Guest post by Nitish who wrote GRE Test Prep Books and Software
Study material and study plans are the only things on the mind of a prospective GRE aspirant. Getting in as many resources as he can is the aim. Searching on vigorously on every possible file sharing site and looking on at the blogs is where most of the time goes.
Elaborate study plans are made and huge things are planned. The student is virtually in US. One fine thing he forgets quite conveniently is Management (Time and Resources).
Managing your resources and time is what it takes to differentiate yourself from others. Everybody has resources and almost every other student has time. The thing is – How YOU use it.
Starting with the resources, a whole lot of study material is available on the net. Verbal word lists, quant formulae and general mock tests, thousands of them. This is where you should limit yourself. Know how much you need and go ahead accordingly. Once you start downloading stuff, its almost a addiction. You cant stop. You want everything thats uploaded, no matter whether it benefits you or not.
The thing is that, you, and for that matter anyone else, cant give all those practice tests before attempting the GRE and yes, they do get repetitive after a point. So, set an aim and get in only that material which you can work upon.
For those, who have already gone ahead and downloaded all that they ever could, sort it out. Make a proper list and arrange it in priority. See how much time you have and what all you can do.
There are study plans available on the net. Some beautiful ones on this blog too. But ultimately, its all about reference. You can get a hint of how to go about your time from them but they can’t be your ready to serve plans, customized for you. No site does that. Its you who needs to do it.
Setting up a timetable is a tedious task, especially when you have loads and loads of other things going on simultaneously. As they say, the “and” operation is the most difficult to handle. When you do your GRE ‘and’ your curriculum ‘and’ manage those extra-curricular activities, the time table is bound to go for a toss.
Set up a time table that you can follow, that goes with your routine and most importantly, is not exaggerated just because it looks good on paper. For instance, doing 2 word lists per day and finishing off the whole set in a month or so looks a great prospective on paper. Be practical, it does take a whole lot of time, and all this under the presumption that you actually complete the lists!
Another thing that can be done is setting up Buffers and yes, they are not meant for passing time. Buffers are very essential. There would be times when you run a lot behind the schedule. Utilize the buffers to cover up. If you are on schedule, get ahead of it in the buffer time. It helps in the long run.
Keep you schedule dynamic. Modify it on a regular basis. The study time allotted to GRE usually increases almost exponentially towards those final two weeks. So the schedule cannot be uniform, do change it whenever and wherever need.
Lastly, implement what you have planned. Its the only thing that’s going to matter in the end.
GRE is not just about getting those four digits right so that you can set your foot in the right part of the American continent, its about learning things. Time and resource management are amongst the long list of things that the GRE teaches. Enjoy the learning curve. 🙂