This week, Alberto is telling us about his experience with the exam. He got a perfect verbal score, and a 169 quant. Amazing job, Alberto!
Hi! My name is Alberto and I am from Mexico City. This coming fall I will be a Senior at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. I am majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Economics. After graduation, I’d like to pursue a PhD in either Neuroscience or Biology. I keep myself busy in school by working in a lab and being very involved in Delta Upsilon (my Fraternity) and Greek Life in general.
When I first decided to take the GRE, I took one of the PowerPrep tests and got low 150s for both sections. English being my 3rd language, I decided I’d focus on the Verbal Reasoning and AWA sections first. I realized that the quickest route to a higher Verbal score was to expand my vocabulary. While I already made a habit of reading the Economist and the Atlantic, I would often encounter words I did not know, but would try to guess the meaning from the context instead of looking it up. After watching the vocabulary lessons, I made it a point to look up every single word that I didn’t know. I also began making flashcards with those words and used them in addition to the Magoosh flashcards[Update!: Flashcards just got even better with our new GRE flashcards!]. Eventually, after I felt my vocabulary was up to snuff, I started watching all the rest of the Magoosh lesson videos. To my surprise, most of the mistakes I had made in the Quantitative section stemmed from me not knowing just a couple of number and probability properties. From then on, it was smooth sailing! Having armed myself with all the knowledge our Magoosh had to give, all that stood between me and my dream scores were countless hours of reading and practice.
I very strongly recommend that you pinpoint what topics you need to work on and give yourself a reward each time you master one of them. I know it sounds silly, but that went a long way in keeping me motivated. The only other word of advice I can give you is to try to take as many full length practice tests as you can. I made the mistake of only taking the two on PowerPrep, and I am certain that getting used to the duration of the test would have made it less stressful!