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Thread: My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

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    My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

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    I took the GRE last week and scored a decent 330(V-162+Q-168,AWA-5.5). I know it took me a very long time to write this debrief, but I had to focus on other work immediately after the GRE.
    I thought that I must share my experience in the hope that it will serve to benefit others in whatever small possible way.

    How long I studied?

    I studied a total of 4 months out of which the first month was on and off studying and the last month was focused prep. Studied around 2-3 hours on weekdays and 4-5 hours on weekends.

    What Material I used?
    1. ETS OG: Do I really have to talk about its importance. Its a must have book for your GRE prep
    2. Manhattan 5 lbs books- Comes with 6 practice tests that are worth taking apart from a number of practice questions that you will get in the GRE book.
    3. GRE Verbal Grail: Since Verbal of GRE requires you to prepare with a focused approach, it is very helpful. Around 300 practice questions are there and theory for RC is very good.
    4. The 45-day GRE Vocab Book: One vocab practice lesson every day is the way to go. I did one new lesson every day and revised what I have done in the past. Finished it in dot 45 days.

    Section Specific Tips:
    RC: This section is the most difficult to improve. I think what helped me was I read at least a couple of articles from NYTimes, Economist, Atlantic etc. each day for three months leading up to the exam. Also, like I mentioned, I did OG GRE RC passages too. They tend to be more difficult but will provide you excellent practice.

    Moreover, I think vocabulary is really important. Your command over vocab will go long way in improving your comprehension. For instance, if you run into words such as totalitarian, right/left wing and you know the meaning of those words you will instantly know what the author is going for. I would highly recommend you create your own wordlist of tough words from OG passages on quizlet. I never take notes for RC. I think it is a waste of time.
    What I do instead is read the first paragraph and first couple of lines of each paragraph and skim through the rest. Once Im finished reading I go back to passages only for specific details questions that too only to cross check my answer. I think this strategy saved a lot of time.I essentially treat CR as mini RC. I read the passage really carefully and use Process Of Elimination to get at a right choice. Especially if you are at 99%ile POE will be immensely helpful for those tough passages.

    Vocab: This section is the easiest to improve. Initially I never timed myself. Instead I gave myself ample time to understand why a particular choice was right/wrong. I spent insane amount of time on learning from questions I got wrong.

    Microstrategy: I never try to anticipate a correct answer. Why waste your time and energy anticipating a correct answer when GRE gives choices? There are thousands of ways in which you can correct a wrong sentence. Are we going to run all those scenarios w/o reading the answer choices? I think it is just inefficient use of your time.

    Food, Exercise, and Sleep:
    Food- We all have our own unique bio-chemical identities i.e. we all know what foods give us sustained release of energy w/o making us full. I think it is best to avoid processed food, caffeine (red bull), processed sugar during the exam. I carried simple food with me for exam.


    Exercise: There is tremendous body of evidence suggesting benefits of exercise on brain function. I almost never missed daily 30 min brisk walks. I used to listen to wordlist or math tables during those 30 min.

    Sleep: I think data on positive effect of sleep on brain function is quite conclusive too. Here is a great TED talk on neuroscience of sleep http://www.ted.com/t...why_do_we_sleep if you are still not convinced. Consequently, I never cheated on sleep during my months of prep, however tempted I was. Id highly recommend a 9-10 hours of sleep before the exam day.

    It is a long post so thanks for reading. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have for me. Good Luck!

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    Re: My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for your valuable time for writing this post. i have started my preparation from last week of june but i have been away from maths since long time, as i look on gre topic i know most topics of arthmatic and algebra, i dont know probablitiy premutations, cominations, geometry. so to answer question in these section as almost impossible. now for arthmatic and algebra i have subscribed for Magoosh i find even their questions very hard to answer, i really am upset that i am standing no where in quantitative yet. I havent started for verbal and analytical still.

    Regards

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    Re: My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

    Quote Originally Posted by meroonag View Post
    Hi, Thank you so much for your valuable time for writing this post. i have started my preparation from last week of june but i have been away from maths since long time, as i look on gre topic i know most topics of arthmatic and algebra, i dont know probablitiy premutations, cominations, geometry. so to answer question in these section as almost impossible. now for arthmatic and algebra i have subscribed for Magoosh i find even their questions very hard to answer, i really am upset that i am standing no where in quantitative yet. I havent started for verbal and analytical still. Regards
    There is no running away from gre quant. What you should do is start with a book that has basics. Have you looked at the princeton review math book? i don't like princeton as such but they are good for basics. start with that or with nova if you are facing difficulty in quant.

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    GRE-GMAT Instructor Brent Hanneson's Avatar
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    Re: My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

    I'll echo what bullseye said.
    Many GRE resources assume a certain amount of pre-existing math skills.
    Now, there are a lot of great websites out there to learn mathematical concepts (e.g., Khan Academy, Purple Math, etc), HOWEVER none of them address GRE-specific concepts and strategies (quantitative comparison strategies for one). Also, users are often exposed to concepts that are not tested on the GRE, and this can waste what remaining time you have.
    If possible, I suggest sticking with resources that a specifically towards the GRE. Moreover, find one that starts from the most basic concepts and slowly moves you to 170-level concepts.
    I believe that our video course is one such resource.

    Cheers,
    Brent - Greenlight Test Prep

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    Re: My GRE experience- 4 months prep-330

    Totally agree with brent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Hanneson View Post
    I'll echo what bullseye said.
    Many GRE resources assume a certain amount of pre-existing math skills.
    Now, there are a lot of great websites out there to learn mathematical concepts (e.g., Khan Academy, Purple Math, etc), HOWEVER none of them address GRE-specific concepts and strategies (quantitative comparison strategies for one). Also, users are often exposed to concepts that are not tested on the GRE, and this can waste what remaining time you have.
    If possible, I suggest sticking with resources that a specifically towards the GRE. Moreover, find one that starts from the most basic concepts and slowly moves you to 170-level concepts.
    I believe that our video course is one such resource.

    Cheers,
    Brent - Greenlight Test Prep

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