Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Page 1 of 14 1234511 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 134

Thread: A How To for the GRE (by flounder)

  1. #1
    Within my grasp! flounder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    IL, USA
    Posts
    162
    Rep Power
    16


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
    Sponsored Ad:
    Theres this problem with us CS people who love LINUX. We love How-Tos too hehe. Heres a much needed HowTo for GRE? Cmon Erin, this one deserves to be made a sticky ))))

    Regards,
    Ali

    ***

    I have decided that GRE is the road for me, but how to go about actually treading it?

    I feel so free today. After a lapse of some three months, I finally feel a tension lift off my shoulders. Gave my GRE (800q and 610v). Was hoping to cross the 700s in verbal but I am happy nevertheless.

    How to start you GRE preparation? Well I started preparation for GRE around three months back, and this was the very same impasse that I landed in.

    Q How to prepare? Why just follow the posts on TestMagic of course.
    Q Where to prepare from? I'd recommend in order of preference (difficulty from challenging to a bore): Power Prep, Big Book, Barrons, Kaplan and maybe Princeton Review
    Q What to prepare? How much time needed to prepare? Read on )


    How much prep time?

    Ok first of all, if you have the time available, I would suggest a 3-4 months prep time. Why? Well, since many of us come from Engineering or Non-literature backgrounds, we do not get the opportunity to built that large vocabulary set that ETS tests on. I feel 4 months is a sufficient time to make up for that deficiency. If you have a year at hand, thats even better. You really can ace the dreaded verbal section with that much prep. 4 months is enough to do the quantitative practice side by side too.


    Vobabulary Building?

    Ok, well and good. How to go about the vocabulary building? Well many people have suggested many different techniques, and at the end of the day, the one that will win is the one that suits you. I prefer the flash cards, and making them myself. They don't have to be cards, just get plenty of A4 size pages and and a paper cutter and start cutting cards of the apposite size. Make plenty of them. You can never have enough. And even after your GRE, you can still look at them to jolt your vocabulary. Maybe your kid brother and sister might use the same for their SATs or GREs or GMATs or if they are in good shape and you have no intention to humor the words further, you can sell them for some quick bucks he he he. I am sure many people would be interested hehe.

    Now for the words. I'd suggest that you start with the Barrons 350 sth high frequency words. Go through the list once. Some words you would know. The ones which you don't know, make flash cards for them. It helps if you can put a definition and a short sentence, context or phrase for the word too. Context is important for remembering the words. It really makes the whole exercise worthwhile too, since you would remember the words long after you have given the GRE too. Leave some place on flash cards for future additions, e.g. synonyms you come across, difficult antonyms for the words, confusions etc. Yeah I know many of you would be "This seems like a lot of hard work", but trust me: you will have a really powerful vocabulary at the end of the day, which you can use to impress people in your otherwise daily routine too.

    Ok, coming back to the word lists, first do the Barrons High Frequency. Some people go to cram the whole Barrons 3500 list. Ummm, I have come across people who knew the whole list, but only this list, and got words they were seeing for the first time. So in my opinion, if you are short on time, diversify the word lists. I would suggest you do the Princeton Review list next (around 350 words and very relevant). Next do the Arco list (another 300-400 words). Ok by now you have a decent inventory of words. Go for the Kaplan's List now. It will help you learn whole groups of words. There would be overlap, but you will encounter many new words too.

    Another excellent source of words is the Big Book. It has some 27 actual administered paper GRE tests (2q and 2v sections each). Start giving the tests asap, and while you are at it, learn the new words from these tests. Remember these are the real tests, so you should know these words. By the end of the 27 tests, your vocabulary will be richer by another 500 or so words, not found in the previous lists.

    Side by side, I'd suggest the use of some vocabulary building software like Guru's GRE (freeware available and can searched for on google.com). Its a nice easy way to learn new words. By now you would have learnt many words. So I'd suggest that you take all the 51 tests in Guru's GRE. You would know around 50-60 percent of the words. Don't guess on the words you don't know. The good thing is that the software remembers the words you didn't attempt. You can then continue to learn those ones.

