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Which GRE study schedule should I follow?

Since Magoosh offers multiple study plans, it is important to pick the one that will work best for you. 

Beginner Study Plan

This is much more than just the "beginner" plan; it is really the standard plan. This plan is meant for a 3 month study period, but it is also easily adapted to 2 months if necessary. It is designed to help students complete:

  • All the Magoosh video lessons and practice problems
  • The entire ETS official guide and most or all of the ETS verbal reasoning guide
  • One additional study guide (typically Manhattan)

This plan is suitable for every score goal (including those over 320). There are only three reasons to not choose this plan:

  • You only need to improve your score in one section, verbal or quant
  • You are already averaging 310-320 on the GRE
  • You have a month or less to study

Math or Verbal Focused

 

These plans bring a lot of the same benefits as the beginner, but they focus much more on one section than the other. If you choose the verbal focused plan, you should see a substantial increase in your verbal score. But since you are spending minimal time on math, you may see only a small--or possibly no--increase in your math score. This would be the same, but reversed, for the math focused plan. 

This plan makes sense in a few situations. If you already have a great score in one section (160 or higher), then you can afford to focus on just your weak section. 

If you know that the school/program you are applying to only cares about one section, then this plan again might make sense for you. 

Lastly, some students may actually need to stack a focused plan with the beginners plan. For example, if you are substantially below average in one section, you may need to spend 2-3 months just getting that weak area up to "average." In that case, you would do a focused plan followed by the beginners plan. This is only an option if you have 4-6 months to study, but it may be the only route to your score goals if you are severely behind in one area. 

Advanced

This plan is strictly for students that are already scoring 310-320. I would go a step further and say that it is for students who "average" in this area. That means you have scored here on multiple GRE exams or multiple high quality practice tests from ETS, Magoosh, or Manhattan. 

In that case, the advanced plan is the way to go. It will focus almost exclusively on the harder problem ranges on Magoosh. It will also recommend other advanced materials to supplement this practice. It is the best way to go if you want to make sure you do not waste time on fundamentals that you have already mastered. 

1 Month and 1 Week

To be honest, neither of these are ideal in terms of preparing for the GRE. They are choices you make if you have no other choice based on the time you have available. It takes most students 2-3 months to obtain their best results. If you only have 1 month or just 1 week, you are almost definitely going to achieve a result that is less than your best possible. 

The 1 Month plan is similar to the beginner plan. The only difference is that, because there is less time, the daily workload is higher, and you will probably only be able to complete 60-75% of all the material recommended. However, if you decide to keep a truly relentless pace, you might complete everything. Either way, you will still see a lot of improvement over your previous score, even with just 4 weeks. But it will definitely be a more stressful way to go.

The 1 week schedule is mostly an attempt to familiarize you with as much of the basics as you have time for. Most of this is just how questions work and some of the question answering strategies. You will then fit in as many additional videos and practice problems as you can.

If you know absolutely nothing about the exam, the 1 week schedule might be enough to boost your potential score 2-3 points over what you would have gotten otherwise. But if you have a little familiarity with the exam already, you are probably looking at 1-2 points of improvement at the most. 

In short, 1 week of study is better than nothing, but it can do little more than help you survive test day.

 

 

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