GRE 326 - Farzan Sohail
I gave GRE on 6th Sept – 2016 and scored 326. I prepared for the GRE from the following books and apps.
- The Official Guide to the GRE (Verbal, Quant + AWA).
- Manhattan Prep GRE (Set of 8 books)
- Prep4GRE app on Google play store (It’s a free app and is a MUST for 320+ GRE prep)
- Vocabulary Builder by Magoosh.
- Magoosh account questions.
Scholar’s Den GRE Facebook Page helped me a lot in finding valuable resources and getting help with explanations to tricky questions. Thank you to Faisal Khan and all the volunteers who give their time and dedicated efforts.
You will find every resource you will ever need in the GRE PREP - Scholar Den Facebook Group files section (next to photos). Also, keep a journal or notebook to write down questions or words you need to review. I should add that I prepared for the test in actual test conditions i.e. Timed for every set, onscreen calculator and no disturbance. I started preparing in mid-July, and after about 45 days of prep, gave the test.
- There are no shortcuts to vocab building. Learn all 1000 words in Magoosh e-book. Use either of the 2 Magoosh vocab apps. Learn as many words outside of Magoosh as you can (Barron’s, Manhattan, Google “GRE words”). Write down each word you tend to forget in the journal and keep revising all words every day. It should take no more than 45 min to 1 hour per day because it took me that much time. On the whole, I learned about 1300 words for the test.
- Use Manhattan and GRE verbal guides to prepare TC, RC and SE. I had some problems with timing in RC so I looked for advice on the internet and found one that worked for me. I used to make the mistake of reading paragraphs slowly and carefully to not miss any important points but this resulted in wastage of time and few correct answers. Instead, here’s what you can try and see if it works. When solving RC, read the question first (without looking at the answers) and then quickly read through the entire paragraph in 45 seconds to 1 min. Once you’ve read the paragraph quickly, go to the question, tick off the answer choices that are clearly wrong and narrow them down to 2 possible choices (Trust me – if you practice this long enough, there will ALWAYS be only 2 answer choices that make sense in the given context). After narrowing them, go to the part of the paragraph where you remember reading something related to the question and compare it with the 2 answer choices. You will find only 1 of the answer choices fitting the context and language of that portion. I got 80% of RC questions right in the actual test using this technique.
- Start prep with the topics you find most difficult (for me it was probability/combinations and Standard Dev.) I found the Manhattan guides to be very useful in this regards. For every topic, do all the sections (easy/med/hard) in a row and as fast as you can. I would suggest finishing the guides atleast 3 weeks before the test to have plenty of time for taking mocks.
- Probably the most useful advice I can give. Take as many mocks as you can find (under timed conditions). Take mocks from the GRE guides, Manhattan, Barron’s, as well as countless online mocks available (just use Google). If you can become familiar with every type of quant question ETS can throw at you on the test day, you will have a smooth time sailing through the actual GRE. Familiarize yourself with every topic, questions type, strategies and formulas/shortcuts (Like 5! = 120 or Sum of first 100 numbers is 5050).
The day before the Test:
- Get a good night’s sleep before the test. Have your supper by 6pm and go to bed by 8 sharp! Without proper sleep, your mind won’t be sharp on test day and weeks and weeks of prep will of little benefit.
- Don’t study anymore. Rest on the day before the test. Watch TV, go out and relax your mind.
On test day, wake up early, do some exercise and eat a healthy breakfast. Account for traffic conditions on your way to the test center (I nearly missed the test because of traffic) and arrive there at least 2 hours before your test time. Make sure to bring your Passport or computerized CNIC. Also, prepare a list of 4 universities (1 ambitious, 2 normal, 1 easy) you intend to apply to and give it to the test supervisors. After the test, they will give you the list and you can send your scores to 4 places for free.
Good Luck to you!