The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is one of the requirements for graduate admission into schools in the US, Canada and a few other developed countries. So if you are planning to study in any of these countries, you may be required to pass the GRE test.
This is not an easy exam and the failure rate is rather high, but if you follow the strategies below, you will increase your chances of acing this exam:
Understand the GRE Format
You need to know and understand the exam format in order to ace it. Generally, GRE is divided into three sections: analytical writing, verbal and quantitative.
Knowing what each section entails and the different types of questions to expect as well as the timing for each section would help you remain calm and focused during the exam.
We have provided some specific tips for each section of the exam as well as information on how to deal successfully with the computerized GRE.
Tips for the Verbal Section
- Don’t waste time if you are stuck. Choose your best guess and move on! The computer won’t let you go on until you’ve marked and confirmed an answer, and believe it or not, finishing the section is a better option that dwelling on a few hard questions.
- Remember that words can have more than one meaning
- Roman numeral and negative/exception questions are often tricky and time consuming so if you can’t crack it in the first minute, please move on.
- Avoid picking obvious answers. Always make certain that it answers the question correctly.
- For sentence completion questions, be sure to read the entire sentence before looking at the individual blanks.
- Pay attention to transition words. The GRE test uses a lot of transition words to give you clues regarding the correct answer.
Tips for the Math Section
- Calculators are not allowed. The questions mostly require logic and common sense
- Memorize formulas before you take the test.
- For quantitative comparison questions, ensure you triple-check your answer before confirming them – the correct answers often aren’t the obvious ones.
- For problem solving questions, don’t get confused – be certain of what exactly the question is asking.
- Before you begin working on a problem, read the answer choices. You may be able to estimate and answer without working out the solution.
Tips for the Analytical Writing Section
Keep the following tips in mind for the analytical writing section:
- Make your opinion known to the readers in the introductory paragraph.
- Give supporting reasons and examples for your perspective (and anticipating and addressing counterarguments).
- Create a final paragraph that summarizes, not merely repeats, the points of your essay.
Tips for Taking the Computerized GRE
The electronic version of the GRE presents questions based on your previous answers, but you don’t have to be alarmed. Just follow the following tips:
- The first five or so questions in each section are critical, so take your time to answer them correctly.
- You can’t skip and go back to a question, so guess quickly and move on when you’re confused. Remember: You benefit from answering every question so don’t waste time on a few
- Keep an eye on the clock. Sprint to the end if you have to, being sure to fill in something for every answer before time runs out.
Use a combination of books
Don’t rely on any one single book. There are several great books to help you prepare for your test but each book has its strength and weakness, so combine at least two of them for maximum impact.
Give yourself enough time to take the test
Give yourself enough study time to prepare and even more importantly, take the test a few months before you plan to send your admission applications. That way, if you don’t meet your targeted score (which should not happen if you follow these strategies), you would still have enough time to retake the exam before you need to apply for admission.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare
I cannot emphasize this enough! It does not matter how smart you think you are but ensure that in the weeks and days leading up to your GRE test, try to prepare as much as you can. Also try to do as many practice tests as possible. Practice in a timed mode to mimic the real test. Practice with Powerprep writing platform or notepad (not Microsoft word) to make you conversant with the typing platform. The more you practice the more efficient you get. Unfortunately, I cant recommend a particular number of hours to study but just be sure you spend at least 2 hours a day preparing. Don’t forget: prepare, prepare, prepare
Don’t linger on one section.
If you find any question difficult, simply mark that question and move on to others. Don’t waste time trying to solve one question for over 1 minute.
As soon as you are done with a particular section, please move on whether you performed well or not. Musing over whether you performed well or not will keep you from focusing on the next section.
You have other sections to deal with and you need a focused, optimistic mindset to proceed successfully. There’s no use crying over spilt milk.
You have 5 chances per year to write the GRE. But that is not your business since you plan to pass at your first attempt.
Prepare as best as you can and use all the strategies above.
The end definitely justifies the means.
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