One of the worst parts is the standardized test you will have to take as part of the application process.
How do you prepare for these tests so you will get the best score possible?
The resources in this list include two free grad school test prep services and one paid test prep service. Most of you will take the GRE test as part of your grad school application, but if you are applying to an MBA program then you will probably take the GMAT test. There are many other paid graduate school test review services, either in person or online. I included Magoosh for this list because I used their GRE test review service to study for the GRE myself and found their services very helpful.Some of the links included in this article are affiliate links for The Graduate School Site. For example, we frequently reference The Princeton Review’s “Better Scores or Your Money Back Guarantee.” If you make a purchase through one of these links, then we will get paid a small commission for the transaction. This commission will not increase your price for the service.
#1 – Magoosh – Test Prep Service
Magoosh is an online review and study service for a whole bunch of standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, and more. I used Magoosh as my one and only study aid for when I took the GRE in 2015 and thought it was really helpful. Using the service, I got some great scores (Quantitative Reasoning:167/170, Verbal Reasoning: 169/170, Analytical Writing: 4.5/6.0). Magoosh offers a double guarantee:
A 7 day money back guarantee if you don’t like the product, no reason needed.
A score improvement guarantee – increase your score by 5 points or your money back.
I recommend checking them out. I found their service incredibly clear and helpful.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is a nonprofit that administers several standardized tests including the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, among others.
They offer a several free options for preparing for the GRE, including several practice tests and some guides. The ETS website is a great place to start your research and preparation for the GRE.
#3 GMAT – Free Test Prep Software
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) administers the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT test is required as part of most MBA program applications. GMAC provides some free test prep software on their website that includes practice questions and two full length practice tests.
“I don’t have enough time to do what I need to do!”
“I feel stuck, frozen”
“I had no idea this program would be so much work!”
Have you ever felt this way?
Everyone struggles with finding enough time and energy to finish their work. Graduate students are especially stressed with balancing program requirements, work outside of the program, and family.
I’ve used the books below to improve my own productivity and time management strategies, reduce my stress, and increase my happiness.
The most important investment you can make is to develop yourself. These books are a cheap, easy, and enjoyable way to do so.Some of the links included in this article are affiliate links for The Graduate School Site. For example, we frequently reference The Princeton Review’s “Better Scores or Your Money Back Guarantee.” If you make a purchase through one of these links, then we will get paid a small commission for the transaction. This commission will not increase your price for the service.
1. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
Smarter, Faster, Better explores a whole bunch of productivity strategies and techniques through story narrative, interviews, and a straight forward and readable presentation of current research into productivity topics.
I found that the book changed the way I think about:
Decision making, both conscious and unconscious
Time management and setting goals
Building teams that can work together
His writing is easy to read and understand, in a similar presentation style to Malcolm Gladwell.
2. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
The One Thing goes deep into the idea of focusing on the most important step that will significantly impact your progress and chance of success.
I found the ideas and strategies put forward by Gary Keller to be extremely useful in my own work as an engineer. I have a lot of projects going on at the same time and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost within all of the tasks clamoring for my attention. Pre-deciding what is my most important goals and tasks for a week and focusing on them first has dramatically increased my own productivity and decreased my stress while working on projects.
3. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
Tools of Titans is probably the best personal development book that I’ve read in the last few years.
The book is written based on notes from several hundred interviews with successful people from a wide variety of industries. The author Tim Ferriss extracts the most powerful ideas and strategies from each interviewee and presents them in a short profile.
The book is focused on actionable steps to increase effectiveness, happiness, and health. It is designed to be consumed in short bursts and then simply applied, so you can benefit from the book without dedicating a lot of time.
Every time I read it I come away with something to improve myself and my work.
4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit is another great book by Charles Duhigg, especially if you are struggling with bad habits that you want to get rid of or you want to create new habits that will improve your chances of success and satisfaction
I listened to this book in audio format during my work commute and really enjoyed the stories he used to explain to anchor the main ideas. I’ve been reevaluating some of my behaviors based on the book content, and I’ve already cut out some habits that were wasting my time and my mental energy at work (namely checking email compulsively, stopping myself in the middle of tasks to get coffee or re-check my to-do list, among others).
5. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Eat that Frog! is a very tactical book with 21 strategies for getting more done in less time. It’s not as interesting as the Charles Duhigg books or The One Thing because it doesn’t have a larger narrative to go along with its ideas, but if you are looking for some quick tips on productivity then you might find it very useful.
The main idea I took away from the book is the idea expressed in the title, eat that frog! It’s the idea of choosing the biggest, most intimidating task as your first priority instead of doing smaller things first. I’ve found it helpful when creating Stretch and SMART goals for my projects.
6. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Getting Things Done is one of the most famous productivity books. It’s very tactical and specific. If you are looking for a detailed productivity method, then this might work for you. It didn’t connect with me that much because I was looking for mindset and grand strategy level help, not specifically detailed methods.
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most popular books of all time about improving yourself on a professional and personal level.
The habits discussed in the book are:
Be Proactive: Take responsibility and know you’re in charge
Begin with the end in mind: Have an end goal
Put first things first: Do important and non-urgent things first
Think Win-Win: Find situations where everyone wins
Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Listen before you start talking
Synergize: 1 + 1 = 3
Sharpen the saw: Invest in yourself for the best ROI