"When self-study just isn't for you...how I figured it out."
Michael went into his GRE prep extremely confident: as a native English speaker and recent college graduate he assumed his Verbal skills would be on par, and he felt his quant score would fare similarly (he got decent grades in his math requirements during university).
He decided to go for his grad degree, and take the GRE, about 2 years after graduation. Six months before he planned on applying to grad school he started studying for the GRE using the official guide book and little else. For a couple hours each week he would do practice questions and read tips.
Feeling confident with his self study over the last couple months, Michael took his first practice exam 1 month out from his test date, expecting to score around 165 for both sections (the standard score for his programs of interest). He scored a 149 in verbal and a 148 in quant, and Michael realized he had severely underestimated the GRE’s tricks and timing nuances, and overestimated his ability to self study for this very important exam.
Immediately Michael understood he needed assistance if he was ever going to score close to a 165 for both sections on test day. On a budget, Michael needed affordable test prep that would be able to help him increase his score fast: he found Ready4 and immediately liked the sound of their Complete Live Online Course because of the attention from the instructors and the ability to ask questions.
He took the 4 week course and completed all assignments, rigorously studying for the last month before his test date. Michael took his first GRE upon completion of the course and scored a 163 on verbal and a 164 on quant. This was a huge improvement, but Michael wanted to give it one more shot to see if he could break 165.
He signed up for 2 hours of private tutoring to hone his math skills, and diligently practiced 165 level questions for both quant and verbal for a couple weeks before his second GRE attempt. On his second test date, Michael scored a 167 on verbal and a 165 on quant.
Michael’s advice to students who choose self study are:
Take a practice exam early!!! I wasted months on ineffective self study, and if I just took a practice exam early I would have known immediately self study wasn’t right for me.
Accept assistance when you need it! I needed serious help with all aspects of my prep even though I felt confident initially.