My GRE experience was better than I thought it would be. I scored 1580. which was unexpectedly and pleasantly high.

  • GRE Verbal – 780
  • GRE Quantitative –  800
  • GRE Analytical Writing 5.0

GRE Coaching Class

I know many GRE-takers can’t decide whether to take a GRE Coaching class or prepare on their own. Though taking a class certainly won’t be enough to guarantee you a good score, I’d  suggest joining one. I had taken coaching for about 6 weeks, and though I didn’t remember the words and formula as such during the course of the classes, at the end  of the day I had good, reliable material to start off with.

With so many distractions around us, the momentum that a regular class gives can be important. So unless  you’re very confident about your motivation and ability, joining a class can be a good investment. Looking to save a few bucks can prove expensive later on if you  happen to lose sight of your goal along the way, and end up with a score beneath your potential.

Then again, joining the right GRE Coaching center is important; I’ve heard of classes which hand out word lists and make them recite the word and meaning out loud. That’s the worst  possible kind of preparation, and ironically turns students looking to pursue graduate study into kindergarteners.

The class I attended was taught by a sir with  amazing knowledge about an array of topics, and he just used to talk about any random topic and GRE words were brought into the interaction naturally, wherein he  explained them to us along with the pertinent word’s synonyms. This is an important part of preparation-‘learning in context’.

We can, and will forget a word that we  learn by rote, but knowing and understanding the way in which in which it’s used will seal the word in memory.

General GRE Preparation Tips

Regarding preparation, I’d suggest the following-

  • Before you start your preparation, set a target score. Don’t underestimate yourself. It’s ok to aim high, as long as your work is commensurate to that. 🙂
  • If you will take/have taken coaching, perfect the GRE Study materials at hand before moving on to online material or other books. Looking to work in too many directions  at the same time can shift your focus.
  • In case you plan to study on your own, make sure you ask for advice regarding the right kind of material to buy/download from seniors or reliable blogs like HSB. GRE preparation is not the time to demonstrate our independence, there’ll be ample time for that later on.
  • Don’t try to second guess the computer. It doesn’t matter which of the sections will be evaluated, do your best on all  of  them.
  • Start your preparation early, preferably atleast 5 months before your expected test month; earlier if you’re not very comfortable with english.
  • Take some practice tests in the course of your preparation, but know when to stop. Too many practice tests without proper preparation and the resultant low score can affect confidence.

GRE Quantitative

  • The quantitative section is the most important criteria for admissions, make sure you’re good with the basics you learnt in school and intermediate. I do wish someone had told me while we were first learning those concepts of probability and permutations that they’d come back to us in the form of GRE,  I’d have paid a lot more attention.
  • Luckily, most Indians find the quantitative section a cakewalk. In a regular situation, it’s pretty easy to score over 700 in this section. So if you’re  consistently scoring over 700 in preliminary practice tests, I think it’s better to spend time to improve your verbal score rather than trying to bring up your quants to 800.
  • A perfect quants score is great, but in the time that you spend increasing your score by about a 100 in quants, you could actually increase your verbal score by about 200-300 points with the right kind of preparation.

GRE Analytical Writing

  • The AWA section is said to be the least important part of the GRE, and rightly so.  However,this section can play a deciding factor during the admissions process, when the committee has to chose between two candidates with similar profiles. So being ready with an opening and closing template is probably a good idea.
  • The argument is a pretty easy section, you just have to find fault with everything(logically, of course).
  • AWA issue is a different matter, and requires a basic  knowledge of history, literature, politics, etc. If you have sufficient time, it’s a good idea to look at the pool of topics and maybe try to find sample answers somewhere(only to get an idea of what is expected and accepted. Never, ever lift off entire ideas or sentences)
  • If you’ve started preparing, the dreaded concept of dummy sections wouldn’t be new to you. It’s possible that you can get two quant/verbal/awa sections, only one of which will be considered into your score.

GRE Verbal

  • For those of you who have more than a year to go before you have to take GRE, start general reading. This will help you ease into the habit of reading and looking  up new words, and will also better equip you for issue-writing. ‘The Hindu’ editorial is a great place to start!
  • If you’re a habitual reader(fiction/non-fiction, even reading the newspaper everyday gives you good practice) you will find some GRE words familiar. The reading  habit will also be a great help with the reading comprehensions, which are nothing like the ones we had in school. In limited time, reading the high-level  passages requires a speed of effective reading, which comes naturally when reading is a habit. Even better when it’s a hobby. 🙂

Understand GRE Scoring

  • Most importantly, know how the GRE test is scored. The GRE is computer adaptive, and the initial questions carry far more weightage than the last few. Spend half your section time on the first 10 questions of the section. If you get all of them right on a row, your job is half done. Also, you’ll be penalized for leaving question unanswered, so never leave any questions.
  • Answering the last three questions wrong is better than leaving the last one unanswered, score-wise. When  you get to the end of the section, on the last question, choose an answer before you begin to solve it. If the time’s up, you’ll be asked for confirmation of your chosen answer. If luckily you get the right answer before time’s up, you can always change it. Bottom line, never leave it unanswered.

