Here’s Sathish’s advice for preparation and test day, based on his exam experience. He includes a lot of great, very specific tips and advice! If you’d like to read others like these, or submit your own write-up after you take your exam, head over to our Student New GRE Experiences page. Enjoy!
“Out of the obligation to all I learnt from others’ GRE experiences and out of my own curiosity and interest, I will share my experience with the revised GRE. My scores are modest compared to some of our friends here who passed with flying colours; in fact, that is why you can hope to learn more hints (from my mistakes J) from my experience.
Background: I am from India. I graduated 2.5 years ago and have been employed in a private MNC since then. This is my first experience with the GRE. I took the test on November 23rd.
I prepared for about 2 months. My preparation during the first month was superficial because of my employment nature and the additional hours it demanded during this time. During the second month I found some time in the evenings.
Official GRE Guide – Very useful
Gruber’s complete GRE guide – Almost completely useless
Magoosh.com – Very useful
Manhattan’s GRE (SE, SC, RC, and Essays) – Very useful
GMAT high frequency wordlist – Useful (few Android apps also come quite handy with world lists, but you certainly have to research every word as you learn)
Here is my suggestion: Study the high frequency words with usage information. Do this first. As you continue with other parts of your preparation start using these words contextually. Magoosh and Manhattan offer very good strategies for the verbal section. Taking the Chris’s suggestions seriously will pay off. The key is to follow the strategies – break over the inertia that prevents you from doing so. If you are not from an English-speaking country, you have to put in a tremendous amount of time in practise: not only in practise problems (Magoosh offers a good set of practise questions. It is hard to find this in books from popular publishers) but also in The Economist, NYTimes, etc.
I followed the above-mentioned suggestions but with a lot of confusion, vagueness and uncertainties thrown in. (-)
As I come from engineering background, I did not spend much time on Math, so I have no suggestions for Math prep. My quant performance was lower than what I had hoped for, because on the exam day I had poor mental composure. Make sure you don’t compromise that. I practised 75% of the problems from Magoosh. Of course, nothing can help if one does not focus on the exam day. (-)
Having a study partner helps a lot.
For practise tests I used Powerprep, The Official Guide Paper-Based test and the 6 practise tests from Manhattan. They are very helpful. If you have time, don’t skip mock tests. I scored better on them than the real one though.
I took the test in Frankfurt: a very comfortable test centre, in terms of infrastructure and the way how they receive the students and set up the GRE experience. The test went as below.
AW1 – Vague topic (L)
AW2 – Not so hard topic (Enough points, but poor language)
Q1 – On par with ‘Magoosh – Hard’
V1 – On par with ‘Magoosh – Hard’
Q2 – On par with ‘Magoosh – Medium’
V2 – On par with ‘Magoosh – Medium’
Q3 – On par with ‘Magoosh – Easy/Medium’
Verbal: 160 – 86% – (600 – 610) :/
Quant: 164 – 91% – (790) :/
I am looking forward to getting an MS in Electrical Engineering (specifically high speed electronics/communication electronics). I am uncertain if I should apply with these scores or if I should retake, as I don’t know if the scores bolsters my application strongly enough. Experienced friends out there: can you advise me on which university will be my best bet?”