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Aaskash: Why You Should Practice Time Management (and Bring Snacks!) for the GRE

Here’s a write-up from Aakash, who took his exam the day before yesterday. You can submit your own or check out the list of stories from other students at Student New GRE Experiences.  Enjoy!

“Hello everyone,

My name is Aakash, and I am in my final year as a B. Tech student of  Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.

I took the revised GRE General test yesterday evening (Sep 20, 2011) in Trivandrum, Kerala. I was praying to get quant  first as I wanted to have 3 of these and 2 sections of verbal, and God certainly did smile at me.

In the end, after a hard-fought battle these were my scores:

Quant: 750-800
Verbal: 440-540

I had prepared for the test for around 37 days but could not devote my full attention to it initially because of numerous other issues.

I used the following prep material:

1. ETS Official Guide: A must for the new GRE. They give you the format that they use on the test. There is also a good number of practice problems, so you should definitely use this one.

2. The Princeton Review Crash Course for the New GRE: Now, I must tell you that I really liked this book. It is more of a strategy book which tells you to how to approach different problems in a specific manner. I think all of these tips were really helpful on exam day. Its a small, handy book that you can always have with you unlike its other bulkier counterparts. In fact, after reading this book, I thought that the Princeton Review for the Revised GRE (the bigger version) might be a good option. However, I personally did not use it. Also in the Crash Course book, I learned strategies for the Analytical Writing section which I used to the fullest extent on test day.

Then, I had Magoosh which was the best step I took for my GRE prep. I started practicing, checking for accuracy, and took a lot of timed custom tests. 10 days before my exam, I was anxious because of a horrendous verbal score in Powerprep (I could not finish the section in time). Hansoo suggested that I watch the video lessons and gave them to me; I believe others couldn’t access them until a few days later. Throughout my prep I was always in touch with Hansoo regarding the strategy and the target. Smile

So, broadly speaking, I focused on verbal, since I did not have much of a problem with quant. I used Barron’s high frequency word list (definitely not the 3500 one with 1 month to go, just the one with 333 words) and one I found in the HappySchools blog. Then, it was all about reading comprehensions, text completion, and sentence equivalence. Also, I was regularly catching up with posts the Magoosh blog. There were very helpful posts for verbal from Chris.

For dealing with words I did check the website for their contextual usage.

I think the verbal section could have been better Frown. I would like to have had greater speed in answering questions, while still maintaining accuracy, of course!

For improving reading comprehension I would suggest that everyone use Google Reader and subscribe to some popular magazines like The New Yorker, The Atlantic etc. I was following this approach but in my opinion it has to be done consistently over a longer period for a marked improvement.

My suggestion for all would be to take a few timed tests for verbal and quant because time management is very vital in the new GRE format!

So thats it from my side. Hope the post helps those with similar time constraints.


PS: Dont forget to take some light snacks for the 10 minute break after the third section! (I had 2 bananas and a whole bar of milk chocolate Laughing.)”


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

3 Responses to Aaskash: Why You Should Practice Time Management (and Bring Snacks!) for the GRE

  1. Hamza October 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Thanks. I’ll have to check with the exam center regarding this.

    Where I’m taking the exam the lockers are not in the same building as the testing area; I don’t think they’ll let us leave even during the 10 min break.

    Yup, imprisonment all the way! 🙂

  2. Hamza October 5, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    You’re joking with the last statement, right?

    You’re not allowed to take food inside the exam center, just your identification material.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris October 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      Actually, they are very very strict in terms of what you can take into the testing center. Basically, you are not allowed to take anything. They even make you empty out all your pockets and turn and them inside out just to insure you are not hiding anything. The experience is somewhat degrading, and must be similar to feeling of going to prison. Of course, with the GRE you are only “imprisoned” until you are allowed a break. During that time, you can go back to a locker in which you are allowed to store food. I recommend having some good snack food just in case.

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