1430 (323) in GRE by Following the Magic Test Prep Formula

Raghuram Sukumar Uncategorized 25 Comments

To HSB: I didn’t know how to post this on your wall. So I’m putting it up on the next most relevant place. You may publish this if you want.**

Last month before starting my preparation I read your post, and as I commented before, I bookmarked it.

I was having ambivalent feelings about giving GRE now or in the new format. I felt maybe one month would not be enough, in any case I had already booked my date in this pattern so I thought I would go ahead with it.

Still, by the time I gathered all the material and focused on the task at hand one week had passed. With 3 weeks remaining I started my prep after reviewing all the points you laid out.

I borrowed a great verbal book from my friend, who had enrolled for GRE coaching (He got it from Jamboree) photocopied it and started doing the words from there, because frankly, Barrons is very intimidating.

I used Kaplan for all verbal, math and analytical writing strategies, I would suggest using Kaplan initially to develop a strong base, learning how to tackle each type of question for both, especially quant.

GRE Study Plan

I couldn’t put in 6-7 hours everyday but still kept going at my pace making detailed plans for each day and having an idea where it will lead me by the end of the week.

The vocabulary material was very helpful as similar meaning words were listed together, I would go through 20-25 different meanings in a day but in essence would learn around 150-160 words. This reduced time and effort and I was done with around 2000 words in 14 days.

I made a list of words which I found interesting or couldn’t remember in my first attempt these were around 800 and kept revising them in parts over the next week, this usually takes only a fraction of the time it took in the first attempt. Along with this I solved Kaplan Sectionals, 1 everyday for verbal and quant.

Quant was easy, after reading the Quantitative strategies given in Kaplan, I solved the practice section and found that I was able to answer more than 90% of the questions. After that I only practised quant while giving a paper. Don’t worry if get questions wrong in Kaplan’s Quant Sectional, questions on the actual test are going to be simpler but it’s better to be prepared for the worst.

Identify Weak Areas

The most important thing is to keep track of what type of question you are getting stuck at regularly, I made a table keeping all question types in each column and the Kaplan Sectional number in each row and kept track of the area I needed to concentrate most upon and how I had to overcome that problem (in my case it was Analogies).

I practised analogies from Big Book Verbal tests which can be downloaded for free, they were great but I didn’t have time so I only did analogies, if you have time practice lot of these papers, there are 54 papers in all testing you on questions you might actually see on your actual GRE paper.

Kaplan has a great online companion, it’s sectionals are also very helpful. Everyone should make full use of these services. Use Barrons only 2-3 days before your exam to solve 100 practice questions for each question type for verbal, you can also refer to some typical quantitative questions which unfortunately are not mentioned in Kaplan and are sometimes asked in GRE.

Last 1 Week GRE Prep

With six days remaining and six practice tests in hand. I planned on adopting ‘one paper a day’ methodology. There were 3 Kaplan CAT tests from the CD, 1 Barrons CD CAT and 2 Powerprep CAT.

Kaplan tests are great, a little tougher than one you would encounter on test day. Barrons test is useless don’t worry if you don’t do well on it, it doesn’t reflect your preparation and score, if you have less time don’ t bother giving it.

I lost a day reflecting on what I did wrong or why I got a low score in Barrons’ paper but it was a sheer waste of time. Powerprep is supposedly the most accurate test you can give before your actual test, plan to take Powerprep 2-3 days before your exam only.

If you score well on this, it will give you a well deserved confidence boost.

During your actual test, take the time during tutorials to acclimatise to your test centre (its there for this very purpose we all know how to use a mouse, scroll, enter answers etc.) that will serve you well.Also, do some isometrics while sitting on your seat in between test sections, so that you are rejuvenated for the next section despite of the lack of physical activity.

My GRE Practice Test Scores

KAPLAN CAT 1 [1380] Verbal : 590
Quantitative: 790

KAPLAN CAT 2 [1360] Verbal : 570
Quantitative: 790

KAPLAN CAT 3 [1410] Verbal : 640
Quantitative: 770

BARRONS CAT 1 [1240] Verbal : 530
Quantitative: 710

POWERPREP CAT 1 [1480] Verbal : 680
Quantitative: 800

POWERPREP CAT 2 [1480] Verbal : 680
Quantitative: 800

Actual GRE Exam

Now, for the most important aspect of giving the exam.
Take a day off before your exam date, even if you have few days to prepare for your exam plan your study so that you can keep one whole free day to relax and rewind and to restore enough energy to attack your paper with full force on the next day.

All that you have studied during your prep is deep within your brain and doesn’t need to be revised on the eve of your exam.

Try not to get anxious, GRE may be an important aspect of your profile for graduate admission, it certainly is not the only one. Even if you don’t score exceedingly well on it, your overall profile might not suffer as badly as think.

I didn’t do the things I am preaching now. I revised my words late into the night before the exam and when I eventually went to sleep, I could not, due to the anxiety and stress that had built up just before an important exam.

I lost most part of my night’s sleep and went to give the paper next day feeling tired and dejected, which is not how you want to feel before an exam, especially one that requires you to sit for 4 hours, you need maintain your energy for the whole duration.

