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My Experience and Opinion on the GRE

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Joined: 30 Nov 2018
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GRE 1: Q164 V164
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My Experience and Opinion on the GRE [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2018, 02:20
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My Experience and Opinion on facing the GRE

Yesterday, I went to the examinations center to take on the GRE for the very first time. All the preparation I did by myself. I prepared for a little under two months ( maybe it is worth noting I am in my third year of uni ). Used a couple of books, online material and this forum. I had no one to examine my essays and only relied on answer keys to score my tests.
My unofficial score was 164 on both Q and V. I still don't have the scores of the Analytical Writings but in my opinion, they went pretty well so a score of 4.5-5 is very likely.

That's all great, cool story bro but who is this post about?

Since I found this forum one of the most useful sites while preparing for the test, I wanted to give some advice to those of you who are still scrambling away to find the most useful way to boost their GRE score.

1. I always thought that practice makes perfect. I think this is true for the GRE too. Since the concepts tested are not at all complicated and most high-school graduates have a good grip on them, the thing you have to actually prepare is the mindset. When I began to read Verbal questions for the first time I nearly panicked. I thought only a native English speaker can actually do well on them. They were too convoluted, purposefully inserting arcane words that even a person like myself - 8.5 on IELTS; found overwhelming and often interfering with my overall reasoning on the answers. It was bad, the first time around I got less than half of the 40 questions on the Verbal mock test correct. But I persisted, and a couple of vocab-flash cards and 20-25 tests later I began to have a better grip on the Verbal section. ( I tried to study a lot of words, but it was just too boring and didn't have a lot of time; deadlines for application. In the end, I managed to learn perfectly the top 200 and recognize some synonyms and words derived from Latin; I know Italian maybe that helped too.) Even with unfamiliar words, my brain seemed to grasp the logic of the sentences and navigate me to the right answer. In short I am saying is that in order to do well on the test, your brain has to get used to the GRE questions. Whether it takes 20 on 200 practice tests, sooner or later most people will enter the logic and the structure of ETS test architects and get a decent score (of course everyone has a plateau, but don't assume you've reached it until you get sick of GRE questions every day). I spent all this time talking about Verbal but it can all be applied to the Quant also; of course, assuming you already know the basics of the math concepts tested. So yeah, the morale of this is practice, practice, practice.

2. The most difficult thing for me was actually staying concentrated for the amount of time the GRE requires. Some 4 hours.
The day that I switched from doing separate practice sections to a complete full test and staying 4 hours in one spot with the designated 10-minute break in the middle, my score dropped significantly. And concentration was to blame. Too often I got distracted by my phone between sections and writings, my mind began to wonder sometimes when I saw a word or a phrase in some question that reminded me of something I did or watched etc.. So concentration for prolonged periods of time must be trained too. I was lucky to discover this early as I spent much of the time studying focusing on focus. Every day at least 3 hours in one place, in my case the university library, where I could focus and grind my mind.

3. Material. I had some difficulty at the beginning with finding sufficient practice tests. Apart from ETS official books a set my eyes up on Barron's, Kaplan's, Princeton's and some other books. (Most older editions can be found online. I won't post links to not get banned but if you are resourceful enough you will find the ALL..)I tried all of them and I found significant differences. A few checks online in forums showed that some of these books are not the best resources out there. For example, some had Q questions that are too easy, the majority didn't show how hard are the practice sections - the majority had medium ones. Because of this, I came to appreciate this forum a lot. All of the questions had their difficulty tagged and you could compile a real practice test to more accurately evaluate your level. Very useful for the computer delivered test that bases the difficulty of consequent sections on previous ones (I'm not gonna elaborate on that it has been explained in great detail in other posts).

In summary, here are the three things I found useful in the test:
1. If you're too lazy too read my 3 short paragraphs forget about gettin a good score on Verbal :twisted:
My Experience and Opinion on the GRE   [#permalink] 07 Dec 2018, 02:20
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My Experience and Opinion on the GRE

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