30 Day Basic GRE Verbal Study Plan

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in GRE Verbal | 42 comments

This 30-day GRE verbal study plan demands 2 hours each day on average and must be followed to the pen if you want to make progress. It is a basic study plan only effective for those who struggle big time on the GRE verbal section – I have designed it keeping in view the GRE test takers in Pakistan since most of them have a hard time preparing for the verbal section. However other non-native English speakers may also benefit from it.

Please note that none of the questions and activities prescribed in this 30 days GRE verbal study plan for beginners contain actual GRE level questions or passages. I have designed this plan so that GRE aspirants in Pakistan and around the world who are at discomfort tackling the verbal section use this to build basics, learn essential vocabulary and do sufficient reading practice to be able to work effectively on a 60 day advanced study plan for GRE verbal.

I have designed 30 days, assuming 2 hours for each day including a couple of break days too. Many folks in Pakistan have the habit of doing 5 days worth of study in a single day and bragging about it – please note that GRE verbal is not about study long hours in a stretch – if you are studying 10 hours in a go then you are depriving your brain of its ability to learn and remember. Therefore make sure you study every day for 1-2 hours – if you are unable to, then cut down on the number of hours you study but make sure you work on GRE verbal every day.

Study Material that you Need

Download the following material before you begin using this study plan:

Day 1

Vocabulary: In about 30 minutes thoroughly go through all the 10 words in Set 1 of these vocabulary flashcards. If you know most of these words and finish before time then move on to the next activity for this day.

NOTE: It’s important not only to learn these words on a daily basis but also try and understand their contextual usage. Although I have given a sentence with each word but just make sure that you also try and use the newly learnt words in your own sentences and context. For example, the word “wanting” as we know means “desire”, but on the GRE it is also used as “lack of something” – ironic isn’t it?

Moreover make a habit of reviewing your words daily. Do not limit yourself to just these flashcards – while doing reading passages, sentence completion exercises later in this plan, make sure you retain a list of unknown words from there. Make your own flashcards of the words you read so that you can revise them later in your preparation.

Reading: For the next 30 minutes read this article. In your notebook write down unfamiliar words and try to understand their meaning from the context of the passage. In case you don’t know the meaning then use the dictionary to find out the meaning and write it down in your workbook.

Moreover for every article you read make a habit of trying to figure out the main idea, or the primary purpose of the passage. A primary purpose is the main gist of an article – the message that the passage is trying to convey. Always spend a minute and try to come up with the main idea of the passage in your own words – by training your brain in this way you will be better able to understand the passage and answer actual GRE questions later on.

Break: 15 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 2. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Reading: For the next 30 minutes read this article. Do the same reading activity that we do every time.

Day 2

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 3. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Reading: For the next 15 minutes read this article and for another 15 minutes assimilate this interesting passage. Do the same reading activity for both of these passages that we do every time while reading.

Break: 15 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 4. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Reading: For the next 30 minutes read this article. Do the same reading activity that we do every time.

NOTE: When it comes to improving vocabulary and reading comprehensions on the GRE there is not quick way to achieve it. You must read often and understand what the passage is saying. Many students in Pakistan tell me that they have a month left before the GRE exam and are looking for short cuts to improving their verbal preparation – however there is nothing that can be done in such a short span of time. Continuous reading over a period of 2-3 months along with doing as many timed questions as possible is the only way to get a guaranteed improvement.

Day 3

Reading: Take 20 minutes to read this article and another 20 minutes reading this passage. As always don’t forget to come up with the main idea of the passage

NOTE: As an added practice also think of the main idea of every paragraph i.e. what is the crux of each paragraph inside the passage. This will further help you connect longer articles after you finish reading – for longer articles we tend to forget what we have just read since there is so much information to absorb. As a practice write down a one line summary of the main idea of each paragraph and at the end just look at those summaries to recall what the overall passage is saying and how it is structured.

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 4. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 15 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 5. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Reading: For the next 30 minutes read this article. Make notes of the main idea of each paragraph and the overall idea of the whole passage.

Day 4

Reading: Take 20 minutes to read this article and another 20 minutes reading this passage. Carry out all the activities that we do for reading passages.