To exacerbate the problem, the air conditioner in my test centre was not working properly, which made the ambience tougher to deal with.

Still, somehow I managed to hold my head during the test and ended up doing decently. First I was expecting a score around 1500 one day before my GRE, then 1200-1300 on the day of the GRE attributed to my sullen mood.

  • ACTUAL GRE SCORE [1430] – 323 in Revised GRE.
  • Verbal : 630
  • Quantitative: 800

I know there are very few days left for this pattern, not many would be able to benefit from this post. If even one aspirant benefits (as I did from Apurv’s post – Magic Formula to Score in GRE 1410 in 30 days) from this post, I would feel I have given something back to a community to which I owe a lot. Thanks again Apurv Mathur!!


  1. Hi,
    Can you please tell me the link for PDF version of kaplan ? I have invested a lot of money in gre coaching and books can’t spend more for now and the pattern is also chaging i have i have my exam in a week . i want to go through the kaplan verbal section guidlines .. I have tried to find the pdf version a lot but failed.. please share the link if you have else please mail the scanned or photographed copy of verbal section guidelines please

    I will be very thankful.

    1. hi rahul,
      don worry about that.one cool suggestion…………no need of the that kalpan nw.your exam is in 1week know….dont be panic,be cool prepare your coaching books ,and be confident.
      good luck

  2. I read your comment & understand it clearly. please send me copy of kaplan and other new books of gre preparation.

    I will be thankful for this act of kindness.

    1. i have no idea about the new gre books. Keep checking HSB posts for any info.

  3. he apurv, first of all congratulations for such an awesome score!! just wanted to know if u attended any coaching institutes or classes for gre! i am in a real confusion ! i have my gre test in next 3 months!

    1. no need of class if u can study 5-6 hrs daily at home itself….i got 790 maths and 480 on 15th …..i was preparing for it at home itself….if need any assistance than ask will help u guys…..

    2. Hey thanx, btw it’s raghav not apurv. I didn’t take any classes, don’t think they are essential if you can keep true to your plan and strategy of studying. Three months is a long time just start your prep and gradually build on the intensity, it’ll help you keep focussed and you can increase the pace when you start getting the hang of it.

  4. i am already a student of gre old pattern .i took my class in princeton review….due to delay of passport i lost the exam.now planning to take new gre exam by oct 15 . some of my friends took classes in kaplan chopras and joombree ……i am totally confused regarding choosing tuitions….should i continue with same tuition….or change with other…….plese help ….enquire yours friends and plz get me the answers…….i am like working hard when some one promote…..gets easily disturbed so give answers considering all ………..waiting for answers……..please dont give half balancing answers

  5. Raghav,
    first of all congrats for your success! I will be appearing for GRE in a week on 23july so just wanted to ask how difficult GRE maths questions will be? because I solved kaplan & barron the problems in it are quite easy but these books don’t have problems of STANDARD DEVIATION & PARABOLA.
    I just wanted to confirm that main gre problems will de difficult and do they ask questions on parabola & std.deviation. I am also solving princeton book, on which thing should I focus? just guidance me atlest to cross 1200 & things that to be done in a week.
    Pls reply ASAP.

    1. questions from parabola hardly show up on GRE,mean median mode and SD are very important though.Out of 28 questions i got around 10 questions from statistics,even a DI was based on statistics.

    2. Kaplan is more than sufficient for quant. Parabola and std. dev. didn’t come up on my paper, I am guessing if they ever did, it would be simple prob using only basic formulae nothing to get worried about Math section on the GRE is actually much simpler than in what you are preparing for just read the questions fully, make sure what is being asked and you will do fine.
      Best of luck for your exam!!

  6. Must thank Raghu for the good post for students seeking guidance. They need not waste too much money by joining classes which also wastes time. Maybe everybody can’t learn 150-160 words per day but that can be taken as a bench mark. Thanks again Raghu.

  7. Haha! This is so amazing dude !!!

    Really happy to read this stuff !!

    Thanks a ton for the credit mate but you really deserve all of it !!! 🙂

    1. Dude I wasn’t planning to give my paper in this pattern, your post motivated me to start working. So all the praise is richly deserved by you.

      My My Account on ETS GRE website is not showing my score, it’s showing ‘Absent or not available’ for Verbal, Quant and AWA. You have any idea how long it takes for the score to be put up on the website?

  8. Hi, Can anyone tell me where can i find GRE verbal sentence completion question on net for practice.
    It would be highly appreciated.

  9. Raghav
    But can u tell me where i can get the verbal word list, as u said in your post??
    It will help me a lot to prepare myself for GRE verbal section.

    1. Ask if any of your friends are attending coaching for GRE, these coaching centres provide the workbooks

  10. can u pls share the words list which u went in for??? it would be useful to all of us………..
    i m gonna take up the new pattern……
    share also the tips to encounter RC passages pls…….. hope u would be kind enough to answer these…………
    thanks in advance………..

  11. gud work,,,, u have done with in 3 weeks.that’a amazing,,,:)

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