I often asked when I should start GRE preparation. Let's see what are these people. I classify them into three groups. These three groups in two different docs here.
The first group is GRE aspirants who have already finished their undergraduate studies or even a postgraduate studies and are either working or are waiting for the first job to start. For you, there are two options-
One when do you want to start a graduate program abroad? Because you may feel, you should take some work experience. No, I'm not asking you to get work experience. As I personally have a very different take on whether one should accumulate work experience before getting into a known business graduate program. But if you believe that you should then look at it from the perspective of deadlines. With programs opening their applications as early as August, the funding opportunities in top programs are sliding further of the months.
That is one way for the programs to check how sincerely and diligently have you been preparing for your graduate studies. Because bullying it off the last minute might give you a cake but it might also get you a kick from the admissions committee.
Better planning is important, so check the deadlines and count backwards.
Where are you Right Now?
Do you want to start with the target score in your mind?How much does it take in terms of the number of days or months or weeks?
- If you eventually will go to a test prep company, for the aptitude preparation, I strongly suggest you ask them to work out a plan for you.
- If you're going to prepare on your own, look at it this way. on an average, considering you start at zero level.
What do I mean by zero level? If you take the GRE power trip to assess your level and realize you have between - 70 under 290, Take that as a zero level. You will need another three hundred hours for GRE preparation to get a decent score. I mean something in the range of 305 to 315.
How do i arrive at that number? I'm a manager. I obviously need to clarify my calculations so here you go. You obviously need to solve at least two reference books usually three. I am not including the official guide of the revised GRE. Which I said does not have a huge question bank. if you finish one book in a month. Sharing around 16 to 20 hours a week. That is around 80 hours a month and between 200 to 240 hours for overall solving. That will take you to the tests and some online practice also.
Even if you appear for barely five full-length practice tests for GRE preparation. It adds up to 20 hours. Many of you will want to practice more because online testing in affects your confidence significantly. So let's triple this time of solving, considering all types of questions and test format- the shorter tests, the full-length test and the others. That is going to take 260 to 300 hours. most of you dedicate more, because it takes the time to achieve a self-convincing accuracy of 75 to 80% overall.
Especially when you refer online or a reference book. You realise that an 80% accuracy in quantitative reasoning is only worth 160. Well yes, when I say reference books I mean the GRE preparation books available in the market. So, you up the ante and increase the number of hours to improve your accuracy, with a number of three hundred hours plus or minus twenty percent.
Know About your Priorities:
Now workout backwards. Number of hours you spare a day will tell you, tentative date of GRE. Or maybe you might already have an application deadline approaching. Now you can divide the number of hours with available number of days. As programs accept applications till midnight of the eastern standard time, you can take the test on the application deadline itself.
Surprised? Are you thinking, how can you submit an application on the application deadline? What about the applications then? My question is, why do you think you can't work on the application simultaneously? You might ask how can I, I have no idea. Where am I applying? Why do you have to leave everything to the last moment? Why can't you list out your 10 programs before you start applying?
Choose your programs and start working on the applications, submit them only after school. As working on applications takes time and it is free. Submitting these applications is a two-minute task and will require application fees.
There are no problems at all if your letters of recommendation are delayed beyond the application submission date. Universities understand that something is not under your complete control and all of this multitasking might be required only if you delay GRE till the dead line.
Ask yourself what is the priority for GRE preparation? Taking the test early, getting to score or working on applications the conventional route. If you feel that taking the rest early will not affect your score due to a time crunch, follow the conventional root. But getting a big school is a top priority and taking the test lead might actually help you improve your final school. But a good 10 to 15 points you might want to be prepared for the multitasking.
Prepare for GRE:
One more thing should you be prepared to take it off, from your work in the last few days? Honestly, it is a very subjective thing. You might want to give yourself and uninterrupted duration of preparation in the last week. Or you might be fine with the regular three to four hours a day in the last week along with your job.
Pretty much a matter of mental makeup and tenacity. So this is about people who have somewhere around six months plus or minus two months to go before the deadline. But if you have a working professional who is targeting a later intake. Let's say more than 12 months to their deadline, still ask yourself what is the harm in getting started early.
As the more experience you get, the more involved you become, the more projects come your way. The fewer hours you might be left with six or 12 months down the line for GRE preparation.
So why wait till the point where you must spare three hours a day. You could always start one hour a day. There is no harm in taking the GRE, eight months before a deadline. That is my opinion. You look at your schedule and identify that one hour that you spare consistently. If we can do it consistently then go ahead and get started.