Improving my score


I took the GRE last October and did very poorly (147Q, 148V and 3.5AWA). I've always struggled with standardized tests, even though I did fairly well in my college courses. I'm retaking the GRE on August 6th because my first application deadline is September 1st (I'm applying to several accelerated nurse practitioner programs). Unfortunately, I have not had much extra time to study for the GRE this year because I've been taking the more difficult nursing prerequisite courses. I intended to retake the GRE in September or October until I realized that there a couple programs with an earlier application deadline. I hope to follow the 1 month study guide on Magoosh. The issue, however, is that I'm also taking an online statistics course this summer and work/volunteer 25-30hrs most weeks. Will it be possible to raise my scores to at least the 50th percentile in this small amount of time? I'm feeling so overwhelmed with the GRE material. :(


Allie Cook

Posted Jul 2, 2016

1 Explanation


Gravatar Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Allie :)

I'm sorry to hear that your experience with the GRE hasn't been really great so far, but I'm happy to give you some guidance as you prepare for your upcoming exam :)

Firstly, in terms of scores, the 50th percentile on the quant section equates to a score of 152-153, while 50th percentile on the verbal section equates to a score of 151. Improving 7 points and 3 to 4 points per section is definitely doable but maybe not in a month's time. That said, if you work diligently throughout the month and are able to finish the one month daily plan, keep up with your other obligations, and get rest (yes, rest is a key component to any study plan!), then reaching your target scores is possible :)

Now, let's talk about time commitment. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate this summer. The one-month plan was designed to be finished in four weeks, with 2-4 hours of work for each of the five weekdays, and one 5-6 stint on the weekend (“Day Six”). You could also work both weekend days if your time during the week is limited. With that in mind, it is also possible that a day’s assignments will take a lot longer than the 2-4 hours, and you may have to do longer weekend sessions to finishing the week’s work.

With a packed schedule, keeping up with the schedule may prove challenging, but it's definitely possible! If you find it difficult to do the entire list of tasks each day, at least set aside 1 - 1.5 hours a day to do GRE work. Set a timer if you need to, but dedicate yourself to focusing for that time. Be diligent about putting in short amounts of time. Regular, short study periods will keep your brain "thinking like the GRE," and won't feel as taxing on your time as super long study sessions.

Keep your goals in mind, but also don't get discouraged if you go off your study schedule a bit! Check out this blog post for suggestion on how to get back on track the next day/week: http://magoosh.com/gre/2014/what-to-do-if-you-fall-off-the-study-wagon/ :)

And if you don't do a full study session one day that your schedule says you should, then instead do at least one small thing. You might review flashcards on the bus, do a few practice math problems while you eat breakfast, or read a difficult magazine article with a timer, for example. Doing at least one thing every day creates a positive snowball. If you start thinking of yourself as the type of person who practices vocab daily, you’re much more likely to feel the motivation to do other things to raise your score.

Mind you, these are only a few suggestions that I think would be helpful. With diligent effort, you can successfully study for the GRE!

Jul 7, 2016 • Comment

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