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GRE 2-Month Study Plan
An Easy to Follow Guide

Aria Miller
Published by Aria Miller
Last Updated On: June 5, 2021

So, you've made the critical decision to tackle the GRE with just 60 days until you are sitting for the exam. While two months isn't a ton of time, it is more than enough for you to learn, practice comfortably, and review all the GRE material. If you push the test too much further out, there will be a higher chance of burnout and stress. Let's see how a study plan of 2 months should look.

A Step by Step GRE Study Plan - 2 Months

By following these steps, you’ll be rocking out the GRE in no time. Study one day at a time, and you’ll be surprised by the results. Let’s get into this two months study plan.

1. Gather Materials

Pencils, note pads, and papers on a folder

You must have all the materials you need for your study plan of 2 months. This will keep your mind focused and give you a higher chance of success on your GRE. Some things you'll want are:

  • GRE Prep Book or App - Using a book or app can help you structure your study prep. These books cover testing strategies, content reviews, and performance summaries. Best GRE prep books have study plans in them that are broken into months or days.
  • Full-Length Practice Tests - The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides two free practice tests that give you a feel for the GRE. They cover each section and a variety of question types you'll see on the day. You can find all the best GRE practice tests in this blog post.
  • Flashcards - A significant section of the test is the GRE verbal, where having a good grasp of vocabulary is key. Vocabulary flashcards are portable and a quick way to practice wherever you are. You can buy these through ETS or find some cool mobile test apps.
  • Calendar - Whether you go online or physically, a calendar is a great place to keep track of your plan. The key to success is setting and sticking to a schedule, where the calendar comes in handy. Mark out the months you'll be studying and even scheduling the days.
  • Timer - The GRE is a timed test, so practicing with a timer gives you a better feel of how your studying is going and where you will want more practice.

Feel free to check out our post on how many sections are on the GRE to learn more details about each one.

2. Take A Diagnostic Test

A student looking through GRE materials

We highly recommend taking a full-length GRE practice test that covers both the Quantitative and Verbal sections. Give yourself four hours without distractions to simulate test-day conditions. Once you’ve scored the practice test, you will work to improve your score through the two months of practice.

Take a look at the questions you missed and use that information to tweak this GRE study plan to match up with your strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests are the perfect way to get an idea of where you stand.

3. Set a Goal

Two female students reading together

After taking the practice test, you are ready to set your ideal GRE score. Your goal depends on a variety of factors, including where you want to apply. Visit the school website and see how the incoming class performed on the GRE. Your aim should be a score that puts at or above the average score for that program.

The average GRE score is 153, but your aim should be 162 or higher for competitive programs. [1]

4. Develop a Plan and Execute

A person using a laptop for research

An effective plan is systematic and targeted. Make a list of the test areas you are weaker in and focus on those problem types. First, use a GRE prep book to learn the key strategies and content that will show up repeatedly on the test. Then, use what you've learned by answering some practice questions.

Make sure to target the content area or question types that are the most difficult for you. The plan will change over time as you practice. So, don't be afraid to make adjustments along the way. Your study time might vary, and that is entirely okay. Feel free to take a look at our tips on how to prepare for the GRE exam on this link.

There are also a one month GRE study plans as well as a three month long GRE prep plans, so feel free to check them out as well.

5. Take The Test

A female student answering a test in a classroom

You are ready to take the GRE. You’ve put in the hard work and are all set to succeed and get your goal score.

Here are some tips to help you rock the GRE on test day:

  • Quick Review - While eating breakfast or drinking your coffee, quickly read over some vocabulary words or math problems you've already completed. It's an easy way to warm up the brain before entering the test center.
  • Pack It Up - Get all the things you'll take to the testing center packed the night before. Save yourself some time and stress.
  • It's Okay to Skip - All the test questions are the same value, so don't spend a ton of time on a hard question. Mark it for review and move on. If you have time, come back and work on it.
  • Use the Paper - They give you this paper for a reason. Use it.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

 

- Colin Powell, former Secretary of State

How to Prepare for Month 1

Now, let’s take a closer look at what you should be doing each month to prep for GRE. At this stage, you need to create a study schedule. Plan out when you want to start and how many hours you’ll be studying per day. This could be 1.5 hours to 2 hours. It’s up to you, but focus on your goal and go from there.

Study Each Section of the GRE

The first month of studying focuses on learning the testing strategies and getting to know the different content areas. The GRE consists of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative, and Analytical.

  • Verbal Reasoning - Calculates your ability to analyze and make decisions based on text. This draws a lot on reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. If you find that you are struggling with the verbal section, spend extra practicing vocabulary words and simply reading books and newspapers. This will help you with certain questions like text completion.
  • Quantitative - This section focuses on your ability to understand number concepts through reasoning. If you need to work on this section, learn about the different strategies to make these questions more manageable.
  • Analytical Writing - This part of the GRE focuses on your ability to write about complex ideas and put them together in one cohesive paragraph.

Your GRE schedule could look something like this:

Week 1 - Verbal Reasoning strategies, 1.5 hours per day for 4 days
Week 2 - Quantitative strategies, 1.5 hours per day for 4 days
Week 3 - Analytical strategies, 1.5 hours per day for 4 days
Week 4 - Review all Areas, 1.5 hours per day for 4 days

How to Prepare for Month 2

A person writing his answer on a math problem

Your study sked of 2 months is halfway over! Now, you are ready to complete weeks 5 to 8.

Focus on Trouble Areas

It’s time to try another practice test and review the results. It’s important to keep in mind your goal here. You will be switching from learning the strategies to putting them into place. Take weekly practice tests and study the areas you are struggling with. It's all about honing in on your trouble areas. If you are scoring badly on certain types of questions in the verbal section, spend your week focusing on that area.

We still recommend you study four days a week at least for 1.5 hours per day. But the hours you spend studying shouldn’t cause you to burn out. Remember that your test prep schedule needs to fit your needs. If studying for four days is too much, then switch to two or three days.

It’s all about using your hours wisely. Review and make changes to your plan each week based on your struggle areas. Setting aside study time for your GRE practices is key.

Conclusion

The key to success is creating and sticking to a study plan or study guide that fits your needs. Study plans aren’t one size fits all, and you will need to be adaptable.

You might spend one month on strategies, while another person might spend three months on that. That might mean pushing back a GRE practice test if you don’t feel ready or spending less time on sentence equivalence problems if you find them easy.

Reference:

  1. https://www.ets.org/s/gre/accessible/GRE_Intro_Verbal_18_point.pdf

About the author

Aria Miller

Aria Miller

Aria had a keen eye for details since she was a small child. It comes as no surprise that she’s chosen to pursue a career as a professional editor. She is very passionate about helping others achieve their full potential, which is one more reason she enjoys helping young people prepare for their exams.

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