There is only one GRE test administrator, but many different “types” of students who take the exam. Some people like to memorize as much as they can, while other people prefer to focus more on reviewing concepts or taking practice tests. Whatever your approach, adequate preparation is essential to hitting your target GRE score.
Your preferred learning style plays a crucial role in studying for the GRE. Some people learn by doing, while others learn by reading or listening to a lecturer. The main different learning styles include visual, aural, verbal, physical (hands-on), logical, social, and solitary.
Every person interprets information differently, which impacts the time a person takes to complete a given course. No matter your learning style, there’s a path to success for the GRE.
Studying in a group while preparing for the GRE is ideal for people who prefer social learning. It allows them to interact with other students one-on-one, share ideas, and discuss different topics.
Being in a group also allows you to gauge your understanding of different topics by explaining them to others. Like all other learning styles, group study has its pros and cons:
- Studying in a group motivates students, allowing them to cover more topics or disciplines in one session.
- Sharing ideas and discussing topics as a group helps find the answers to difficult questions quickly.
- Discussion improves understanding and retention of covered topics.
- Group study can be distracting at times. You may find you and your friends wandering off the topics you are supposed to be studying.
- Determining areas or topics of focus can be difficult, as every group member has unique strengths and weaknesses.
Solo Study With Books
Studying solo offers the flexibility of covering any topic you want when you want while prepping for your GRE. It provides you with the independence and control you want.
- There are fewer distractions as your studying sessions are unlikely to turn into hangout sessions.
- You have control over the study environment, and you can study anywhere you deem fit.
- Studying by yourself provides control over the study plan, allowing you to create a schedule that suits you best.
- It can be difficult to understand complex topics or concepts while alone.
- You’re more likely to get bored during long sessions of studying solo.
In-person Test Prep Course
To prepare for the GRE, you can take a physical class to complete the prep course. This option provides you with a classroom environment, which can motivate you. You can ask teachers questions and get immediate responses. However, an in-person course requires you to study at the pace of all other students in the class.
- It allows you to interact one-on-one with teachers and other students.
- It adds the human touch to learning.
- Common distractions, such as phones, are eliminated.
- In-person instructors can cater to different learning styles throughout the lesson.
- In-person courses tend to cost more than alternative forms of studying.
- Large classes can create more distractions.
- Your success largely rests on the expertise and availability of the teacher.
Online Test Prep Course
If you want to prep for the test at your pace but still follow a structured course, you can sign up for an online test prep class. You can take the course from the comfort of your home or any place with internet access and worth through the course at your own pace.
Since there are different online course providers, it helps to compare them to find the best option for your learning style. For example, you can read Kaplan GRE test prep reviews to know what other students feel about the course.
Like the other GRE studying strategies, online courses come with both pros and cons. Before signing up for a course, consider the following:
- You can complete the course at your own pace, making it quite flexible.
- It’s relatively inexpensive compared to in-person.
- It’s ideal for students who like studying solo but still want assistance from an instructor when they need it.
- It provides an individualized learning experience.
- Like solo book learning, taking an online course requires personal discipline and motivation.
- While on your computer studying, you can easily get distracted by things like social media.
Study Your Way, But Study Hard
Regardless of how you learn and study best, the key to excelling on the GRE is having a study strategy and sticking to it. To keep yourself accountable, create a detailed schedule with both study sessions and full-length practice tests (which can help you simulate the day of the exam) plotted out. Whether you take a course, study with friends, or review on your own, you have to put in the work to reap the reward—a GRE score that impresses admissions boards at the schools of your choice.