This is a major decision, and it may be one of the best possible choices you've made. But before you get too far into researching which schools or programs will be the best fit for you, you're going to want to start planning for the GRE.
The GRE is a test that measures the extent of a person's knowledge of general studies (similar to the SAT), and it is required by most schools before a graduate applicant will be considered. Unlike the SAT, however, much of what is on the GRE may be things that you haven't studied in a long time, which can make the test seem intimidating. There are a number of different things that are taken into consideration when an institution considers prospective students, so your admittance doesn't depend entirely on your GRE scores. Still, whether or not you do well on the test can affect your future, so you'll want to get an early start on planning and studying.
If you're planning for graduate school or just wondering how you'll get through the GRE, consider how the following can help you reach your goals:
1. When, where, and what
More often than not, the GRE is offered year-round at a testing center near you, usually once or twice each month. The most important thing to do is to find out when the testing sessions are and register early. Depending on when you apply to school, you may have a short window to get your GRE scores to the admissions department, so you want to make sure that you've planned ahead and have everything lined up correctly.
You will likely only be required to take the general test in order to be considered for admissions. In some cases, however, you may be expected to take a subject test for admittance into certain programs, like psychology. Subject tests may not be offered as regularly as the general test, so be sure to check with the program department on what is required of you before you register for the GRE.
2. Get the book
As previously noted, the GRE covers a number of different areas, including math and language skills. If you've been out of school for a while, these areas may not be as fresh in your memory. In order to be as prepared as possible, get a copy of the official GRE study guide. This guide will cover all of the areas on the test and will also include a practice test with instructions on how to score your pre-test.
3. Consider a tutor
If you have any concerns about your ability to do well on the test, consider getting a tutor to help me write my essay. Because the test covers general knowledge, finding someone to help you brush up on prime numbers or vocabulary shouldn't be hard, and it can have a dramatic effect on your final scores.
Given that the GRE is a measure of fundamental knowledge, you may think that you've got this in the bag. After all, you've already been through several years of schooling and should have learned all of this at some point, right? Wrong. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it will come rushing back to you as soon as you read the test questions. In the weeks and days before you are scheduled to take the test, study - and study hard. This is truly the only way you can be confident you'll earn the best score possible.
5. Take the practice test
If you've bought the study guide, the practice test will be included and is a great way to see what might be on the actual test. If you aren't able to get the book, make an effort to find a practice test online. Not only will this give you an idea of what will be on the actual test, but it can also show you which areas you excel in and where you might need some improvement.