Tips for Graduate Record Examination
I took the GRE exam on May 25, 2021.
Official scores are as follows: Q-164 V-157, 5.5 on AWA.
Now, I’d like to share my experience and errors with the posterity so that some of you can take advantage of it.
-Electrical Engineering Graduate
-Spent 3 months preparing for the GRE
-2nd-time taker, (the first one was the PBT version and not satisfactory, 2019)
Note: I think if you are an engineering graduate and confident in Math, there is no need to prepare for more than a month. However, I had to practice for more than 2 months to improve my pacing strategy in both reading and calculating.
My progression (in chronological order)
04/03/2021 – Manhattan 3: Q-151, V-149
13/03/2021 – Manhattan 4: Q-155, V-152
29/03/2021 – PowerPrep 1 (diagnostic): Q-152, V-154, AWA 3.5 (Evaluated by Gregmat)
15/04/2021 – PowerPrep 2 (diagnostic): Q-159, V-153, AWA 5.0 (Evaluated by Gregmat)
For the verbal, I only used the following to prepare:
Magoosh 1000 words PDF
Gregmat’s PDF (28 groups)
Gregmat’s Excel "Words from GRE Vocabulary Assessment Videos", contains YouTube quiz links
Big Book (for RC)
ETS Official Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions
For the Quant:
Big Book (for QC and Data Interpretation)
Official GRE Quantitative Practice Questions
ETS Gre PBT
The Test Day
I encountered 3 verbal sections with 1 incredibly harder than the average... I was 100% sure of it being an experimental section. I found the vocab quite challenging. For the quantitative, I think the difficulty level was quite similar to “Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions, Volume 1, Second Edition”.
This was the prompt that appeared on the argument essay writing task: “Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.”, which I hate most :/
The issue essay prompt was: "The main benefit of the study of history is to dispel the illusion that people living now are significantly different from people who lived in earlier times."
I honestly hate writing issue essays because they tend to raise prompts that you have never discussed nor seen in your personal life before. But the advantage is you can practice as much as you want by using the pool of issue topics since you will specifically encounter one of those from the pool (https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/analytical_writing/issue/pool) I strongly recommend you practice writing at least 2 essays (1 argument, 1 issue) each day if possible.
Week 1: failing to enter the exact variable on numeric entry questions the question prompts require
Example: "Give your answer to the nearest 0.01" I know this is silly, but I literally failed to do it correctly several times. (Rounding decimals)
W2: failing to understand the question stem (data interpretation sets; graphs, bars, lists)
W3: failing to assume that answers may be an integer, a decimal, or a fraction, and negative.
W4: failing to translate from words to an Algebraic representation
and so on. It turned out that I was impetuous. What did I do? I gave up with Manhattan and Kaplan and then decided to stick to the entire ETS material that they publicize in the market. Gregmat actually did not help me in fixing my pacing strategy nor reading comprehension. Because that's up to you. What I mostly benefitted from his live class sessions were the math and verbal concepts particularly, Critical Reasoning questions. Nevertheless, I know it is really hard to jump from +155 to +160, it took me almost 40 days to get around 160s, but I attribute my success to the ETS material really.
Overall, I don't know what to say but don't let the GRE be the thing that consumes you :/ I mean, If I had scored below 160 or even 158, I would have been satisfied anyway.