Just how hard is the GRE? If you are stressing about taking the GRE and wonder how difficult the GRE really is, it could be that you are making it scarier in your mind than it really is. It can help to take a step back and realize that it is, in fact, eminently doable.
The GRE will be hard if you don't utilize resources available to you.
There is no shortage of GRE practice materials and GRE practice exams that contain all of the information on the test. Between books, online test prep resources, even private tutoring, everything you need to know for the GRE is freely accessible and available to you. The hard part is putting in the time to learn it, which is a matter of scheduling and managing your attention. Once you start studying, you should begin to gage how hard the GRE will be for you and where you need to focus. You will also start to pick up on how much time you will we need to actually prepare for the test. Ask yourself if you are able to dedicate a couple hours a day for a couple months. If not, you may want to start studying earlier than most. Sometimes the scariest part of the exam, and inevitably what seems like the most difficult, is setting enough time aside for studying and preparing.
The GRE will be hard if you don't study the right way.
The GRE is designed to measure the things every college student should learn, regardless of their specialty. The classes you take will vary greatly depending on your major, but the core skills measured by the GRE will be learnable by everyone, whatever the nature of their undergraduate education. With this is mind, studying the right way becomes very important. Give yourself plenty of time and realize that the test is not just about the material. You will want to study for both the material and also the format of the test. Many forget to think about the format until a couple weeks before the test. Throughout your prep, you should always keep in mind the structure of the test and what the environment might be like. For example, you should be taking timed tests at least a couple times a month.
The GRE will be hard if you don't refresh the fundamentals.
If you still trying to determine how hard the GRE is, keep in mind that much of what you need to know for the GRE you will have already learned without realizing it, just by virtue of being in college. If you have been serious about your studies all along, much of your GRE practice will be a refreshing review, and anything that is new will be relatively easy to pick up with the study habits you have developed. This doesn't mean that you should just assume you know math formulas or how to critically analyze an essay, you will want to freshen up on each subject and take notes on areas that you don't feel confident in. Let's take a deeper look at each subject:
- GRE math - as time has passed, it's doubtful that you have used much of the math you learned in high school and college. Start with the basics and begin by homing your skills in arithmetic, geometry and algebra. Take lost of practice questions and identify if you still feel weak in certain areas.
- GRE verbal - hopefully over the years you have continued to expand your verbal skills. But the truth is, the verbal section can be difficult. It's designed to test your ability to analyze and evaluate written material, which seems easy enough but long passages and sometimes what might seem like even longer answers can be daunting. Remember not to bring in outside information and don't over-analyze. Use only what you see in front of you and try not to get too caught up the all the details.
- GRE writing - more than likely, most of the "writing" you have done recently consists of work emails and maybe a blog posts here and there. Freshen up on how to critically read and write an essay. Consider things like using a thesis and backing it up with proof.