Studying/Preparing for the GRE

Education, Grad School, Graduate Program, Test Preparation, Academics, Standardized Testing, Practice Exams
Curated By
Keiko McCullough

Keiko McCullough is a doctoral student at Indiana University Bloomington studying Counseling Psychology. Keiko graduated summa cum laude from the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2015. Her research interests, broadly, focus on the intersections of race, gender, and new media. She additionally studies men of color and masculinities, Asian American mental health, positive psychology, and feminist issues.

They Might Be Thinking:

  • My whole future is riding on this test. I can’t do poorly.
  • What if I don’t score high enough? Will I have to take it again? That’s even more money. 
  • I have no idea how to study for this test.
  • I am the worst at standardized testing. 
  • There aren’t enough hours in the day to study for this. 
  • No one can help me with studying. I have prepare for this exam all by myself. 
  • Sometimes it is hard for me to fall asleep, because I can’t stop thinking about this test. 
  • My parent(s) will be disappointed if I don’t score really high. 
  • I will feel so ashamed and stupid if I don’t do as well as I’d like. 
  • I hate that this one test holds so much weight on admission decisions. 
  • I have to do well, because I won’t have enough time to take the test again before applying for graduate school(s). 

Words That Might Be Encouraging:

  • You are putting in so much effort. I really admire how dedicated you are. 
  • Is there anything I can do to help you prepare for the test? 
  • No matter the outcome, I will be proud of you. 
  • Doing well on this test is very important to you. You are a responsible person and I respect that you take your future seriously. 
  • Although it can be hard to see sometimes, you have done a lot of things to help yourself prepare for the test already (name the steps they’ve already taken).
  • I’ve also felt really anxious about standardized tests before (only say this if it’s true). 
  • Please let me know if you’d ever like company while you’re studying. I’d like to be there for you as you go through this process. 
  • It can be hard not to worry about the test and what will happen. How you are feeling makes a lot of sense. 
  • I believe in your ability to prepare and do well on this test because of X, Y, and Z. 
  • I am amazed by your persistence, thoughtfulness, and foresight. You are really committed to doing the best that you can on this exam. 

Words That Might Be Discouraging:

  • I’m sure you’ll do great!
  • Stop worrying about it. Worrying isn’t going to help you. 
  • You’ve studied so much; there’s no way you could do badly. 
  • It’s just a test. Don’t psyche yourself out too much.
  • I’ll be really upset if you don’t do well. 
  • Oh, I took it and it was easy. 
  • You just need to chill. 
  • Why are you preparing so much?
  • Studying for those kinds of tests is a waste of time. 
  • If you don’t do well, I guess you just aren’t cut out for graduate school. 
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