The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardised test that is required for admission to many graduate institutions in the United States and Canada, as well as a handful in other countries. Educational Testing Service owns and administers the GRE.

How to prepare for the GRE? Students who are thinking of preparing for the Graduate Record Examination should start early. Unlike most examinations, cramming up at the last minute doesn’t work in this exam. Students who intend to take the GRE examinations should attempt as many practice tests as possible. This should assist you in analysing your performance so that you can ace the exam on the final day!

Important Tips to Prepare Well for the Exam

Similar to the SAT exams that are required for most Undergraduate programmes, the GRE test is required by graduate programs in many fields. Success in this exam depends on how you are able to prioritize the information presented to you and also organise it in ways that allow you to solve the problem efficiently.

Following are the best way to prepare for GRE:

#Read a lot of analytical fiction- Studies have shown that the ones who have aced the verbal section of this examination are mostly liberal arts majors. These are well acquainted with different types of narratives and writing which give them an edge.

#Sticking to a regular study plan- The time taken for the preparation varies according to the abilities of the student. However, the minimum amount of time required is three months.

#Practicing tests- One of the major roadblocks to this test is stress. Therefore attempting several practice tests will help you cultivate a habit to appear for this exam on the final day.

Also Read: IELTS General & Academic Reading Test Papers with Answers: Tips to Ace the Reading Section

Charting Your Progress

#Knowing what your weaknesses are could help you to work better. The areas that you find challenging are often what you dislike the most. Structure your study plan so that you can target your weaknesses effectively.

#In your Graduate Record Examination preparation, you could benefit by maintaining a performance track. This will give you an overview of the improvement you made in your score and help you come out with a good strategy for your study.

GRE General Test vs GRE Subject Specific Test

The GRE General Test refers to the standardized test created by the Educational Testing Service in order to measure your academic readiness for Graduate School. While some Graduate schools require the general test, some do require a subject-specific test.

GRE Subject Test

These are subject-specific tests that test the depth of knowledge in a particular subject.  Each is intended for students who have majored in or thoroughly studied the test topic in question.. A graduate school applicant may take a math subject test to demonstrate quantitative skills to graduate schools in disciplines where numerical competence is essential, such as computer science or economics.

The following are the six fields where a topic test is available:



Literature in English.




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What to Expect in a Subject Specific Test?

Biology- focuses on three elements of biology, each of which accounts for about one-third of the test questions: cellular and molecular biology, evolution and ecology, and organismal biology.

Chemistry-Analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry are the four primary areas, with a higher emphasis on the latter two.

English-The test requires you to demonstrate your literary analysis skills. To pass this test, you must also be able to recognise and properly identify literary works, contextualise a piece of literature based on its historical or cultural context, and grasp the history and philosophy of literary criticism.

Mathematics. About half of this test is dedicated to calculus, while the other quarter is dedicated to algebra and number theory. The remaining questions cover a variety of subjects that are commonly covered in an undergraduate math programme.

Taking the GRE at Home VS in the Centre?

Test takers who reside in rural regions distant from test centres may prefer the at-home version of the test since it removes the need for a long trip, according to Johnson. Someone who lives in a highly noisy area, on the other hand, could choose to take the test in a test centre because the environment would be quieter, he advises.

Testing specialists advise test takers to take the exam in the location where they will be tested.

How Much Time is Required to Prepare for GRE?

How much time is required to prepare for the GRE? Students who are thinking of preparing for the Graduate Record Examination should start early.

Graduate Record Examination preparation will take between 4 and 20 weeks. If you add the practise examinations that you will need to take, the preparation period might range from 6 weeks to 24 weeks.

The amount of time required to study for the GRE ranges from 5-6 hours per week to 2-3 hours per day. Again, this is clearly dependent on your competence level across the three GRE parts.

Retakes, Deadlines and Target Score

Your Graduate Record Examination score is part of your application package, and everything is considered together. Do not place undue emphasis on a blatantly high GRE score, since this will put undue strain on your psyche. Let’s keep things simple:

TARGET GRE Score = Quant Cut Off + Verbal Cut Off + AWA Cut Off.If you want to aim for a better score, be prepared to devote more time to your preparation.

The ETS permits you to take the GRE once every 21 days, and you should be aware of two factors that might lead to a mistake. Many students make the mistake of not being aware of the submission date, and as a result, they take the exam far too close to the deadline.

Also Read:IELTS General & Academic Reading Test Papers with Answers: Tips to Ace the Reading Section

How to Prepare for GRE Verbal?

For the GRE exam preparation, students use a variety of methods, each of which requires a varied amount of time depending on the approach used: Coaching Centers or Self-Study method.

#Practice reading – The more you read, the better you are at this exam!

#Practice Mnemonics – This is an easy technique where you can remember a word by associating it with something.

#Practicing etymology- Many terms have similar etymologies. If you know the root of a term, you will be able to identify its meaning if you see it in the test.

