Following is the experience of my second GRE attempt I gave 3 days ago. I would like to share with the readers of Happy School Blog, especially with those who are confused about giving a second GRE attempt.
- My first attempt score was 1130.
- Verbal 370
- Quant 760
- Second attempt score was 1280.
- Verbal 530
- Quant 750
I know its not a very high score to brag about but its just the GRE Test Taking experience that i wish to share so that the test-takers can understand what critical mistakes they can avoid and what they can do to score up to their potential and not below it.
Who Should Take Second GRE Attempt
First of all be absolutely honest with yourself. If you think you have a potential to score “much” higher than the previous attempt only then think about a second attempt otherwise drop the idea.
I know 2 of my friends who attempted GRE twice within a gap of 20 days and their scores were :
- 1st attempt – 1020, 2nd attempt – 1000
- 1st attempt – 1430, 2nd attempt – 1390
Since you know that GRE scores are not the only prospect that universities look for, so its better to spend your time and energy on increasing your profile value rather than increasing your score slightly.
After your attempt at GRE, if you are not at all happy with your score and you think you scored much lower than your potential, i suggest you compare the marks with the practice test you did at home or your coaching classes. If the scores vary greatly only then go for a second attempt otherwise not.
Tips for GRE Test Takers
Now some tips i would like to share with all my pals who have their GRE exam due.
When GRE Test Date is Less than 30 Days
- Make sure you have started learning the Barron’s High Frequency Word List . There are about 330 words and you may already know most of the words. Make sure you know most of the words (preferably all) before the exam date.
- Practice Regularly all the elements of the VERBAL Section. Try to take a test from the GRE BIG BOOK every day. There are more than 50 papers and are on par with the actual GRE difficulty level.
- For maths all you need is practice, patience and more practice. This will increase your speed and your accuracy. You wouldn’t want to make a silly mistake in the actual paper after all your Hard Work.
- Do not start online practice tests until and unless you are not satisfied with your preparation. It is not necessary to give all the test from KAPLAN, BARRON’s, NOVA,etc. These are just practice tests and they make a rough estimate of your score. If you take these tests too early without sufficient preparation you may get a low score and it dampens your confidence greatly.
- In Verbal, do not underestimate the RC section. Start practicing the RC as soon as you can, since the other sections depends greatly on your vocabulary, but this section is dependent on how fast and correctly you are able to understand the main idea of the passage. The more you practice, better you will score in this section.
When GRE Test is Less than a Week
- Try to complete your course as soon as possible, you should have completed your cramming and understanding of difficult mathematics topics at this juncture.
- If you are confident about your practice and start giving the computer adaptive tests like Barron’s, KAPLAN,etc. Note your weak areas and start working on them. Also write any new words if you find any on the tests. Note these down and try to memorize them. Usually there are just a few words and you can add them to your existing vocabulary easily. [GRE Books, Software and Tips to Score 1450]
- Start practicing the AWA. You should write at least one Issue and one argument essay daily so that you have sufficient practice before your exam.
- When you have 2 days left before your date, take the POWERPREP exam with full concentration as generally, you will get a similar score in your actual GRE.
What to do on the GRE Exam day
- Have a proper night sleep before the exam.
- You MUST avoid cramming any new words you see on the test day, thats the mistake i did on my first attempt, a friend came up with a list of words and said that these words are being asked in actual GRE now-a-days and i should know them. After going through the list i encountered several words that were new to me and i tried to cram as many as possible. This was before 30 mins of my exam time. My confidence was shattered and i ended up getting a mediocre score of 360 in verbal.
- When the exam starts to ease your nerves, go through the basic tutorial section. This helps in easing the nerves. I have also read this tip in one of HSB’s posts but i am writing it once again since i believe those 15-20 mins will definitely help remain calm throughout the exam.
- Take full use of the 10 minute break after the AWA section. Leave your exam room, drink some water and get some fresh air before you start your next section.
- If you get 2 Verbal or 2 quant sections. DO NOT PANIC . Sometimes it might happen that you get an experimental section without any notification, so try to attempt all the sections with full dedication since you have no idea in what order the experimental section may appear. What i got was a verbal section followed by 2 quant sections. Therefore, do not take lightly any section in the exam.
- Try to focus more on the first few questions, than on the last. Since the initial questions determine your score range. So double cross check your answers before submitting them.
- ATTEMPT each and every question on your paper. If you leave any question, you will be awarded negative marks for each un-attempted question. So its better to mark wrong answers than no answers at all.
IF YOU HAVE NOT TAKEN YOUR GRE TEST DATE YET, TRY TO GET THE TIME SLOT WHICH SUITS YOU THE BEST. IF YOU ARE A PERSON LIKE ME WHO SLEEPS DAILY AT 4 IN THE MORNING, TRY TO AVOID THE TIME SLOT FOR 9 IN THE MORNING.
Wishing you all the best for GRE Test. Good Luck.
Thanks to Tarun for sharing his experience. Very few students take time to write their experience in details manner, just like the above GRE experience. Good luck with your application and if you can send me the final list of universities, I can give my thoughts and suggestions on you list.