How to improve GRE score from 308 t0 324 in one month?
I am an engineer by profession, graduated from NUST.
The first time I took the GRE test diagnostic test (without preparation), I scored 308, after working hard and improved my weak areas and eventually scored 169 on Quantitative and 155 on Verbal, and 4.0 in AWA. Let me share my GRE test Prep journey.
So we all know GRE scores are an extremely important factor for universities to assess your profile. Different countries have different scoring patterns, but GRE Test has a standard scoring criterion globally. So a high GRE score can furnish a very solid basis for your application. So I cannot stress this enough; you HAVE to dedicate devoted time, plenty of it, for its preparation. Unfortunately for me, I only had roughly 20 days to prepare for my exam, and I want to divulge my strategy for preparation that I hope will help anyone who has the exam coming up.
Preparation can become really messy if you have very little time left. Moreover, you cannot prepare EVERYTHING in such a short time. I assigned my last 5 days for full-length GRE practice tests ONLY and all the preceding remaining days for preparation.
I made a simple structure for the prep. I knew my strength was the quant section, and I could not afford to lose any points in that if I wanted a 320+ score. I took a free online full-length GRE test by KAPLAN first thing before I started the prep. I got a 159ish score on quant and 149ish on verbal. Not that good a score, but what happened was that I got to analyze my mistakes at the end of the test. KAPLAN gives you details like how much time you took to solve each question, what type of questions did you answer correctly most, and what type you answered wrong most. So I recognized weakness and started my GRE test prep giving the most important to that. I used Manhattan 8 books (weak topics), and ETS Official guide, ETS Quant (paid version). I practiced from these sources and also used online sources for GRE questions. One important online source is Scholar Den website itself; they have legit real GRE questions and it is really important that you know what kind of questions are you going to face.
For verbal, I felt that memorizing a whole list of words was a waste of time if the exam is so near. More often than not, it confuses you on the test day if you have learned an overabundance of words that you don’t know how to use in a sentence. An exception to that is the 52 high-frequency words. Honestly, you HAVE to know the 52 high frequency at least. Most probably, you already know these words, but just google them anyway. I used the ETS official guide for verbal, free and paid both. An important thing to mention here is that the techniques shown in books like this are mentioned to be implemented. Do NOT take them for granted. Follow these techniques and you’ll actually know what I’m talking about. Do NOT just rely on your gut to give you the right answer. There are really good practice questions in these books, but they’re not enough. You will also need a lot of online sources (there are free ones too), to practice verbal questions. One thing that indeed helped me was that my reading speed increased with practice. And not just the speed, I did not have to re-read the passages too. This meant I had more time for the multiple blank sentence completion questions.
In the final 5 days, I was doing a GRE full-length test (also known as mocks) every day. My strategy for verbal was to leave multiple blank sentence completion questions for the end since they take the most time. For Quant, I always went in order. The questions that took a little longer, I marked them and attempted them after I was done with the whole section. All the practice tests I took simulated real testing conditions. Same time of the day (important to keep the mind active that time of the day), and same break lengths. I was scoring 168ish on quantitative, and 158-159 on verbal in the practice tests. Come the test day, I had a good protein breakfast in the morning (heard it helps), and took a red bull and a Snickers bar for the mid break. Everything went according to the plan and Alhamdulillah got a good score.