GRE Test Experience – 1130 and 1280

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

GRE Exam Study Time Table – 2 to 4 months

When GRE Test is Less than a Week

  1. Try to complete your course as soon as possible, you should have completed your cramming and understanding of difficult mathematics topics at this juncture.
  2. 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]
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Have a proper night sleep before the exam.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


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.


  1. shivangi on August 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    hey… my GRE in on 10 sept plz help me out… to do best prepration… i jst started preparing for it..

  2. richard on April 12, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    friends i really appreciate your contribution to this is a great work, keep it up. i took GRE in March and had 1290; V560, Q720, AWA2.5 and am applying for MPH as international student. Which school of public health is/are likely to give me admission, pls assist. i want schools that run this program within 12 calendar months.

  3. Godwin on January 31, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Just wrote my GRE exams today, got 450 Verbal, 680 maths. I felt like quitting the exam inorder for it not to affect my score card buf poof* i clicked on proceed and i saw 1130, though the essay was dificult, I still think i can make it through. Wish to apply for an chemical engr. Dont know if this score will see me thru

  4. abi on January 1, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    thank u for ur valuable information

  5. manojkumar on December 31, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    How much time to get the score cards of gre and tofel.Among both which exam should take first.either gre r tofel to submit the score to get i20 from university.which is given more importance.plzzz anyone reply me ..,.i will be very thankful to u ,….

  6. sheerin on December 29, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    You can start preparing by the timetable posted by HappyBlog ..i hv booked my GRE in de month f march..and i m too sticking on to Happy School Blog…..happy learning…al de bst!!!!!!!!

  7. sheerin on December 29, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    hi , ur was interesting as well as helpful by the way u have compared ur two scores…it wil help us to get rid f the common mistakes..

  8. Saranya Devi G on December 28, 2010 at 5:59 AM

    This is my very serious observation. I am an CAT aspirant who scored 98 percentile but did not get an admission and hence turned my face towards GRE .Though GRE maths was not tough, I prepared with seriousness. The first Maths test was easier..very easier in fact. But I was so much tensed, that I was sitting in the edge of the seat. by mistake i have pushed the power off button of the CPU and there it went poof…I was much more tensed by this action and then anyhow the system was restore..but my relaxation was not restored. I nearly missed last ten questions in my exam and scored 760. this is a very low score. So I decided that I will write GRE the second time for a full 800.

    It was shocking after seeing the second day test questions. I am not sure if ETS is tracking register numbers and it is trying to make sure that students keep up with the same maths marks or not. But the questions were so tough, almost contradictory to that of the first attempt.Some were equivalent to the CAT questions and that 30 min was definitely not enough. I was cooler and not tensed even a bit. I was just on and on in the maths paper and when i was in the 20th question I had exactly 18 minutes,I did them so fast. But all of a sudden very complicated graphs came up. They gave graphs with so many points..very very psychic behavior. Even to guess the SD and mean for those graphs it took me 2 minutes. Again I had no time for the last 3 questions which were in geometry with almost 7 to 8 diagrams mixed up. When I clicked the score to show up..boooh it showed the same maths score.

    Seriously do not waste your time in writing second attempt unless and until you are so much determined. the same happened to four of my friends too. We are 12 people who prepared and wrote together. Four of us were not satisfied and hence took it again. For two of us we got same score and the other two got 10 marks less.

    • helal on August 10, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      Hi friend!U r absolutely right.The same thing happen to me.Ist attempt I got 780-Q,V-450,In my 1st attempt,math was so easy that I only guess one answer as I’s scared it’d consume much time to solve N enfeeble my chance of answering all the question though at the end to my humiliation I found I v still 2mins left N nothing to do at all!AND 2nd attempt……..not one of single question was easy,I couldn’t even solve 4-5 question due to lack of time N ended up Q-760,V-520.I wanna suggest here one thing,all of student who read this post,pls try to answer the extra part also,may be it would be verbal or quant but better try to answer it as we dont know actually what they do with this section,best of luck to all.

  9. Ankith M.Jain on December 28, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    Thanks for sharing ur experience…!

  10. Abraham on December 28, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    Hi, I got a GRE of 1360, TOEFL of 103 and a GPA of 4.64/5.00. I am currently doing my masters at Imperial College London. Can I get into any of these schools with these credentials for PhD Chem Eng:



    U of Minnesota – Twin Cities


  11. Aniqa Waheed on December 28, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Thanks for such great useful information. I really appreciate this. Wish u gudluck for ur future. May Allah give u more. Ameen.

    • Tarun Parwani on December 28, 2010 at 7:03 AM

      Thanks for your wishes..Good luck to you too !!

  12. Yousuf on December 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Hey….I got 510 in verbal section on the first power prep practice test two months ago and 390 on the second practice test 15 days ago. Could anybody tell me what really went wrong? Should I take the test sometimes soon. My Quantitative score improved a lot during the period.

  13. vinay chavan on December 27, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    HI guyz….

    well seeing this article i wanna share my experience.

    well i gave my gre 1st attempt on july12th i ended with



    490 Quant

    i was totally depressed. i knew it was below my potential so i decide to retake the test. i booked ma test date 1month later 27th of august. then again i started rigouros prepration. aftr 15 days i realised that i still need practice and i knewd most universities deadlines are gone. so i postponed it to nov3 this year. i made a fresh plan started from scratch.

    specially this blog helped me a lot. i had2 months in my hand. i followed HSB's 2month study plan did exactly what it said. gave an practice test made a notebook and noted my mistakes.

