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How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148)

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How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148) [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2018, 09:41
Hello GRE experts,
I gave my GRE exam on Nov 30, 2018, and scored Q151, V148, AWA-3. I scored Q155/Q156 in Manhattan practice tests (wrote 4 tests) but my official score was very disappointing, I did not expect a score decrease :( I got panicked during my exam and answered to all the questions anxiously. Also, I practiced only two practice tests with AWA section, the rest just quant & verbal and, that would have been a reason too. I'll brief my preparation and break down my practice test scores.

My preparation:
I started preparing for my GRE in August mid. I bought official GRE 2018 (quant and verbal too) and Manhattan 5lb. I started memorizing words for vocabulary and covered roughly 500 words (mostly high freq words). Learned Quant basics from OG and other online materials. Practiced questions from OG and Manhattan 5lb. I maintained an error log for both quant & verbal and took notes of every wrong question in my journal. I studied for 3 to 4 hours a day.

I made tons of silly mistakes in the beginning. After maintaining an error log I reduced them slowly however, I couldn't improve my score. I practiced weak areas from Manhattan 5lb, I practiced only very few questions (should've practiced more). I was finding difficult to solve tricky questions within the time frame but, solved them during untimed conditions. Timing was an issue. Whenever I was writing a practice test, I was getting anxious and I was not solving the questions that I knew, I got blank. The same thing happened on my TEST DAY too :( I don't know what strategy to use now.

I did cover enough vocabulary and was able to identify the words in the practice tests but I struggled with the context in SE and TC. I was weak in RC as well. I practiced with OG, Princeton Review and Manhattan even though Manhattan covered a lot of vocabulary only. I was finding difficult to get enough materials to practice verbal. I tried reading 2 articles from NYT daily, though I didn't do it regularly. Will be helpful if you could suggest me some resources to practice.

Score breakdown:

OG PAPER TEST 1 - Q150 V151
OG PAPER TEST 2 - Q155 V147
MANHATTAN 1 - Q156 V153
MANHATTAN 2 - Q155 V148
MANHATTAN 3 - Q156 V153
MANHATTAN 4(Quant only)- Q157


I've scheduled my exam on Jan 17, 2019, I know its such a short time frame but my school's application deadline is on Feb. :( Meanwhile, I am traveling to my hometown for two weeks for Christmas :? I need a score of at least Q155 V153 to apply for my dream school. Is it possible to increase my score? Could you please give me some suggestions on improving my score and on what strategies to use?
Thanks in advance.
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Re: How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148) [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2018, 18:07
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Hi bj56,

I’m sorry to hear how things went with your GRE. The good news is that your quant and verbal scores on your actual GRE were not too far from your scores on your official ETS practice exams. That being said, since you scored a Q151/V148, it’s clear that you lack some of the quant and verbal fundamentals necessary for a high score. To improve your skills, you will need to follow a linear and structured study plan, so that you are able to learn the foundations of GRE quant and verbal prior to moving to more advanced topics. While following such a plan will allow you to improve your quant and verbal skills, you may need more than just a month to do so. Are you able to take your test at a later date? Either way, I’m happy to provide some more details about how to improve your skills. Let’s start with quant.

Let’s say you are learning about Number Properties. First, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, you will want to practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GRE quant skills.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in 1 minute and 45 seconds or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

When studying verbal, as your vocabulary improves, your GRE verbal score very likely will improve. With that said, vocabulary on the GRE is a beast, and learning such a vast number of GRE vocab words will take many hours. Thus, you will want to find a large, reputable vocab list and study the heck out of it. Yes, the process of memorizing thousands of words is tedious and boring, but if your competition is memorizing 2,000 to 3,000 vocab words, then you must do the same or more! However, memorizing vocab words is just a part of the battle.

After improving your vocab, you need to improve your skills at answering Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions. When answering a single-sentence Text Completion question, for instance, you need to understand what the sentence is trying to say. In other words, you need to understand the logic of the sentence, the important clues that indicate what word or words are needed to complete the sentence. In problems that involve two or three sentences, you also need to understand the relationships between the sentences. There are always important clues to guide you in the existing sentences. Understanding the context around the blanks is the most important thing you can do. Likewise when answering Sentence Equivalence questions, focus on the BIG PICTURE or context clues that are provided in the sentence. If you can accurately assess the context of what you are reading, you will have a better shot at selecting the appropriate vocab word to complete the sentence.

While learning to effectively answer completion questions, you must also improve your Reading Comprehension skills. In that case, your ability to understand the logic of what you are reading matters even more. All Reading Comprehension passages involve arguments, so you must strive to understand what the point of each argument is. You also should understand that the main parts of the argument in the multi-paragraph passages are the different paragraphs, while the main parts of the argument in the single-paragraph passages are the sentences. Understanding how the different parts fit together, in each instance, is one of your more important tasks. Furthermore, as you practice, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. Analyze your incorrect answers, and try to understand why the answer you picked was wrong.

To correctly answer single-paragraph passages, as mentioned above, you will need to be able to analyze the relationship between sentences. Furthermore, you need to ensure that you you fully understand the essence of the various single-paragraph question types. Do you know the importance of an assumption within an argument? Can you easily spot a conclusion? Do you know how to resolve a paradox? Do you know how to properly evaluate cause and effect? Do you know how to properly weaken or strengthen an argument? These are just a few examples; you really need to take a deep dive into the individual topics to develop the necessary skills to properly attack these types of Reading Comprehension questions.

Finally, keep in mind that GRE Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read, so to better prepare yourself to tackle such passages, read magazines with similar challenging content and style, such as the Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

To follow the advice I’ve provided, you may need some new GRE resources, so check out the reviews of courses here on GRE Prep Club.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO

GRE Quant Self-Study Course
500+ lessons 3000+ practice problems 800+ HD solutions

Joined: 14 Mar 2019
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Re: How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148) [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2019, 11:56
Thanks so much for the advice, it really helped me.
Re: How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148)   [#permalink] 14 Mar 2019, 11:56
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How to improve my score? Please help (Q151, V148)

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