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5 Things You Should Know When Preparing for GRE

Posted on February 20, 2014


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is used by schools in most English speaking countries for admission into the Graduate program. It assesses the verbal, quantitative and writing skills of the student.


To successfully crack the GRE, knowing the pattern and preparing well is the only solution. So here are some tips to help you.



mental1. Build your mental stamina

The GRE is 3 hours and 45 minutes long. You have 1 minute between sections and a 10 minute break after three sections. In long tests like these, it is very likely that by the middle of the test your concentration will begin to flag and the one minute between sections gives you barely enough time to catch your breath.

So it is important to develop your endurance with sufficient preparation beforehand. Usually you begin practice with blocks of questions in the same category. It is easy to get caught up in it, but mastering concepts is only half the battle.


Once you reach a level of comfort with the different sections individually, the next step will be to take full length practice tests. Schedule them in regular intervals over the last 2 weeks before the exam and identify the areas which take up most of your time. These are the areas which will probably tire you out the most. Monitor the time closely and work on improving your speed.



2. Do not underestimate the difficulty of Quant


The GRE is designed specifically to differ from what you learnt in college. Even if the syllabus for Quant takes you back to high school with memories of the amazing grades you scored, it is going to be a little more complicated than that to score in GRE.
It focuses on testing the reasoning ability of the student. So most of the questions are based on a simple logic with a twist in it, making it a brain teaser. Understanding these subtle nuances is often the solution to most problems.


Attempting to solve a problem with only concepts and procedure can be both confusing and time consuming. A far more efficient approach would be to figure out a pattern in the trick questions and create a strategy which can be used for them.



Learn the context in which words are used, not just the meanings


A common mistake made by students is spending time trying to learn by heart a list of words within a limited time frame. While the words are important to answering sentence completion questions the whole point of the questions is to test the vocabulary of the student. So knowing the meaning of the words will be useless without knowing the context in which they are used.


Using examples to learn the words can be advantageous. When learning with examples picturing the word in your mind becomes easy. This relates the word to a situation which in turn makes it easier to remember. This will also teach you the context in which the word is usually used.


For example, a commonly misused word is literally.
Literally means without exaggeration or in strict sense of the word.
So when you say “It is literally raining cats and dogs.” unless you really saw cats and dogs drop from the sky, you are using the word ‘literally’ in the wrong sense.
A more fitting word in this sentence would be ‘figuratively’.



4. Prepare well for Analytical Writing Assessment to avoid wasting energy


Analytical Writing Assessment allows schools to evaluate the writing skills of the applicant. Even if in comparison with the other sections AWA is relatively less significant, it can take up a considerable amount of your time and energy if you go unprepared.


Before the exam, prepare a format outlining the structure of the 2 essays. Practice writing a few essays using this format. This way you know the kind of points you will need for the essay. It will allow you to focus your thoughts in terms of the content you plan to put in the essay.



folder5. Choose your study material carefully.


Many students when preparing choose one book and stick to it. While there are many great books in the market, you have not mastered GRE if you finish one of them. Even if you start with one book, use other material as well to supplement it.


The other problem is that with the introduction of the web and smart phone, the preparation material available to you is abundant. It is easy to lose yourself trying to do everything. So instead choose your material and prepare.
Start simple, it will help you understand the concepts and once you have got a hang of it, work your way up to more advanced material. Do not try to do everything at the same time. In the end you will not have covered much.


How is your preparation going?? Are you facing any challenges? Just leave your comments below and our GRE experts will guide you!

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  1. Hello,

    I had given GRE thrice but I had not gone above the 297.
    I wanted to cross 320. Please suggest which material I should go for.
    I have studied manhatten, official guide and some material from coaching too.

  2. Hi Gajanan,

    We think all you need is a little mentorship. Sometimes there could be few things wrong with your approach or technique that could be stopping you from your dream score!

    We provide some excellent Prep options based on your location and work schedule.

    You could take a look at http://gre.crackverbal.com/ for more details.

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