Sunday, July 13, 2008

GRE Preparation Tips

Following on my post earlier on TOEFL iBT Preparation tips, I'm penning down some helpful links and tips for doing good on the GRE. I managed to rake up 1350 in GRE last April, with 630 in Verbal, 720 in Quantitative and 5.5 in Analytical Writing. While I was pretty satisfied with my verbal score, my quantitative score was pretty disappointing. Read on and you'll find out why. Btw, this post also includes excerpts from my post on TestMagic forum here.

Beating the GRE isn't exactly easy. You need to put in some time in the preparation before you can expect a real good score. Preparation-wise, the books I consulted were Barrons, NOVA and ARCO (for the Analytical Writing section). Besides these, there are some pretty cool websites out there you can use to prepare including mygretutor.com, number2.com (funny name I know), 800score.com, Peterson's free online practice test, missiongre.com to name a few. Then there's PowerPrep ofcourse whose tests offer a real measure of your prep - at least for Verbal.

I did the entire prep thing in 2 months time. I had just graduated, and wasn't working so had ample time to draw up a schedule for this duration. During this time, I did the entire Barrons master word list (3500 words), quantitative prep from the books mentioned above, and not to mention writing practice from NOVA, ARCO and mygretutor.com. Like I said, I did the entire Barrons list in 2 months time, averaging roughly 1 word list per day. Initially, it took a lot more effort to memorize the words but once I got used to memorizing, it wasn't overly difficult at all. Be sure not to break your momentum though, for e.g., if you go 3-4 days without doing a list, you start to struggle. In other words, draw up a schedule and stick to it. Also, the important thing is to keep revising! I revised all the lists done in the preceding 7 days at every weekend. I finished the entire list 20 days before the test, and revised 3 times more before the big day, and every time the cycle of revision was less. The result of all this effort was that I remembered 99% of the words. I scored 670 in verbal in my first PowerPrep and was overjoyed! I guess it wasn't to be in the real thing. Still, this should get you into the 90% percentile on verbal like I did.

Speaking of PowerPrep, I scored 1420 and 1400 on the two powerpreps I gave a couple of days before the test. I thought the quantitative questions on Powerprep are a lot easier than the actual test. After the initial Writing section, I had quant. and it went horrible to be honest! (in terms of time-consumption that is!) , and for that I think ALL books are useless because none of the questions there were remotely as difficult as the ones presented in these books. They were, however, extremely complicated and time-consuming! I couldn't manage my time very well and ended up guessing on the last 7! Yes, last seven !! I honestly believe I could have scored more in the verbal section that followed had I done quant. better! So take my advice, don't rest assured of the fact you've done Barrons quantitative prep, YOU NEED TO DO MORE!

The tension level invariably rises as the big day comes closer. I had stopped studying 3-4 days before the test and would do 1-2 exercises per day at most. This helped me relax leading up to the big day where the most important thing is to stay calm and not to panic. If you can manage to hold you own in the test center, you'll do just fine otherwise if you panic, time flies at warp speeds and you'll be guessing on questions before you know it. I guess I don't need to emphasize the importance of getting the first 5 questions right in GRE's Adaptive testing format. You are allowed to take your time on the first few questions as their importance cannot be stressed enough, but after that you need to pick up the pace and work your way towards the end before time runs out. It really is a time-management test as much as it is a test of your verbal and analytical skills. So, good luck and remember it's not the end of the world even though it may feel like it. Just stay cool and you'll be fine :)!

15 comments:

Fariha Akhtar said...

Excellent post Raza...makes me understand y i got a pathetic score in GRE :P

Razz said...

Thanks!

How much did you get?

Fariha Akhtar said...

U want me to feel embarrassed in public? :P

UTP said...

CHEETA MAN!!! Good stuff...I never went for it...I am happy with my DESI MS degree for now and now going for something bigger...CFA...

Ali Raza Shaikh said...

Congrats Man! your score is pretty good!

BTW i second UTP, i never went for it, i am happy with my BS(CS) Degree (Still Incomplete :P)

Razz said...

Thanks Ali and UTP! I just feel strongly about continuing my studies as soon as I possibly can after my graduation, and if you're studying what you like then there's not a damn thing to complain - at least not yet :P

Samm said...

hey ...came across ur post ..id also suggest practicing with the Princeton Review which is more helpful and easier to follow than Barrons... the amt of time you spent studying is quite commendable since most of us work and find it really difficult to take so much time out ... the princton review dvd is also helpful with its tips and tricks..

Razz said...

@Samm
Welcome to the blog dude!

Like I said earlier, the Masters thing, for me, was above everything else so obviously I had to take time out and prepare seriously to give myself the best possible chance of getting into a good school.

bilish said...

Hey Razz!

I had added this post to my delicious for future reference. A Good reminder actually as I'm on a trimming expedition of my social bookmarking websites. I'll be getting in touch for help about GRE.


I'm no more a known stranger, so please change it to bilishy or bilish in your blogroll.
Yes, it's official now :P

Bilish

nony said...

that's really nice but to do the same we've to spent more time on practise test's.

Ankur said...

Hey!
Nice work. Thanks a lot.

I was searching for blogs to help me in my preparation for GRE, and found this good blog: http://summer-of-words.blogspot.com/

Check it out.

Anonymous said...

great post

Judy Jacob said...

I have been following your blog for sometime... though this is my first comment here.

Thought would drop by and send you some flashcards for your opinion before I start using it with my class.

Anonymous said...

nice post with detailed description

GRE Coaching said...

I am just join GRE Course. when i read this post i have many idea how to prepare GRE test.

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