Many students who do self-study for the GRE work backwards and base their preparation on the real GRE questions. The real questions in the official guides look seemingly easy and do-able after a certain amount of practice. These students also get an impression that the GRE is a test of pure Math and English language, so they work hard on the Math and English part of the test. We call such students “Normal Nick” :

Normal Nick The Pitfalls
  1. Normal Nick behaves like most of the committed students who want to perform excellently on the GRE. Normal Nick prepares for the GRE by the only way he knows: the way he prepared for the school and college exams.
  2. Normal Nick works very hard to improve his score on the GRE.
  3. Normal Nick buys all books, guides and study material available in the market. He browses the internet and downloads all the free stuff available, even joins some online forums where likeminded creatures discuss the problems they faced and suggestions on how to prepare. Normal Nick joins the nearest GRE prep institute or the one most of his friends are joining. To ensure nothing goes wrong, he even joins some online test prep programs. Normal Nick, as a result, studies all concepts taught by various institutes, books and his mentors in online forums.
  4. Normal Nick doesn’t have the confidence to attempt Mock GREs, as he still doesn’t understand why he is not picking up the credited answers despite his slogging. After all the hard work, the confusions are still there.
  5. For Normal Nick, the real GRE comes as a shock, unpredictable and frustrating. He ends up with a score of 150 and at times a bit higher.
  1. School and college exams test your knowledge, while the GRE tests your aptitude. If you prepare for GRE, the way most other students prepare, you are destined for a score of 150, the score most students get on the GRE.
  2. Hard work is required in school or college exams, which test you on knowledge, so you have to either understand or mug up stuff that you can spill out in the exam, but GRE is not a test of knowledge.
  3. These time-tested methods work on knowledge heavy tests such as school and college exams, where the more you know and write the better scores you get. For GRE, the rules of the game are different and different GRE Prep classroom programs, books and guides have different orientations and some of them may even be suspect as tools to help you. Many sources of help will confuse you. Moreover, the online forums are even more unreliable; Any Tom, Dick and Harry can sit and preach there.
  4. Attempting Mock GREs helps you to make all the necessary midcourse correction required to get a perfect GRE score. If you haven’t taken at least 10 to 15 Mock GREs, analyzed your performance and learnt from your mistakes, then you are not ready for the real GRE.
  5. If you are not prepared for it, then the world is really unfair.

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