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GRE 319 - Ata Ur Rahman

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I am familiar with standardized testing (2nd time giving the GRE but on the new format) and although I am far from an expert on this subject, what I can tell you is that there is only so much you can do to get a good score. There will be a ceiling to your score. It is not possible to get a perfect score even if you spend a year practicing for standardized tests. What you can do to “crack” the test, is to work hard, do your best and not harbor any grandiose expectations.

I started off with a diagnostic test. This way you can find out the areas you are competent in and other areas that you need to focus on. A diagnostic test is also a good measure of your expected score. I managed to bump my score up 10 points after prep. If you are majoring in a science, you obviously need to practice more quant than verbal and you will probably be better at quant anyways. I spent almost 20-25 days practicing for the Quantitative section and I think this is probably the minimum amount of time that should be spent practicing the quant section. I used the ETS guides and mostly made use of the Manhattan series. Surprisingly, the quant questions on the actual GRE were much harder.

If you are majoring in a non-science area, only then would I recommend spending time improving your verbal score as verbal skills are acquired over time in my opinion. I did not employ any strategy even though I scored more in verbal despite having a science background. I can probably attribute this relatively higher score, to my educational background and an interest in English literature and English movies!

I only watched a few videos on how to attempt the AWS but I never actually practiced writing the essays which probably explains my low score on the AWS. So, you MUST practice writing if you are aiming for a good in AWS! I Finish off your prep with the sample tests provided by ETS. They have been precise in the past for me. Expect a score + 5 of what you get in the ETS test.

To sum it up, I suggest the following:

  • Do take diagnostic tests to assess your current competencies in each section

  • The ETS guides are a good way to familiarize yourself with the test format and the type of questions you should expect in each section

  • The Manhattan series is a good source for practicing GRE but I found the quant questions to be easier than what I got on the test

  • From what I’ve gathered after reading posts on this forum, is that a Magoosh subscription is actually a good resource for practicing GRE. If you are looking to get a decent score i.e. around 330, budget for a subscription.

  • Practice writing for the AWS! There is a pool of the actual topics available on the ETS website

  • I panicked in the first quant section that I got and I blanked for a good five minutes which explains my disappointment as I was expecting a better score. My advice in this regard: Don’t panic.

  • GRE is a long and exhausting test. Make sure you eat and sleep well. Head in with a positive attitude!