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GRE and GMAT Prep, Step 2: Do's and Don'ts when starting your test prep journey!

My name is Scott L. and I am one of the top graduate school entrance exam instructors in the nation. This is because I have a genuine understanding of the tests and how they are constructed. This blog will offer general guidance on how to proceed on a step-by-step basis. If you have any questions or would like to know more about how I can help you prepare for this challenge, please email me directly through WyzAnt.

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Signs that a GRE/GMAT student is heading down the right GRE/GMAT path (or the wrong GRE/GMAT path).

You are moving in the right direction if:
You have begun earnest preparation at least 6 weeks before your scheduled or proposed test date; you can accept the fact that you have to re-learn (not re-fresh!) math concepts you last thought about 5-10 years ago; and you can accept the fact that your reading level and vocabulary are probably nowhere near where they need to be for GRE/GMAT success (This is true in nearly all cases, no matter what your experience and past accomplishments are. Sorry, not trying to be mean, just trying to help!)

People do well on the GRE/GMAT by combining as many of the following as possible:
Diligent preparation for a suitable length of time based on your individual needs (for some, up to six months, for most about two months); knowledge of the test (identify exactly what academic skills are tested on the math, verbal and writing portions); mastery of the academic skills; general instruction of what GRE/GMAT logic is; and specific instruction of how to apply GRE/GMAT logic.

You are moving in the wrong direction if:
You have waited until the last month to prepare for your test; you think that you just need a “refresher” when it comes to the math; you think that your genuinely high vocabulary and reading level is enough to score well on the verbal side without significant additional preparation; you have not or cannot make GRE/GMAT prep a very high priority in your life for the next 1-2 months (No judgment here, it happens. But still, the GRE/GMAT will not take it easy on you because you go to school and work full time, raise a family etc...); and you have not researched the programs you want to apply to or what is considered a competitive score at various schools.

People who commit one or more of the preparation errors usually not do well on the GRE/GMAT:
Neglect- not devoting enough time to studying; Arrogance- believing that you are smart enough to show up on test day and perform; Miscalculating I- not realizing how difficult the test truly is until it is too late; Miscalculating II- mistaken belief that you know the material well enough as is; and Misinformation- relying on GRE/GMAT advice which is not relevant to your particular situation.

(Up next: GRE and GMAT Prep, Step 3: The most important word of GRE/GMAT prep- Structure! The most dangerous word of GRE/GMAT prep: Comfort!)