Exam Guidance for GRE

GRE stands for Graduate Records Examination. GRE is one of the most coveted exams designed and administered by Education Testing Services group (ETS). To pursue Masters in Science (MS) or a Masters in Arts (MA) or any Doctoral program in foreign universities all around the world, it is important for students to secure a good GRE score.

GRE churns out the best talent by measuring the candidate’s verbal, analytical and mathematical skills in its own unconventional yet distinctive methodology. The fact that the number of Indian students taking the Graduate Records examination has skyrocketed to a whopping 95000 is a testimony that GRE is held in high esteem. In other countries, the figures are just getting better and better. That being said, it is important to target a score of 315+ to secure an admission in reputed and world class universities.

What does it take to give GRE? You require 4 hours of immense patience as the duration of the exam is a little less than 4 hours. To imprint your signature in the list of toppers who have successfully aced Graduate Records Examination, you require something more than toiling and burning the midnight oil- a perfect strategy is the need of the hour. You do not require more than four months to ace this prestigious examination.

Diagnostic Test

The first step is to take a diagnostic test preferably of Barron’s Test Prep or Magoosh GRE Prep. Analyze your weak points and keep yourself abreast with the GRE examination pattern. Analyze your performance and do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Make a timetable that best suits your requirements. Here is my suggested timetable for the first three months:

  • Analytical Writing Section = 30 minutes to 45 minutes
  • Quantitative Aptitude and Assessment = 1 hour
  • Verbal Reasoning = 1 hour

Acing the Analytical Writing Section

This section is all about assessing a candidate’s critical thinking and writing skills. Candidates are expected to analyze the given argument, weigh the pros and cons and subsequently mention their points articulately. By the way, this section is of a maximum of six points. It thus goes without saying that a coherent and a well-balanced write-up will undoubtedly fetch five points. You will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Concept, Idea and flow of thought
  • English and vocabulary
  • Creativity
  • Grammar and punctuation
  • Choice of Title

Remember, verbosity is seldom desirable. Express your idea articulately and succinctly. Many aspirants embrace this fallacious conception- the lengthier the write-up, the better shall be the score.

To score at-least five points in this section, it is suggested to read Editorials of reputed newspapers such as The Guardian, The New York Times etc. Once you read the 500 worded (or more than this number) editorial content, pen your thoughts and views in as low as 230-250 words. Do this religiously every day. Allot not more than 30 minutes for this. Slowly but surely, you will improve your pace.

Acing the Quantitative Aptitude and Assessment Section

Questions in this section are easy. However, accuracy is the key and hence, you need to take practice tests every day. Questions are generally basic and with regular practice, you can score 167+. Well, it is suggested to read from Manhattan Quantitative Aptitude 5lb GRE material as it has a host of diverse problems with varying difficulty levels. Judiciously spend the first month to complete ETS Official Guide and subsequently spend the next two months to complete Manhattan Quantitative Aptitude 5lb material. Allot at-least an hour to master the fundamentals. Prepare a ‘Cheat Sheet’ and jot-down all the important formulae. The Cheat Sheet will come handy and help you revise all the important stuff.

Acing the Verbal Reasoning Section

Be it any reputed examination in general and Graduate Records Examination in particular, aspirants generally find this section dispiriting and a thorn in their side. It is therefore suggested to complete the official ETS Guide as early as possible. If you are able to allot an hour/day, you will be able to complete the ETS Guide effortlessly. Once you are done with ETS Guide, ensure that you tickle your gray cells with Princeton Review Verbal material. You can complete this material in the next two months.

The Last Month

Subscribe for Magoosh GRE test series. Ensure that you take a mock GRE test every alternate day. It is also suggested to complete revising the entire material. Analyze your mock tests performance. Complete all the sectional tests and revisit the cheat sheets. Memorize all the basics and learn from your mistakes. Concentrate and persist in your honest endeavors. Remember, never lose confidence and always believe in your abilities.

The D-Day

Reach your examination center with all the necessary stuff such as pen, passport etc. at-least an hour before the reporting. Put in your best efforts and give what all it takes. I am sure that your score will surely be along the expected lines. All the best !!

Updated on: 20-Jan-2020


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