    Number2.0 has a good vocabulary building online engine. I'd recommend it wholly. Ok, now you can come back to the world of Barrons. I am assuming you still have some weeks left before the test. Go through the more common letters first like O, E, I, D, P, R, S, T, A, you etc. you and D help a lot with a lot of antonyms as in usage like dis- and un- which reverse the word. So you would be learning two words with each word.

    And yes make flash card for whatever word you don't know, in Big Book or any other tests you take. The good thing with Flash cards is that you can dally with them on the run, say waiting for your friends to show up, or waiting for you meal in the office etc. Plus another good thing with flash cards is that you can "shuffle" them and "mix" with other sets of flash cards and "isolate" the ones you need to work on. Shuffling helps to break mononity and you get to see a new assortment of the order in which the words come. Mixing helps to do the same. Isolating the words you don't know allows you to concentrate on those words more easily and learn them. Plus flash cards allow you to look at a word in isolation and identify it. I have heard that with this technique, the minds forms a mental association with a flash card, and whenever you see the word again, the neurons do some V = IR^2s (thats the Ohm's law by the way ) and jolt your memory and volla the meaning comes to you.

    Verbal Section:

    Ok, apart from the vocabulary building, the other piece of advice I have for you in the verbal section is practice, practice and more practice and time yourself while doing it. Do practice at a stretch while your head hurts . Take a power prep early on, infact I would say that a dose of reality doesn't hurt you. So give the power prep within your first month of prep. You might feel depressed the next couple of days, but giving a Power Prep early on gives you a correct and verisimilar picture of where you actually stand and how much you need to go. So don't despair. Everyone does badly on the first few tests. Why? Coz ETS really sucks at making tests. The test doesn't check your intelligence or anything. It only sees if you have a huge vocabulary, whether you can run against the clock and if you have practiced or not. Thats it. That ladies and gentlemen, is the whole truth behind the GRE. Timing and pacing yourself, keeping a cool head, a good vocabulary and practice. You can signifantly improve your scores from those first dismal power prep scores, even by as much as 400 to 500 points. But practice and consistency would be the key.

    Get the big book. It costs a lot, but its every penny worth it. No other book even comes close to the amount of practice that big book can offer you. Give the verbal tests. The timing is stringent as compared to the current GRE and that helps you to develop a good pace for attempting questions. The reading comprehension is difficult as hell, which is a good thing coz in the actual GRE the same is the case. And its a good vocabulary building exercise too.

    As far as verbal strategies are concerned, I would recommend in order of preference : Kaplan, Barrons and Princeton Review. Princeton Review is in my opinion too easy to get to those high 600 + scores in verbal, but if its available, do try to go through all three.

    Reading comprehension is a difficult section, and I would suggest that you make it a habit to read the English newspaper daily especially the editorials and columns. You can even subscribe online to Washington Post, New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Plus its a little expensive, but I really like the Economist for its strong English. You can see all the GRE words here at work. Read, read and read through those four months. The effects are threefold. First you are improving your vocabulary. Secondly you are assimilating ideas for your essays in AWA. Last but not the least, you are improving your Reading Comprehension. When you read some passage, attack it ! ... And no that doesn't mean that you start thrashing it around with a flail . It means scrutize it. What does it say? Whats the main topic and theme? Whats the actual scope, and what does the author hope to accomplish through this writing? Note the author's tone. It is sarcastic, approving, neutral, disparaging or skeptic etc. You will see that this exercise will increase your RC skills by leaps and bounds.

    As far as analogies and sentence completions are concerned, I would again recommend the same three books plus practice from Big Book. And yes power prep exercises are an absolute must. It would be equivalent to sacrilege if you do not do them.


