Four words - the Graduate Record Exam. Commonly known as the GRE, this test can also be described as a college senior’s inevitable worst nightmare. Although similar to the SAT, which we all have to admit was an anxiety-filled experience, the GRE is a computer-adaptive graduate admissions exam that was recently revised on Aug. 1, 2011. Other than studying the style of the exam and brushing up on your math skills, here are some additional tips for a stress-free and possibly fun GRE experience.
1. Plan accordingly
With school, work, or extra curricular activities that swarm the life of a college student, allotting four hours of your day to a test can be difficult. Make sure you stick to a date to take the GRE where you have little to no other commitments. If you cancel your exam date, you will be charged $50, and who wants that after the $160 they charge to even take the exam? Make sure to double-check your planner and class syllabi. Don’t double book!
2. Start studying early
Even if you plan to take the GRE months in advance, I assure you that the date will creep up on you. Start studying early! If you don’t want to spend $30-$60 on a GRE book, check the website for free test prep materials ranging from practice exams to math reviews. Practicing exam questions at least 15 minutes a day will go a long way.
Another good tip is to practice vocabulary. Choose a handful of words, focus on them that day, and try to use them in everyday conversation. Make up your own silly mnemonic devices to help aid your memory.
3. Treat yourself to a good meal before and after the exam
Nothing says “I love you” to your brain before an exam like a good breakfast. Boone has many wonderful local breakfast restaurants, such as Melanie’s or Sunrise Grill, to get your brain cells ready for the exam. This also gives you time to brush up on some last minute studying to provide you with the confidence you need to do well. Treat yourself afterwards to a delicious meal or a quick shopping trip! Rewarding yourself is the best way to feel good after a job well done. You did, after all, survive the GRE!
4. Listen to Beyoncé
If there is anyone with mind-blowing confidence it would be the ever-so-popular Beyoncé Knowles. She is the epitome of empowerment, and I promise she will get you pumped and ready to take on that exam. If you don’t like Beyoncé, create your own personal empowering playlist for your car or iPod to sing along and listen to right before the exam. This will relieve some stress along with preparing you for hours of silence during the exam.
I recommend “Love On Top,” “Me Myself and I,” “Best Thing I Never Had” and, for old school sake, let’s bring back Destiny’s Child “Bootylicious.”
5. Dress your best!
On the day of the exam, all you have to do is look your best! Wear your “go-to” outfit to boost your confidence. If that’s high heels, go for it! (You’re sitting for all of the exam aside from breaks so you don’t have to worry about achy feet) Put on a dress, funky colors, or whatever is most comfortable for you. You will feel like you are ready to take on the world, and more importantly, take on the GRE! Just some quick advice – the official GRE rule states if you have a jacket/cardigan, you must either wear it the whole time or not wear one at all. Just keep that in mind when you are putting together your confident-boosting outfit.
We each have our own regiment for preparing for exams, but I recommend putting a little fun into your studying. Good food, a cute outfit, and Beyoncé can go a long way to a less stressful GRE experience. Happy studying and good luck!