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MBAer

When should I begin studying for the GRE's?

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I would like to apply to clinical psych programs here in Canada and I have two more years of UG to complete, should I start studying now while I'm not doing anything else?

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4 minutes ago, MBAer said:

I would like to apply to clinical psych programs here in Canada and I have two more years of UG to complete, should I start studying now while I'm not doing anything else?

It would increase your vocabulary if you did start working on it now, but it's not necessary. Six months to a year should be sufficient for the general GRE. The subject tests are much more intense and two years is not too soon to begin learning the material and do any additional reading in order to place with a high percentile. I never took the actual GRE English subject test, but did read the manuals and took several practice tests. I found it to be somewhat grueling and geared toward Brit Lit (I'm an Americanist). I found enough programs that did not require the subject test to apply to.

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Everyone is different, but for the general test I started studying 3 months in advance. I was also working full time so I usually studied for 20-60 min after work and a couple hours on the weekends. For the psych test I studied for 2 months (again while working full time). Unless you plan on taking the test soon, I wouldn't bother starting to study. In my opinion, the tests (and studying for them) sound a lot more daunting than they actually are.

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I think 6 months to a year in advance of your test date is a bit excessive. 3 months is generally a good rule of thumb for the general test, and I would focus on learning vocabulary from the get go. Are you hoping to go straight into graduate school after undergrad, or do you expect to take a year or so off? 

Edited by 01848p

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40 minutes ago, 01848p said:

I think 6 months to a year in advance of your test date is a bit excessive. 3 months is generally a good rule of thumb for the general test, and I would focus on learning vocabulary from the get go. Are you hoping to go straight into graduate school after undergrad, or do you expect to take a year or so off? 

I except to take a year off:)

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I started studying at the beginning of my last summer vacation, took the exam early fall, and applied late fall / early winter. It was the perfect amount of time, I think.

Edited by metalpsychperson

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I studied hard for 2 months and found it to be enough. Of course, during those 2 months, I treated studying like it was a 9-5 Monday-Friday job. The length of studying somewhat depends on your score goals and where you're at. I'd definitely suggest taking a practice test to get a feel for how far off you are from your ideal score.

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Hi as someone who has been there, and done that, and then spoken to other fellow graduate students, there's never a truly right time to do it. Obviously, writing your tests earlier will mean having more time and less stress! For me, I wrote my GRE the first time at the end of summer between 3rd and 4th year. A long story being short, I retook the test twice the summer after I graduated, and then the Psych GRE in Fall (both my top 2 choices for schools required it). I ended up using my first set, and wasted quite a bit of time and money, but earlier means that you have a chance to make silly mistakes I did (hopefully you won't have to the first time around). I would say that the General GRE is a refresher on basic quantitative skills (up to high school), whereas the VR, as others have highlighted here, requires an extensive knowledge of vocabulary. To be honest, starting now won't be a bad idea, BUT I think you'll find yourself most productive when you've actually set yourself a date and have a 3-4 month plan of action. Since you're in between undergraduate years, studying now might not have the added benefit of retaining much of the information you've acquired simply because you'll find yourself bombarded with info to learn during the school year. 

TL;DR  - know what the GRE is, and what are the concepts you'll need to learn. Feel free to crack open some books to get an idea, but studying now likely won't maximize your success that a few months of diligent, dedicated studying prior to your test will do. 

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Considering you have a couple years before graduation time, there are other tasks that might serve you better than studying from a GRE test prep book. If you'd like, there are diagnostic tests available you can take to let you know where you stand. Some note a few areas you may be weak in to suggest extra practice.

Other than those, I would suggest reading daily both for pleasure as well to increase comprehension and speed. If you come across a word you don't know, create a flash card for it and practice it until you have no hesitation when answering. Write, rather type, regularly, even if it's like a diary entry, to increase accuracy, speed, and writing skills. Practice proper syntax and sentence variation. There are free practice prompts online if you'd like to write a response for a willing professor to review or provide feedback.

Regarding math skills, this could depend on how strong you are in math. If you want to study, Khan Academy online provides free video math lessons and practice problems if I remember correct. If you are able to include math classes in your schedule, it can help keep you sharp for the test. 

An awesome resource is the Magoosh test prep apps you can get for your phone. They have an assortment of math and vocabulary cards which can help improve and maintain your skills for when test time comes. 

Intense studying from a test prep program can come 3-5 months before test day.

Hope this helps!

 

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A minimum of 3 months should suffice to prepare for the GRE exam. Although, some will extend it to 6 months or more. You will need to strategize when you'll take the GRE Exam.

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