GRE 319 - M.I
Quant 167, Verbal 152
I would like to tell you about my GRE journey in detail, so pardon me if it takes a bit longer to read. It all started when I came to know about the Fulbright scholarships when I was in last semester of my Bachelors’ degree back in May 2015. But for some personal reasons, I didn’t searched for GRE or even thought about it at all till the next a year and a half. I began to search for material, and also searched for any sorts of GRE groups on facebook. That’s when I came across the ScholarDen facebook group. I contacted Scholar Den Founder, and he was kind enough to help me out personally as much as he could. And, he added me to the relevant WhatsApp groups as well.
I initiated the preparation according to the plan/guidance given by GRE mentors in September 2016. My diagnostic score was 292 (Q 149, V 143). After almost 2 months of “blood, sweat and tears” (not literally :D), I attempted my test on 17th November 2016. After completing the test, and clicking the “Continue” button on Computer Screen, I immediately felt bad when I saw my score. I was in utter shock to see the scores as “159 Q, 149 V” (that’s 308 in total). I was not satisfied with my score at all even though, it was 16 points improvement overall from my diagnostic score. And that’s probably one of the reasons I didn’t even try to apply for Fulbright scholarships for the following year. After significant time have passed, it took me tons of persuading to finally retake the test. I decided to retake it in the mid or end of July 2017. I started the preparation in the last week of May, and during Ramadan, I had to limit my daily GRE study time. I tried to rectify the mistakes that I made while I was studying for GRE the last time, and also used better resources too. Then came the day, July 20th, 2017, the actual test day. I was confident enough this time, and took the test. Once I saw the scores, I was in sheer joy. “167 Q, 152 V”, it read! That was enough for me to tap myself on the back. I improved 27 points from my diagnostic test, which was a huge deal for me.
Now coming to the main purpose for all this. The reason for such a huge passage was to encourage you and to motivate you. I want you to know one thing for sure, if I can do this, you certainly can and I am sure, that you can do much better than me. GRE is not something to be afraid of. It’s just a standardized test which checks your analytical powers, as well as basic understanding of the sentence styles, structures etc. You just have to be persistent enough with the methods to tackle all the GRE problems thrown at you.
- Manhattan strategy guides (all 8 of them)
- Manhattan 5lb book (For Quant as well as Verbal)
- ETS official guides. These are most important, because they are the ones making the test, so their resources are most credible.
- Magoosh (Paid Subscription – For Quant only)
- Barrons (For the mocks and for practice questions)
- Websites like nytimes, aldaily should be used to read articles to improve Verbal
- Android Apps that I used: Magoosh GRE vocabulary flashcards, Magoosh Vocabulary builder, PocketGRE, Ready4GRE
I started my preparation from the strategy guides of Manhattan. I tried to develop the understanding of the questions and the little tips and tricks that were mentioned there. I kept following these guides till the next 2 weeks. Once I was done with the first 6 guides, I started practicing the questions from the Manhattan 5lb book. I did try to manage my time while solving the questions so that I can keep track of the time taken by me to complete solve the specific questions. If you are wondering what steps/strategy I followed for Verbal, then let me tell you that I kept learning the vocabulary words from the apps that are mentioned above. Also, I used to read an article almost daily or maybe once every two days from the aforementioned resources.
After I completed the Manhattan 5lb book, I gave a try to Magoosh practice questions (Quant ones only). While I was going through them, I used to do the Manhattan 5lb Verbal practice questions too, to improve my accuracy in RC, TC, and SE. And after I was done with those too, I followed it with the preparation from the ETS Official Guides (those are the most Important! and most trustworthy of them all). I kept improving my vocabulary through the apps too. And it turned out fruitful for me, as I managed to improve the vocab score too.
Now, let’s talk about the mocks! I took 10 mocks to be exact, and my average mock score was around 318 to 322. I mostly suggest/recommend people to take 8 to 10 mocks. And instead of delaying them to last week or 10 days, it’s better to start taking mocks almost 3 weeks earlier than the actual test and take a gap of 2 or 3 days between each mock test. Focus on your weak points, and keep revising the concepts during those gaps, so that you can perform better next time.
Last day before Test
At last, I would like to talk about the day before the test. You should not try to even touch the GRE prep material on the last day. Just relax, stay calm. Go out with friends, have a normal day. Just don’t try to do any sorts of “last minute cramming” at all. And then have a good sleep on the night before the test. It will keep you fresh on the test day, which will result in you acing the GRE test Insha’Allah.
May Allah help you in getting your dream GRE score. I hope my story motivates you enough.
Best of luck!