GRE Exam: One Month to Go

One month before the test date, step it up. Take lot of practice tests, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Always see the key and go through the right method  to approach each question; this is especially important in the quantitative section. If you can, set aside a book for practice tests so that you can track your  progress. Taking maximum possible number of practice tests will accustom you to the time limitation and you can learn to manage time better.

GRE Study Materials

Try different standardized GRE tests like-

  • Powerprep (the best measure of your performance, you get two tests. Save one for two days before the test. That score will give you an idea of the score you can expect)
  • Barron’s (two tests in the cd you get along with the book)
  • Kaplan , Princeton Review, etc
  • Top 9 GRE Test Prep Books

You can try 800 tests practice tests; the difficulty level is higher than that of the actual GRE, but if you’re consistently scoring around a score range, you can expect  that your score won’t be lower than that on the actual test.

The last few practice tets I took gave me scores over 1500, but of course back then I thought that the tests weren’t being difficult enough. But in the end, those tests, especially the GRE powerprep test, turned out to be accurate indicators of my test score.

On the Day of the GRE Exam

On the day of the exam, the most important thing is to keep your head. The GRE is important, but it’s only the means to an end and not the end itself. Don’t panic, and never try to cram any  words the day before the test, or worse, at the test center (make sure you find out the exact location of the test center beforehand).

Revise all the GRE quants formula and verbal tips on the day before the exam. Take extra care of your health  the week before your exam, especially in the winter. You don’t want to end up with a runny nose, you need our hands for more important things.

Give your best shot.  Hope this helps, all the best! 🙂

If the person who shared above wonderful article gives permission to disclose the first name, we will update it here. If you have any questions for her leave your comment to this article.


  1. Surbhi Pundir on September 6, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    i have same query as sudhajit… 
    does the book wor ppower made easy is sufficient for the preparation?

  2. Surbhi Pundir on September 6, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    i have same query as sudhajit… 
    does the book wor ppower made easy is sufficient for the preparation?

  3. sudhajit on August 25, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    congrats a 780 in verbal is an amazing feat.
    I have my gre in sept 12th. and am stuck in verbal in range of 510-610.
    i am done with the 800 essential words the 80 word lists of barrons.
    All practice tests i give my verbal scores remain in same range.
    can u tell me how can i boost my verbal by atleast 100 points.
    i am poor at RC

  4. rajat rajawat on August 7, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    sir at what score best university provide full fee scholarship. and did arthik mandi effect future of indian student in forein university

  5. surbhi on August 6, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    hey guys..
    anyone have any idea which book or site is good to learn latest vocab, being added from 1 august ?

    • rajat rajawat on August 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      sorry no idea

      • surbhi on August 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        so for new pattern can i depend on barron’s word list ?

  6. khizar on July 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM


    my GRE date is on 29th sept. 2011 and it is a revised general test i m i 8th semester of my BE kindly guide me about preparation plan . my targeted score is 800 quantitative and 600 in verbal analytical writing 5.0 ..
    i have some difficulty with verbal section that is sentence completion and fill in the blanks in a nut shell vocabulary is their any easy way to memorize vocabulary ?

    please help me ….

    • SBA on August 10, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      getting a 5 in awa is not at all an easy task you should have a very very strong hold on your english writing skills
      you writing skills should be on the par with that of THE HINDU editorials
      so better start preparing for that

  7. Prabhakar reddy on July 29, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    Hai are you from “Krupa” Hyderabad??

  8. Edumen on July 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    THANKS FOR THE ADVICE. But now the gre is changing what materials should one use to prepare.

  9. SRB on July 21, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Dude …you are the dude ….!!

  10. Rahul on July 12, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    I bet you got an admission into MIT or you could have ,anyways congrats and thanks for the valuable info. I’m planning to give the test next year. So, is it worth taking online GRE coaching ?

  11. akhil on July 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Congrats for ur awesome score…GREAT achievement.!!
    Can you plz suggest me the steps to prepare for verbal..
    ordered prep.Plz….

  12. sathwik on June 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    really a good stuff to keep in mind for those who r takin their GRE

  13. samwwe on June 10, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    i have 3 backlogs in my 1st year B.E exam,i m now in 2nd year and planning to give gre in 3rd or 4th year of my degree course,is it possible to a student like me to get admission through gre in good university,when having backlogs?

  14. Lakshmy Ranjith on June 7, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Thank you for your information. I am planning to take the new test pattern. Can you suggest the materials for revised version ? Can I go for Kaplan and Barron’s new edition for revised version ?

