Alright! So, you are geared up for a Master’s degree but have no idea how to go about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). It’s possible that your preparations began well, but you aren’t sure whether or not you’re headed in the right direction.
We have some tips and tricks to not only get you started but also guide you to get more than just an average score. Note, this article is written by someone who didn’t have time on his side, prepared for two weeks and ended up scoring a 320 / 340. Also, there always is a different and arguably, a better method available out there. Hence, just use this as a reference point but do what you feel suits you the best.
For starters, we assume that you are well aware of the GRE broadly comprising of 3 types of sections.
- Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) – 2 Separately timed writing tasks, ‘Analyze an Issue’ Task and ‘Analyze an Argument’ Task.
- Quantitative Ability – Sections testing you on elementary mathematical concepts and ability to reason quantitatively
- Verbal Ability – Sections assessing your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it
Talking about the AWA sections, you are given a topic each, and there are two types of essays you could write depending on the instructions. One of them is the Issue Essay, and the other is the Argument Essay.
Analyzing the Issue Task requires you to write an essay by evaluating the issue, considering its complexities and developing an argument with reasons and examples to support your views. On the other hand, the Argument Essay requires you to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents. All it takes is practising about 3-5 essays, and you are good to go. Don’t try to use too many complicated words to impress the reader. Simple vocabulary having to-the-point content is equally effective.
Next, you shall encounter 2 Quantitative, 2 Verbal sections and an addition Experimental section (could be any one from Quant / Verbal). This experimental section is not counted towards your final score. Now, the first thought that pops into our heads is, why would one attempt this section? The reason is, one cannot determine which is the experimental section. So yes, the best way is to treat each one of them equally seriously and try to score the most in everything you encounter.
Why does the ETS (Educational Testing Service) do this? It’s because this is the easiest and most reliable way for them to test how would a candidate perform on those questions if asked in the test. This way, they check whether they should include such questions in the coming years.
Having cleared this dilemma, we know there are Quant and Verbal sections to deal with.
Indians are amongst those who find Quant easier than others. Hence, the overall level of the Quantitative section on the GRE is not tough for us and can be tackled without many hiccups. The best way to do this is to go through the the concepts presented in any book thoroughly and solve a good number of questions.
Once you are done with this, check your answers. As a pro tip, I’d advise you to go through each and every solution irrespective of the correctness of your answers. It is really easy to overlook those that you have attempted correctly. Having not ignored those, I realized that it gave me newer and sometimes better methods to approach those problems. Ultimately, helping my scores.
Verbal is something all of us need lots of rigorous practice. Since the level of English that we speak daily is pretty average (barring the exceptions), getting a good hold of verbal on the GRE is not that easy.
Instead of cramming hundreds of words to “improve” your vocabulary, my advice would be to take up a set of 300, 500 or 800 words available all across the web and go through it. These apparently, are frequently occurring words and can be worked with.
Going through the techniques mentioned and knowing a decent number of words is a good start for sentence and text completion questions. Reading comprehensions could be practised more and more. This is an area where you could learn a lot from your mistakes (probably more than any other area of the verbal section).
So, these were some of the ways you could go about preparing for your GRE. We hope these help you get an amazing score. Good Luck 🙂