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My GRE Experience + I Need Some Advice!!

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Joined: 02 Mar 2019
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GRE 1: Q160 V156
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My GRE Experience + I Need Some Advice!! [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2019, 21:17
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Background: I am an undergrad applying to PhD programs in Finance in the Fall. I was originally studying for the GMAT but feel like most PhD programs I am applying to prefer the GRE. Plus it is easier than the GMAT. I have been studying relatively consistently for 3 months.

Study Materials:
Official ETS Quant book
5lb Book
Manhattan complete GMAT strategy guide

Practice Tests:
1. Kaplan free: 162Q (skipped verbal)
2. Manhattan free: 160Q 152V
3. Powerprep 1: 160Q 153V
4. Powerprep 2: 160Q 153V

Obviously, these scores were very consistent. I was trying very hard to study every day but I had two weeks where midterms lined up all at the same time and took a week off, twice. I feel like these breaks really messed up my consistency.

Official Test
160Q 156V
My verbal went up but I don't really care about my verbal score, so the lack of improvement in the quant is disheartening. Since I haven't seen almost any improvement in my scores over the last 3 months I am sure that I need to switch up the way I study.

I was talking to a friend the same day as the test about my preparation and he gave me some good insight. I have been studying at nights from 9:30-11:30pm and 6:00-7:000am to prepare, and he said, "if you study tired, you test tired." I think that is a great point. I could shift some things around during the day to make studying during the day more of a priority. I need at least a 165Q for the programs I am applying to. I am willing to put money into practice tests, guided courses, etc. Any reasonable amount of money spent on preparation will produce a great return.

Cheers!!
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Re: My GRE Experience + I Need Some Advice!! [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2019, 18:29
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HI drspence,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, a 160Q is a pretty good starting point. That said, to improve your quant to a 165+, you need to go through GRE quant carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. 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 at least around 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you didn'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. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

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, types that you would rather not see, and types 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 one 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.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GRE or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GRE is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some additional quant materials, so take a look at the GRE Prep Club reviews for the best GRE quant materials.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about How to Increase Your GRE Quant Score.

Please reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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Re: My GRE Experience + I Need Some Advice!!   [#permalink] 19 Apr 2019, 18:29
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