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GRE 320 - Qasim Nazir


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I took my GRE test on 27th September and scored 320. I would like to share my experience with GRE preparation and the recommended GRE resources. Rather than specifying a fixed time period, I would like to list down certain stages/steps that anyone can follow depending on his own routine to prepare for GRE exam.


GRE Preparation


Preparation for GRE exam can be divided into three broad stages; 1) Diagnostic Test, 2) Concept Building, 3) Practice & 4) Mock tests


Step 1: Diagnostic Test


The first step should be to take a diagnostic test. It will give you an overview of the GRE exam. Moreover, you will be able to gauge your current preparation level and have idea which areas need to be focused during preparation.


Step 2: Concept Building


As soon as you start your GRE preparation, start learning vocabulary and develop a habit of reading for at least 30 minutes on daily basis. Try to learn vocabulary in context rather than just memorizing words. Meanwhile, go through the magoosh videos OR Manhattan strategy guides (both for Quantitative and Verbal) for concepts building. While learning concepts, try to make your own notes in the form of a summary which you can revise quickly later on.


Resources: Quizlet app for Vocab, Magoosh Vocab app Magoosh videos, The Economist articles, Manhattan strategy guides, Veritas Prep. Text completion guide


Step 3: Practice


Practice enough questions from each concept to the stage where you have an idea about all types of questions that can appear on GRE. Make a habit of reading the question statement carefully. Try to recognize different question types and patterns that appear repeatedly in the GRE quant section. Moreover, practice solving questions under timed conditions and maintain a log of your mistakes so that you can avoid these mistakes. Towards the end of your preparation, practice some difficult questions.


Resources: ETS Official guides, Manhattan 5lb Book (only for quant & reading comprehension), Ready4GRE app, Princeton Review (Text Completions), GMAT Verbal Guide (reading comprehension), Magoosh (if someone has access to the magoosh account)


Step 4: Mock Tests


Spare last fifteen days only for mock tests and take as many tests as possible under timed conditions before the test day. The idea is to develop stamina for about 3 hrs. & 45 mints. Initially, you will face difficulty with time management. But as you attempt more mock tests, you will be able to solve all the questions within time limits. During the mock tests, it is very important to analyze your mistakes.


Strategy for Quant Section: Read question statements carefully. Solve easy questions first. Mark those questions which you feel difficult or lengthy and solve them at the end. There will be 3-4 Data analysis questions in each section. Spare at least 7-8 mints at the end for these questions.


Strategy for Verbal Section: Try to solve all the text completion and sentence equivalence questions within first 10-11 mints. Then solve remaining 10 reading comprehension questions in next 17-18 mins. Spare 1-2 mint at the end for review.


Resources: ETS PowerPrep tests, ETS Paper-based tests, Manhattan tests, Crunch prep test, Kaplan & Princeton review tests P.S. There are rumors on the internet that ETS has recently raised the difficulty level for GRE and I experienced this thing as well. Although power prep tests are the most authentic GRE mock tests, keep in mind that actual GRE test will be slightly difficult than these tests.


Test Day Tips:



  • Rest on the day before the test. Don’t study anymore. Watch TV, go out with your friends and relax your mind.

  • Have a good nights’ sleep, dress well, have a good breakfast and stay positive. It’s a good idea to bring a water bottle, chocolates & dates to refresh yourself during 10 mint break.

  • Control your nerves and attempt actual GRE as if you were taking a mock test. If you get stuck on a question take a quick guess, mark it and return back later if you have time.

  • Also it’s a good idea to bring the codes of the institutions you want to send scores to.