GRE 318 - Abdul Qadir Khan Durrani
GRE is defeatable-for the most part. I planned to study from July to August and give the exam in early October but due to certain reasons (including laziness) I didn’t give much time to GRE and actually started studying full time from late September till October (almost 40 days or so) and sat for the exam on November 2nd and got 318 just shy of my target of 320.
Like many, I didn’t have a great plan on how I was going to get to grips with GRE. I opened up chapters and word lists arbitrarily, meandering through the books, costing me time. The weight of expectations and a sense of guilt grew each passing day. It was turning the scales against my motivation and my will to triumph GRE. However, Scholar Den was introduced to by my close friend. It had a lot of material especially for GRE. I read 2 or 3 people's GRE experiences and strategies and then prepared accordingly.
For the Quant Section:
- I finished the 8 book set Manhattan. Tremendous for people with little background in Math; great help for the introduction of the Quant section. The Tips and tricks are explained generously and most importantly the questions are relatively very close to the actual ETS exams.
- After 8 set, I completed the 5lb Manhattan with over 1000 questions. I solved them all but that’s optional. Once you get the concept, move on. The topics in 5lb that were highly comprehensive were Arithmetic, Algebra, Inequality and Probability. There is no need to practice other books for these chapters specifically because 5lb does an excellent job here.
- Maintain an error log. Try a question, if you miss, see where you went wrong and note that question down. In the days coming to the test, open the error log and test yourself with the questions and see whether you got the concept or do you need some work here. This helps you to know your weak and strong areas. GRE is not easy. Improvise; Improve; Constantly.
- Following 5lb, I ran through ETS Official Guide and Practice Books. These are the most accurate books in terms of question reliability since they contain the actual questions that were present in recent GRE exams or simply put past papers. Just focus on the Mixed Practice sets there, there are about 3 or 4 with 25 questions each. 5 more than the GRE’s 20 question section. You should do these sets timed. It is cardinal for you to time them to check your stamina, endurance and how quickly you solve the questions since you are against the clock. Timed and Not Timed will produce different results.
- For the Mocks, ETS is the best since it’s an original exam. I found Princeton Review’s mocks to be relatively better due to more similarity to the actual. I did a total of 12 Mocks: 4 Princeton, 2 ETS Power prep, 2 ETS paper based, 3 Kaplan and 1 Barron’s. Do the 4 Princeton Mocks found online. You can try Manhattan’s 1 free mock. Kaplan mocks are also good. Save the ETS mocks are the last. Don’t even touch Barron’s mock or book.
- Try to start giving mocks at least 2 weeks before the test. 2 days before the test, I gave 3 mocks in a single day. Don’t ever do that.
- Also don’t get over/under confident due to the mock scores. A night before the exam, I got a perfect 170/170 in the quant section in ETS power prep, the best mock out there. But in the actual exam I got 165. Although 3 of my questions were left due to lack of time putting by score from an expected 169/170 to 165.
- Keep your spirit high and ace the GRE.