Hello everyone, I am Shashikanth and am just like the every other guy you find sitting at the back benches of the class idling his time away playing games on mobile phone, praying desperately for the lecture to end. Now, let me introduce you to my not-so-great academic profile. My highest qualification is a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering in a JNTU affiliated college in Hyderabad with an aggregate of 63.5% with 8 backlogs. So what am I doing here in this blog meant for “studious types” aspirants, eager to improve their skills for facing the dreaded interview?
Believe it or not, I have been given this opportunity to share my experience with you as to how I could score a respectable 1440 in the GRE Test(verbal 650, quant 790). Yes my friends, shocking it is, but I managed to crack GRE with the help of a few simple tips. I am now going to reveal few of my secret tips to get a great GRE score.
Fix the most auspicious appropriate date for taking the GRE test
Generally, students enroll for GRE coaching during their semester break and take up the GRE Test immediately following the coaching classes. The myth being that their level of concentration is at the peak during and right after the coaching classes. So what is the perfect time to take GRE test? I suggest you to take your classes during a semester break and take the exam in the following semester break. Take my case, I took my GRE classes in the 3rd year 1st semester break and took the GRE test during the semester break of 3rd year 2nd semester.But, the truth is that your mind will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of vocabulary and formulas that are needed to be memorized for the GRE. You may still want to take the test right after the classes and be satisfied with a mediocre score; which am sure would not get you an admission in the “coveted” college that you wanted.
Time management both for preparation as well as the main exam
Time management is very important in GRE as it’s a timed test. You can master how to manage time with regular practice. Hence, prepare a schedule and set apart ample hours of preparation time for quantitative and verbal so as to train yourself to efficiently manage your time in the GRE test.Set your working hours depending upon your learning ability. You can take a break at times, but refrain from playing the computer games and watching TV. Recreational activities such as listening to music or physical activities such as an outdoor sport(badminton) or a refreshing walk, will help you prepare to take more load.In my case, I was more confident about the verbal section than the quantitative. So, I scheduled my preparation all through my semester break giving at least two hours for the preparation and revision of my word lists and more time for the quantitative.
Take the verbal very seriously
Most of my friends prepared only for the quantitative section with the intention of trying out their luck on the verbal. They are of the notion that guessing the answers will get them at least 300 – 350. Fatal Error!! Mark my words; verbal on GRE is not as hard as you think, if you prepare for it the right way. The only way to boost your scores is to prepare equally well for verbal and quantitative as they carry equal marks(800 each). We Indians are inherently good at math, thanks to our high school math syllabus.There is no such thing as syllabus for GRE verbal section. It simply intends to test your reading comprehension and vocabulary. Practice upon the type of questions that you will be tested on. You need to memorize the word lists to get a good score in verbal section. This task can be tedious. Of course, this can be achieved by repetitive learning, but it’s more fruitful if you can find fun ways to stack the words and their meanings in your memory in a different way – such as a small song with rhyming words to remember meanings.You can even convert the sounds of the difficult words into some odd meanings in your mother tongue to make them easier to memorize. Remember, there are no standard mnemonics to learn the word lists, it’s just what suits you the best. I’m a Hyderabadi, so I try to twist the hard words into something funny in my vernacular. For example, I had problems with the words charlatan and mountebank. So I made a mental note of the sound charlatan as something to do with “chalu”, a fraud. Similarly for mountebank I made up a story: one who steals from a bank and hides it in the mountains. Very awkward revealing it, but it surely works.
Make your quantitative preparation intensive not extensive
Firstly, list down the areas where you would be tested upon and then try to do as many problems as possible on those areas. I was extremely poor at math so I made sure it received that extra attention. The Barron’s is the most recommended book for the GRE. It comprises of topics listed under categories where we are likely to be tested on and special notes called “tactics” for explaining the application and the basics to solve any problem quickly. Make sure you complete the Barron’s before attempting the more complicated Kaplan, Cambridge or Princeton.As a final step, make sure you work out the quant database. For those who don’t know, quant database is a regularly updated set of questions from GRE quantitative test that are compiled from the actual takers of the GRE. This means that they are the questions that actually have appeared in the GRE test. In case you are not able to solve these questions, take help from the most responsive community for the GRE on orkut.I took my test on October 19th and I stumbled upon this database only 2 days before the exam and I could work out only the questions posted for the month of October. Believe me folks, I got 3 questions straight out of the database and that saved me an ample amount of time. If you work through the database completely, I’m sure you’d understand the standard of questions in the GRE (the questions are from the actual GRE) and hopefully get some questions out of the database.
Promote your preparation to the next level
The GRE test has now reached a state of saturation. There are innumerable websites and institutes who recommend their own “tested and proven” strategies. A mnemonic that suits a person may not be equally suitable for another. So it is better to try multiple options at hand and choose the best one which is the most suitable to “you”. For example, I have prepared for the GRE wordlists from the GRE KRUPA’s Pictionary’s which served as a visual aid for learning the endless wordlists. You may give this a try.
Don’t take your mock test scores to heart
This is the most important tip that I would like to share with everyone. Don’t feel at ease or be discouraged looking at your scores in the mock test. The legend has it that the mock test scores reflect the actual score that you will get on the GRE. That is baseless; no one knows how the CAT (computer adaptive test) pattern of the GRE evaluates scores.I hadn’t scored anything beyond 1100 in most of the mock tests that I’d attempted. However, mock tests provided me an excellent platform to improve myself in the areas that I was weak. So, take the tests in an optimistic way, learn from your mistakes and try to improve your scores. There are many real life examples of people scoring well on the mock tests and failing on the GRE and vice-versa. Don’t get carried away by those scores.
On the day of the exam
Stop studying on the day before your exam!!! Take a break; you have worked hard enough(hopefully) to earn yourself a well deserved sleep. Go to bed early and wake up early. Don’t try out any last minute reading. Remember to carry your passport and the printout of confirmation letter of your appointment. Avoid driving to the test center as it could be stressful. Ask your friend to drop you at the test center or take an auto. Reach the place at least half an hour early so as to complete all the formalities and take the test without any unnecessary conflicts.
A reminder to all of the GRE takers:
According to the test center rules, you are NOT allowed to carry anything including your hand kerchief or wallet into the test room. You will be provided a safety locker to secure all your valuables. Two sharp pencils and a booklet of 4 pages (8 sides) are provided for your rough work.
All The Best for exam!! Do let me know through comments if these tips helped you.
About the Author: This post was written by a guest at Interview Mantra. If you are interested in contributing guest posts, contact us.