My GRE Experience

Volume Three: God Stop With These Blogs Already

Seriously. Are you bored of reading me write about the GRE? Do I have nothing better in my life to write about? Find out next time, on DragonBall Z! (Dear reader, forgive the 90s kid his jokes).

Section 1 of 6 [Part 1: Analyze an Issue] : Is this blog is worth reading?

If you have been following my short GRE series (if so, god bless your indulgent soul), you may want some closure as to what my overall GRE Experience was, and if your analysis of the issue so succintly stated in the heading above is in the negative, feel free to skip the detailed and smug ramble to the very end! If you’d like to have a chuckle on the way, considering stopping by section 4.

Section 1 of 6 [Part 2: Analyze an Argument] : This blog is worth reading.

Welcome! The GRE is the first of many steps in applying for graduate and doctorate programs around the world, and with a validity of 5 years is certainly one worth getting out the way. As a working professional, as many of you may be, it is not easy to devote time for studying after a hard day of work, and managing all 24 hours of your day assumes critical importance in this journey, as it does in many other facets of life. If you are a student, you may find this much easier to manage.

Section 2 of 6 [Quantitative Reasoning] : Forty Nights (of sleep) and Forty Days (of resisting sleep)

My overall GRE preparation lasted around 40 days, from the day of registration to actually giving the exam, with around 2 hours a day spent in preparation on average. For the record, I find it quite ridiculous to measure preparation by number of hours of study. 30 minutes a day of focused preparation with a clear understanding is worth its weight in gold compared to spending 4 hours in a day in a distracted haze. It all depends on the kind of learner you are. Devote as much time as you think you need! 1 hour a day is a great place to start. For all members of the procrastination nation out there (I’ll tell you guys my membership ID tomorrow), registering for the GRE before preparation is an excellent tool. I find the thought of spending more than $200 a great motivator to not waste time and get preppin’!

Section 3 of 6 [Verbal Reasoning] : Prepare. Persist. Persevere.

Dramatic title notwithstanding, it is very easy to get bored in the middle of preparation. 40 days is not a short time, especially if you cannot see regular progress (practice test score not improving? Don’t worry. I only crossed 330 in my very last practice test). If you don’t have any self-motivational techniques to stick through this whole process, now is great time to develop them! The GRE is the key that unlocks a higher plane of knowledge (disclaimer: no universities paid for this glowing praise), and at the very least you can brag to your friends about how high your score was. Or who knows, you may even write a hedonistic blog post!

Section 4 of 6 [Quantitative Reasoning] : I’ve run out of numbers for this section to make sense

Um, what’s 10 times 5? If you answered 50, please skip to the next section. If you didn’t, perhaps an alternate career choice may suit you better than finishing this blog.

Oh wait, I found a number!

Dad I got 168/170 in quant!

Where did those 2 marks go?

Well, I think one dropped out to start Facebook, not sure about the other one.

Section 5 of 6 [Verbal Reasoning] : A Comprehensive? Preparation Guide

Please note that while this is a personal experience and may not work for you, I have tried to generalise as much as possible.

  1. Place heavy focus on test-taking strategy. All the memorized vocabulary in the world will not help you if you write the involved verbal reasoning section with anything but the utmost focus.
  2. Learn the exam pattern by heart, and know how you’re going to tackle the sections as they come. The GRE has a fixed format (so cleverly adopted, if I may be so brazen, as the structure of this blog post) as to which questions will appear in which order. Learn it.
  3. Practice multiple tests to devise a personal test-taking strategy. Since you know the format (refer above), all you need is to refine your test taking strategy to suit your unique strengths. Strong with vocab but weak with reading comprehension? Whizz through sentence equivalence and spend more time on reading passages. It’s that easy.
  4. Each question type has a unique way of attacking it. I highly recommend the Magoosh online video series as reference for this, these strategies are the single biggest reason I was able to get a 169/170 in verbal reasoning.
  5. Don’t neglect the analytical writing section, scored out of 6.0. A score of 4.5+ would certainly boost your application, and a low score (< 3.0) may hurt it.

Section 6 of 6 [Experimental Section] : tl;dr - I got 337/340, Here’s How:

I feel bad ending this post with a second list, but hey, you asked for it!

  1. Practice. (banal behavior, but beyond bypassing)
  2. Learn some new vocab every day. (10 new words is doable!)
  3. Refine test taking strategy. (a yet more stultifying task, but stick with it champ!)
  4. A calm, relaxed, focused mind. (chillax to the max the day before, plus a good night’s sleep)
  5. A positive attitude (sorry). You got this. The GRE ain’t nothin’.

If anyone would like to ask my more in detail about my experience, please free to contact me through any of my social media channels, listed in the footer below! And if you find where the second Mark disappeared, let me know, I think my dad is still looking for him.

Written on August 27, 2019