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Extracurriculars are always an add-on to your profile. Any achievements at the state or national and international level are considered important. Working for social causes such as for an NGO or charity trusts on a regular basis
Shweta Chopra, GRE 334 (169 quant, 165 verbal and 5.5 AWA), She is currently working as Senior Analyst at Samagra Development Associate.
I was pursuing my Postgraduate Diploma in Liberal Studies at the Young India Fellowship when I decided that I would attempt applying for higher studies abroad. This had never seemed an option given my financial background, however I decided to give a shot at getting substantial scholarship. This was around April 2017. I went on to give my GRE in June 2017.
My approach was to first ascertain where I was, by giving a mock test. I followed that up with going through the ETS General Guide to ensure I had complete familiarity with the test. To ensure regular mock test practice at the time my actual test would be, I would take 1 mock every 8 to 10 days at 8am, and do the entire test, including the writing sections. I used the Manhattan Test Series (6 mocks) for practice. This helped me understand my weak points – RCs, Vocabulary and a few Quant concepts. I addressed these by referring to the Manhattan topic specific books and using the Magoosh Vocabulary 1000 Word List.
The GRE is a test of aptitude, which can only narrowly improve within a few months. It is built up over the years. Luckily for me, I’m comfortable with Verbal, and so it was not as much a challenge for me as for most Indian students. However, I did work on improving my vocabulary, and also gave special attention to the Reading Comprehension section – particularly understanding how arguments are structured. There’s an interesting HongKong University Philosophy Department link which explains the same. This proved useful for AWA as well as RCs.
The writing section was fairly comfortable for me, as would be for anyone who has taken a prior writing course. There’s a simple structure to be followed for the kind of writing the GRE attempts to test:
This section tests writing structure and style, and so practicing within this structure has a significant impact on your quality of output in the final test.
I think the only factor I would change is my prep time. More practice would have helped. But largely, once you have brought yourself to a certain level, the final day depends on luck. My test was a lot tougher than I expected. It’s really luck that decides between a 334 and a 336.
I gave about 10 mock tests. 6 Manhattan, 2 from the ETS book, 2 Powerprep Tests. These are extremely important for building stamina for a long test, and for learning to maintain focus.
Same as Writing Section tips above.
I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. I have received 75% scholarship for the MS in Social Policy and Data Analytics program. Other universities I received admits from are UChicago and CMU. I only applied to the few colleges that offer the course I am interested in.
I look forward to a data analyst role at organisations that work for social good (policy/governance), and my aim is to come back and serve India.
I was pursuing the Young India Fellowship at the time, so I had enough to do besides the GRE Preparation. It only took up a few hours in a week.
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