    (NOTE: guyz i recommend you to start test practice aftr completing barrons wordlist if you don't do so u'll feel depressed due to low score)

    in my 1st test i mugged up word family which did not worked. and referred my coaching notes.

    IN my secong attempt i scored 1260 (520 verbal 740 quants) a difference of 470 which matters. it might be looking unreal but its true. here it goes what i did.

    1) mugged barrons wordlist in 15days and kept revision everyday till the test day

    2) first completed quants guyz hsb recommends a book (Nova GRE MATH bible) i did that only its too awesome for sure 700. and for verbal

    its was tough i used tips for answering RC/sentcomp. belive me guyz first it doesn't works but for RC and sent completion it surely works. once you get familir with it by practicing using tips u'll enjoy RC's an SC. mean while in my lesiure time i read novels which boosted my reading speed. i some how completed verbal section but still was depressed in practice test score was around 400

    3) then it was 45 days when i started giving tests

    1st i gave untimed test so that i get correct answers first i practiced test on every software like nova/powerprep/kaplan/barron/brebible/bigbook1 and version2

    4)when i gave test slowly slowly my score increased but i was never confidetn that i will get that much score in real test. so i kept giving test, revising words every day.

    5) but 2days b4 my test i lost my bro. he expired due to loss of water. it was really hard to get back mommentum.but i did not gave up. i had one day for revision.

    on 2nd nov i revisied 1ce quants section

    saw once verbal section and high freq words and slept early in might aroun 10 p.

    my slot was at 9.00 in morning.

    i was bit tensed. but i decided in my self."vinay you have worked hard for this exam and you know most things" thats it went in the test room.

    got awa first solved it.

    then 10min break utilised it completely relaxed.

    came back got quants section 1st

    decide any cost solve 1st 15 correct. and i did it.

    i spent 3o min on 15 questions. then fastly solved rest

    then 1minute break. made my mind set clear

    started. same stratgy 1st 15 correct. but diffculty increases. i could not. but kept my comfidence used elimnation strategies and tactics which i practiced.

    at the end my verbal score 520. i was amazed.

    Guyz if any HSB follower wants bibbook version-2 and nova's gre mathbible let me know. mail me at [email protected]

    or for any queries mail me. guyz i am am average guyz GRE id not at all hard exam. all we need is planning and practice.i have 14 backlogs in my btech and 6.15 cgpa. any1 can do it.

  14. Kinnari on December 27, 2010 at 8:16 PM


    I have taken my date on 10thjanuary,2011. I really wanted these information. Thanks to share with us. It is really appreciated.



    • Tarun Parwani on December 28, 2010 at 7:07 AM

      Good luck for your attempt.

    • kh on December 28, 2010 at 9:49 AM

      Hi Kinnari,

      I too going to attend on 10th January. How is your preparation going on?

      All The Best.

  15. KaplanElisa on December 27, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Congratulations on your score (and score improvement)!

    Do keep in mind that you got an unusually high score on the Quantitative section, both originally and on your second attempt. Most people won't do as well as you did, and many can benefit from not only reviewing basic math but also learning how to use strategies and logic to improve their scores in that area.

    As a Kaplan teacher, many of my students have told me they've benefitted from using the Kaplan vocabulary app (available for iPhone and Blackberry and Android, I think for only $5), which has the 500 most commonly tested words on the GRE. It's easy to use, portable, and a great value.

    To raise the reading comp score, try reading a few paragraphs a day from some well-written periodical (Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Scientific American)–read something that does NOT interest you, then try to ask yourself some questions about what you read. This can be a very effective technique.

  16. Chintan on December 27, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Thnk u very much Dude !!

    i m sure it'll b helpful to me !!

    Keep it up and all d best for ur career ahead !!

    • Tarun Parwani on December 27, 2010 at 11:39 AM

      All the best buddy for your future..

  17. Phineas on December 27, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Thanks dude. I failed dismally in my first attempt( Quant 520, Verbal 360). I gave myself a month and half of studying before I can retake it again. I have been reading Barrons everyday. Promise to share my results with everybody whether I pass or fail

  18. kh on December 27, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Hi Tarun,

    U have mentioned that if we don't answer any question there will be negative marking. Is that true?

    Till now no one has mentioned about negative marking in GRE. I think it will be considered in NEW GRE pattern.

    • Tarun Parwani on December 27, 2010 at 11:40 AM

      There sure is a penalty for not answering questions.

      Although, There is no negative marking for wrong answers. Got my point?

      • kh on December 28, 2010 at 9:58 AM

        OK, the marks alloted for the next question will be reduced. I got it.

        Thank's for your reply.

        All The Best for your future.

  19. micky on December 27, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    dude i am not able to understand how your friends gave the gre again after a gap of 20 days…1 month gap i a compulsion by ets.then how??

    • HSB on December 27, 2010 at 10:02 AM

      1 month gap is not mandatory. Its once per calendar month. You can take GRE on Jan 31 and retake again on Feb 1.

  20. Rakesh on December 27, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Hey HSB

    I also wanted to share my GRE test taking experience and tips. Can you please communicate to me the process by which I can send you my write up.

  21. vijay on December 27, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    dude that was so helpful. thank you for sharing your experience 🙂

  22. rea on December 27, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    I thank you very much. Take my salute and wish you success in US endevour.

    • Tarun Parwani on December 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM

      Thanks a lot for your wishes.

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