GRE 324 - Maneesh Kumar
Time spent: 2 months
Money spent: €10 Euros (best return on investment)
Background: BSc Accounting and Finance – LUMS
MSc Quantitative Finance – University of Bologna, Italy
If you are panicked and unsure how your preparation for GRE is going just believe in yourself. I was also in the same position when I was preparing to take the test ‘the second time’. In the first attempt I only managed to get 314 (151 V, 163 Q). This time however, thanks to the motivation provided by Facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/scholarden/)/WhatsApp Group and due to efforts of Faisal Bhai, I got more than what I desired to be competitive in getting an admission for PhD in USA. I was pleasantly surprised by seeing score of 160V, 164Q on the computer screen after the exam. In this document I will tell what exactly I did and hopefully give you motivation to do well. If I can get score like this then anybody can
- Manhattan 1-6 strategy guides
- Manhattan 5lb
There are 24 topics in Manhattan 5lb and I tackled them one at a time. First, I read the relevant strategy guide section to get acquainted with the strategies/tips/tricks needed for that particular section. Later on, after completing the reading, I went for solving the questions for that topic from 5lb. Although, I had more than enough knowledge to do quantitative part of the exam well, the strategies in the guide introduce you with possible traps you could fall in and therefore save you from making silly mistakes. When I was do with the questions I lodged the wrong questions in my excel sheet aka error log. After a month I was done with 5lb book. After that resolved the questions I made mistakes in so that I know if that was a silly mistake or knowledge gap. This helped me know my weak areas and helped me not to repeat same mistakes in the exam.
- Manhattan 7-8 strategy guides
- GRE Big Book
- GRE Flash Cards App by Magoosh
- Barrons 1100 App
For verbal, I started with the vocabulary app because this is the main hurdle for us in getting good GRE score, at least that’s what I believed when I started preparing for the exam. However, to everybody’s surprise I realized vocabulary is not that important but the comprehension and overall understanding of the structure of sentence. The vocabulary used in the exam was mostly from Common Words and Basic lists of Magoosh Flashcards App.
I used Gin’s technique in the Reading Comprehension and it was really helpful. I made the notes while reading the passage (although not readable: P) which helped to be attentive while reading the passage and stopped me from moving onto next paragraph until I completely understand the current one. This approach sounds slow and time-consuming but this is the best approach I have found for reading comprehension. As all the reading the question and reading only first/last lines etc didn’t work for me. After, doing practice for reading comprehension (mostly from GRE Big Book) my reading speed and accuracy increased. While reading the passage, you will be discouraged because topics are dry and not of your interest but remember these uninteresting passages are between you getting to your dream school ☺ doesn’t sound that bad, Does it?
The best advice I can give you is to do as many mocks as possible. I managed to do 10 mocks from various prep software/websites. If you have more time, then do more exams. This helps you to get adapt to being focused for 4.5 hours. I purchased kindle version of one of the Manhattan strategy guides from amazon for €10 and sending the email to Manhattan gives you access to 5 more mock exams.
From the experience of the exam and several mock exams, I can say that Manhattan is best for preparing for Quantitative part of the GRE exam as the questions are hard. Although it understates you quantitative score by 2-3 points, the quality of questions is best. On the other hand, ETS Powerprep is best for Verbal part of the exam. I found that the actual verbal questions were like the ones found in ETS Power Prep 1 and the difficulty level was same as well. Having said that, other mock tests are good as well, as they prepare you to sit for 4.5 hours which is essential if you want to be attentive during exams.
Test Day Tips:
Sleep Earlier than Usual: I slept at 9pm the night before and woke up at 7am to prepare me a good breakfast and arrive at the test center at least an hour before the scheduled exam.
Stay Calm and be ready for some disturbances in the test center: For me, my calculator in the test software didn’t work well so I practically wasted 1-2 minutes during one of my quant sections until test administrator provided me with manual calculator. Another problem particularly at my test center was some kind of noise from upper floor. I was bit unlucky in this case but it doesn’t happen at most test centers.
- Take food with you: First of all do good breakfast which is rich in protein (such as boiled eggs). I took 1 chocolate, 2 bananas, juice, tea, 1 liter water to munch during the break :P I also went onto doing few squats during the 10 minutes of break as it gets your blood flowing and keeps you attentive.