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What is the best way to prepare for the GRE? Also, when is the best time to take it?

I'm in the middle of my undergraduate Exercise Physiology degree and getting ready to apply to PT school in about 2 years. #physicaltherapy #graduateschool #testing #GRE #JULY20

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Justin’s Answer

Hey, I applied to and was excepted into PT school while I was getting my undergrad degree. This was because the grad school I went to was starting up a class the semester after I was set to graduate. As far as studying for the gre, I purchased a recommended study guide and went through it to find out where I was strong and what subjects I really needed to study more for. My best advice, which worked well for me, is to take multiple practice tests, brush up on where you are lacking and then keep taking more. My main way of studying was taking practice exams over and over again. I don’t remember my exact score, but I did well and got into PT school on my first attempt.
Thank you comment icon Awesome! This was comforting. Thank you! Price
Thank you comment icon Just another tip that helped me out, is that try to get varied experience in multiple fields of PT. People with some experience is always preferable to none, but I was told that experience in several fields is valued higher than, say, multiple years in one. Like if one candidate had been a tech at an Outpt facility for the past 2 years and another had volunteered for just 4-6 wks, but at 5 different facilities, such as Outpt, acute, inpt rehab, long term care and pediatrics, my school would have accepted the latter, which was my case. Of course your gpa is a factor too, among other things. Hope any of this helps. -Justin Justin Stromberg
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Emily’s Answer

It depends if you intend to apply to PT school during your summer going into senior year so you would start right after graduation or not. You can take the exam 8 times a year as long as they are 3ish weeks apart. My advice would to be study during your breaks or schedule it in to your regular studying. You could take it over winter break junior year and that way you will have enough time to retake it prior to your application if you want to strengthen your score. Best way to prepare is to buy the Kaplan study books. Study the strategies and do the practice problems and exams.

Emily recommends the following next steps:

Decide your PT timeline
Get the study materials
Thank you comment icon This was very helpful. Thank you! Price
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Clement Willard’s Answer

GRE has two sections: Quants (mathematics) and Verbal.
In my opinion, you can start with quants first as you can be confident to score to the point. I took crash course for 30 days and prepared for the exam in 2 more weeks which helped me to score 750/800.

Make sure to take as many mock tests as possible and check where you stand before attempting final test.
During final test, the behavior I noticed was that when you answer a question correct, next question will be comparatively tough. So don’t panic. Keep your confidence and move forward.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Price
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Mohamed’s Answer

While you will find several study options available, the best way to study for the GRE depends on you. To decide which method could be the best option for you, read up on the available techniques, and how you can integrate them into your prep time before the test.

Books
GRE preparation books are one way to get ready for the test. While these books are everywhere from libraries to online stores, they shouldn’t be the only method you use to prepare.

Advantages
GRE prep books are ideal when you have a tight budget. In some cases, you can find these books in your local library for free or online for under US$100. Because books are cheaper than other study options, they are an excellent tool to start studying.

Prep books allow you to learn more about the test and try practice problems for a low investment. While you get dozens to hundreds of practice problems – depending on the book publisher – this shouldn’t be the only way you study for the GRE as there are inherent disadvantages with self-study from books.

Disadvantages
The downside to only using books to prepare is the lack of feedback you get from study. While most books offer solutions to the practice problems, you may not understand the solution presented.

If you've ever seen GRE study books, you will notice their massive size. Unless you know what parts of the test you need to study the most, you can get lost in the hundreds of pages of information. Too often, students feel overwhelmed by the size of the books and give up on studying at all.

Yes, you should use prep books, but use them with another study method to achieve the best results.

Flashcards
If you weren’t already aware, the GRE tests your vocabulary. Participants must prove they have a college-level handle of English on the test, which makes flashcards appealing. But, like books, flashcards shouldn’t be your only study method.

Advantages
Flashcards make it easy to study for the vocabulary portion of the GRE anywhere. You can have flashcards on your phone and go through them on your commute, while waiting in the doctor's office or anytime you have a few free minutes. For an on-the-go study method, flashcards are an ideal solution.

Disadvantages
Yes, flashcards can help you drill in some vocabulary knowledge, which is critical for getting a high score on the GRE verbal section, but what about the math portion? On the flipside, flashcards don’t help you with critical reasoning or reading comprehension. If you want to use flashcards, make them a part of your studying method, not the only way.

Tutors
Private tutoring gives you one-on-one instruction for the GRE. Although you get private teaching, it may not be the most effective way to prepare for the GRE for everyone, especially if you want to save money.

Advantages
In an ideal situation, the tutor will customize teaching to the parts of the test you need to focus on. They should also give you GRE study tips to help you practice outside of tutoring sessions. With an online or in-person tutor guiding you, you may have more motivation to study than working on your own.

Disadvantages
The level of experience attained by tutors is wide and varied, meaning, you could find someone with no experience or specially trained test experts. Unless you have thoroughly vetted a private tutor or sought assistance from a GRE test prep company's trained tutors, you could find yourself getting poor advice and wasting your money.

The monetary aspect is a big disadvantage for some; private tutoring is one of the most expensive test prep options.

Online courses
Online courses give you an overview of the GRE as a comprehensive study option.

Advantages
The advantage of taking an online course is the flexibility to study anywhere you have access to a computer. These classes cost less than private tutoring, making them better choices for those on a budget. Online courses also give you a complete package of practice, information and study tips. Depending on the service, you can even find online study courses that offer a score guarantee, such as the Princeton Review.

Disadvantages
Unless you practice on your own outside of the online class, you may not get the full benefits from the course. Additionally, online learning doesn’t give you interaction with your fellow students or teacher that you get from in-person classes.

In-person courses

n-person courses require physical attendance in a class with other GRE students. Among the ways to study for the GRE, this is one of the most well-known, but is it the best?

Advantages
In-person courses are ideal if you need interaction with other students and the teacher. You can ask questions and collaborate on problems or form study groups with classmates. Since the classes happen on a pre-set schedule, you must keep up with studying and practice to avoid falling behind.

Disadvantages
In-person classes can feel tedious, especially with large amounts of information to learn. Additionally, depending on the class size, you may not get any personalized instruction during the course. Like tutoring, in-person classes can be expensive. However, some people find the investment a driving factor, to study harder and put more effort into participating in the class.

Don't wait to start your GRE preparation
Regardless of how you study for the GRE, you can’t wait until the last minute to begin preparation. As soon as you decide to take the GRE, start your search for the best study methods for you.

What are good study methods for the GRE? That depends on you. Think about how you study best. Do you need individualized tutoring, or can you motivate yourself to study through an online course? You will need many methods to get the desired results regardless of whether you take a class – you still need practice outside the class to reinforce what you learned.

Sources:

1. https://www.princetonreview.com/grad/gre-tutoring-course?ceid=nav
Thank you comment icon Thanks for laying everything out in a pros and cons list. That really helped me! Price
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Dr. Aisha Wright’s Answer

Two tips that helped me (adding to what was already shared) were: 1) Take the test more than once (you typically score higher the second time and 2) Reading the magazine the Economist :) regularly.
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