How to Use 80/20 Rule to Improve Your GRE Score

While going through the comments in the blog posts, I realized there is another way to improve GRE Score.  I have always believed in 80/20 Rule (Also called as Pareto principle or the law of the vital few). This simple rule is related to your mindset and how you approach the GRE Study plan.

80/20 Rule

80/20 is also called as Pareto Rule. The original observation was in connection with income and wealth. Pareto noticed that 80% of Italy’s wealth was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied.

Expanding the above rule we can derive the following – 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

Let me go a level  down to apply the same rule to GRE Exam Preparation.

  • By making 20% change to your GRE preparation approach, you can see 80% improvement in your results.

Let me to explain how I prepared for GRE Exam to apply this 80/20 rule. While preparing for GRE, I spent a lot of time searching for GRE Study guides and books. Every day, I spent countless hours looking for study tips and books. Even though, I had several books and software, I was constantly looking for GRE Books, tips and strategy. I was spending time in Yahoo Groups, Forums, visited several test center libraries, etc.

I would take a practice test, then looking at the score, I would go hunting for new books and materials.

But Why?

Factor 1: After several years, I can explain why I was hungry to find more books and study materials  every other day when, I haven’t completed practicing the sample questions in Barron’s GRE or GRE Big Book.

When I took practice test, my score was not even close to target score. So, there was a constant feeling and urge to score more. But, along with that urge, I had this thought

Books I’m following is doesn’t provide enough resources, tips  and techniques to improve my score. There can be better books out there.

When I didn’t get the satisfaction about GRE study guide and books I was using, I started searching for other sources of GRE information.

Factor 2: Studying for GRE is time consuming process. When my practice test scores where not showing any signs of improvement, I wanted to find some “magic pill” that will improve my score overnight.

Points to Ponder

In short above 2 factors can be stated as

  1. Lack of Trust in your study material
  2. Not believing in hard work

Change Mindset; Improve GRE Score

How many of you are in same situation? Do you spend countless hours looking for free GRE materials, even though you have few GRE books and study guide with you?

If your answer is yes to above questions, then to improve your GRE Score, you just need to change your mindset by 20% and you should be able to see 80% improvement to your study plan, which will ultimately improve your GRE Score.

I can say very well that I was never able to find that magic pill that would improve your score overnight and realized after several years that trusting the books I had, should have boosted my GRE scores considerably.

Comments : Do you agree to above said observation and 80/20 rule concept?

Similar Posts


  1. OMG!!! I have been collecting books for the past few years(4) and still yet to read any of them.. I wish I had found this post long back… I would have written my gre and would have completed my MS 🙁 Lazy me :((

  2. Am from biotech dept(B.Tech),my gre score is 1220(verbal-590,quants-630).Wanna pursue ma ms in US, is ma score enough to get into a good university? Am basically from non-maths background and made a mistake in ma preparation by concentrating too much on verbal and don't know how to prepare for quants,I realized this only a week before my gre exam when i took ma mock test and got a very low quants score(530). Is it better to write it again? will i get scholarships and whats the procedure for it?

  3. hey your idea of relating economic situations to study plans is totally unacceptable. 20/80 thing is not a natural phenomena. it is the inability of the wealth to peculate down to the poor due the poor economic policies adopted by the governments(man made). it is totally a different subject to deal and argue with it.

  4. hello HSB,

    I am glad that i am a prt of HSB,its really helping me in many ways in upbringing my career.

    I am a second year student of btech in biomedical…sir i want to know that what should i do to get admission ,for MS,in MIT university,USA…i know it is very very tough but sir i really want to be the part of MIT…i have great interest in research field….sir i need ur guidance…i think i have a good time for preparation but i need a correct guidance so that i can start as early as possible to move in a correct direction….please do reply..

      1. hello sir,

        Thank u HSB for your reply but can u guide me how to start my preparation…..n also give me little hint how i can do new n unique….please do reply!!

  5. hello sir,

    i am a stunent of 2nd year persuing btech in biomedical…Sir i want to know that what should i do to get admission, for MS, in MIT university,USA….please guide me as i wnt to start my preparation as early as possible….i think i hve a good tym for preparation but i really need ur guidance to move in a correct direction….please do reply…I have to go in a research field!!

  6. hi everybody,

    I have completed my BE in industrial engg in 2010 from nagpur university with an aggregate of 84%. Currently working with one of leading manufacturing industry. I want to give GRE in june 2011 so that i can take admission in US university in fall 2012. I want to do my MS in Aerospace engg. i jus wanted to know whether i can apply for this course being an industrial engineer??

    plz someone help me.

  7. Hi,

    That's purely psychological solution, indeed, apply cent percent. I would like to add only one thing, GRE is not totally book dependent rather it requires the integrated effort of the knowledge, commonsense and sharpness.

    For, Thrinadh, just relax and scan the literature you have studied. Prepare the summaries of the formulas and tricks. There are available lectures (30 lectures only each of the length of 30 minutes) of the Basic High School Maths by Murray H. Seigel (PhD). Just go through if you have a time in the evening. Lectures are very relevant to the GRE maths.

  8. Yes sir i completely agree with you,and i must thank you for providing such good articles time to time and making us improve in not only GRE scores and also other abroad educational aspects.

  9. Hi,

    I scored 1430 (with a lot of guidance from HSB of course!!!) in my GRE and GPA is 3.42. I have won awards for debugging and quiz in national level competition besides various prizes at school level. Working in a top IT company and also was awarded as topper of freshers batch in the company. What are my chances of getting into a top-10 US varsity for MS in Computer Science?

      1. Actually, my primary aim of going to US is to gain valuable research experience as I am more interested in the research field. How do I convince the university authorities about it?

  10. Wow… I must say this is like going in the psychological aspect of a student…

    This is something which can be applied in almost every situation…

    Beautiful… And I believe it would be veru helpful if we actually follow it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *