GRE 319 - Muhammad Husnain Kakar
I always wanted to pursue MBA studies but given my current field of ACCA, attempting GRE or GMAT was a challenge for me. Anyhow thanks to a friend who enlightened me about Fulbright scholarship less than 60 days before the application deadline. I started studying for GRE to apply for Fulbright along with my full-time job. I bought Barron’s GRE guide, started with Quant section and started memorizing its word list of 3,000 words. To be honest, Barron was not of a great help as much as Manhattan’s 5lb books were. I practiced Manhattan’s questions which had 30 chapters so I planned to complete one chapter daily. While I did not attempt ETS mock exams, I did practice attempting questions in the given time of 90 seconds per question. Getting the Quant section right is as much about your ease with math strategies as it is with applying them in the given timeframe. So I suggest that you should push yourself to think fast about problem-solving strategies. My preferred sources of preparation for Quant section would be Manhattan 5lb, Magoosh and ETS sources.
For the verbal section, Barron’s list of 3,000 helped me gain confidence as I memorized the whole lot twice before attempting the exam. Now that I look back, I don’t think memorizing the 3,000 words list is efficient and ensures perfect verbal score. To put in perspective, out of 20 questions in one verbal section, around 8-10 only require your verbal mastery, for which I think memorizing 3,000 is inefficient. In addition to this, I always looked up meaning for difficult words when reading Dawn’s articles in English. It uses a lot of GRE words and is definitely helpful in enabling you to memorize the words. For the verbal section, I think Magoosh’s list of 650 words equips you with the common GRE words, sufficient to enable you to confidently attempt the vocabulary section.
The most difficult section in the verbal section is the Reading Comprehension section. GRE uses technical passages either from science or arts or history which can be difficult to grasp under the time pressure. The best strategy for reading section is to first read and get a gist of the whole passage and just remember the idea of what is being talked about in each paragraph. Then read the question, refer back to the paragraph to which the question relates and select the answer choice that matches the information. Normally in the answer choices, GRE uses synonyms of the words already used in the passages so be on the lookout for that.
On the writing section, I am confident that I could have gotten a better score. I believe my writing is good, received 30 out of 30 in the writing section of TOEFL and my typing speed is fast. But I did not get a better score because of a tragedy. I attempted the first writing section very well. When I was about to finish my second section and there were only 12 minutes remaining, I accidentally selected all of the text and pressed a key due to which all of it erased and since the word processor is very basic, the undo function wouldn’t go past one step. When I sought the help of the invigilators, they suggested that nothing could be done now and I have to start writing again. Naturally, then I couldn’t write as better in the remaining 12 minutes as I had before, which adversely affected my score. Your ability to write a good piece is mostly about what have you read in the past. A container can only spill what it contains. So reading good material is essential to be able to write good material. Reading English novels, Dawn’s articles in the opinion section, New York Times, Forbes and other such magazines have written with the excellent writing style. Reading them can aid a lot.