GRE 329 - Ameer A Kazi
I started my prep on 1st January, with my test scheduled for 18th January, 2017
I took the ETS powerprep test 1 (excluding the essays) before I started studying, and got a 321 (Quant 161, Verbal 160).
After that, I did the 6 Manhattan Strategy Guides for Math, the ETS General Guide, and the ETS Math Guide. I also skimmed through the ETS Verbal Guide, and memorized the basic and common GRE words from the Magoosh app. I did the Magoosh videos, but only for Math. I did some for Verbal, but I felt they were actually harming my intuition when it came to solving verbal questions, so I stopped watching them.
On the 17th of January, I was told that my GRE was rescheduled due to test center issues. So I rescheduled it for the 2nd of February.
Then, for reasons I am still unaware of, I procrastinated for around 5 days. After that, I started doing the 5 pound book at a slow pace because my classes had started. I had also forgotten most of the Magoosh words I learnt so I tried revising those. Then 2 days before my actual test, I took at a test in the evening after a very long and tiring day (intentionally), and managed a 323 despite barely focusing on the verbal sections. I felt I was weaker in Math, so I focused on that.
A day before the test itself, I went through the Magoosh videos on AWL.
On test day, I felt mostly comfortable dealing with Verbal despite not having prepped much for it. In Quant, the questions were surprisingly a LOT more difficult than I had expected. I saw myself skipping questions in Quant and coming back to them later. So even though I had studied a lot for Quant, and had done relatively nothing for Verbal, I still ended up doing poorly in Quant. I left the test center feeling I could have done a lot better in Math, and ended up with a 335, but I think my lack of practice caught up to me.
Please study a fair bit for the GRE if you don't have a solid base. Spend at least a couple of months on it.
Do NOT be complacent regarding the Math. It IS difficult. Practice a fair bit, and then practice some more after that.
I'd also suggest you buy a Magoosh account (which I didn't). The reason for this is that Magoosh will give you access to their questions.
As for the vocab I encountered on the test, very few of the words came from the Magoosh app. For me, most of it was due to either my own experience with the English language, or I had to resort to the process of elimination through which I scraped through questions. I do not think memorizing 4000 words, for example, will help. It's more about your familiarity with English, and understanding the relationship between words.
I was especially caught off guard when I found out at the test center that I couldn't eat during the test (excluding the breaks). I've had a habit of eating DURING exams (since my A level days), so this lack of an energy boost had a massive negative impact on my score, I think. So: make sure you acquaint yourself with test taking which doesn't involve a constant consumption of food/water. It might seem trivial, but trust me, it has an impact.