Seattle Students: Read These Tips to Prepare for the GRE
First, remember that the GRE can seem intimidating. It’s an important test and one that can cause lots of stress for students. However, there is no need to worry. Through my career, I have set thousands of students on a path to their desired future. Trust my advice, and I can help you too.
In order to succeed with the GRE, the most important thing you need to do is relax. Beating test anxiety is critical if you want to get the highest GRE score possible.
Unless you thrive on the thrill of being hit by dense reading passages, a barrage of weird math factoids and twists, tight timing, 24-dollar words, and rapidly expressing an opinion about an obscure idea, taking a standardized test can be an anxiety-inducing process. But here are 4 steps to triumphing over that nervousness, succeeding and acing your Seattle GRE test.
Step 1: How anxious are you?
The first step in tackling anxiety in your test preparation, is asking yourself just how anxious you are.
At the start of every course, I ask students to rate themselves on a scale of one to five: one being the adrenaline junkie who fears nothing and five being the type who gets nauseous and sweaty on the palms just thinking about test-taking.
Regardless of where my students fall on this scale, the strategy that will lead to success is to take the anxiety down a notch or three by bringing the test down to size.
Step 2: Remember the GRE is a ‘flawed instrument’
The test is not a be-all-end-all measure of intelligence nor can it gauge your potential for success in grad school.
And you don’t have to be Einstein to get a good score. You have to learn how to “psyche out your adversary,” in this case the test writers who use strong mental connections between certain words or math concepts to lure you into picking false answers.
I assure you, the GRE is a flawed instrument that’s vulnerable and written in a way that’s completely crackable.
So the goal is to master test-taking strategies, not to transform into a verbal super hero and math know-it-all overnight.
Step 3: Determine the importance (or lack thereof) of test scores
Another big anxiety-buster I recommend is calling the admissions office or even a member of the admissions committee at the school(s) you’re applying to and asking some point-blank questions about the GRE:
- What percent of my application will my GRE score be?
- What is the lowest score you admitted last year? Is there a low-score cut-off?
- How are test re-takes treated?
If you find out it’s just one small part of the whole process—not a do-or-die element—you’ll have an easier time focusing on studying rather than fretting about whether you’ll be able to hit your target score.
Step 4: The test-day warm-up
Another anxiety reducer I recommend: On test-taking day, do a warm-up in the morning. Go over some questions you’ve worked on during your GRE test prep and review how you figured them out. Get your mind in that mode of looking at a question and tackling it with confidence.
There is a freezing up that can happen when you start practicing. You might think “Oh my God, I can’t even read that question!”
So, go over a few questions and just try to understand them, don’t worry about the answer. Once you’ve gone over some questions, go back to the first one you reviewed and it will seem that much clearer. You’ll probably feel emboldened to answer it correctly, knowing that you’ve prepared for a flawed test—one that isn’t nearly as big of a deal as you thought it would be.
Want to start warming up now? Take my free assessment.