How to Crack the GRE – Trickiest Exam You Will Ever Write

Following post was shared by Alexander.

I am going to be brutally honest with you.The GRE is perhaps the trickiest exam you will ever write. The scoring system can be quite complex to understand, you hardly have enough time to answer all the questions correctly and the verbal section in my opinion IS the most difficult English exam you will ever write (unless you are going for a career with the language).

Now I don’t mean to scare or discourage you, not at all. Infact, I personally know of a few people who did incredibly well in the exam. Myself?, I managed to score a total of 1360 out of 1600 (scores of 1400 and above are almost guaranteed to get you a scholarship) so I did quite okay.

Now if you have already started preparing for the exam and you have familiarized yourself with the scoring system,you probably might be a little puzzled at the scores that I just revealed to you.

The truth is I took the GRE twice which was back in early 2011 and a new format of the exam was introduced in August 2011. In other words, I belong to the old school of GRE test takers.

Regardless of the change in format, the exam remains a tricky customer and the following are some top tips to pass the GRE:

For the verbal section, visit, I can guarantee that you will find the resources available on the website extremely useful.

Use the powerprep software that is available for a free download on the official GRE website for practice.

Employ the flashcard technique

The major reason why the verbal section can be such a pain is because you will encounter words that you have never heard off.

I dealt with this problem by using ‘flashcards’ which is perhaps a glorified name for pieces of cardboard with text written on them.

The idea behind the flashcard technique is to cut out pieces of cardboard and write on one side, a strange word that you would like to memorize and then on the other side, write down the meaning of the word.

Do this for as many new words that you want to master. Once you have your GRE flashcard collection complete, start familiarizing yourself with the words by taking 5 or 10 at a time and going over them.

You can even take this GRE flash cards when you go out and anything time you have got 5 minutes, bring them out and go over them.This technique worked wonders for me and it could do the same for you, just be careful not to deal with too many new words at once.

GRE Prep Time

Regardless of your educational background, I would recommend that you spend at least 60% of your total preparation time on the verbal section. I mentioned earlier that I wrote the GRE twice.

This was because I made the mistake of focusing more time on the quantitative section and ended up scoring very poorly in the verbal section in my first attempt (a woeful 420 out of 800).

I changed my strategy for my second attempt by spending more time on the verbals and I did a lot better (610).

The truth is we all have different strategies that work for us and what worked for me may not necessarily work for you but do not take the verbal section for granted simply because you speak good English.

Spend more time on the verbals and you will be rewarded.

If you have average math skills, then you shouldn’t find the quantitative section too difficult.

By practicing a lot, you can definitely improve your skills and your chances of doing well will be greatly increased.

The fact that you will be provided an on-screen calculator also helps to make things easier.

If you are going for a degree in a science or Engineering related discipline and you plan on winning a scholarship, then getting really high scores in the quantitative section should be a top priority and vice-versa.

With regards to what GRE book you should buy, I personally used Barron’s to prepare for my exam but I can also recommend Kaplan and the Princeton Review as well.

Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. There is no substitute for hard work.

Hope you find these tips useful and I wish you all the best in the exam.