This article is written by Vani [ PhD Student – University in Georgia] long time follower of Happy Schools Blog. She scored 1460 in GRE Exam ( 690 in Verbal and 770 in Quantitative). Just the article alone explains why and how she scored 690 in Verbal.
This is not an April fool article like the one published few days back – How I scored 1560 in GRE using Telepathy
Top GRE Score
Everyone wants a top GRE score, understandable, it improves their chances of getting into a university of their choice. GRE score is not the only factor universities look at while selecting, apparently they look at the overall performance, including undergrad scores and recommendation letters, SOP, and intensity of interest.
Having said this let me share my experience, and hind-sight of course!
Preparing for Quantitative section
If you are applying for math oriented fields, aim for 800. To get a Quant score above 700, the only tip I can give you is â€œPractice, Practice, and more Practiceâ€. Really, this seems quite obvious, but many think that by just looking through, or working out at the last minute, they can nail this section. They could not be more wrong! However good you are at math, never underestimate this section. Most score below their capabilities because they are unable to complete this section due to complacence and poor time management.
Initially, do work out all the problems from the book you follow without timing yourself. That comes after you have polished your rusty edges. If necessary, borrow 11th standard Math text book. It never hurts to work out more math, also borrow as many GRE books as you can. The tips given in the books, a few of them are good, help in shearing minutes off your time. And, start at least two months before your test date.
Preparing for Verbal section
Even those from English-medium schools, find their knowledge is restricted to passable, everyday language. One way to overcome this is to read extensively. Read anything you can get your hands on: novels, editorials, newspapers, magazines, non-fiction. I Do Not recommend comics! A waste of time. Even so, it is not necessary to get a headache trying to figure out Shakespearea’s King Lear. Reading should be a pleasure, and not torture.
By reading, you can understand the usage of difficult words. Once you know how an insanely complicated word is used in context, you have a good idea of its meaning, and also the different ways it can be used. You don’t have to mug up the word list; anyway most of them never stay in your head!
The people who set the Comprehension section choose the most convoluted and boring essays. There really is no way you can crack this, unless you have done your reading. If you have read enough, you will get the knack of picking out the gist of the passage, without getting yourself tied up with the difficult words and stilted sentence construction.
As you may have figured out by now, practicing for the verbal section starts much before your GRE. If you still have not developed the reading habit, start now.
Preparing for Analytical Writing
Ah, my Nemesis. Please do lots of writing. This will not only come in handy for GRE, but also in future. It is very important to be able to express yourself clearly in writing. I did not bother to practice, and had to settle for a mediocre score.
- First, for a given topic, decide the stand you want to take. Most important is how you feel about the subject. If you cannot empathize with your stand, you may have nothing worth while to say for it.
- Second, jot down salient points.
- Third, write out the introduction and conclusion.
- Fourth, expand upon the points.
You may of course interchange the order. Use clear, simple language. No point in using grandiose words if they don’t fit in. Be unambiguous about what you have to say.
There can never be a fool-proof method to get that monster 1600. There is always a bit of luck involved. The best you can do is to prepare well, and make your own luck by “Planning + intelligent hard work”
Remember Jane Harper’s “We Don’t Plan To Fail – We Fail To Plan“