What to consider before a GRE retake, part I


Did you use good prep resources?

There are a TON of GRE prep options out there, and they can be tricky to sort through. However, more than one (waaaay more than one) student has been felled by subpar practice. How can you identify good prep resources? Check out the PowerPrep tests offered by the test-maker, ETS, as well as the sample questions they offer.

Take careful note of the format; it's also a good idea to rate how difficult you find each problem as you go through their materials. Then, compare your findings to the commercial products out there. For GRE books, you can also check out expert recommendations to give you a leg up on the search.

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How many practice tests did you take/have you taken?

You might be surprised to learn that ideally, you'd be taking one GRE practice test a week, and more frequently if you only have a short amount of time in which to prepare. And, just as with general GRE prep resources, you want to make sure that those practice tests are really test-like—and provide you with good answers and explanations.

After all, if you don't know why you got an answer wrong (and how to get it right), you're pretty much guaranteed to get the same types of questions wrong on test day.


Special thanks to Rachel for providing us with this article. Rachel Kapelke-Dale blogs about graduate school admissions for Magoosh. She has a BA from Brown University, and did her own graduate work at the Université de Paris VII (Master Recherche) and University College London (PhD). She has taught and written about test preparation and admissions practices for eight years.