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 5. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 15 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 6. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Reading: For the next 30 minutes read this article. Make notes of the main idea of each paragraph and the overall idea of the whole passage.

Day 5

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 7. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 8. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 15 minutes

Reading: For the next 45 minutes read this article. Make notes of the main idea of each paragraph and the overall idea of the whole passage.

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 9. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Day 6

Reading: For the next 45 minutes read this article. Make notes of the main idea of each paragraph and the overall idea of the whole passage.

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 10. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 15 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 20 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 11. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Day 7

Vocabulary: In about 60 minutes revise all of the vocabulary that you did last week – including the flashcards (Set 1 through 11) as well as the new words that you came across while reading passages and articles.

Reading: For the next 60 minutes read the 8 passages that are given in this document. Don’t take any breaks – keep on reading from one article to next while doing the activities that we always do while reading.

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End of 7 days

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NOTE: While reading if you encounter a difficult word, always try to understand its meaning from the context – if you get extra time read book reviews from New York Times as they contain a lot of difficult vocabulary in context. For example I love this article for its usage of GRE related words.

Day 8

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 12. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 45 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 67 and 68 – check your answers in the end and review your mistakes. While reading passages do the same activity that you always do for reading articles and maintain a list of new words that you come across. At the end validate your answers and solutions and correct any mistakes right away.

Know why other options are wrong. This may sound a little strange but many times on critical reading you may find more than one option that seems correct. The question is testing whether you can differentiate between a nearly correct and a clearly right answer. Moreover even if you know the correct answer to a question just make sure that you check all other options and see why they are incorrect – this activity will help you with many question types on the GRE test.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 45 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 71 and 72. Do the same activity that we do for critical reading comprehension.

Predict the correct answer Rather than immediately going to the options and looking for the correct one I would advise you to begin by anticipating what the answer might be. This will help you eliminate the incorrect answers really quick and also prevent you from getting trapped in options that are correct but not relevant to the question asked.

Day 9

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 45 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 75 to 77.

Read the passage thoroughly before answering the questions Timing and pacing is important for GRE reading passages and that is why people tend to hasten through the passage in order to answer all the questions in time. Problem with this approach is that on the GRE you cannot correctly answer a question just by skimming through the passage. You must read in detail and understand what the passage is trying to convey. If you know the content of the comprehension, you will breeze through the questions in no time – on the contrary you will have to keep coming back to the passage again and again with every question and option which will waste more of your time.

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 13. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 45 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 79 to 81.

Vocabulary: In 20 minutes revise set 12 and set 13 of the vocabulary flashcards.

Day 10

Take Day 10 off and enjoy your holiday 🙂

Day 11

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 35 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 83 to 85.

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 14. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 35 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 87 to 89.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 15. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

NOTE: Slow down if you are getting too many questions wrong – getting answers incorrect implies that you are not understanding the passage properly. I would advise you to take as much time as you want to read, understand and make notes of a passage. Slowly paraphrase what the passage is talking about and then answer the questions.

Day 12

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 35 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 92 to 94.

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 15. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 35 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 96 to 98.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary: In 20 minutes revise vocabulary sets 13, 14, 15 and all the vocabulary that you learned from the passages since the 8th day of your preparation.

NOTE: If you are confused between 3 or more answer choices then slow down and understand the passage again. Make as many notes as you can about what you read and summarize them in the end. In the beginning it will be an effort but with time it will come more naturally to you – so don’t worry.

Day 13

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 100 to 102.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 1 and solve questions 1 to 10 on page 104 to 105.

NOTE: Make sure you come up with your own answer before you read the options. Then match your answer with the given choices and chose the one that fits best.

Day 14

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 16. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 60 minutes and thoroughly go through all the words that you have learned in these two weeks from all the sources.

NOTE: Technical and subject specific words abound many passages on the reading comprehensions: phytoplankton, Zooplankton, Xoozanthalea, Don Giovanni, Mozart, oligonucleotide, etc. Don’t worry or focus on them as they are just there to trick you – as the passage becomes denser do not get “bogged down”. Simply focus on the overall purpose of the sentence in the context of the passage. Your objective is to get the main idea and not to be disheartened by such words.

