Hey Magooshers! Below, Mahesh has some awesome tips for those struggling with verbal. Thanks, Mahesh! 🙂
About me: Hey everyone! So my name is Mahesh Mistry, and I’m currently an intern project manager and small business owner from Tampa, Florida. My undergrad major is in Economics and Math, but my plans are to go to grad school for Architecture. My hobbies include graphic design, woodworking, watching soccer (and almost any show on television), and car modification.
Verbal was my biggest challenge: The reason I signed up for Magoosh in the first place was to get a better grip on the Verbal section of the GRE. Being a math major, I was fairly confident about my Quantitative Reasoning skills, though I did spend a good chunk of my time reviewing and fine tuning the subjects I wasn’t so good at (in my case, permutations, combinations, and counting). But the Verbal sections were what I really struggled with.
What I did to improve on my Verbal skills was use flashcards and really trying to get passage dissection down to a science.
I purchased Word Smart by Princeton Review, and hand-made flashcards for all 750+ words in that book. I made them out of halves of 3 by 5 index cards and kept them all in one box which I carried around with me. I HIGHLY recommend making your own flash cards as opposed to buying pre-made ones because it gives you an extra opportunity to learn the words by writing them down. I split the cards into sets of 20 and spent 5 days every week doing one set per day. I ended up finishing in about 8-9 weeks, and after that I pooled all the cards into one huge pile, shuffled them, and went through the entire set every day until I got them down. As I did Magoosh vocabulary questions, I wrote down the words I didn’t know as well as definitions in a small notebook.
To help me understand passages better, I went through all the Magoosh questions I could, and read at least 2-4 articles in The Economist every day until I got through the entire magazine cover to cover. I made sure I read articles even if the subject bored me, to prepare myself for a similar situation on the test itself and to make sure I can stay focused and alert during it. As I went through, I highlighted words I didn’t know, and wrote them down in my notebook. While I did the questions on Magoosh, I tried to dissect the passages systematically, writing down the different parts of the passage and noting when shifts and reasonings happened.
To touch up on my math skills, I got the Manhattan GRE Math book, but only went through the sections which I was weak at based on the questions I did on Magoosh. This saved me the time of going through every section and gave me more time to practice english.
If I could redo my studying: I would try to get a more extensive list of vocabulary words and start analyzing passages earlier in my study process (I began this in my last 3 weeks of studying, while I studied for vocabulary and math for more than 2 months).
Many of the words I encountered on the actual test were more difficult than the words I studied, or I just hadn’t encountered them before.
In addition, I would really try to work on my timings. I got through every section of the GRE, but for a few of them I didn’t have any time to go back and check my answers, which I would’ve liked to do.
Tips for other students:
– Don’t get discouraged if your mock scores plateau. It happened to me all throughout my practices, but just make sure you keep at it and your scores will improve.
– Register for your exam a few months away from now, and create a study plan accordingly. It makes the end goal more real. Magoosh’s blog provides an amazing plan, but take it and modify it to your specific needs.
– For your last week of studying before your exam, try to do as many mock tests as you can.
– For essays, read lots of samples and figure out what they all did right or wrong, and plan a style that works well for you.
– ENJOY IT! I know this is all about getting into grad school but the words you learn and the passages you read are all interesting, just have fun with it.