Time has passed oh too quickly since you signed up to take the GRE a few months back. Your day is moving along as usual, and as you look at your calendar, you realize that test you paid all that money for is only a week away. Eek! Even more importantly, you know you need to pass this test to attend graduate school in the fall! After the panic sets in and your brain can absorb and process that you have to prepare yourself for this test in 1 week, you can begin to create a plan, but how to study for the GRE in a week?
That’s where our 1-week study plan comes in! To have enough practice questions and practice tests, make sure you have at least one GRE prep book already at home. You can also sign up for Magoosh GRE, which also offers a last-minute study course. Our goal is to get you to the finish line of completing the GRE successfully so you can move on to graduate school. Of course, study time throughout a couple of months or more is ideal, but one week of intense studying is better than none at all. Here we will give you tips to guide you in successfully studying for the GRE in a week.
How to Create a Study Plan
Prepare Your Study Week
- Clear your schedule. You can use a simple lesson plan template.
- Get sample GRE prep tests and review test structure.
- Access and free GRE study guides and tips on the ETS website
- Assess which GRE sections you believe will be most difficult for you
- Gather any items you need for note-taking, such as a notebook, pens, or notecards
- Figure out your target score
When cramming for a big test in one week, you have to come to the understanding that you will be studying something every day! Passing the GRE without studying is not recommended as the GRE is quite expensive, and you should not take the risk of wasting your money. Please think of this as though this is a marathon, and you slacked on training but have to prepare for it in one week, and you know you’re going to get it done. No pain, no gain.
First, take some time to review the various sections of the exam and what they cover. Second, go to the ETS webpage and access any practice tests (full-length practice exams are best), the GRE official guide, any additional sample questions, and any study tips for GRE test day. Lastly, create a feasible one-week-long GRE study plan that will allow you to take your time in each section.
Day 1 & 2
- Take the GRE practice test!
- Score yourself and review
- Identify and study for areas of strength and weakness.
- Choose the section in which you struggle the most to focus on in the first couple of days.
Days one and two are primarily focused on the test’s content. Recognize areas that you may need to focus on more intensely than other sections. After taking the practice test, review any section that you may be struggling in the most. Make sure to go over any practice questions you have missed. Focus on the words in the question to see if it led to confusion.
Sometimes it is helpful to highlight any keywords in questions that may have thrown you off. For example, if math is something you know you struggle in, the quantitative section will likely require much more study time. Continually refer to the GRE study guide in this one week before the test. Especially after each practice exam!
Day 3 & 4
- Are you still struggling in a certain place? Identify that (those) place(s) and use study test prep materials to review.
- Take practice tests (one at the beginning of your session and the end!)
- Figure out your GRE score from the practice exam
On these days, you are diving deeper into those GRE study questions! Make sure to allow yourself the full length of time when you take the practice test. Allow yourself at least one break every hour or two to clear your head, get a snack, use the restroom, or whatever you feel like you need to do to stay well focused on your practice problems. Continue to focus on the practice questions that are tripping you up.
Work on your reading comprehension skills for the verbal section and math portions of the practice test. The verbal portion will mainly focus on your ability to assess each question critically, focus on words and sentence structure. Within the GRE math portion, focus on each query’s words so that you do not misunderstand what is being asked of you on the test. Many data analysis questions appear as a set in the math portion of the exam.
Day 5 & 6
- Focus on the essay portion of GRE Practice Tests
- Study rubrics for analytical writing
- Study the verbal section
- Procure a proofreader to review and score your essays
- Take one more GRE practice test.
As you study in these last couple of days, it might be hard to stay focused. Again, make sure you are taking at least one break every one or two hours. The analytical writing portion of the GRE test will challenge you with your given time. These tests are timed separately, so as you study and plan for the verbal section, time out your well-written responses.
This portion will ask you specifically to analyze an issue, and in the other part to analyze an argument. You will be given specific talking points on each task. It would be in your best benefit to fully review the pool of topics listed so that you are fully prepared for any task given.
The day of rest! On this last day before you take the test, take a mental break. You can rest assured that you have done everything you can within the one week before your GRE to make your desired scores. On test day, plan in enough time for a review of the GRE questions and your responses. Pace yourself on the exam, and don’t spend too much time on any one portion (i.e., if you are stumped on a math question). Lastly, be sure you are aware of how and when to access your final scores.