How to Prepare for GRE Test – Quantitative Part

Has it been years since you used your quantitative skills? How easy is it to prepare for the Verbal part of the GRE in the language that you use more than your mother tongue?


Everything will look impossible until you take the effort to fight it out. At the end of that battle, your confidence level will shoot up and you will have achieved something that had been haunting you for years.


Start with ETS Official book

When you take the first step towards your GRE preparation, start with the Official book from ETS. Don’t try to start solving problems immediately. Learn the pattern for GRE first – the number of questions in each section, how the questions are scored, the rules you have to abide by, how to save time avoiding the calculator, timing each section and so on.


Then go through questions from various levels of difficulty from the official book. Try to solve the exercises and don’t take the practice test at the end of the book, not yet anyway!


Take the ETS Power Prep Test 1

Once you’re confortable with the pattern and the questions from the official book, install the ETS Power Prep software and take practice test 1.

Don’t panic here, the score will be visible only to you and it is not official. It’s just a practice test and only Power Prep can reflect your real estimated score.

The first mistake many GRE takers make is hesitating to take the test with little preparation. The reason I emphasize taking this test is to first understand where you stand. It will be easy for you to set your goals and aim for a realistic score from there.


Set your target score

Never prepare for the GRE without a goal. You should have an idea of the course you want to study, browse through the colleges and find the score range that would guarantee admission, set a target within the range and then start your attempts to attain that goal.

Most importantly, take your final GRE test ahead of your university deadline so in case you are not satisfied with your score, you can re-take it and prove yourself.


Learn strategies and not solutions

Once you’re done with the Official Book, pick any other book like Barron’s, Manhattan, Princeton, Nova etc. I started with the Manhattan. I got the 5lb book and started to learn strategies.


Solving the problem is not the Trick here, Solving within the given time is.

Never be happy with finding the solution, be happy only when you have found the shortest route to a problem’s solution.
With a timed test, simply finding the solution is not going to help you. Your best bet is to learn the strategy even when you think you have arrived at the right answer.


Formulas, Strategies, Tips and Tricks – Notebook

Buy a good quality notebook and start writing the formulas, strategies that you come across. If you are a person who is preparing for GRE and working full time or you have many things to handle and not just the formulas, start taking notes. It will be of great help.


Identify your weak area and practice more

I figured out that Statistics and word problems were my weak areas. So I got the Manhattan Strategy guide book for those areas, learned them in depth and practiced more problems.


Now Book your date

Never book your date and then prepare for the GRE. I have met friends who have said they won’t prepare unless they have reserved a date – Bad Idea!

If you decide to follow my approach, then this stage is where you book your dates. Maybe you can take the ETS official guide practice test and then book your dates when you know that your score falls comfortably in your desired range.


Take as many as Practice Tests as You Can


Especially for someone who has been out of school for some years, taking a test for 4 hours straight will be tough. But, you can make it easier with enough practice. Start with taking practice tests only on the 4 sections for 2 hrs. Gradually add the 1 hour of analytical writing and then the experimental section. I would recommend at least 3 to 4 full length tests before your actual GRE.


Get a feel about the exam day.


Talk to friends who have already been there and get a feel of what the test day is like from their experiences.

Never allow surprises to be waiting for you on your test day. It can vary from the rough book they give you or being given only pencils or even knowing that you cannot wear your lucky watch. These seemingly little things matter, more so at the ultimate moment.


You’re all set!

A week before your exams, don’t distract yourself with any major events like attending marriages, birthday parties etc. Try not to take medicines as they might hinder your performance as well. You might not want anything to come in between you and your GRE after the strenuous, relentless work you have put in all these days.

The day before the exam, get enough sleep. Researches have proved that enough sleep the previous night will enhance your performance by 30 percent. So take the last day easy, go through all your formulas, strategies, tips and tricks, relax and you will be at your best the next day.

For more Tips on GRE Preparation and to read Reviews of New GRE Books, CLICK HERE.

[Image Copyright (C) – Preety Johan, Flickr.]

1 Comment

  1. Bhaswar on March 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Admission reqd. for MS / Ph.D course in Governance / Public Affairs/ International Relations / Environmental Studies / Diplomacy/ Foreign Affairs/ American History, or, related fields.

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