I needed a lot of guidance for GRE and could not get any apt and practical answer anywhere. With my scores I believe I qualify to write about how to go about the preparation.
Firstly thinking of joining a GRE class is a wastage of time. If you are motivated enough you could very well do it on your own. I too had joined a personal coaching in my first attempt (November 2016). Despite of being a personal one, it did not help and I slogged for a week to get a 311 in my first attempt.
With my low scores I decided to give it another shot and started preparing on my own from July 2017 to End of August 2017.
Here is how I prepared for GRE:
I downloaded the Magoosh GRE vocabulary app which I would do even if I was out with my friends or family. It helped build my vocabulary. Apart from that I would do 20-30 words everyday and if people advice mugging up doesn’t help, they are wrong. Once you know a word, you would encounter it in your practice and you would eventually get familiar with it. Having an idea is better than having no idea at all.
The GRE consists of Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completion and Verbal Reasoning.
The most important of all three is the Reading Comprehension section. Time yourself in Reading Comprehension. Every question in the verbal section must be done within 1.5 minutes. Hence, it is important to time yourself according to the number of questions.
Sentence Completion is a basic test of your vocabulary which can be scored very easily once you know your words. Whilst practicing your SC’s, if you do not know a word jot it down and write down its meaning. In this way I have made ample number of word lists of my own. Revise those whenever you take a break.
Text Completion with two or three blanks can be tricky. But ETS does provide hints in the sentence itself. Hence, with practice and better understanding of each sentence you can score very well in Text Completion.
For many students, their quants might be strong but they are still unable to score more than 160. It might be due to silly mistakes mainly and lack of revision of some basic concepts.
I suggest to do quant with extra attention as it might be tricky.
To understand the answers with fractions, negative and positive numbers is also very important and once it is understood, quant becomes relatively easy.
For me, the quantitative section has been quite refreshing and hence I would do atleast two practice sections everyday to brush up with my quant skills.
Everybody must be knowing that the list of issue and argument topics are specified in the ETS Website. If your writing skills are great you can just practice with your mock tests, else it is important to do both the topics everyday and time yourself.
I always jot down the Pros and Cons of the topic on paper. (Some people type it as well). I use my first five minutes in brainstorming.
Although everybody has their own way of writing I prefer this format:
I have always had fun writing down an argument essay because it clearly has a number of loopholes that can be easily pointed out and written about.
Here as well I take a few 2-3 minutes to jot down my points. STRUCTURE MATTERS A LOT IN BOTH YOUR ESSAYS.
If you lack time you can combine 5 and 6 as well.
Most of the common arguments I have encountered are: Lack of Numbers of Percentages mentioned to justify, Motivation of the author who is writing the recommendation (it sometimes can be doubted), A troubled analogy (Comparing a thing with another without comparing all factors), Small representativeness etc.
Take practice tests once in two or three days. Analyse your test and work on your weaknesses. Manhattan 5 lb. has enough practice for you to work on. You will slowly see your grades improving. If you follow a rough schedule, you can actually score a 320+ on your own and without any coaching!
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Statistics major from St.Xaviers College, Mumbai. Planning to pursue an MS in Analytics/Data Science.