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All You Need to Know on Standardized Tests for Grad School and How to Prep

Updated: Jul 29, 2023


Table of Contents:

Introduction Some Definitions Step by Step Guide to Prepare

  1. Understand how the test will look like

  2. Your current skills and how to improve them

  3. Define a study plan

  4. Choose official prep material and supplementary resources

  5. Practice again and again

  6. Simulate test conditions




If you are on this page, you probably feel a little confused about the GRE and GMAT exams and would like to know more about them. Don’t worry! In this guide I am going to show you exactly what standardized tests for grad school are and how to prepare for them in the best way.

Some Definitions

The abbreviation GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. This test measures the knowledge that students have gained over the years they have spent learning and evaluates how prepared they are to enter graduate school. The questions cover a wide range of topics, from math and geometry, to logic, or lexicon.

While the GRE is needed to enter most graduate programs (both master’s degrees and phds), business schools usually require GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores. This second exam is made of different components: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative section, and Verbal section. As it can be understood from their names, these assessment areas measure respectively the student’s ability to write a good analytical essay, to comprehend graphs and tables, to solve mathematical problems, and to understand and reason on what they read.

Step by Step Guide to Prepare

After defining what GRE and GMAT are, let’s go through every step to prepare before the test.

  1. Understand how the test will look like. This means learning about the question types, time limits, and scoring criteria that are applied in each section. Once you know what the test will look like, you can already have a better idea on how to prepare and study for it!

  2. Your current skills and how to improve them. Considering that both GRE and GMAT are assessing what you have learnt in your previous education cycles, you may already have some of the knowledge that is required to pass these exams. To understand how deeply your preparation sessions should go, first take a practice test or try some online diagnostic tools. Testing your current skills will help you to set the right study plan, to focus on your weaker areas, as well as on consolidating what you already know.

  3. Define a study plan. Scheduling your study sessions and allocating enough time for them will be crucial in order to prepare in a complete and satisfying way. Be disciplined and focused, but also don’t forget to take breaks to keep your mind fresh and avoid burnout.

  4. Choose official prep materials and supplementary resources. Studying without taking a look at the official preparation materials is often not enough. Indeed, it is advisable to consult these resources that are offered both for GRE and GMAT. They include mock tests, sample questions with explanations, and study guides. In addition to official materials, you can also add some extra support and resources. Indeed, there are plenty of platforms that can make the preparation process much easier, following students with special plans that often include diagnostic tests, online lessons, score predictions and many other services. More articles on this topic soon!

  5. Practice again and again.There is no doubt that practice makes perfection, and this is also true for standardized test scores. By regularly dedicating time to practice for your exam, you can improve your speed, become more accurate in your answers, and also boost your confidence. Some of these sessions should be untimed, but it is also important to find some moments for timed practice . A good strategy can be to begin with untimed practice and then to gradually start timing your performances as your test date gets closer. Additionally, remember that practicing can also be done with your friends and peers, who are maybe going through the same process as you. Organizing study sessions with them can be an alternative and fun way to learn.

  6. Simulate test conditions.The last step before exam day is to simulate the test conditions and environment. To do this, you can take a full-length practice test, to be completed individually and timing yourself. If you can, choose a quiet room to allow yourself to concentrate in the best way. As the test date approaches, simulate test conditions during your practice sessions.

TIP: do not forget yourself and your health while prepping for these important

exams. Sleeping enough, eating healthily, taking breaks and exercise are needed in everybody’s life, so they are in yours.


After defining what the GRE and GMAT are, we viewed the main steps that are necessary in order to successfully take these tests. These are not strict guidelines, but they are more of a general scheme that you can follow in this important preparation phase.

I hope this article will be useful and wish you the best for your success!

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