Guest blog by Koustuv Sinha on GRE Preparation Tips.
My GRE Preparation Tips:
GRE Date: 6th April, 2015
Score : 326 (158 V, 168 Q), 5.0 AWA
Firstly I want to point out that I am a working professional and relied only on online GRE preparation services. So my post and GRE Preparation Tips would be mainly relevant to working professionals who want to achieve high scores, although others might also find it useful.
I subscribed to both Magoosh (1 month plan) and GREedge (6 month plan) for my preparations. I enrolled into GREedge first, although my preparation didn’t start of with a full swing until the last one and a half months to the exam. GREedge gives you a detailed study plan and GRE Preparation Tips, which modules to read and which test to give on which day etc. They are not strict deadlines though, merely a suggestion; thus after the initial few weeks backlogs began to pile up. Although at the end of my preparations I managed to complete them all.
The USP of GREedge is their SFA system, or Student Facilitator. Right after I signed up, I got two calls from my Quants SFA and my Verbal SFA. They consulted with me on my daily routine, how much I will be able to devote every day, and made my study plan accordingly. They also have a IVRS system, where you can call within working hours to clarify your doubts or you can mail them anytime.
Now coming to content. GREedge being an Indian venture, are heavy on maths, as we Indians have quite high maths aptitude than the rest of the world. So, if you manage to complete the Quants section and revise thoroughly, you are more than enough prepared to score high in quants. English, on the other hand, is not yet up to the mark, barring the RC questions you can answer them even with little preparation. RC questions, on the other hand is tough, but lack lucid explanation. Also, GREedge does not have videos, they host online workshops instead on subjects.
Then with a month left for my preparation, I decided to buy Magoosh one month package only to practice more questions. I can safely vouch that it was my best decision, as clearly Magoosh GRE preparation tips and materials are top notch, along with video explanations for each and every question of the package! Yes, having 550+ questions each in Quants and Verbal all having dedicated video explanation is amazing, and totally worth it. And the blog, ah, a treasure trove for any GRE aspirant, having write ups for every possible scenarios. Even before buying the package, I spent a month browsing through the blog, and you can learn a lot from it. Tips, tricks, and even comprehensive study plans are indispensable. The most comprehensive best quality free study materials available today.
◾Magoosh GRE Review 2015
So which package you want to choose for your preparation is entirely your call. Both are good in their own respects.Now I will share some GRE Preparation Tips:
◾Managing work and GRE preparation alongside is hectic, but doable. Start of by building your vocabulary every day. Magoosh has a vocabulary flashcard app and a vocab builder app, which you can use on the go. Also, GREedge has a nice vocabulary app, WordBot, which has pictures corresponding to words, which makes word associations fun and easy to remember. Make your own lists, either in paper or in Quizlet app. Wordnik.com is a great online dictionary.
◾With vocabulary knowledge you can ace in SE and TC, but for RC you need a whole lot preparation and practice. GRE is famous for its hard passages, and I lost few points there. Not only practice RC questions, know the traps, and simultaneously build a good reading habit by reading dense content, such as The Hindu Opinions (they have a mobile app), The New Yorker, The Economist etc. Magoosh blog has a great curated list of passages which they add every month.
◾Keep the evenings for Math (that is my strategy, yours may be different) as after a day of hard work you will feel groggy and sleepy so mugging up words wont be fruitful
◾For Quants, practice as many questions as you can. Do not leave out any topics, although you may leave Probability for the end as few questions come from them.
◾If you buy Magoosh, try to watch the videos of Magoosh according to your weak areas. Target to complete all (yes, ALL) the questions from the Magoosh package (There is around 550+ math and 500+ verbal) by the end of study plan.
◾Revise, and make note of your mistakes. You will have a lot of mistakes while you attempt tests, but do not get demotivated by it. Instead, notice how you failed. Quants are prone to even the silliest of the silly mistake which will make you hit yourself! Stay calm, and notice how you failed, and create a list of your failures. Before the next mock test, read up that list.
◾For AWA’s, first read the responses from the ETS official resources of AWA, and judge how the scores are given. Then take a topic and write in timed conditions (30 mins), and review your work by someone else. I used to get them reviewed by GREedge SFA’s. Remember this base rule: for Issue, write examples supporting and disputing your position, and for Argument, “there is one plan, Attack!”
◾How to Prepare for GRE AWA
◾Take mock tests. Beginning from the penultimate week plan at least 5 full-length mock tests having one day gap in between. So you give one FLT, analyze your mistakes and study the next day and so on. You can get those FLT’s from Magoosh, one free FLT from Manhattan online, and two from ETS Powerprep. GREedge gives you 4 full-length test and 20 short 1-hour tests. These mock tests are a must, as it will build up your stamina.
◾Study every day to maintain regularity. Some days you might be stuck at office late, some days you won’t feel to study. Even in those days do light prep, such as like learning new words or reading passages.
◾Do not study at all on the previous day of your test. Read Magoosh tips for the test day from their blog and follow it. Notice their do’s and don’t’s for the test day.
◾On the test day, have a healthy breakfast and take some energy foods for the break (I took chocolates, amazing mental boosters!). Remember, you will only get 10 minutes of break after two AWA sessions and one test section. This ten minutes effectively ends up into seven, as three minutes are gone in you signing out and signing in and being frisked! (yes, they will frisk you much more than airport standards). Reach early at the test center, and be calm and relaxed. Always remember, every question is equal, so do not waste on a question too much.
◾If you have time make a list of universities which you can apply depending on scores you might get, which will be useful to select four universities ETS lets you send scores for free, but you have to select them right after your test are over in the test center.
◾Apart from Magoosh / GREedge, you may buy the ETS official prep books for additional practice, but it is optional.
◾Make a plan, stick to it, and you can score easily 320+.
◾3 months GRE Time Table and GRE Preparation Tips
If you work, then it might be helpful to take a couple of weeks leave before the exams, where you can truly accelerate your study! Also, FLT’s will consume your entire day so you will need those days off.
Best of luck for your preparations and I hope this GRE Preparation Tips help you achieve your target score!
– Koustuv Sinha
Thanks Koustuv for sharing your GRE Preparation Tips with fellow readers.
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