Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test required for taking admissions to masters and doctoral degree programs for most graduate schools in the United States. It mainly assesses the verbal, quantitative and analytical skills of the student. It is suitable for those who want to pursue master’s degree fellowships, like MS, MIM, and MBA abroad. This post is about how to crack the GRE exam.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of prospective graduate and business school applicants from around the world take the GRE tests.In fact, the number of Indian students appearing for GRE in India grew by nearly 20% in the year 2015 indicating that Indian students are increasingly looking for study opportunities abroad. Hence, it is extremely crucial as well as important for the applicants to be ready beforehand with their preparation in order to score well and get selected in their dream college.
Structure of GRE
The GRE Test has three main divisions:
- Analytical Writing
- Verbal Reasoning
- Quantitative Reasoning
A typical computer-based test starts with the Analytical Writing section (1 hour).
There are 2 sections of Verbal Reasoning each with approximately 20 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. There are 2 sections of Quantitative Reasoning each with approximately 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes. There is usually also an unidentified unscored section that can appear at any position in the test. In total, the computer-based GRE takes 3 hours 45 minutes. Read here for a list of resources to prepare for the GRE.
Top Tricks to Crack GRE
These are some of the tricks which will help to score better in the GRE:
Begin your preparation early:
One should start preparing for the GRE at least 2-3 months before the test. It will be better if an aspirant can give 4-5 months of preparation for this. This is because GRE is quite a structured test with each part a challenge in itself. So it is imperative for an aspirant to ace them through constant and continuous preparation. This will also allow him/her to balance his time with other ongoing activities.
Always have a timetable:
A timetable is the best way to manage your time effectively. One needs to properly divide his/her time for all three sections. Apart from this, special emphasis is to be given on the weaker parts. This will not only balance one’s daily routine but also enhance productivity and efficiency with time.
Also, one should start the day with the most difficult part as completing that section will automatically bring confidence to cover the remaining. Take short breaks in between long hours of study. Give proper time for leisure activities also.
Build your mental strength:
GRE test preparation requires substantive efforts and continuity in your approach for a solid foundation. This is not a simple task as it requires a lot of determination and willpower. It somewhere depends on why you are doing it. In other words, throughout your preparation period, you need to follow a strict discipline in which your first priority shall always be your GRE test preparation.
Apart from this, GRE test is 3 hours 45 minutes long. You need to maintain your calm and willpower throughout this time which requires the constant practice of test papers from the very initial stage. Thus building your mental strength to come out of your comfort zone and working on your skills on a daily basis is of paramount importance.
Choose study material carefully:
One should select his study material carefully as there are thousands of material out there but all of them are not genuine. One should not get too much of study material also as they are of no use. Instead one should select only the most relevant source which they are able to comprehend. Apart from this, one should also refer some online materials as they are quite helpful. Practice Papers must be solved to assess one’s preparation.
This is one of the most important parts of this test preparation since it helps in both Verbal and analytical writing section. Vocabulary not only helps in understanding a word’s meaning but also word building and using it at appropriate places for expressing the ideas in the most effective manner. It is moreover the weapon of good aspirants to score more through their strong literary skills. One can improve upon this through reading lots and lots of texts like books, novels, newspapers, magazines etc. One should also create a separate word list for all the typical words with their meaning and context.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Blogs:
Giving special attention to this section is not only from the vocabulary point of view. It is also because it helps in developing one’s capacity to get ideas and therefore write an essay effectively. In other words, this section improves the knowledge base of aspirants and helps them ace the essay part. One should also write notes/summary of important editorials and articles and revise them frequently. For both Issue Task and Argument task, having a command over language as well as information base is extremely important.
Special Focus on Quant section:
Quant section mainly assesses basic high school level mathematical knowledge and reasoning skills. However it is more complicated to score in Quant than in other sections. Although this notion may vary from person to person based on his/her skill, most of the questions are based on a simple logic with a twist in it, making it a brain teaser. Understanding these subtle nuances is often the solution to most problems.Attempting to solve a problem with only concepts and procedure can be both confusing and time-consuming. A far more efficient approach would be to figure out a pattern in the trick questions and create a strategy which can be used for them.
Practice Mock tests:
Mock tests should be taken on a regular basis as it will help you evaluate your actual test performance and make you accustomed to test pressure. It helps one in knowing their weaker and stronger areas. It also helps in understanding the traps in answer choices. Thus your ability to get a question right will not only depend on the right choice but also on the wrong answers.
Apart from this, it also makes one familiar with the actual test conditions. By practicing mock tests, the aspirants directly hone their problem-solving skill and concept building approach.
Target your weak areas:
After you have solved some mock tests, you will get a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. Now you have to approach both of them with different strategies. For the weaker areas, you must designate more time and give special emphasis in the beginning. However, during the end of your preparation, your main focus should be on your strengths and you should practice it more and more.
Besides this, one can also consult trainees, mentor and successful candidates to improve themselves and know the basics of GRE test preparation. Proper guidance from coaching classes is also helpful for the amateurs in their preparation. Read here about the best B-Schools in the USA accepting GRE scores. However, in the end, it is the hard work, willpower, and dedication which determines the success of an aspirant. One can easily excel in this exam if he/she is hell-bent towards working hard and learning more and more continuously over a period of time.
So get ready for this exam and prepare well! All the best!