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How to Make Up for a Low GRE Score

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Students who expect to join higher learning institutions should not get discouraged by a low GRE score. This is because they can still do well and pursue their dreams just like other students have done. However, the goal of any standardized test like the GRE is still to score as high as possible. Preparing for the GRE can be quite challenging and needs proper time to psychologically prepare for it. Here are some of the steps to take when making up for a poor score on the GRE:

Never Let One Tough Test Define You

Some grad school applicants are convinced that they are unable to do well on GRE just because their first attempt didn’t go well. Applicants often think that they are just not good test takers, but this is definitely not true. Not doing well on the first exam should not be a determiner for the rest of your exams, and you should not let yourself be discouraged.

You Should Commit to Serious Test Preparation

The key to raising your test score is devoting a significant amount of time and putting a ton of effort into your studies. Naturally, a top GRE score will largely be impacted by the time invested in studying. So, if you work hard and follow a game plan, you’ll definitely get to where you desire to be. If you’re somebody who struggles with motivation, you can even find a GRE tutor to help keep you on track.

Refresh Your High School Math Skills

A major reason for poor performance on the GRE is the test-taker’s forgetfulness of their high school math. If you are preparing for the GRE and you are not strong in math, you should look for books and GRE tutors to help you get to where you need to be.

Do a Lot of Reading

Experts often attribute low GRE scores to the language barrier and/or limited English vocabulary. The best way to enhance your reading skills when preparing to take the GRE is by reading in English extensively. This means not only reading your course books and academic papers, but you should also read the daily news, celebrity gossip websites, and even pieces in magazines.

You Should Take Multiple Practice Exams

It’s crucial to complete multiple GRE practice tests before you can take the real exam. Walking into the test unprepared having not done it before is a recipe for disaster. Experts in this field say that the GRE’s computer-adaptive format can be quite intimidating to test takers who are not used to it. This is one major reason test-takers should practice and use realistic time restrictions, prior to the real test.

Consider a GRE Class or Tutor

If you are a grad school applicant who is not motivated enough to self-study for the GRE, you may find more motivation if you sign up for a test prep course, or you can find yourself a GRE tutor. Generally, experts say it’s important to tailor your test prep strategy to your learning style, and a GRE tutor can help you what approach is best for you.

Capitalize on the ScoreSelect Option

Grad school applicants who take advantage of the GRE’s ScoreSelect option usually have the opportunity to choose which GRE test scores they report to their target institutions. This will eventually give you the option of shooting for the highest score possible. Applicants previously had to worry about GRE scores becoming a permanent mark on their academic record but having the ScoreSelect option eliminates that source of test anxiety.


It is clear that proper preparation is required for you to make up for a poor GRE score. Most importantly, you have to be well prepared to tackle the test if you want to succeed. If you are an applicant, you can do well as long as you properly prepare and follow all the necessary steps to set yourself on the path to the graduate school of your dreams.

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