Before I begin listing (timeframe-dependent!) plans, here’s one thing I have to make clear from the onset. It is applicable to the subject GRE, regardless of the subject, as well as instances where you simply couldn’t schedule a computer-based general GRE sitting. You cannot bring mechanical pencils to the testing room. Moreover, all cheating schemes I know of that make use of mechanical pencils require an inordinate amount of dexterity to carry out due to the limited space afforded by such an item; however, and maybe someone can confirm that but I think it is easier to make use of a mechanical pencil anyway if you successfully applied for a supplemental testing center. Please take note that, if you take the computer-based test, it is generally considered a good sign if the second section of a type is harder than the first, since the revised general test adapts by section.
Now, on with the timeframe-dependent study plans:
Plan 1 (1-3 days)
Have you scheduled a GRE appointment test in the next three days but, for some reason, put off studying for the test until now? Assuming you can’t, or don’t want to reschedule your test, here’s what you need to do:
- Read the GRE information, pages 3-34 of the ETS practice book, and then try your hand at all the verbal practice questions as well as the quantitative practice questions. Then practice composing two essays under timed conditions, one of each type (issue and argument), using one of each type of sample prompts. Be sure to read the analysis for each question you attempt in pages 3-34 of the practice book in question.
- Download the PowerPrep II software available for free on ETS’ website. Review all test-taking tips, and preferably take a full-length practice test under timed conditions. Be sure to read the analysis carefully for each question you did not answer correctly so that you will not make the mistake come test day.
Plan 2 (1 week)
This is the plan I personally used (I thought it was a good idea at the time to get the general GRE out of the way; it might have worked for me but maybe it won’t work for you): after carrying out Plan 1 as the first part of this plan, here’s how to augment it:
- Take another full-length practice test under timed conditions. Endurance is a key reason why so many students underperform is because building endurance and find one’s proper pace is so crucial. Again, after each test, review the material on each question you answered incorrectly but don’t dwell on your scores.
- If, after review, you find that you have one weak area, then by all means, work on each weak area. If your quantitative skills are weak, search the Web for high school-level math review. Alternatively, if your verbal skills are weak (be it because English is your second language or otherwise) study online vocabulary lists and find some verbal lessons on other GRE-prep websites.
- For each pair of essays you write, please find some feedback so that you know what to work on.
Plan 3 (2+ weeks)
At this point, if you have two or more weeks, you may wish to repeat Plans 1+2 as many times as there are weeks (one day off is advised weekly) in your study plan. You may wish to supplement your study with a GRE practice book which contains more than just practice questions.