Have you ever wondered why certain students study so little and yet achieve such high GRE scores? And why, despite putting in a lot of effort, the vast majority of students are unable to improve their GRE scores?
It’s because when preparing for an exam like the GRE, good students follow what’s known as the 80/20 rule. The Pareto theory, which was inspired by Vilfredo Pareto’s assertion that only 80% of the world’s wealth is held by 20% of the population, is also known as the 80/20 law.
We aren’t here to analyze finance, but the 80/20 concept can be applied to a variety of situations in our everyday lives. This 80/20 theory can also be extended to GRE preparation, as it can help you improve your GRE score by removing the unnecessary.
What is the Pareto Principle, and how does it work?
Let’s begin at the beginning! What is the Pareto Principle, and how does it work? In layman’s words, it means that approximately 80% of the results are caused by 20% of the triggers. When applied to GRE Preparation, this theory has some significant consequences.
The GRE Preparation 80/20 Rule:
- 20% of your efforts are responsible for 80% of your GRE score increase.
- 20% of the content you use is responsible for 80% of the increase in your GRE score.
- Just 20% of the principles and methods are used in 80% of the questions.
However, simply learning all of this might not be enough to ensure success. You must also take action to bring your newfound insight to good use. What you should or should do is as follows.
1. Make a Strategy and Stick to it:
The GRE is not an exam that you can train for in a single night or even a few days and pass. To plan well for the GRE, you’ll need two to three months. This is true also for those who may have scored about 320 on the first diagnostic test since score improvement in this range is more difficult.
- Spend time improving your vocabulary and reading skills if verbal is a weakness. Over one or two months, put in a lot of practice time.
- Do not focus solely on Quant or Verbal. You must prepare for both at the same time.
- If Quant is a problem area for you, define the concepts you need to learn and go through them one by one.
- Do not study for long periods, especially not for more than 2-3 hours at a time.
2. Be sure to prevent these common blunders while taking practice tests:
To stop making stupid errors, go through your mistakes carefully, re-answer the questions, and figure out where you went wrong. If you made a silly error that you should have prevented, keep track of where you made it so you don’t make it again. If you made a mistake because you weren’t sure about a definition, formula, or process, you can revisit the concept and thoroughly understand it.
These tactics do not seem to be particularly effective at first, but if you can implement them effectively over time, you can rise to the top. These small adjustments can benefit you a lot in the long run and can mean the difference between a 300 and a 320.
We analyzed and interviewed hundreds of CrunchPrep students who scored over 325 on the GRE, especially those who scored 170 in math, and found that these were the most common strategies they used during their preparation. So, if you want to be one of the top scorers, you must follow in their footsteps.
3. Make use of genuine study materials:
The typical student engages in one or more of the following activities:
- Download any GRE practice papers or videos for proper practice.
- Collects a huge amount of information from the internet but never reads it.
- Solve questions they’ve already answered – no new information is gained.
- Doesn’t have a dedicated research plan and buys several GRE practice books at once in the hopes of completing them all.
- Joins any GRE-related forum and party – wastes time by gathering useless knowledge.
- Spends several hours per day studying each term – ineffectively, as previously discussed.
- Takes previously completed practice assessments and finds no new improvements.
These actions are in direct opposition to what you should be doing. These aren’t the 20 percent efforts that yield 80 percent results.
In reality, they are the polar opposite. They account for 80% of the effort that yields just 20% of the results. They squander 80 percent of your study time while only improving your results by 20%. It’s known as the 20/80 law. The 20/80 law, on the other hand, is a blueprint for GRE failure.
This is precisely what you want to stop if you want to get a high GRE score. In reality, test takers who achieve the highest GRE scores don’t do any of these things and yet achieve the highest scores.
4. Invest your time in mastering the most important skills:
If 100 Math concepts could be checked on the GRE, you’ll only need 20 of them to answer 80% of the GRE Math questions. Make sure you’ve mastered the first 20 principles. It’s pointless to waste time and energy trying to master the 80 concepts that could appear in 20% of the questions.
The preceding does not imply that you will skip over the remaining 80 concepts or that you will leave 20% of the questions unanswered. Furthermore, you’ll notice that the 80/20 rule still applies: 20% of the remaining definitions will refer to 80% of the remaining questions. The 80/20 Rule hails the Pareto Principle!
Let’s take a look at how the 80/20 Rule applies to the Critical Reasoning questions on the GRE’s Reading Comprehension section! Just four-question forms make up 80 percent of the GRE Critical Reasoning questions: Assumption, Weaken, Strengthen, and Inference questions. First, master these query forms.
Even if it means more repetition, I recommend focusing on the high-frequency GRE terms rather than a few difficult-to-remember, archaic GRE words that will only appear on the GRE on rare occasions. This will give you a greater return on your time and effort.
When it comes to Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion, understanding 80 percent of the terms you may encounter on the GRE is equivalent to knowing 100% of the words.
5. Keep an eye on the clock:
You must carefully balance the time you spend on each chapter or idea you learn when preparing for the GRE. It’s all too easy to get sidetracked and spend more time than necessary on a subject or even a question.
You may get stuck on a difficult question or a complicated subject and spend several hours working on it, not realizing that there are several other topics to cover. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Often learn to manage your time by allocating enough time slots to each subject in your study plan.