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# GRE Guidance

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Intern
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GRE Guidance [#permalink]  01 Aug 2016, 21:27
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Hello Everyone,
I have just taken the GRE for the third time. I scored a 154 - Quant and a 149 Verbal. I also took the exam about a year ago and scored a 153 Quant and 149 Verbal and my first time taking the GRE was over two years ago when I scored a 153 - Quant and 147 Verbal. I memorized 600 words and did all the Magoosh Questions and all of the questions in the 5lb Manhattan book and only scored a 154 on Quant, I also took the power prep tests. I took two months off work and studied for the two months on a daily basis 8 - 10 hours a day and still got a pathetic score. How is this possible? I feel like a complete failure. I don't know what to do anymore. Should I try using different resources to study? Its been over three years where I have been studying on and off and I still cannot break into the 160s.

Does anyone know of any tutors that do a score guarantee?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Director
Joined: 16 May 2014
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GRE 1: 326 Q165 V161
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  02 Aug 2016, 00:48
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Expert's post
Hello,
I see that you are understandably frustrated. I would have been if I were in your position as well. So let me first try to throw some stones in the dark:
• The constancy of the verbal score shows that your vocabulary is kinda stuck and just learning 600 words is not enough to get to the next level.
• Same with the quants section. I assume you are also having some trouble with timing?

A private tutor can sometimes provide that needed structure and boost to push you to improve. When it’s hard to diagnosis weaknesses, understand a troublesome concept, or organize your study schedule, a good tutor is invaluable. But don’t expect the tutor to be a panacea for all your troubles.

When it comes down to it, you can’t game the test. No tutor or teacher has a “secret method” that will guarantee that you reach the 90th percentile. Ultimately, you have to put in the time outside of the tutoring sessions, experimenting with strategies and reinforcing concepts. Use the tutor sessions for focused work on specific things you need work on. Any good tutor will confirm these points and expect you to work hard outside of the private meetings.

Maybe you can check the following sites:
University Tuutor
Varsity Tutors

Also can you tell me where are you from?
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  02 Aug 2016, 18:03
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Thank you so much for your response. I’m from Northern Virginia close to Washington, DC. I’m having trouble with the timing however I do a well job of skipping the question if I cannot solve it in a timely manner. Honestly, I think my problem arises from not understanding what the question is asking right away. It takes me some time to understand what the question is asking and then beginning to solve. I completely agree that the tutor won’t be a solution for my problems but I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m willing to put in the work as I have done in the past including studying 8 hours a day for the last two months with more focus on quant but even with that effort I’m not even close to a 160. I have been studying for the last three years at this point and my Quant scores has only improved by 1 point; I just don’t know what to do anymore and am thinking about giving up but at the same time a part of me says that this material is not rocket science and that I know I can improve my score but I just don’t know what else to do or strategy to take.
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  03 Aug 2016, 16:58
Does anyone have any similar stories where they were able to overcome a horrendous attempt at the GRE or in a similar situation as me?

thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  04 Aug 2016, 00:41
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Expert's post
Hello,
Your reply does help showing what are the things you are lacking exactly to score high. We would be happy to design a study plan tailored to maximize your understanding and speed of problem solving (absolutely free). Can you please provide some detailed info about the following:
• Your background. for example, Engineering, Humanities etc
• Chronological order of your GRE scores and also the practice scores
• Courses taken till now
• GRE Books you have read till now
• Your next GRE exam date (if not booked , a tentative date would do)
• Universities you are gonna apply

BR,
Soumya
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  04 Aug 2016, 13:43
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Thanks Soumya,
I appreciate all of your guidance. I’m sorry for the long message and please let me know if I missed anything or if there any additional details you need.

• My background is in Information Technology.
• I have taken the GRE three times and used Magoosh and Manhattan Prep/Powerprep all three times. My three official scores on the GRE are :
• 12/17/2014: Verbal Reasoning: 146 Quant: 153
• 01/12/2016: Verbal Reasoning: 149 Quant: 153
• 08/01/2016: Verbal Reasoning: 149 Quant: 154
I think the jump in my Verbal Reasoning from my first attempt to my second was due to my increase in reading for fun.

• The first time I was studying, I used Magoosh and Powerprep material and was scoring 150s in practice scores. I took the exam 3 days ago and scored a 154 Quant and 149 (Verbal), which is almost the same score I received on Jan 12, 2016 when I took the exam.

• During my preparation over the last two months, I took one Magoosh test and scored a 159 (Quant) and 150 (verbal). I took one ETS powerprep exam online and scored a 164(Quant) and 154(verbal) and one powerprep exam in the book in which I scored a 160 (Quant) and 152(Verbal). I have also memorized 600 vocab words from Magoosh. In addition, there were was a sense of familiarity with Power Prep and the test in the book since I had taken them before over 6 months ago in addition, to having solved all of the Magoosh questions before. However, I realized that although I had seen the questions before, I could not make out what the answer was and had to still solve the question.

