GRE test prep for the broke student-loan holder

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Grad school: because being debt-free is un-American

Thanks to the newly redesigned Graduate Record Examination (GRE), you can save 50 percent if you take the test before Sept. 30. This is Brokelyn, so let’s not even consider shelling out hundreds of precious dollars to have some other underemployed, impecunious* 20/30-something tell things you can learn on your own. With some austerity and a coterie of other test takers, you too can bone up on GRE skills without shelling out big cash. So put down your lapidary projects and get to work perusing tomes of practice problems using the following coffer-sustaining strategies: (*bonus vocab words in italics. See, you’re already learning for free!).

Have a smart phone? Lucky you! Hands-down the most ameliorating study aid for vocabulary is Kaplan’s free app. Switch off the euphonic tunes on your subway ride for the next month and learn 500 words. In addition, check out Math Workout to brush up on your flagging arithmetic skills. Not relying on a calculator will enable you to garner precious minutes on test day.

There’s no way around procuring one of those colossal GRE test prep books. They’re worth shelling out for, as online practice tests are the best way to prepare, but there is only one access code per book, so the library’s not going to cut it this time. However, you can buy discounted books at outlets like Amazon and even for less than $20 (they retail for up to $35). The general test-prep books often restrict themselves to generalized test-taking strategies, forcing you to buy supplemental books for further instruction.

Try selling your book back to Amazon or to websites like, Check out to find the best deal. Remember to resist marking your book, or at least make your marks in pencil, so that you can jettison your books to the internet or a lend to a fellow broke friend.

If your test-anxiety is mollified by studying in a classroom setting, The Princeton Review has free tests, strategy sessions, and will let you attend a class for free. Manhattan GRE will let you try their classes for free, and Kaplan has free tests, classes, and lectures.

Does the idea of listening to an instructor make you soporific? Check out local GRE Meetups, and consider putting an ad on Craigslist or making a Facebook event out of it. You never know if your friend’s cousin’s chiropractor is also taking the test, and will be willing to split the cost of prep books.

Think, in no time you will be getting your masters’, ready to graduate from dithering tyro to erudite pedant at your sinecure!

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  1. An updated version of this article would be much appreciated. For example, the Kaplan app is no longer available, and there are a lot more, but it’s hard to sort through what’s good. Also, there are no GRE meetups currently available in the metro area (of course, one could always start their own).

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