    Quantitative Section:

    Ok, not many of us Engineering students get the chance during undergraduate to indulge in high school maths while we are bogged by calculus and differential equations and stochastic processes and transforms. So its natural your basic math skills could rusty. True for other disciplines as well. If you are applying to Engineering or Sciences programs, a good quantitative score is an absolute must. So do not ignore quantitative. Start working on it from the earliest possible time. Barrons has a very good Maths review plus tips and so does Kaplan. The quantitative tests at the end of Barrons are more challenging than any other book that I have come across. Do those. Do the quantitative review from Power Prep as well, along with the exercises. And yes don't forget the big book. TO start with, it is difficult and a good source of practice. You need to do 30 questions in just 30 minutes, and you can really learn how to pace yourself. I would suggest you keep giving the tests from Big Book till you have successively obtained some 8-10 800 scores. Then if you want, you can give yourself a pat on the back and look elsewhere for more difficult problems, say the TestMagic Forum (www.TestMagic.com)

    AWA:
    Theres no better place than right here at TestMagic Ö During the run up to the GRE, try to write at least one essay per week to brushen up those writing skills. During the last, make it a point to go through the list of the issue prompts at least one. Just take out a topic, think about it mentally and move on to the next one. You save precious brainstorming time this way on the actual GRE.

    And finally, once again, practice makes perfect. Theres no short cut for it, no surrogates or substitute. If you have any question, I will happy to answer it.

    Regards,
    Ali


  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    18
    Rep Power
    15


    Good post? Yes | No
    Hi Ali. Firstly, that really is a very comprehensive and useful 'How To' for the GRE. Good work!

    I just have a couple of questions about the quantitative section that I'd be obliged if u'd answer. (I did post these before but received no reply).

    My maths is very weak and so Iím very worried about the GRE quantitative section. I read in a GRE prep book the test gives you questions mostly from grade 8 or 9 or so level. (I think it was the Princeton Review). Is that true?

    Besides the GRE prep books, would O-Level and A-Level maths books be useful? If so, then for which sections? I know a lot of the A-Level maths is irrelevant for GRE such as calculas. But the the problem is which bits are relevant? So do they test O-Level type maths or A-Level maths on the more difficult questions? (hence making the questions 'difficult'?)

    It'd really help me a lot if you shed light on the above!


  3. #3
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    9,291
    Blog Entries
    6
    Rep Power
    60


    Good post? Yes | No
    Wow, what an awesome post!

    Sticky it is!!
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  4. #4
    Within my grasp! flounder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    IL, USA
    Posts
    162
    Rep Power
    16


    Good post? Yes | No
    Originally posted by Erin Billy

    Wow, what an awesome post!

    Sticky it is!!
    Thanks Erin
    Just a modest attempt really to give back something to the forum : ))

    Kind Regards,
    Ali

  5. #5
    Within my grasp! flounder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    IL, USA
    Posts
    162
    Rep Power
    16


    Good post? Yes | No
    Originally posted by Nosheen

    Hi Ali. Firstly, that really is a very comprehensive and useful 'How To' for the GRE. Good work!

    I just have a couple of questions about the quantitative section that I'd be obliged if u'd answer. (I did post these before but received no reply).

    My maths is very weak and so Iím very worried about the GRE quantitative section. I read in a GRE prep book the test gives you questions mostly from grade 8 or 9 or so level. (I think it was the Princeton Review). Is that true?

    Besides the GRE prep books, would O-Level and A-Level maths books be useful? If so, then for which sections? I know a lot of the A-Level maths is irrelevant for GRE such as calculas. But the the problem is which bits are relevant? So do they test O-Level type maths or A-Level maths on the more difficult questions? (hence making the questions 'difficult'?)

    It'd really help me a lot if you shed light on the above!

    Hi Nosheen,
    Thank you for your kind regards. I'd be happy to guide you.

    Yes, it is true that the GRE Quantitative only tests for high school level Maths. Since it is not my intention to make you complacent over this fact, allow to say that even though the GRE tests high school maths, it can make those trivial concepts seem difficult at times. The key is lots of practice and building up a good pace, coz time can appear to fly really quickly during those 45 minutes in an actual test.

    As far as prep books go, I am for Barrons. Its quantitative section is by the far the most difficult and comprehensive that I have come across in my prep. Kaplan is good for strategies etc. Princeton Review, in my opinion, is too much on the easier side. Power prep is overall the best indicator of the actual GRE. Make it a mandatory part of your prep (can be downloaded from www.gre.org).

