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GRE Testing Strategies: Test Taking Tips

Some people believe that preparing for standardized tests is a waste of time. Others feel that preparation is the key to scoring well. The fact is that even if you are unable to increase your I.Q. anytime in the near future, preparing to take standardized tests is very helpful. At the very least, you will gain valuable test-taking time by familiarizing yourself with the test format and the types of questions you will be asked. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare for specific standardized tests.

For the GRE General Test, the first place you should turn is the testing center itself, ETS. Contact the address above or call their publication phone number 1-800-537-3160 and order their booklet of past GRE General Tests (cost $15.00, 1994. You can also use the one sample test included in their registration package free of charge). Only ETS can give you actual tests used in the past. If you are interested in predicting how you will score on the GRE General Test, it is advisable to use one of these previous tests rather than register and take the current GRE as a "trial run." First of all, this method of testing yourself is less expensive. Secondly, once you take the GRE, your score is kept on file for five years and if you request that your results be sent to a graduate program, all scores from the past five years will be sent. (You can ask that only a GRE General Test Score be sent without a GRE Subject Tests score.) You don't want a poor score on your record if it can be avoided. If you are interested in published guides, there are many available in local book stores. One of the most popular is How to Prepare for the Graduate Record Exam, published by Baron's Educational Series, Inc. If you are considering a prep-course, contact both of the programs below and ask them to send you more information about what they can do for you. Ask where the nearest training location is to you. Read their brochures carefully and then decide if they offer a significant advantage over your own personal preparation strategy. Sometimes the programs offer a free orientation session to show you exactly what they do. Ask about such sessions and attend them for both courses if possible. Prep courses are generally expensive (approx. $800, 1994) but if you feel that they can help you to increase your score, they might be worth the money.


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