GRE - 323
Having graduated with distinction in Mechanical Engineering, it made all the sense in the world for me to apply for foreign scholarships. However, the biggest barrier always appeared to be the seemingly daunting task of taking the GRE exam. Such is the reputation of the test in the scholar community that anyone new to the test will definitely think of taking it as an arduous task. My strategy to move forward was to start with a book. Having no connections to the community, I ended up buying Kaplan Premier 2016. Being generally good at English, the GRE English scope seemed like a middle level in terms of difficulty, except of course the vocabulary part, which can be unrealistically demanding. Using Kaplan book along with the Ready4GRE free app over Android, I was able to score 320 on the official ETS sample tests. My target was to get a Fulbright scholarship, hence I did not bother perfecting the craft and ended up taking the test anyway. The score turned out to be 323 (166Q, 157V, 5.0A). Although this score in verbal was by far one of the worst I have ever scored (even in practice), having gone through Magoosh curriculum later in an effort to improve my score gives me all the confidence that, had I used the right resources, to begin with (along with a target in mind), 330 would not have been an unrealistic target. My advice to beginners would be:
1. Go for Magoosh as a single stop for GRE prep.
2. Pay for the resources. Don't support piracy. There are plenty of free ones out there too. One excellent resource is the GRE question bank at Scholar Den website. It is very readily accessible and is a wonderful tool you can use anywhere to practice your skills.
3. GRE is not beyond the technical capability of an engineering student. Just set aside a good 6 months, and those too only to give yourself a stress-free environment to study.
4. Begin with a target score in mind.
5. Don't be afraid to commit a timeline. I could only take the test when I force-booked an appointment for myself.
6. ALWAYS stay in touch with the scholar community. Scholar Den is by far the best (perhaps the only one) I have found in Pakistan. Otherwise, you will never know what you might be missing out on.
All the best for your endeavors!