Vineel Chandra
Updated on 27 May, 2018

Tips for scoring well on the GRE

Great job, Benjamin! Scoring is not easy, especially in competitive exams. This Chinese guy scored a 169 on the math section and 170 on verbal. Read on to learn about the study tips given by the whiz-kid!

Maintain discipline. Avoid distracting from your goal–I simply turned off my phone when the book is open. Don’t forget to be optimistic–preparing for the GRE is a long shot, and it can be pretty demoralizing because of the nature of the test. Also trust that you are making progress.

 Planning. I strongly insist you to create and follow specific schedule. By the end of the time you’ve spent studying, it should feel so routine that the GRE is an integral part of your life.

 Physical exercise. This is critical. However, you need not try for a six-pack! But spend some time to stretch your legs and re-fuel your brain. For me, I run 30 minutes every day.

 Analyze. Always spend a couple of hours to review your mistakes, write down why you chose the answers and your logic and steps to get there. As for the correct answers, always be sure it is right and refer to the context.

 Take as many mock tests as possible. This is equally important. The GRE test is all about endurance, stamina, pace and repetition. You’ll able to build it up only with the mock tests.

Reading comprehension tips: This part is the hardest, I say. One thing I did was to practice RC passages every morning when I woke up. Dare I say, in the first couple weeks, I couldn’t even finish RC passage within an hour. But improvement came with persistence and consistently tracking my time. I timed my every step–on reading the passage and questions. Basically, I had a perfect gauge on my pace and after the first two months, I managed to do the RC within 35 minutes.

Now comes the most important step – it’s really a necessary step for students who aim to achieve a score higher than 160 – “blind review.” That means, being 100% confident about the answer choices. I just simply redid the passage and followed the principles of blind review. I’d jot down the lines under the questions to convince myself that it was indeed the correct answer. And for the wrong ones, I categorized it with narrow scope (unsupported), contradiction, one word wrong (extreme word), and so forth. What’s more, the next morning I’d simply repeat this process and redo the passage again. This strategy has honed my skills and by the time I took the GRE tests, I was so confident that every answer choice I chose was correct.

Vocabulary Tips: Vocabulary is also a scary task. So my plan was to review vocabularies after I finished the RC passages. I also read a lot, from Aldaily to The Browser. And I read some non-fiction materials like A Short History of nearly everything (This is a fascinating book and very fun to read-basically it covers every possible topic you may see on the GRE test, and it’s dense and science-for-non-scientists, just like GRE passages). Also, remember to review the words frequently, or you may follow the Hermann Ebbinghaus forgetting curve!


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