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End of 14 days

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Day 15

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 2 and solve questions 1 to 9 on page 13 to 14.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 20 minutes read Guide 2 and solve questions 1 to 6 on page 28 to 29.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 20 minutes read Guide 2 and solve questions 13 to 18 on page 32 to 33.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 20 minutes read Guide 2> and solve questions 19 to 24 on page 34 to 35.

Day 16

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 17. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: For the next 45 minutes read page 43 to 47 from Guide 3.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 45 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 48 to 49.

NOTE: The one-blank sentence completion questions are not just a test of vocabulary. It is about you being able to understand the structure of the sentence and finding the clues that would help you fill the blank. On these fill in the blank question type, the biggest trap is the answer choice itself. If you plug these options back into the blank you will find that almost every word looks fit. Instead, you should always use the clue, which is a word or phrase that tells you what the blank is about. Once you have located the clue then come up with your own word to fill the blank (even if the word is in Urdu, Punjabi or Pushto 😉 ). Finally match your word with the options to find the best fit.

Day 17

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 50 to 51.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 18. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 45 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 1 to 15 on page 90 to 93.

Day 18

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 52 to 53.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 19. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 16 to 27 on page 93 to 95.

Day 19

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 45 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 54 to 55.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 20. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 28 to 40 on page 96 to 98.

Day 20

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 45 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 56 to 58.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 21. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 1 to 15 on page 99 to 101.

Day 21

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 45 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 58 to 60.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 22. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 16 to 27 on page 102 to 104.

NOTE: There is a tendency for students to not look at the explanations of questions that they got right. As a suggestion, for all questions that you do correctly, go and check the explanation to ensure that you got it right for the right reasons.

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End of 21 days

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Day 22

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 60 to 62.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 1 hour and revise all the Vocabulary from Week 3.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 28 to 40 on page 105 to 107.

Day 23

Take Day 23 off and enjoy your holiday 🙂

Day 24

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 1 to 15 on page 107 to 110.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 23. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 62 to 64.

Day 25

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 16 to 27 on page 110 to 112.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 24. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 64 to 66.

Day 26

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 28 to 40 on page 113 to 115.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 25. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 66 to 68.

Day 27

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 1 to 15 on page 115 to 118.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 26. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 68 to 70.

Day 28

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 16 to 27 on page 118 to 121.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 27. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Sentence Completions: Spend the next 30 minutes doing all the one blank questions from Guide 3 on page 70 to 72.

Day 28

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 28. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Critical Reading Comprehension: For the next 30 minutes read Guide 3 and solve questions 28 to 40 on page 121 to 123.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 29. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Day 29

Vocabulary: Spend 30 minutes and thoroughly go through every word in Set 30. Revise the words if you have time left otherwise move on.

Break: 5 minutes

Vocabulary: In the next 60 minutes revise all the vocabulary you learned in the first 15 days of your preparation.

Day 30

Vocabulary: Spend 90 minutes revising all the vocabulary you learned from day 16 till day 29 of your preparation.

After Day 30

Don’t give up at the end of day 30. Instead keep doing the following:

1) Follow my 60 day advanced study plan for GRE verbal (which I will post later on).
2) Keep reading challenging material from websites like new yorker and keep practicing critical reading questions from SAT books
3) Learn more words that you come across while reading and keep building your vocabulary.
4) For extra practice do all the critical reading and 1 blank sentence completion questions from these optional guides: Guide 4 and Guide 5

Good luck!

42 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nice Job Done !!!!

  2. Avatar

    After scrolling down till i comment, i found it a complete dietary plan for gre fa s. One need to be crazy and persistent to followup plan

    • Avatar

      LOL. Adeel just like one has to follow a dietary plan to the T to take off that fat, one has to do the same on the GRE to do well. This one is only for the ambitious and crazy ones 😛

  3. Avatar

    Well done Sir Talha 😉
    Your efforts are hughly appreciated and acknowledged all around MashAllah..

  4. Avatar

    is it a free course?

  5. Avatar

    such an amazing article 🙂 loved it. keep sharing informative posts.

  6. Avatar

    i plan to take GRE in mid of September, will i be able to score good in verbal if i follow this plan and then do practice for the next one month?

    • Avatar

      Arslan, This is just the basic verbal plan and will only ensure that you make strong foundations – it won’t help you get a top score since it is only for basic learners.