• I have not taken any courses, was debating on taking a Manhattan Prep course. However, after going to a trial class it seemed that it would not be helpful primarily because I had already solved the questions from most of their material and the instructor will not necessarily dive into individual problems that I was having during prep.

• I have not scheduled another GRE exam but can take it anytime. I was told that the best time to take it is when you are seeing the score you want on your practice tests. Also, I think one of my problems on the GRE tends to be that when I get to the exam, I seem to forget everything I have learned.

• My target score is 160 and above in Quant and 160 above in Verbal, which I don't even know if its realistic. As long as I see improvement, I'm willing to put in the effort.

• I plan on applying to Vanderbilt, Washington University, and University of Texas for a masters in finance. I was also considering Financial Mathematics programs from University of Chicago and Berkeley. However, if I cannot even score a 160 on the GRE quant, I shouldn’t even waste my time applying since I have no s hot.

• The current books that I have for the GRE includes all of the 8 Manhattan Individual Strategy Guides, 5LB Manhattan Book of GRE Problems, Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning And Verbal Practice Questions and the GRE The Official Guide to the Revised General Test, Second Edition: Edition 2

In addition, I have two other books that I have never used, the NOVA GRE Math Book and I have ordered the Official Guide for the GMAT Review 12th edition, since I was told it has tough questions that might be helpful on the GRE.

Best Regards
Ali
Attachments

GRE RESULTS.GIF [ 29.01 KiB | Viewed 2240 times ]

Intern
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  10 Aug 2016, 10:38
Hi Soumya,
Is there any other guidance you can provide? I have also attached a copy of my Diagnostic report for you. Not sure if this is a help at all.

Best Regards
Attachments

GRE DIAGNOSTIC 08-01 .docx [131.98 KiB]

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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  10 Aug 2016, 17:24
GREhelp wrote:
Hi Soumya,
Is there any other guidance you can provide? I have also attached a copy of my Diagnostic report for you. Not sure if this is a help at all.

Best Regards

Hi man,

So are you just blanking out on questions or what is happening exactly? I mean you are making the same mistakes over and over again it seems. In regards to Verbal are you looking at the answer choices and plugging them in? Trust me your answer might be 'no' but I think your verbal score attributes to that fact. I was doing this in the beginning of my prep and realized that not only am I trying to fit in an answer choice to make it sound right but im also wasting valuable time.
What is your strategy going in to verbal?
ALso for quant, are you just unable to solve the questions? For me word problems are a big issue as I would just draw a blank because I could not decipher what it was asking. But with practice I am getting better and learning my mistakes.
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  12 Aug 2016, 09:47
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Expert's post
Hello GRE Help,
Sorry for the bit late response! I will give a semi-detailed 3-month plan for now and will go even further in detail as you proceed. Consider this as going to gym with a target of 325 (165 a minimum in Quants and 160 in verbal):

Intensive Vocabulary Building

Let's go back to basics! From your verbal scores, one thing is clear, that regardless of your vocabulary you have issues when it comes to application. I know exactly the thing that can remedy the situation. You need a new approach to vocabulary learning:
Norman Lewis's "Word Power made easy"
The lessons are easy and elegant at the same time. 1 lesson/day will finish the book in 1 and half months. I am fairly confident you will be benefitted with this book.

Back to Quants Basics

Since you have more or less covered everything that GRE Prep has to offer, let's take a new approach. The steps are given in the following:

Step 1: Go through the Khan Academy videos:

They are quite beautifully crafted and good for understanding. How much time will it take you to go through them depends on your comfortability.

Step 2: Now let's go the next step. Go through the free video course of Greenlight Test Prep. They are good for going to the next level.

Step 3
NOVA’s GRE Math Prep Course
Do the practice problems in the sections Substitution and Defined Functions. For exercises in the NOVA’s GRE Math Prep Course: You can skim the introductory material in each section if you like, but much of that probably will be a review for you. As soon as you work through an exercise set, correct your work. If you discover concepts on which you are unclear, look at the introductory material more carefully.

Step 4
Buy GMAT Official Guide (any edition) and start solving them. After the previous steps you should be able to handle the GMAT math with relative ease now. Try to finish them in a structured fashion.

To be Continued..... (Still formulating your rest of the plan)
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Re: GRE Guidance [#permalink]  12 Aug 2016, 15:43
I am in the same boat as you. I have been studying on and off for a year, but started to really crack down on it the past 4 months. I just keep getting in a rut. My problem is I seem to struggle most with the quant section. I know all the material, I can do basic practice problems but just can not correctly do any GRE level practice. I do not understand why, I have even tried doing the long mathematical approach to just get that down wit the GRE level question but for some reason I feel at a loss with it. I will tell you, I am like you I have a lot of study material available to me but it's not working, so I hired a tutor (only one I could find in my small town SAT tutor/ high school English teacher). I will let you know if that helps. I am mostly trying it to see if one on one, face to face learning will improve my practice scores or not. You are not alone.
Re: GRE Guidance   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2016, 15:43
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