Taking the GRE before enrolling in grad school is an important step for many people's educational goals and career paths. A proper study plan can help you stay on track as you prepare for test day, even if you're short on time due to other priorities. Grad Prep's customized GRE study schedules make it easier to get ready for the GRE in one month and earn a good score.
Studying for the GRE in a month requires extreme focus, the right test prep materials, and efficient time-management skills. Check out this post for information on:
- Our one-month GRE test prep program and the supplies you need to study
- The steps to studying for the GRE in a short span of time
- Additional GRE test prep tips for the days leading up to your exam
One-Month GRE Study Plan
A good rule of thumb is to start preparing for the GRE two to three months ahead of time. However, those with busier schedules might end up cramming all their study time into the few nights before their exams. A proper study schedule ensures that you make the best use of your time and helps you fit as much GRE test prep as possible into your daily routine.
Although the ideal study time for the GRE is between six and eight weeks, our one-month GRE test study program offers the necessary tools and practice materials to get you ready for the exam in four weeks. With these tools, you'll be able to set aside time each day to review the information you need to feel confident on test day and score high on the exam.
Supplies You'll Need
Having the right study materials is essential to preparing for the GRE. With the necessary tools and supplies, you can have a more comprehensive studying experience in a shorter amount of time. We recommend gathering the following materials to successfully plan and execute a one-month GRE study schedule:
- An overview of the GRE test sections
- Grad Prep's GRE Test Prep study subscription
- Five unique, full-length Grad Prep GRE practice tests
- Writing practice prompts
- GRE vocabulary flashcards
- Our sample GRE practice questions
- An online calendar
One-Month GRE Prep Steps
Contrary to popular belief, studying all day long for months on end does not guarantee a good score on the GRE. Cramming for a test can exhaust your brain and make you feel less prepared when exam day arrives. In one month, you can figure out what areas of the GRE you're likely to struggle with and how to improve in those areas while also building on your academic strengths.
Having only a month to prep means that you must use your time efficiently. Rather than conducting an overview of the entire exam, prioritize the topics you need to improve on. Ideally, you should dedicate three or more hours a day and around five to six days a week to studying. You may even want to study every day. Below are the steps you should take when studying for the GRE in one month.
Step 1: Schedule Your Exam
Start by scheduling your GRE test on a day that works for you. It's easier to create an effective study strategy when you can allocate a decent amount of study time to each test section, so be sure to choose a date that gives you plenty of time to prepare so you feel ready when you show up on exam day.
Make sure your chosen test date won't interfere with your other obligations. For example, if you're in your last semester of college and have tests to take to complete your degree, the last thing you want to do is have to study for all your class finals in addition to the GRE. Try to schedule the test for a week when you have little to nothing else going on.
Step 2: Take a Practice Test
GRE practice tests are the key to designing a comprehensive one-month study plan. Taking one of our realistic, full-length practice exams can help you:
- Discover where you are now vs. where you need to be to get your desired score
- Realize your strengths and weaknesses so you can prioritize your study schedule
- Become familiar with the test format, types of questions, and GRE scoring process
When taking the practice exam, try to create the same conditions and atmosphere you'll experience at the official GRE testing center by eliminating all possible distractions or interruptions. It takes about three hours to answer all the questions on the test, plus another hour for the writing portion. Take your GRE practice test and then review your results for an hour and a half.
Step 3: Review Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Reviewing the practice exam within a day or two of completing it helps keep the material fresh in your head so you can remember which answers you chose and why. Our GRE practice tests provide you with detailed explanations of the questions you got wrong and right. That way, you can identify the sections you struggle with and figure out ways to improve.
Step 4: Set Up a One-Month Study Schedule
Now that you have an idea of what you need to work on, you can set up your one-month study plan for the GRE. Since you only have a month to prepare, count on using five to six days each week to study. You might separate your daily study plan into sessions or take small breaks between intervals, but you should dedicate around an hour and a half to three hours of study time each day.
Use a calendar to detail the exact portions of the test you plan to review, how much time you want to spend on them, and what other studying tasks you have that day. For example, you might set a goal of learning 50 GRE vocabulary words a day and achieve it by carrying your flashcards with you on the bus, to appointments, or while on break at work.
A busy schedule makes it difficult to find time to study, especially when there's so much material to cover for the exam. Grad Prep offers an online, self-paced GRE prep course with short lessons to suit your lifestyle. Plus, you can access your online account anytime on your laptop, phone, or tablet.
During your month of studying, you can take more practice tests to check your progress. Schedule a second practice exam about two weeks after implementing your study plan and spend an hour and a half reviewing your results. See which areas you improved in and determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your calendar.
Step 5: Practice Daily Using Good Study Strategies
With a good study strategy in place, you can cover all the necessary material for the GRE. Taking our official GRE prep course can help you develop the perfect study plan for you. Your personalized test prep strategy should cover the standard exam content, as well as the topics that you struggle with the most. Include the following details on your one-month GRE study calendar:
- Consistent practice in the Quantitative and Verbal sections
- Daily vocabulary word review
- Practice questions that reflect what you learned each day
- Check-in practice exams three or more times before the test date
- Additional time for reviewing each exam
- Essay writing practice at least once a week
- Content review for topics you struggle with
- One day a week where you can study your choice of material
Additional Test Prep Tips
How to Study a Week Before the GRE
Plan to take your final practice exam one week before your official GRE testing date. After reviewing your score, you can measure how well you've improved since the previous practice exams and see which areas still need a little touching up. Taking multiple practice exams under realistic conditions also builds your endurance to keep you from feeling overwhelmed when taking the actual exam.
During the last week of GRE prep, you might want to refocus your strategy on the areas where you typically perform best. By allotting some time to analyze your strengths, you can achieve a more well-rounded study plan and possibly give yourself an extra motivational boost.
When Should I Take my Last Practice Exam Before the GRE?
You should take your last GRE practice test a week before your testing date. You can take as many practice exams as you want during your month of studying. However, dedicating more time to individual sections, practice questions, and vocabulary words can give you a more comprehensive understanding of the material.
How to Study a Day Before the GRE
You should avoid cramming for the test the day before and give your brain a break instead. A little light studying is fine if you feel it's absolutely necessary, but you should spend most of the day relaxing. Make sure you have everything you need for the GRE, and then take some time to enjoy your favorite activities. That way, you'll conserve energy and be in a good mood on test day.
What to Eat Before the Test
Hunger pangs, an upset stomach, or a sugar crash can be a huge distraction during timed exams like the GRE. If you're taking the GRE first thing in the morning, eat a healthy and complete breakfast with fiber to keep you full, carbs to boost your energy, and protein and healthy fats to promote good brain health and focus.
Those taking the test in the afternoon or evening should also eat healthy meals that are low in added sugars. Enjoy light snacks such as trail mix, pretzels, or almonds during the test to fuel your mind and body. It's also a good idea to bring plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and alert.
How Much Sleep to Get
Although some test takers like to stay up late cramming for an exam, it can be detrimental to your performance. Instead, shoot for seven to eight hours of restful sleep the night before you take the GRE. Sufficient sleep gives you the energy to stay focused during the exam and helps keep your mind clear so you can recall information better.
Study for the GRE in One Month With Grad Prep
After signing up for our four-week GRE test prep program, you can study at home, at work, or on the go with mobile access to practice tests, study tools, and more. Whether you're starting early or have just a month to go before the test, our GRE study tools and learning modules make it easier for you to prepare for the GRE and earn the score you want.