  7. Avatar

    Sir why you choose most of the passages and articles related from Biological science and evolution?? Little bit boring but interesting yet
    articles link for day 5 can’t work sir

    • Avatar

      Hi Nain, Because on the GRE you will see most of the stuff from boring subjects such as this 🙂 let me look into the link for day 5 and you can check back in 5 minutes 🙂

      • Avatar

        sir what about your 60 days planning ??

      • Avatar

        I still can’t find the article for day 5.

  8. Avatar

    All I can say is just Well Done. Thank you sir

  9. Avatar

    Its an Excellent Guide line …
    keep it Sir . 🙂

  10. Avatar

    dear sir!
    i cant download the study material (guide 1, guide2,guide3). there is an error of dropbox which i have encountered.please help me out in this regard!

  11. Avatar

    Is it enough for 150-155 in 1month? I know you have suggested 60 days advance plan. I am not doing any other studies or job just because of GRE such that I can give my full time to GRE preparation. Please do guide me so that at least I can get 155+.

    Thank You

    • Avatar

      Hello Ali, Basic plan is not sufficient for 150+ – for that you need to follow the advanced plan.

      • Avatar

        Oh ! Its mean, I have to complete Basic Plan in 10 Days and advance Plan in 20 Days 🙁 Any other plan or way would you like to suggest? I can give 8 – 10 hours per day. I am also preparing for Quant which is my primary focus although, it seems not difficult though requires some practice..

  12. Avatar

    salam sir today i started this 30 days learning process .as in day first i come through ambiguity that reading article takes time more than 30 minutes .i am not able to complete in 30 minytes as there is alot of difficult words………..

    • Avatar

      WAS Seher, You can always take more time if you want. Slowly it will improve.

  13. Avatar

    Its an awesome plan, the way it manages daily routine is actually what we cant control. Working without a plan would have wasted so many days. There should be a plan for GRE Maths Section too, most students are weak in that. Please consider. Thumbs up!!

  14. Avatar

    Thank you from India. It is quite helpful.

  15. Avatar

    Reading article for Day-5 doesn’t work.

  16. Avatar

    Hello sir, first of all thanks for sharing the 30 days plan. It’s worth it! Its my humble request to share Maths guideline too!! I am weak in Maths and haven’t studied it after my matricualtion as I pursued English Literature for my bachelor’s degree. I am good at English, but not in Maths since it’s been so long now. Kindly provide me or share with us basic maths syllabus and guideline to get a good score Maths section as its the primary focus in GRE. Its direly needed.
    I’ll be really really grateful towards your guidance.

    Thanks!

    • Avatar

      Hello Ramish – I will advise you to study from the 8 Manhattan GRE guides for Math – it will help you with your basics.

      Thanks

  17. Avatar

    If we confine with plan, its apt to strength the basics. I have a question that got 140 in verbal in recent mock few days ago. If i follow 30 days plan, how much may improve at the end of plan? my target is 150.

    • Avatar

      Max you can go is 150 but to get above 155 you must aim for 60 day plan.

  18. Avatar

    Where can i find answers to the guide 2 exercises?

    Best
    KM

    • Avatar

      Hello – these are given at the end of the guide 2 booklet

  19. Avatar

    Day-5 article is not working. the article is removed from the archive.

  20. Avatar

    This is an outstanding plan. So first of all, I would like to thank you for making it. However, I’m having some issue with the flash cards. It works too slow, and sometimes even it gets stuck. It would be great if you kindly look into this matter. Thank you.

    • Avatar

      Hello Afsana, Thanks – ok let me have it checked

  21. Avatar

    Sir,
    I think the flashcards are not working. Could you please fix it ?

  22. Avatar

    Hello Talha Sir, First of all, thanks a lot for this nice plan. I am unable to open the vocabulary sets. It shows “No result found”. But I’ve found a vocabulary list in quizlet.com prepared by you. Is that 1051 word list & the word sets you provided in the daily plan are same?
    If so, Will you please tell me how many words are in each set?

    • Avatar

      Yeah thats the same list. There are no sets in it but you can make sets on your own.

      • Avatar

        Thanks, Sir 🙂

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