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What Exactly Is the GRE? How Much Studying Should You Do to Prepare For It?

Written by CB Community

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a critical step in the business school or graduate school application process.

It is a standardized, multiple-choice exam, and you need to pass it before admission to graduate business programs and graduate programs.

The GRE tests your basic algebra, arithmetic, data analysis, and geometry. It also measures your command of college-level vocabulary and your ability to analyze written material and solve problems.

The test can be scary, and you must study to attain a good score, but should you prepare for two hours or two months?

How much time should be spent studying for the GRE?

The answer will help you maximize your score and prevent time wastage from over-preparation. Here are a few tips to follow when making your study regimen:

How Long Should You Study for the GRE

The length of time you spend preparing for the GRE depends on your situation.

The average person, however, studies for the GRE for one to three months, putting in a few hours every week.

You could spend anywhere between eight hours (studying for two hours per week for four weeks) and 120 hours (studying ten hours a week for 12 weeks).

That’s a wide range, and it doesn’t specify the various GRE preparation methods used by different people.

While some prefer practice exams, others rely on old class notes or GRE prep books. Some use a mix of different study methods.

Determining the Score You Want to Attain

One of the first things to do is figure out your goal score. What is the average score for your dream school?

You will likely find the information on their program Admission page. If it isn’t available, consider sending them an email.

Check the Verbal and Quantitative sections’ highest scores and add two points to each. Make them your GRE score goals.

This way, you will exceed the acceptable score range without putting excessive pressure on yourself.

Choosing the Best GRE Prep Course for You

There are lots of courses to choose from when studying for the GRE. Do some research to identify a comprehensive GRE course.

It should cover everything you need to know and make it easier to prepare.

Qualities of a great GRE prep course include:

  • Quality instructions
  • Excellent customer support
  • Reasonable cost
  • Live tutoring options
  • Intuitive interface
  • Extra services
  • Yearly access

Take a Practice Exam

Consider taking and scoring a practice exam to determine much you need to study. Download software with official tests and start practicing.

Stick to the allocated time and don’t take any extra breaks for accurate results.

The Quantitative and Verbal sections are scored automatically, and you will find instructions to score the Analytical Writing section.

Make the Necessary Adjustments

At this point, you should be able to figure out the number of hours you need to put in.

You can improve your score by five points if you put in about 40 hours of preparation.

Determine if you need to get new study material or change your routine. Making the necessary adjustments on time could improve your results.

Set Aside Time for Retakes

You may need to retake the GRE if you aren’t satisfied with the first score. Consider budgeting some time for retakes.

Usually, it would be best if you waited at least 21 days between your tests. Give it four weeks to make sure you have enough time to plan. Most people don’t need more than two retakes.

Studying for the GRE calls for your time and patience. If you are an aspiring graduate student, you understand how important the exam can be.

Therefore, you may wonder how much study time is enough to pass. However, no answer can work for everyone.

The time you need to spend studying depends on your goal and study style. Take advantage of online courses and practice exams to prepare.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.