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TOEFL Tip #121: Guest Post: Preparing for the New Revised GRE

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on September 23, 2011

Here’s a guest post from Jill Muttera, a tutor with Grockit

Use Your Fall to Prepare for the New Revised GRE: What to Expect and How to Prepare for the Verbal Section

Fall is here, and for some lucky people that means trips to go apple picking or to enjoy the season’s brightly colored leaves. But for those of you taking the new revised GRE later this fall or winter, now is the time to buckle down and put in those hours studying for the big test!

It can be easy to feel like there is tons of time to study for the GRE — until suddenly, weeks have turned into months, and the test is just around the corner. To avoid this procrastination disaster and use your available time effectively, create a study plan for the test right away. Most students start studying for the GRE about three months in advance. Set a goal for hours of studying per week and make a schedule of when you will fit in these hours. Some people learn best by studying a short amount daily, while others benefit from longer sessions and having a day or days off. Play around with different schedules until you find what works best for you. Make sure to take practice tests throughout your preparation time so you can get used to the length of the test, as well as gauge your progress in different areas. It is also a good idea to have a reading program set up in addition to your regular GRE practice time. Reading is the best way to learn new vocabulary, especially for non-native English speakers, because you are seeing the word in context. Vocabulary learned this way is more likely to stick with you than vocabulary memorized from a list of definitions. Well-written novels or articles in newspapers are both great options. Many people find that reading one article per day from a newspaper’s website is a nice supplement to their regular GRE practice.

For students taking the new revised GRE, preparing for the test may seem especially overwhelming. Fortunately, a little knowledge about what to expect will allow you to perform your best on these new sections. The new verbal section of the GRE focuses more on vocabulary in context, rather than standing on its own. This is good news for you since context offers clues to the meanings of words. The antonym and analogy questions have been eliminated, and text completion and sentence equivalence questions have been added. If you have taken the TOEFL exam, these new questions will be familiar already. Text completion questions consist of short paragraphs with one to three blanks. Each blank will have three possible choices, or five if there is only one blank. A choice could be one word or a phrase made up of a few words. Sentence equivalence questions contain one sentence with one blank and six answer choices. You must select two answer choices that could complete the sentence. Both of these types of questions do not get partial credit–if you miss one part of the question, you miss the whole thing. An effective strategy for these sections is predicting a word or phrase that would fill in the blank and then trying to find a matching meaning in the answer choices.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about the GRE, especially with a new format and the rush of activity that fall often brings. But armed with a clear study plan and an understanding of the new elements of the GRE, you can make the most of your fall and go into your test confident and prepared!

Categories: Guest Post

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