When you’re going through your study plan, you may notice that some of your practice sessions include problems on concepts that you haven’t learned or reviewed in the lesson videos. Though this may be jarring, don’t be discouraged. You always have the ability to modify your practice sessions for how you learn best as a student. :)
Read on for more information on on you can approach your practice in order to make the most out of your prep with Magoosh!
If you'd like to skip directly to a section, use one of these links:
- Practicing Many Subjects vs. Customizing Your Practice
- Learning from Mistakes
- Watching Lesson Videos
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Practicing Many Subjects vs. Customizing Your Practice
Our study schedules default to a broad approach to practice that will have you answering questions on a mix of topics, including concepts you may not have seen before. This can be an excellent way to learn over time, though there are two main reasons for practicing different topics in one session:
- Varied practice helps students get a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what to focus on going forward.
- Making mistakes (and learning from them!) is fundamental for learning.
By encountering challenging concepts, you are stretching what you know and priming your mind to learn a new concept. That way, when you arrive at those lesson videos in your studies, you will already have some experience with how these questions are structured for the exam. Over time, as you continue to develop your skills, this will help you to see new ways to approach and reach solutions. You can read more about this philosophy around this on our GRE blog:
Now, all that said, we know this method doesn't work for everyone, especially in the early stages of your prep! That's why we make it very easy to customize your practice on specific subjects. :)
If you just finished a set of lessons on a specific topic and you’d like to do some additional practice on that topic, you can select that subject in Custom Practice! This type of specific practice can be extremely useful when you’re stuck on a certain topic or type of question. It is also useful in the early days of your studying, when you are still getting a feel for what the exam's structure, subjects, and questions are like.
Ultimately, you may want to use both of these methods for practice. Do plenty of mixed practice to challenge yourself and identify weak areas you may not be aware of, and do customized practice to focus in on these weak areas. So when your schedule says it is time to do some practice problems, we encourage you to experiment with both of these methods to see what works best for you at different stages of your prep.
If you have any questions about a specific problem or a specific question type, we’d be happy to help. :) Just let us know!
Learning from Mistakes
For all of your practice, you should watch the explanation videos for every question you get wrong (and even for some of the ones you get right, especially if you felt like you were guessing!) and really analyze the questions. Ask yourself:
- Why you missed the question?
- Why your answer is wrong?
- Why the correct answer is correct?
- What will you do to avoid this next time around?
We recommend keeping track of these questions by using an "error log." You can read more about how to do that here:
Review your error log frequently. When you’re reviewing, make it your goal to understand inside-out every single practice question, so that if you see that same question in the future, you know that you will nail it. In fact, if you review a question one day, it's good to go back to it four to five days later to see if you still understand it. :)
Watching Lesson Videos
Occasionally, you may encounter questions that you have absolutely no idea how to answer. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. :)
In addition to watching each and every explanation video, consider watching the related lesson videos for the practice problems that you missed or felt lost on, even if you haven’t gotten to that lesson in your study plan. The related lesson videos will discuss the basic concepts that are important for solving the practice questions, and they'll often include tips, strategies, and shortcuts too! With that said, don’t feel the need to watch all of the related lesson videos on the spot. By following your study plan, you’ll get to those concepts eventually!
Also, when watching lesson videos while following the study plan, make sure to watch the entire video. Concepts covered in the lesson videos often provide the basic foundation for more complex questions that you’ll see on the exam, so you want to give yourself the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
Finally, the Magoosh lesson videos are an excellent resource if you’re still uncomfortable with concepts after many weeks of studying. It's never a bad idea to go back and watch a lesson again. In fact, you might find that a concept that was once puzzling to you now makes a lot more sense. :)
Practice, Practice, Practice
Always remember that improvement takes practice. :) In fact, it's often impossible to see improvement from answering just a few practice questions. Therefore, it’s important to go through as many of the practice problems in Magoosh as you can. In fact, the students who go through our practice problems multiple times often increase their scores more than students who only answer the questions once!
That said, keep in mind that completing all of the practice problems is only one piece of the puzzle. As we noted above, learning from your mistakes, watching explanation and lesson videos, and keeping an error log are all essential to your exam prep.
We hope that this gives you some insight on how to make the most out of your studying with Magoosh. :)