Mustering up the courage to attempt it is one thing, preparing for it is a whole ‘nother thing
Postshive has always tried to do its bit in being a helping hand for its readers. We’ve already covered on what the GRE Test is (click here), but the next three minutes will let you in how you can effectively prepare for the very tricky four-hour test that is the GRE and get a good score. Before you read on about GRE test prep, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind.
One, there is plenty of room for improvement in you (no matter how perfect you think you might be), and two, that the test is no walk in the park by any means. Here’s how I prepared for the test.
A little backstory
Your academic background is a key component in how well you will end up doing on the GRE. I had a bachelor’s degree in Engineering when I decided to apply for a very prestigious business school in Pakistan for an MBA, and I had a total of two months, give or take, to prepare for the exam. I had to get a very good score too, so I had to pull my socks up and make it my day job. I did not go to a GRE tutor, and prepared till the exam day on my own. The internet was my only source of help for the GRE test prep.
Discipline and the daily grind
The key to every goal oriented approach is to be disciplined, and that’s exactly what I had to be. Since I was short of time, I had to accomplish plenty in not as much time, so I got up every day at a certain time, and slept at a certain hour, making sure that I had enough sleep and rest to get in a twelve hour shift the next day, and I did this for a couple of months. I made sure I went out on the weekends, and also went to the gym every day for an hour, so recreation was also important. Staring at a computer screen all day will leave you so enervated by the night that you will simply need to have a break every now and then. The daily grind will frustrate you and leave you impatient, but whether or not you’ve got time on your hands, discipline is a staple for getting a good GRE score.
Getting down to business
GRE test prep required a certain curriculum to be studied, which in turn required me to complete certain books. I made use of three sources of help for my preparation.
The Manhattan 5Lb Book
The Manhattan 5Lb Book is the most comprehensive practice book you’ll find out there. There are thousands of practice questions for you to do, for both the Verbal and the Quantitative section. I set a target to complete the book in thirty days, and I achieved it. You will be prepared to touch the 300 mark on the test once the book is complete, but you’d want to go further of course.
The ETS GRE Official Guide
This helped me cross the 300 mark. The book is ETS’s official GRE guide, which will give you the closest experience of the actual level of the test any book out there can offer. I began it after completing the 5lb book, which you should too. The questions in the book are more difficult, and it would only be of help if you’re already at a certain standard in the preparation process. Use your performance in this book to judge your true standing.
Google-Baba for your GRE Test Prep
What I didn’t understand, I googled it. The internet is loaded with guides and prep material that will aid you every step of the way. I YouTubed my way to understanding certain mathematics concepts, and saw guides for doing the reading comprehension section, just to name a few. Make the search engine your best friend during the prep process.
These three things are all that I needed to get a good score on the GRE. Whether it will be enough for you too would have to be judged by you, yourself.
So how much did i score?
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned my GRE score so far. Well, I scored a 310/340, which is touted by most students as a good score, but I was left very disappointed – I should’ve gotten at least a 315. I’ll tell you why.
Bottom line – I bottled it on test day. I got nervous, mismanaged time, and ended up not doing justice to all the hours that I had put in preparing for the test. Rest assured – this can happen to most you. The test will be the greatest and most exhausting mental exercise of your life. You’ll be balancing a ticking clock with excessive thinking, that too in the most physically draining manner. You’ll come out of the test hungry, thirsty, and tired. Very tired.
Here’s how YOU can get a better score!
There’s only one thing I needed to get a better score – time. If I had had another month, I’m sure I would have gotten a better score. At the same time, if I had composed myself during the test, I could easily have scored to my potential. Fine margins my friends. Nonetheless, you should make sure that you schedule the test in a way that allows you at least three good months of preparatory time. It is worth mentioning here that there are also students who take a year to prepare and get less than 310, and there are also those that get more after prepping for just a month!
Sit down, analyze yourself and plan your preparation. Understand the score your Grad school requires and aim for it. The more stress-free you make your GRE test prep process, the better you’ll score. All you have to do is be disciplined and driven, and you’ll be seeing yourself acing the GRE test!