What I Did:

  • I started studying early. I took the Nov. test and started studying the previous June.
  • There is so much to study for, that at times it seems there is just too much material. The GRE doesn't ask for a deep knowledge of anything, just passing fluency. I rather liked the Princeton Review's analogy to "cocktail party" knowledge. I broke up everything into manageable chunks like: American Playwrights, Romantic Poets, Theorists, and Poetic Forms.
  • I bought a ton of big notecards and started amassing data about (for example) the Romantic Poets. I looked at all of Keats poems that were in the Norton, found out the meter and rhyme scheme of the poem, what other pieces of literature they were referencing, and wrote it all down on my notecard along with the first and last lines of the poem and a brief stanza from the poem. Every week I added another group to my pile-o-cards.
  • It's not good enough to make the cards and then not look at them again. Carry them with you and get those around you involved in quizzing you. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I flipped through the cards every time I had a few spare minutes during the day, while watching TV, while on the tube...you get the picture. Once I had digested all that was on the cards, I'd put them aside and make new ones with different information.
  • I read the shorter poems completely through, but I did not bother reading the entirity of long poems. I also reread Paradise Lost since it is the #1 work that is referenced on the test (usually).
  • Here are all the lists I made. I put this exact information on my notecards and added notes as I looked through the work or read about the time-period.
  • A note to everyone: I compiled the information on my lists from various websites, books, and from self-made study guides. I did not cite my sources because this began as such a personal project. If I've used some information that is yours, I will gladly take it down if you email me.