Not all practice is made equal. It takes more than just doing a bunch of problems and then scoring yourself to really prepare yourself for the real thing. “Doing problems” is not all that’s involved in practice. If you aren’t doing these three things every time that you take a practice test, then you may not be getting everything that you can out of your practice! Read on to find out what they are!
1. Mark questions that you are not sure about
One common mistake that students make when taking practice tests is not going over the questions that they get correct. If you guess on a question or aren’t completely sure that you know exactly what you’re doing, mark the question for review later! The last thing you want to do is rely on luck on the day of the GRE. If you’re not totally sure that you’re doing the problem right, or if you aren’t sure that you’re doing the problem the most efficient way, look it up (hopefully you have a solutions manual to go along with that practice book)!
2. Go over the questions that you got wrong
It seems obvious, but many students just look at the correct answer and then move on — without ever bothering to find out how to arrive at that answer. Practice is only beneficial when you learn from the mistakes you make, and then practice doing it again correctly, which brings me to my third point…
3. Do the same problems again!
Yes, you read that correctly. Go back and do some of the problems you struggled with again! I’m fairly confident that Michael Jordan didn’t just toss basketballs willy-nilly until he sank one and then say, “OK, done for the day.” Remember that the reason you’re taking these practice tests is so that you can learn from your mistakes now, rather than learning from your mistakes on the real thing. What better way to figure out if you’re actually doing that than by going back and redoing the problems you missed earlier? Also, redoing problems will reinforce the concepts in your mind. Even redoing problems that you got right can benefit you by boosting your confidence — if you always get a certain problem right and see a similar problem on the GRE, you can feel confident that you will get it right!