  15. Anusha.C on May 31, 2011 at 3:11 PM


    Congrats for ur awesome score…….and thanks a lot for your valuable info…
    would plz give a little more info on how to choose the appropriate coaching cente…..?
    And also just guide for the preparation of revised GRE…pattern…
    I would be more glad to you if u would help out for this…

  16. Monika Sharma on May 12, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    First of all..Congratulations for your awesome score.
    I also gave GRE exam but scored only 1000(quant-710,verbal-290).
    Will you please tell me if i get admission in some high ranking university?

    • SBA on August 10, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      that is very very difficult with that score you will need to have a very strong SOP
      and you should do exceptionally well in your academics
      a research paper is highly recommended

  17. sanjana on May 7, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    thanks for d info….can u share ur kaplan or gre bigbook?am unable to find it…

  18. Ravi V on April 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Congratulations 🙂 and all the best for your MS. Thanks for your valuable information. Hope this will help us a lot.

  19. Rajkamal on April 26, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Congrats. That’s an achievement of a life time. Superb. I wish you all the best and have a superb time in the United States.


  20. gayathri on April 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    congractulations…!!superb score….please give me the books names which are helpful for the preparation for GRE.Because my exam is in july.I started preparation now only.

  21. Yash on April 26, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    Is it a good idea to take some online GRE preparation course if you are unable to attend any classes ?

  22. manoj on April 26, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    hi thanks for ur kind advice
    kindly make me know where u belong in india..
    also the professor who taught u and the institution…..
    pls reply me

  23. manoj on April 26, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    can u please provide us on the assistance of coaching centre……i would be really thankful to you……..
    also How did u get 800 in Verbal?
    can you suggest me some websites or books or prep tests which u think very important?
    your words are really motivating for we people starting with the preparation……please reply…..

  24. Bhaswati on April 26, 2011 at 2:33 AM


    Whoever you are, that was a very concise and useful article.



  25. Ashok Jain on April 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    congratulations! for this achievement!

  26. Praveen Kumar on April 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Please name the coaching center with state and person who taught you with such a finesse.

    • Sri on February 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      MOST PROBABLY she is from Hyderabad and the coaching center she mentioned about is Krupa in Nallakunta

  27. An on April 26, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Congrats ! for the great score , could u let us know which state u belong and the coaching center ‘s name or teachers name n address ?

  28. chibuike on April 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Congrats! I am very happy for you. Thanks for you advice. I find them very useful as I am preparing to ace GRE in two months time

  29. Ali on April 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Congratulations! I also followed a similar technique and scored 1600 in GRE and 5.5 in AWA!

    • smily on April 25, 2011 at 7:24 PM

      Congrats…How did u get 800 in Verbal?
      can you suggest me some websites or books or prep tests which u think very important?

    • prachi on April 26, 2011 at 10:18 AM

      hi,a great schore.can u plz tel me how to improve performance in verbals,as i m having my test in june,i m not getting the confidence in it

    • Ramo on April 27, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Ohhh Ya I believe u. I also got 1800 and 7 AWA……amazing!!!

    • Albert C Francis on May 18, 2011 at 6:38 AM

      Wow!!! The greatest score ever to see!!! Directly to MIT with scholarship, right?

  30. AD on April 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    excellent!! Congratulations!! and definitely nice article, very well verbalized.

  31. Awes on April 25, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Hi, It is a very good article, after reading your article know in my mind it is clear about GRE preparation, & on what topics more importance must be given. Thanks for this blog.

  32. saikat banerjee on April 25, 2011 at 8:28 AM


    1.In powerprep lots of questions are being repeated……so, how can one trust the scores obtained in powerprep?

    2.Please suggest some websites where i can take a few free online GRE mock tests.



  33. Deepak Chahar on April 25, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    congrats miss……………..can u please provide us on the assistance of coaching centre……i would be really thankful to you……..ur words are really motivating for we people starting with the preparation……please reply…..

  34. Santosh kumar on April 25, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    OMG…..If dats s score he/ she got den its beyond any comprehension……If just blew me away………..Congrats is d very small word which I can use n runnin short of words…….I would lyk to know from which part of d Country d person belongs to……..

  35. kuldeep on April 25, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    really good article, motivating fr us, wish to get some more knowledge on performing better…!!!

  36. A Kumar on April 25, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    Quoting from the above comment "The class I attended was taught by a sir with amazing knowledge about an array of topics…………………..",I want to find out such a teacher or a coaching class but I am not able to find one.I wanted some assistance in finding a coaching class in my location.

  37. jyothi on April 25, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    congrats!! I'm thankful to you because you shared a very important experience of yours regarding GRE. All the best for your admissions. 🙂

  38. kiran on April 25, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Congrats man….Party hard …..Now only 50% of your work is over…just make sure you work hard for the admissions also

    • HSB on April 25, 2011 at 6:39 AM

      FYI – It should be congrats Girl 🙂

      • Rc on April 26, 2011 at 12:10 AM

        Thank you so much for the information! I have my GRE coming up in a month, and haven’t started my preparation yet!:D
        Thanks for gearing me up!:)
        All the best!!

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