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What Should You Expect From A Quality GRE Course? 4 Key “Takeaways”

GRE course

Read time: 3 minutes

If you’re seriously considering graduate school, you’re probably getting geared up to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

There are three prep options for GRE candidates:

1) Devise your own study plan and prepare by yourself

2) Enroll in a GRE course

3) Purchase private GRE tutoring sessions

Obviously, these three paths come with significantly different price points! And make no mistake, you can’t necessarily “buy” your way to a better GRE score.

However, not all students are cut out for self-study. It takes serious discipline, and considerably more time, to plot out your own GRE study plan.

You’ve got to hunt down the most reliable materials, identify (and learn) the most effective problem-solving strategies, and figure out how to accurately track your progress toward your score goal.

There are plenty of free resources online to help you along the way, but again, it will take additional time to sort through all the blog posts and GRE forums to find the answers you need.

GRE course
GRE self-study takes significant discipline & requires extra time to find reliable resources (Photo by Juliette Leufke on Unsplash)

Over the years, we’ve found that busy, working candidates—and certainly those with families—usually opt for a GRE course to expedite the whole study process.

But there are tons of test prep companies out there, and many, many GRE courses to choose from. What should you be looking to gain from a quality program?

These are the 4 key skills and competitive advantages you’ll walk away with after comprehensive, professional GRE prep.

1. Proven Problem-solving Steps for Every Topic & Question-type

A really good GRE course leaves no stone unturned. You will study each of the three main content areas on the exam (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing), and every single topic/question-type presented in those sections.

You will learn proven, step-by-step techniques for solving every type of problem—standardized approaches the instructor has tested and vetted, and knows will work every single time.

By the end of the course, you will have seen and worked through every kind of problem the GRE can throw at you.

2. Access to Hundreds of Authentic GRE Practice Questions

Once you’ve learned the theory and problem-solving strategies for each GRE topic, you’ll need to practice applying those steps, over and over again, right up to the exam.

This means you’ll need authentic GRE sample questions and practice tests to refine your skills and track your progress.

A quality course will include hundreds of genuine GRE questions, numerous practice tests, and all the other materials you’ll need to keep on prepping after training has ended.

You shouldn’t have to invest more of your own time hunting down study guides or practice questions. Everything should be included in the cost of your course.

Your GRE course should include all the study materials & practice tests you’ll ever need

3.  How to Cope with Questions You Don’t Know at the Exam

Most students suffer from some degree of exam anxiety. With the stress of test day, it’s normal to “blank out” and forget a problem-solving step you learned in class. But it’s crucial to have a plan in place for dealing with questions you can’t solve, and those inevitable moments of panic.

A good GRE course will teach you how to deal with unknowns on test day. You’ll learn how to guess strategically, when to flag a question for later, and when it makes sense to just move on.

These tips will be invaluable for remaining calm, and managing your time well during the exam.

Related: How to Handle GRE Questions You Don’t Know & Moments of Panic

4. Additional academic support, even after the GRE course is over

One of the biggest advantages a good GRE course will offer you is the option to take the class again, as many times as you need, before the exam.

Look for a test prep company with a robust course repeat policy. At Quantum, we give GRE students 6 months to repeat their entire course—or any individual module—after their date of enrollment.

This is a real game-changer for students who require additional academic support in weak topic areas. Access to the instructor doesn’t just end once the weekend course or bootcamp is over; you can keep coming back for assistance until your practice scores improve.

The option to keep repeating the class also grants you access to a GRE community—fellow test-takers you can connect with during the study process. This is a major confidence booster for many GRE candidates.

GRE course
Connecting with fellow GRE candidates can help reduce stress & boost confidence (Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash)

Are you planning to take the GRE in Toronto this year, and need more information about local training programs and GRE test prep resources?

Your best first step is to explore free GRE workshops happening in the GTA. Click below for a schedule of events.

Browse free GRE math and verbal workshops in Toronto

Or, we welcome you to explore Quantum’s comprehensive 30-hr GRE course, delivered at our training centre in downtown Toronto.  Click here to learn more about the course.


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GRE Prep: How to Handle Questions You Don’t Know & Moments of Panic

GRE prep

Read time: 3 minutes

No matter how hard you study for the GRE, you can expect to encounter questions you just don’t know come exam day.

And that’s ok! It’s realistic to assume that at least a few Quant or Verbal questions will trip you up. If you’ve prepared thoroughly, one or two stumbles won’t jeopardize your overall score.

This sounds reasonable enough—but what about when the pressure is on and the clock is ticking? What will happen when you come face-to-face with a question you can’t answer and feel completely frozen with panic?

The anxiety brought on by a particularly challenging question can seriously upset the poise and careful reasoning you need to score high on the GRE.

This is why students need a well thought-out strategy for handling unknowns and coping with those inevitable moments of stress.

Watch how you handle tough questions during mock GRE exams and practice tests.

Try a few different coping techniques to find the approach that works best for your learning style—and you’ll be far better prepared  for bumps in the road on test day.

These are 3 reliable techniques to get started with.

1. Systematically Eliminate Least Likely Answers

You’ll spend months learning proven, step-by-step procedures for tackling each type of Quant and Verbal question on the GRE, right?

Best case scenario: You’ll use those techniques to de-code every question, immediately see which answer option is correct, select it with confidence, and move on.

Reality: Certain questions will contain confusing elements (such as a vocabulary word you didn’t study), making it difficult to apply the right technique, and go straight to the correct answer.

At this point, panic will likely set in because you feel stuck, and only have a moment or two to make a decision.

Your best bet is to carefully look at the problem again. Identify the question-type, and recall the features, traps, and patterns present in all problems of that kind.

Based on what you do know, analyze the available answers and try to eliminate the least likely options. The more options you can eliminate, the better your chances of selecting the correct response.

You will not feel certain about your answer, but you’ll have done your best to remain calm, and apply a strategic approach to handling the unknown.

2. Make an Educated Guess

Just plain don’t understand the problem, and can’t remember any theory that helps you eliminate unlikely answers?

Ok, but don’t leave the question blank. On the GRE, points are not deducted for wrong responses, so if all else fails, you should go with your gut and make an educated guess.

Important tip: Don’t let the minutes tick by while you agonize over which answer option to select. Give yourself one to two minutes, choose the response that stands up best to logic, and then quickly move on.

Staring at the screen will not illuminate any hidden wisdom—it will only rob you of the time you need to successfully answer the remaining questions.

When you’re practising this technique during GRE mock exams, be careful not to “cheat” and give yourself extra time—you’ll be setting yourself up for serious pacing problems on test day.

3. Flag it for later

If you encounter a problem you feel you might be able to solve if you had a bit more time, it makes good sense to flag it for later.

This is likely a question-type you recognize, and are able to somewhat decode using a standard technique—but you end up going in circles, or torn between two possible answers.

Don’t get stuck on this type of “unknown”. It’s better to flag the question, move on to easier problems, collect those points, and then go back for round two, if the clock allows.

Important tip: Don’t understand the problem at all? See no possible pathways for solving it?

Don’t bother flagging it for later. Save your time and energy for questions you have a better chance of getting right. Take an educated guess and move on.

Bottom line: Like every other aspect of GRE prep, dealing with unknowns demands a strategic approach.

Integrate some reliable “plan B” techniques into your study routine, and you won’t get sidelined by panic on exam day.

Taking the GRE in Toronto, and looking for free study help, or a top-rated GRE course?

Click here for a list of totally free GRE workshops near you

Click here to learn more about Quantum’s top-rated GRE Course