How to improve your GRE Verbal? An inspirational story of how Fatima Raza improved her GRE Verbal from 136 to 154.
Hi I am Fatima Raza, and I am sharing my GRE success story for the verbal section.
I am sharing my improvement story from score 136 to 154 in verbal. This debrief can certainly serve those who have been struggling with Verbal Reasoning in GRE. Though I was disappointed so many times during my journey, but I was always seeing hope at the end of the tunnel as I believed in hard work. I had a limited grip on vocabulary and could hardly understand a paragraph of several lines without assistance but still, I kept on putting my energies and developing the verbal skills and ultimately got the required score.
I worked on it for 5-6 months, to be precise. Firstly, I took the Diagnostic test and got 136 then after proper preparation of a month, I did my first GRE attempt and got 143 which was not satisfactory. After comparing my capabilities and score, I thought I can improve if I make a proper plan and follow it diligently. Then after several months, I re-take and got 154 scores ALHAMDULILLAH with the help of guidelines from the mentors and members of group “GRE Scholar Den”.
Here are few general and specific tips for each portion.
There are some strengths and weaknesses in you.
- First, identify your weak points and overcome the deficiencies by working daily basis on them till exam. You should also improve your strengths further as they can earn you more scores. Start preparation at least three to four months before the exam to get the required score.
- Make a proper schedule for daily assignments.
- Write down every new word you come across.
- Invest 80% of your preparation time and efforts in improving your basic skills. Rest is strategic preparation according to GRE pattern.
I used Magoosh app for vocabulary building (https://gre.magoosh.com/flashcards/vocabulary/decks).
I completed a set in almost 4-5 days. On first day I selected 10-15 words and looked up their meanings in context from vocabulary.com (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary). In vocabulary.com there are some more synonyms of the words. I wrote down each Magoosh GRE word with its synonym in my portable diary. This helped me in learning more words at the same time. Moreover, for more clarification and proper usage I sometimes read the sentences from the website which were chosen from various media sources.
Most importantly revision of vocabulary is very important. I revised it at night before sleeping and on the next day when I woke up before doing any other task. After completing each deck, I invested the next day of my whole assigned vocabulary learning time in revising that deck rather than learning new words.
For RC, I started reading articles from multiple resources like Arts and Letters Daily (https://www.aldaily.com/), The Economist (https://www.economist.com/) , Newyorker (http://www.newyorker.com/)and others mentioned in GRE verbal guide in order to avoid nervousness after having a difficult topic during my real exam.
I divided question types in two parts during prep:
- Global questions like primary purpose, main idea or tone of the author. (Use LSAT papers for that uploaded on Google Drive. 10 to 12 papers are enough).
- For specific question types, I read passage actively without any outside information but only what has been stated by the author. Paraphrase each paragraph then move on to the next paragraph and in the end revising all paragraphs in my mind like a story (for summarizing 20 to 30 seconds almost).
I watched e-GMAT video for inference questions, this worked for me as well as I faced several inference questions in exam. It was the only verbal video that I succeeded in applying. Here is the link of the recorded webinar.
Test day Strategy
Speaking about the test day strategy, I skipped 5 and 6 questions in each verbal section: the triple blank TC, as they take a bit longer than a minute and chances to answer them accurately are rare. Next from 7 to 20: RC and SE, I focused more on these questions as reading and vocabulary were my strengths.
Materials used: ETS, Manhattan and Magoosh.
I hope you will find some applicable tips from this debrief. Best of luck and work hard consistently.