I gave GRE in Oct 2013 and ended up with a score of 304 (VA: 147, QA: 157, AW: 3). I am planning to retake in the next 12 months. How should I plan and strategize so that I end up with a good score this time? I am basically aiming for an improvement by 20 points at least.


Analysis of previous attempt:

I can remember the test day very well. One of the reasons for my low score was the bad test center. The test center was noisy with people continuously coming in, going out and passing by. All these things distracted me a lot and pulled down my concentration. The keyboard and mouse were horrible.

In Verbal, I normally had difficulty in reading and comprehending texts fast esp. long RCs and the presence of noise in the test center made it all the more difficult. I could not concentrate much while reading long RCs and most of the time, made guess work and moved on to the next question. I didn't know / couldn't recall the meaning of few words which made the Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions more difficult and time consuming.

In Quans, I got stuck in 2-3 difficult questions initially and lost time I could have otherwise spent for the easy ones. I had to hurry towards the end and missed 1-2 questions. I had expected a 165+ for Quans with my preparation and my mocks from Kaplan but distractions took a toll and I had to read few questions repeatedly.

In Analytical Writing, I did take time in understanding the arguments. I faced difficulty in expressing my thoughts in an excellent style. The keyboard was very hard and it was becoming very difficult to type correctly and fast. I could not write my essays to the length I wanted to because I lost a good of time in typing. As a result, I could not even proof read my write-ups.

I had prepared from Kaplan GRE Premier 2011-12 ONLY. Did I trust the wrong book? Should I have followed some additional books as well? These questions bothered me just after the exam then in 2013 and still bothering me now when I am yet to start my preparation.

I got to improve my ability to read and understand difficult and complex RCs fast. How can I do this?

I don't have much time to prepare and want to go with a self-preparation plan. How do I prepare efficiently? Where should I focus? I would request experts and fellows to help me out urgently.