    Yes you are right. Calculus is not tested on the GRE. The topics are mostly from coordinate geometry, statistics, probability, circles, squares, polygons, geometry, ratios and proportions, equalities and inequalities, polynomials, to name a few. You can download the ETS Math Review from www.gre.org to get the full list of all that can be tested. And once again, I am emphasizing the importance of Power Prep. If its on the Power Prep, it stands a good chance to be tested. You can use your O Level and A Level books to brushen up some basic statistics, concepts of mean, mode, median, range etc, probability, combinations, permutations. Apart from that, I am not sure how much of a help can they be.

    GRE quantitative is a world in itself I believe. It takes basic maths knowledge, molds its, twists it, distorts it, contorts it and comes up with a convoluted problem, which in its essence is based on simple ingredients, but appears complicated and overwhelming. The key is to do a wide array of problems and quite some of them to get familiar with what you can expect on the actual test.

    Hope that helps.

    Kind Regards,
    Ali

  6. #6
    out to see the world! kfree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    somewhere out there~~~
    Posts
    538
    Rep Power
    18


    Good post? Yes | No
    Hi Ali,
    Wonderful Post


  7. #7
    Within my grasp!
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    267
    Rep Power
    16


    Good post? Yes | No
    wow,
    wonderful post. Thanks man.

    irumbu

  8. #8
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    18
    Rep Power
    15


    Good post? Yes | No
    Thanks for the reply Ali. That really does help!!

    Just another question...about the essays that you have to write. The GRE prep books suggest you create a template to help you write the essays. I don't really fancy doing that. What do you think? How do you write?

  9. #9
    Within my grasp! flounder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    IL, USA
    Posts
    162
    Rep Power
    16


    Good post? Yes | No
    Originally posted by kfree

    Hi Ali,
    Wonderful Post

    Thanks. Just a modest effort really

    Cheers

  10. #10
    Within my grasp! flounder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    IL, USA
    Posts
    162
    Rep Power
    16


    Good post? Yes | No
    Originally posted by Nosheen

    Thanks for the reply Ali. That really does help!!

    Just another question...about the essays that you have to write. The GRE prep books suggest you create a template to help you write the essays. I don't really fancy doing that. What do you think? How do you write?
    Dear Nosheen,

    Sorry for the late reply. I was away on a short vacation. Yes it is helpful if you have a rough template in mind, coz it allows your essay to have an organized structure, and that Nosheen can land you good marks.

    What I suggest is there should be at least four paragraphs, preferably five if you can manage. The first is the intro, and the last in the conclusion. In between you have three paragraphs, in each of each you introduce one of arguments.

    An argument has certain essential elements. First of all start with laying the claim of the argument. Claim is the statement of the argument. Then present the grounds. These are the examples, data, insights etc that you present in favor of your argument. Finally you have the warrant. This means how you link your grounds to your claim and both of these to the overall statement of the issue prompt. I hope I am not making this confusing. But you need to understand these, coz I have read that ETS looks for these things in the essay.

    Finally you can include one paragraph about reservations. This means looking at the other side of the argument. By accepting that the other position exists, you appear as an even handed writer, one who is willing to listen to other viewpoints besides your own. This is a good thing, and makes you look like a mature writer, rather than a partisan one.

    Hope that helps,

    Keep writing,

    Regards,
    Ali

Page 1 of 14 1234511 ... LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-02-2012, 05:25 PM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-24-2010, 10:09 PM
  3. 1420 GRE: Whew! Finished GRE, 720 Verbal, 700 Analytical
    By Inga in forum Just Finished My GRE
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-07-2007, 06:06 PM
  4. GRE Flash Card Selling (4888 Barron's GRE Words)
    By sunsmiling in forum GRE Analogies and Antonyms
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-16-2006, 04:29 AM
  5. Average of GRE scores or highest GRE score? plz reply
    By gazeup in forum Graduate Admissions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-07-2005, 07:32 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •