I just took my test yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised from my verbal score. I never had any problem with the quantitative since I graduated from a math-oriented high-school and I scored 170 on most practice tests. English, however, is not my native language and my verbal skills, while pretty good, I found lacking for the GRE. I scored 160 on my initial practice test (POWERPREP1), which is unsatisfactory since I am aiming very high for my graduate degree. My only problem was the vocabulary, and not the reading comprehension, so I focused on that.
What I found working for me was a combination of Magoosh list of words (from their flashcards) and the website vocabulary.com (I am in no way connected to any of them and have no personal interest in promoting them). I studied only for two weeks, but quite extensively, spending probably about 6-8 hours with vocabulary.com each day. It was fun actually and not the onerous task I imagined, because their application is quite addictive and I voluntarily came back to it throughout the day. It is amazing in that it provides you with learning in context and you actually get a feel of how those awful GRE words are used. Also the spacing is good and I found that I remembered a word only after a few repetitions with. I also made myself construct 2 sentences for each novel word, which is not part of the software, but I think it had a major advantage. So in the end I succeeded in learning about 800 words in two weeks, which made all the difference. On the actual test I recognized many of the words I have studied throughout the month.
I also took a few practice tests, I found that the official ETS powerprep was mostly accurate:
ETS prep 160/170
Manhatton free test 159/164
Prinction prep 161/170
Kaplan Online 160/167
ETS prep 2 167/170
The second ETS test I took the day before my actual test and the scores are completely identical. I found that the manhatton one was the hardest, much harder than the actual test, and the Kaplan one I think had many ambiguous questions, with whose answers I didn't agree even after the test was done.
For the writing part I haven't received my scores yet, but I hope for a 5-6 score. I found Kaplan's textbook beneficent, they have some nice advice there and some nice exemplar essays. I didn't do much prep for this part, because I've trained writing a lot throughout my undergraduate degree, and on my own free time, since it is a skill that I highly value. I found this template to be of use, although just generally - Argument essay template, if anyone wants it
Generally, I stuck to the following pattern:
Paragraph 1 - What is the author claim? How do they support it? Their argument while plausible is specious due to unsupported assumptions.
Paragraph 2 - The main issue with the argument is that... - What the author implies or assumes? Why is the assumption vital to the argument? How the assumption might be false. An example. What evidence would support the assumption.
Paragraph 3 - The argument is further weakened by.. - What the author implies or assumes? Why is the assumption vital to the argument? How the assumption might be false. An example. What evidence would support the assumption.
Paragraph 4 - Finally, - What the author implies or assumes? Why is the assumption vital to the argument? How the assumption might be false. An example. What evidence would support the assumption.
Parahraph 5 - While the authors conclusion might be true, it is not supported by the argument they are making. They should do this and that to support their assumptions.
On test day I walked on foot to my test center, 30 minutes, because I wanted to get some exercise and to feel fresh for the exam, without exhausting myself in the process. I was alone in the room and it was quite and comfortable. I forgot to write on a paper the universities I wanted my scores sent to, so I had to try and remember them on the spot, so remember to bring your list with you.
And that's pretty much it.
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