRE’s Structure

Understanding the GRE's intricate design is the cornerstone of effective preparation. The test encompasses three principal segments: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. To study effectively for the GRE, you will need to understand the test structure and all of the changes scheduled to be implemented in 2023.

The new GRE - The ETS announced that effective September 22, 2023, the GRE has been shortened to one hour and 58 minutes. This much-needed change will help reduce test fatigue and should help you improve your ability to focus for a shorter period of time. Test makers removed one part of the Analytical Writing section and shortened the number of questions in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections. The new test is divided into three sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (1 essay topic)
  • Verbal Reasoning (27 questions)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (27 questions)

How Long Should I Prepare For The GRE?

It varies from person to person, but generally, you want to devote between six and 12 weeks to GRE preparation. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario; personal strengths, academic background, and individual commitments can influence this timeline. The best way to prepare for the GRE is to be thorough and determined. By investing time now, you are securing a better future for yourself.

preparing for gre

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Best Way to Prepare for the GRE

Now that you have determined how much time you want to dedicate to preparing for the GRE, you will need to start studying so that you can achieve good results on your exam.

Self-study vs. Tutoring: What's Right For You?

While some students flourish in a self-paced environment, many see remarkable improvements with structured courses or personalized tutoring sessions. The decision hinges on individual learning styles, budget considerations, and personal commitments.

Online Power: Harnessing Digital Resources

In the digital age, online resources have transformed traditional learning paradigms. There are many websites that you can use to understand how to prepare for the GRE exam. In addition to making the most of online study materials, study groups, and tutors, you should also focus on taking practice tests, which will greatly improve your chances of getting a good grade on the GRE exam.

Practice, Practice, and More Practice

Practice tests are the lifeline of GRE prep. They not only boost familiarity with the exam layout but also help you hone your time-management skills. On average, students who took more than six practice tests scored six points higher than those who didn't. If you have ever wondered how to prepare for the GRE, keep this strategy in mind.

Understand Your Weaknesses

While you practice, you may notice that some parts of the GRE are more challenging for you than others. Knowing your weaknesses — and how you can chip away at them — will help you plan and prioritize your studies wisely.

Read Some Analytical Non-Fiction

If spending time strictly on GRE preparation feels like too much of a chore, consider trying passive learning techniques like reading a book. Reading will provide you with relief from studying while simultaneously sharpening your skills and knowledge. For example, expanding your vocabulary by reading in your spare time could significantly improve your exam results. It might not sound like the best way to prepare for the GRE, but it may be beneficial.

Relive Your Nerves

As the test day draws near, it is normal to get the jitters. It’s how you handle them that counts. Stay focused. You prepared for this, so try to approach the test with calmness and well-deserved confidence.


In the vast world of GRE test-takers, the difference between a good score and a great one often lies in the preparation strategy. Dive deep, understand the nuances, harness the best resources, and let your own personal needs guide your decisions. Remember that your GRE success depends on how effectively you plan your journey.


On average, three to six months. However, ETS research indicates top scorers often spend more than 300 hours on GRE preparation.

Yes, but with diligent preparation, it becomes manageable. Settling on the right strategy and resources from the outset are key to preparing for the GRE.

While challenging, it's achievable. Commitment is key. Remember to take plenty of practice tests.

Absolutely! Platforms like Magoosh and Manhattan Prep have shown that dedicated self-study, complemented with the right resources, can yield impressive results.

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