GRE Tips

  1. Focus on eliminating incorrect answers rather than searching for correct ones! By using the process of elimination (POE), you’re much less likely to fall into a trap or to waste time repeatedly going back and forth between the answer choices.
  2. Remember, you’re not looking for the perfect answer! Correct answers on the GRE are the ‘least-bad,’ so often you won’t love the correct answer. That’s okay! As long as it’s more correct than the other answers, then you should pick it.
  3. Use the tools you have to your advantage! On the GRE, you have a pencil and scratch paper, and you should be using it as much as you can. Make notes to yourself on reading questions, track your POE on all of the questions, quickly outline your essays, and write down the steps when doing math problems. The more information you can get down on paper the less work your brain has to do to keep track of it all.
  4. The GRE is adaptive by section – this means that the 1st math section and the 1st verbal section are more important to your final score than the 2nd math or verbal section. If you perform well on the 1st section, then your final score range will be substantially higher and the 2nd section will be more difficult.
  5. You are allowed to move between questions within a section on the GRE, so take advantage of that opportunity to prioritize the questions that are easiest and fastest for you to do. There’s no reason to start at question 1 and then go in order – if you do the easiest questions first and save the hard questions for last, you’ll optimize your score by banking all the easy points instead of running out the clock struggling with hard questions worth the same as the easy questions.
  6. Vocabulary is heavily tested on the GRE, so it’s worth your while to start working on expanding your vocabulary as early as possible. It’s very difficult to cram vocabulary effectively, so best start now!
  7. Don’t be intimidated by the math sections! Most of the math you need to know for the GRE is no more complex than that on the SAT or ACT. The ways in which the test formulates the questions and the answer choices is the primary source of difficulty once you’ve refreshed your knowledge of algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

GMAT Tips

  1. Focus on eliminating incorrect answers rather than searching for correct ones! By using the process of elimination (POE), you’re much less likely to fall into a trap or to waste time repeatedly going back and forth between the answer choices.
  2. Remember, you’re not looking for the perfect answer! Correct answers on the GMAT are simply the answer which is ‘least-bad,’ so often you won’t love the correct answer. That’s okay! As long as it’s more correct than the other answers, then you should pick it.
  3. Use the tools you have to your advantage! On the GMAT, you have a marker and a personal whiteboard, and you should be using it as much as you can. Make notes to yourself on reading questions, track your POE on all of the questions, quickly outline your essays, and write down the steps when doing math problems. The more information you can write down the less work your brain has to do to keep track of it all.
  4. The GMAT now allows you to choose which order you would like to take the sections in. This means that you should have a good sense of your workflow so that you can put the most important sections for you where you’ll do your best. Some test-takers get burnt out as they go, and should thus put the most important sections (usually the quantitative and the verbal sections) first. Other test-takers do better once they’ve warmed up, and should put the most important sections last. Do what’s right for you!
  5. The quantitative and the verbal sections on the test are adaptive by question. This means that the difficulty level of each question is dependent on how well you did on the previous question, and thus you can’t skip questions or move around within the section. It also means that the first few questions are worth much more for your score than the last few questions, so it’s worth your while to take the time needed to make sure you get the first few questions right.
  6. As a function of the test algorithm, leaving answers blank is far worse for your score than getting them wrong. You should, therefore, make sure that none of the questions are blank, even if that requires you to take the last 3-5 minutes on the test to fill in all the remaining questions with random guesses.
  7. It is critically important to be familiar with the format of the test. The GMAT has some unique types of questions, in particular the integrated reasoning section and the data sufficiency quantitative question type. These questions will be very confusing and time-consuming if you are not already familiar with the format and the approach needed.