The first general guideline is, the more time you prepare,the better. Practice is what makes perfect. Meanwhile maintain good academics. Also consider taking the Subject GRE. This will help you get into the top 10 colleges (Stanford, Gatech, UMich, UIUC., etc.).
Keeping a backup career option is important. Give your best to go to the U.S.A. Don’t ever think that it is the ONLY career option, or it is your life itself or anything like that. It’s a good idea to keep it as “one of” the career options.
We don’t think you should start off with word lists straight away. Start with books like Norman Lewis and then Rosenblum. The best approach is to read copiously in a variety of fields, as Srihari recommends. However, vocabulary study does help. You need to tackle finer nuances of the language in analogies and some difficult antonyms.
How long does it take?
Well. It depends. Some people prepare for 12 months and some even 14. I prepared three months. Some test takers can manage a decent score after only one month. It all depends on your potential and on how high a score you’re aiming for. For instance, IT is a vigorously competitive field, and so requires scores of more than 1500(old scheme) or 320+(new scheme) (Q+V) . I don’t know what’s the scale they use for AWA writing. But you must score well there too. So that means you have to spend a long time preparing, and still I would say it depends on potential.
What to look for when preparing for GRE?
- Personal interests.
- Career ambitions
- Research, Teaching standards.
- Fame of school, presence in their local area. Employment opportunities.
- Rank, score requirements, your profile match to their students’ profiles.
- Financial aspects – funding, costs etc.
- Do remember that your decisions define your life,it’s not the other way.
What you should NOT use:
- Proximity to relatives, proximity to Hollywood (don’t worry most good schools will naturally create that for you :)),
- “my friend told me its a great school despite what you hear”,
- “my seniors are there” and so on.