How Much to Study
Time: Depending on your aspirations, you need to take into consideration how much time you want to invest in studying. In my case, I began studying (compiling the study material herein) in June for the November exam. Generally speaking, I spent at least 15 hours a week studying up until the exam, and I took a practice exam every Saturday preceding the exam for as many weeks as I had practice exams.
Practice Exams and Study Material
I highly advise that you buy both the GRE study books on the market.
The Princeton Review book contains excellent and concise notes that I found very helpful, as well as one exam.
REA also publishes a book that contains three full exams. However, the REA exams are not actual exams; in fact, the REA exams are much harder than the actual GRE. The exams are helpful insofar as they are challenging, but they can also add undue anxiety (especially given that from time to time the answers they provide are flat out wrong).
Given the lack of exams out there, both books are worth checking out.
Both the Princeton Review and the REA book have good lists of what to study, though they are not exhaustive. Check out my links page for further ideas.
The difference between prose and verse
A good rule of thumb: DON'T WASTE TIME READING WHOLE NOVELS OR PLAYS. There is just FAR too much in the history of literature to study for the exam, and you don't have time to waste a week or two reading Wuthering Heights. Instead, treat poetry and prose differently.
PROSE: With prose, you can usually get 95% of the questions by knowing the background of the work (when it was written, the plot, etc.) and the names of the characters. I have tried herein to provide you with lists of characters. Memorizing the lists with do a lot for you in terms of points.
POETRY: You can't spend time reading long poems like Paradise Lost--there's just not enough time. But you can, and should, read every short poem that seems likely to appear. I read every poem on this webiste at least 7 or 8 times before the exam, even if I felt I already knew it pretty well. Knowing famous lines, metrical devices, and the historical context of the poetry will help you a lot.