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Raghavan Ravi—Meet the Engineer with GRE Scores of Q163 and V160

Raghavan Ravi

In conversation with Raghavan Ravi who scored a 323 on the GRE.

 

Could you tell us about yourself?

 
I hail from Chennai. I’ve done my undergrad from Amrita University in Coimbatore. I presently work here in Bangalore for Jaguar Land Rover Motors as a Solutions Developer. I develop software applications for all their design data and manufacturing data.
 
 

What prompted you take the GRE?

 
I work in the engineering services sector, but I want to switch to the product line. As an employee you have a far greater room to grow and develop your core competencies.
 
I work for equipment manufacturers in the automobile and the aerospace industry in terms of my service. I also have this affinity towards management wherein I can take up a team and then develop on some core idea—try to work from the ground up. So that’s the sort of thing that really interests me. I was looking to pursue further studies and hence the decision to take the GRE.
 
 

Are there any specific schools you’re considering applying to?

 
My GRE score might be pretty OK, but on the CV and profile side, I really don’t have too much to boast about. So, I’m not really looking at top-tier institutions, but I am looking at schools which offer good engineering management courses, e.g. Duke, Dartmouth, John Hopkins and the likes. Columbia is a little ambitious for me.
 
 

If you’re keen on studying management, why did you opt for the GRE instead of the GMAT?

 
To be quite honest, I was looking at courses that work as an alternative to an MBA, such as Masters in Engineering Management. It was the right fit for what I was looking for.
 
Even before knowing that such a course existed I was actually looking for something where I could have, in probably four semesters of three courses each, at least four to five courses of engineering and the rest management. In this way I could work on my core competencies and still have some room for managerial skill development.
 
So that was engineering management—a STEM course—science, technology, engineering and management (I’m not sure if I could the acronym right). The schools asks for GRE scores rather than GMAT.
 
 

How did you go about preparing for the GRE?

 
I worked backwards—most of the schools have their deadlines in January. Which means, I need to have an application ready by the end of November, so that I can take a whole month to apply to schools. And I don’t prefer education consultants working on my letters of recommendation or statements of purpose. I want to write that myself. So I decided August was a good month to start preparing.
 
I went and joined CrackVerbal in the last week of July. I attended about a month and a half of CrackVerbal’s classes.
 
 

What role did CrackVerbal play in your GRE preparations?

 
GRE math is pretty easy especially for those who’ve been under the rigor of the Central Board syllabus in school. However, English can be a nightmare at times.
 
Math is all about practice and CrackVerbal’s quantitative workbook’s difficulty is pretty up there. The trick is to not get bogged down. If you keep going back to the book, with practice, Math is a quantifiable and measurable skill that can be properly developed in a short span of time.
 
English has some tough sections that are hard to comprehend. Sentence structures can be twisted and can sometimes be off-putting to people.
 
CrackVerbal helped me realize that at the end of the day, it’s an exam and you need a strategy to beat it, even if you don’t always have the confidence to pull through.
 
 

Any word of advice for future GRE takers?

 
There’s this one thing that happened to me before writing the exam. The small crux was what helped me to get a balanced score. (For my score, I’m at the eighty-seventh percentile. I’m pretty sure there are others above me at the ninety-fifth percentile.)
 
There are these practice tests that different companies keep giving away. CrackVerbal too has the Power Prep that comes free with it. So what I did was I took a set of ten tests (It’s a separate issue that I ended up writing only five of those) and I wrote 1 of those just 7 days before the actual exam. I wanted to know where exactly I stand, but even in that test I scored only 315. From then on, Arun, my Verbal teacher from CrackVerbal, gave me a very useful strategy to optimize my score.
 
He asked me to break the score report down and look at exactly where I went wrong. Then I had to take up that one topic and solve a set of questions that helps me track my progress in that section. When I had my melt down moment just seven days before the exam, Arun suggested this to me. I worked out for me. I’m sure it will work out for others.
 
Did Raghavan’s story inspire you to tackle the GRE with renewed gusto? Let us know in the comment section below!
 
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