It’s that time of year! If you’ll be applying to grad school in the fall/winter that means you’re already thinking of the GRE and (hopefully) you’ve begun studying. When it came to the GRE I was mostly just in denial that it was even happening for a long time until probably about a month before. 0/10 do not recommend. You need TIME to study and do the best you can. I have a few common questions about the GRE listed here along with my answers. Some Q’s were submitted by you guys too so thank you for that!
Also just wanted to let you know that this post is the first one in a series of “Let’s Apply to SLP Grad School” posts! If you’re a future SLP grad student and you’d like to see a specific post please leave a comment down below with your questions!
How do I not fail?
Good question @Gabby ~ hopefully this post will teach you how to not fail
When should we take it? What’s the general timeline for applying to grad school?
For speech, all of my applications had to be in by February 1st. My first deadline was December 15th I believe. I took the GRE in mid-October. If I wanted to retake it I would need to wait 21 days. You can only take the test five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. Most students I know took the GRE a maximum of two times. It is a very draining process so you’ll probably want to only take it once and be done with it forever (that’s how I was!)
Because I took it in October, I could take it again in early November and still have my scores before the first deadline. A cool thing about the GRE is that you get your scores right away for verbal and quantitative. The writing scores take about a week and they’ll show up on your GRE portal where you registered so this time frame worked for me. If I wanted to take it a third time, however, I’d be in a pickle because there wouldn’t be enough time.
IF I WERE TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN (which thank goodness I don’t have to) I would take the test over the summer so it was totally done and out of the way before the fall semester starts. So do that if you can.
How long do you recommend studying for the GRE?
At least 3 months I would say. Studying in small increments at regular intervals seems to be the best way. However, that’s not speaking from experience because tbh I crammed for the GRE. Again, do not recommend.
What was your favorite study material/practice resource?
I loved using the online practice tests. Since the GRE itself is on a computer, doing this was a good way for me to get used to the format and the questions. I took about 3 practice tests and I think they helped prepare me more than anything else. I’m also a person who learns by DOING not reading. I’d rather be doing 50 practice problems not reading about how to complete problems. If you’re not like that you might not like the practice tests as much as I did but I found them extremely helpful for my learning/study style
How important do you think your GRE scores were when combined with your application?
My scores were definitely a huge factor in getting accepted/rejected/waitlisted at schools. Speech pathology is super competitive and everyone is super smart so GRE scores are looked at pretty heavily. Of course, it does depend on the school but there weren’t any schools that I saw that didn’t require the GRE. I think I probably could have retaken the GRE and done better (like I said before, I sorta crammed) but it was so long and emotionally draining that I didn’t want to put myself through it again to MAYBE do better. My scores were pretty average, my writing and verbal scores were much better than my quant.
Did you take a GRE prep course (e.g. Kaplan, or any other one)? Was it worth it in terms of earning a better score?
No, I didn’t so I can’t speak about this. My roommate Jess did take a prep course and based on her scores it seemed like it was helpful for her (but she’s also a genius so…)
When did you take the GRE and how many times?
Sort of answered this already but I took it in October of 2016 and I took it once!
What types of free practice tests are helpful?
Alright, here’s the motherload of free resources and websites to help you prepare! Good luck!
Prep Tips from the people who make the test: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/
Free GRE Resources: https://magoosh.com/gre/2012/top-5-free-online-gre-resources/
Free Practice Tests: https://crunchprep.com/gre/2014/free-gre-practice-tests
GRE Fast Facts: https://www.kaptest.com/gre
Structure of the GRE: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/content/computer/
“33 Free GRE Practice Tests That You Should Definitely Take”: https://crunchprep.com/gre/2014/free-gre-practice-tests
Princeton Review does a free in-person on-campus practice test that gives you a good idea of the real thing. This is also the only free practice test I’ve found that will grade your essays: https://www.princetonreview.com/grad/gre-practice-test#!practice
Go through each of the tabs here to familiarize yourself with what they’re looking for: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue
ALL the possible Issue Essay prompts. Spend 30-45 seconds on each brainstorming points for each side of the argument and maybe what side you’d argue: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue/pool
Magoosh nicely breaks up the Issue prompts into categories. This helps a lot with practice: http://magoosh.com/gre/2016/gre-essay-topics/
Kaplan gives a pretty nice structure with a useful video at the bottom: http://www.kaptest.com/study/gre/how-to-structure-the-gre-issue-essay/
Go through each of the tabs here to familiarize yourself with what they’re looking for: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument
ALL the possible Argument Essay prompts: https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/argument/pool
Kaplan gives a pretty nice structure (no video): http://www.kaptest.com/study/gre/how-to-structure-the-gre-argument-essay/
Verbal: 2 30-minute sections
Kaplan’s 500 “most common GRE” words: https://quizlet.com/300134/kaplan-gre-flash-cards/
Magoosh’s GRE words. 1000 words broken into 50-word sets. Automatically recirculates words you don’t know:
Also try downloading the Magoosh GRE vocabulary flashcards app! It sends you notifications reminding you to study. Just replace your Candy Crush time with vocabulary flashcards for the months leading up to the test!
Quantitative: 2 35-minutes sections
Some practice problems to try: http://www.majortests.com/gre/quantitative_comparisons.php
I found this GRE prep book useful for both verbal and quantitative and it has good explanations!
What should I bring with me to take the test?
Bring a snack to eat afterwards and a water bottle should you get thirsty. You can only leave the testing room during breaks or you can opt to skip the break and get out of there quicker. I skipped every break so I could get it over with. You do you. I’d also bring/wear a sweatshirt in case it’s chilly in the testing room. Don’t forget your ID and your confirmation email as well. Lastly, bring a positive attitude and don’t forget to take deep breaths. It’s only a test!