#Use high-frequency words in your essay.

#Revise efficiently.

Best Guide Books

How to prepare for GRE Verbal? The best way to prepare for GRE is to refer to the following books:

#Start for Vocabulary from Word Power Made Easy followed by Barron’s 333.

#For Text completion and Sentence Equivalence use Princeton 1014.

#For Reading Comprehensions refer to Manhattan.

GRE Preparation Guide

The Graduate Record Examination is section-adaptive, which means that the complexity of questions in the second 20-question subsection is determined by your performance on the first 20-question subsection. If you desire a score at the top of the scale, follow this GRE preparation guide.

Each 20-question section will have the following approximate question breakdown- 10 questions will be asked on vocabulary and 10 questions on reading comprehension.

In order to do well, first figure out the patterns of questions. Secondly, do not sit down to learn 3000–4000 words, Do not skip sections in practice tests and Relax while writing the exam.

Also Read: IELTS Letter Writing Samples: Tips to Get High Band in Writing Section

Best Way to Prepare for Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record examination forms have been made available in February 2021, on their official website.

Filling Form

Before filling out the application form, applicants should review the Eligibility Criteria and the rest of the information regarding GRE 2021 on this website. Before applying, candidates must thoroughly read the content.

#Upload a scanned copy of your photos, signature, and additional papers, such as your category certificate (if applicable) and your PwD certificate (if applicable).

#Candidates must review their application status.

#Application fees shall be paid using any of the electronic payment methods available.

#The candidate is not required to fill out several forms.

Examination Fee Process

Countries Fees
Australia 230$
Nigeria 220$
China 231.30$
Turkey 255$
Rest of the world 205$

When should I Take the GRE for Fall 2022?

In general, applicants who expect to begin studying abroad in the fall take the GRE between March and October of the preceding year. This implies the best way to prepare for GRE for the fall of 2022 is to complete the exam by October 2021. The GRE score is valid for five years, therefore taking the GRE early is OK.

What is Considered as  a Good Score?

An ‘excellent score’ might differ from person to person as well as from university to university. For some students, 310 may be a decent score, but for others, 310 may not be sufficient. Although it is difficult to provide an exact answer, here are some factors to consider when determining what constitutes a solid GRE score for you.

#Make a list of the colleges to which you want to apply.

#Take a look at the average GRE scores for those schools.

#After you’ve narrowed down the institutions’ average scores, aim to achieve at least two points higher than the top score. The better it is, the higher your score is.

#Most institutions look at your verbal and quantitative results separately rather than the whole score.

The University Perspective to Good Scores

This GRE preparation guide will help you get the perfect score.

Sections Range of scores
Verbal reasoning 130-170
Quantitative reasoning 130-170
Analytical writing 0-6, 0.5 point increments

Field Wise Good Score List

This should give you a fair idea of what score you should aim at, depending on the course you want to pursue.

#Writing Analytically: The analytical writing score is determined independently of the quants and verbal portion, with a maximum score of 6. In analytical writing, a minimum score of 4 might be regarded as adequate.

#MS: A total score of 325 or above should help you gain admission to the best institutions.

#Nursing: A GRE score between 305 and 316 is considered a respectable GRE score for anybody interested in pursuing a career in nursing.

#Engineering: Universities will place a higher value on your Quants score than your Verbal score. If you want to pursue an engineering degree, a score of at least 160 on the Quants portion will suffice.

Also Read: Is it Easy to Crack the PTE Exam for the IELTS Aspirants?

List of Top Universities – Score Required Between 300 and 310

Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, Illinois)

University of Alabama (Huntsville, Alabama)

Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri)

University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida)

Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)

Strategies for Non-Native English Speaker

If you want to study in the United States, then read below the best way to prepare for GRE  and perform well in both the Math and Verbal parts:

#Avoid using dictionaries

#Learn to use words based on context

#The best way to improve your vocabulary is to read more journals and magazines

#Books and novels are an underrated source of vocabulary

#Watching English movies or the news channel could also be helpful

#Learn the root words i.e prefixes and suffixes

#Maintain a journal of the words that you have learnt every day and revise them

#Try to learn 10-20 words per day

Useful and Practical Tips

#Conversing with your peers in English is also an effective strategy

#What could be better than playing word games like Scrabble?

#Study vocabulary to solve math problems

#Practice makes you perfect. Learn from your mistakes

#Use available online tools for self and effective study

#Writing summaries of whatever you have read throughout the day


We hope that this GRE preparation guide has solved your queries regarding how to start preparing for GRE? Generally, students who are planning to take the examination for the Fall intake, start their preparations from March onwards.

Are you looking to pursue your Masters abroad? Then look no further. We provide the best study materials and guidance to assist you in making your dreams come true. Go through our latest articles, to stay updated about study abroad programmes! We wish you the best in your endeavours.

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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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