Let me share my GRE Success Story, how I did my GRE Math Test prep and scored perfect Math (170 out of 170) and overall 325.
Math has always been a gift for me and having been connected to it throughout my engineering degree, I knew, little practice will get me a good score in GRE Test Quantitative. However, it was an entirely different situation for Verbal and I had only a month to improve as much as I could (due to some other engagements) and give my best during the GRE test preparation.
The aim was to attempt the GRE Math by the end of October and have a score of 325 (at least cross 320). A perfect quantitative score (170 out of 170) was achievable if only I managed time and avoided silly mistakes, which I was doing regularly during mocks. The higher I get in the quantitative, the lesser the burden will be on the verbal.
It might seem a little backward approach, but with the amount of time I decided to invest in it ( a month), it would have been irrational for me to expect anything higher.
How did I go about it?
Because of having relatively less time than others, my aim was to do as much practice as I can. When I took my first mock, I scored 147 in verbal. Then, once I got hold of the resources available on that life-saving Scholar Den resources, I started practicing exercises from Scholar Den.
In the last two weeks, I used to take at least one mock daily, used to time myself, and identify areas I need to improve.
For verbal, I started doing concepts from Scholar Den, and then I used to do ETS verbal books and practice questions of that particular area. After a week, of doing so, I could see some improvement in my score and I started crossing 150 regularly. Although my major concern was verbal, I used to practice quantitative sections along with it daily. It is very important to manage time and work on how I should focus more to avoid silly mistakes in order to achieve a perfect score in quant.
Also, for learning vocabulary, I ended up learning around 200 words from the Scholar Den wordlist.
The ScholarDen platform has provided all the guidance and it helped a great deal. Also, the GRE Facebook group also helped me a lot. The discussions and problem sharing that takes place in that group resolved so many of my problems and kept me updated all the time. The group allowed me to interact with people who were facing similar problems as me and find possible solutions with them.
I was able to score a perfect quantitative score and a 154 on verbal. The total was on par with the amount of time I invested in my preparation and my expectations associated with it. I hope I am able to get into a reputable school for my Master’s with this score.
Key Learnings and the Crux:
The key to success is concepts and then PRACTICE. No matter how many techniques you learn for solving different problems, unless you are not clear on concepts, they will never be fruitful for you. So many times, I did not know the meaning of a word, but I knew if it is was a positive or negative word. Having the slightest sense about the word can save you from losing a point, and it is skills that give you a sense of so many words that you will come across in the actual exam. Therefore your aim should be to learn skills and concepts so much that you might not have any more questions left to attempt.
Secondly, timing is a very important factor in both verbal and quant. So make sure, all your mocks and even practice exercises are timed. If you are struggling, try different time management techniques, for instance, marking the questions you find difficult to do at the end. For those aiming for 170 in quantitative, they should target completing their sections in 30 minutes. I recommend, they should mark the tricky questions even if they have got the answer, and should revisit them in the 5 minutes that they have saved. This comes in handy in eliminating any silly mistakes that one might have made.
I strongly recommend the test-takers ensure that they have completed the following checklist before they sit at the exam. These are MUST.
- ETS Official Guide + All exercises for Verbal
- Scholar Den Resources
Attempted at least 12 mocks (One each day for two weeks prior to the test day – Rest on Sundays)
- Mocks of Manhattan
- Mocks of ETS Powerprep
- Mocks of Scholar Den
Others Mock ( Barrons, Princeton, and Kaplan)
If you are done with the list above, you are good to go. You have done enough practice and you should feel confident about yourself. However, if you feel you want to further improve and spend more time practicing. I repeat, the key to success is concepts. The more you are conceptually clear, the more confident you are about your answers and the more likely it is, that your answer is correct.
Keep learning and Good Luck ☺