3 Tips for Studying the GRE over Thanksgiving Break

Taylor Dearr —  November 23, 2011

With most grad school applications due sometime between December and January, we hear about a lot of students who have to take the GRE soon after Thanksgiving weekend. I’m sure that a number of you reading this will have to spend your precious holiday break poring over GRE practice materials, only breaking to pour gravy over your Thanksgiving feast.

manhattan prep gre gravy

WARNING: Do not confuse poring with pouring

To help you with your studies we have come up with the three key tips for holiday studying (four if you count the sagacious caption above).

1.) Read the Recipes Aloud to the Chef

This is not just a ploy to force you to help in the kitchen, we swear. If you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you, and they don’t mind having another body in their kitchen during prep time, offer to help read them the recipes they are using and to help measure out ingredients. A lot of the GRE word problems involve skills that are similar to recipe reading (manipulating numbers that are pulled out of a passage of text). Also, the simple numbers involved in recipe measurements are similar to the simple arithmetic that many GRE quant problems demand. The time spent adding, subtracting, and measuring food will help you hone your speed and comfort with simple calculations for the GRE.
GRE Quant? No big deal.

2.) Study Early on Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart

In a previous post we talked about how diet can impact your ability to retain information. While a Thanksgiving splurge isn’t going to derail your study ability long term, people often spend Thanksgiving consuming large amounts of food and possibly imbibing some alcohol. Whatever your holiday routine, you are probably going to be more able to study on Thanksgiving morning than you will be after your sixth slice of pumpkin pie. Instead of watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, try to fit in your studying early so that you can spend the afternoon stuffing yourself with yams.

3.) Don’t Overdo It

The key to successful holiday studies might just be to take it easy. Studying on the holidays is a good idea, but we’d suggest that you try to follow your normal study patterns. Just as taking a few days off for the holidays would be a waste of study time, using the time off to cram could burn you out. Try to pretend that the holiday break is just a normal weekend, and study accordingly. I know that Thanksgiving is usually not a time for moderation, but try to allow your even-keeled study habits to act as a temperate middle ground between for your gluttonous eating and your post-feast state of torpor.

Pictured: the antonym of moderation

In closing, we advise that you do some studying in the morning, then help measure out flour in the kitchen, and after that, leave your books alone for the rest of the day. After all, the Cowboys are playing the Dolphins this Thanksgiving, and we all know that one of the most important lessons ever taught on Thanksgiving was when Leon Lett showed us all that it is sometimes best to just leave it alone.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Taylor Dearr

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