This Thursday, we’re hearing Muhammad’s story. Thanks for the tips! 🙂
About me: I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I’ve graduated from college in 2005 with BS in Computer Science. Since then I’ve been working as a Software Engineer. Currently, I’m planning to do a Masters in Software Engineering or Data Science in an American or German university. I enjoy outdoor activities like 5K/10K runs. I also like rock concerts a lot!
My GRE experience: Reading comprehension was definitely a challenge! Primarily because of the limited time. Initially, I tried to leverage to my natural readability, i.e., I tried to approach reading comprehension as not any special GRE(!) reading. This was essentially a psychological factor. Once I was able to do that, I took practice tests in Magoosh. I found that I was correct on 80-100% easy or medium questions and 30-50% on hard or very hard questions. To improve on the 30-50%, I tried to retain the important points of the passage in memory; for long sentences with convoluted meaning, I tried to crack sentence structures which essentially meant finding out how comma, semicolon, hyphen etc. worked in those sentences. In the end, I probably was able to improve up to 50-60% but I only had about 4/5 weeks for the complete GRE preparation.
What I would do differently if I took the test again: I would use Magoosh practice questions from the start. I started using Magoosh 2/3 weeks before the exam and for practice exams to find out my limitations. This time, I would divide the practice in i) an initial foray into Magoosh, 2-4 hours everyday for the first week, to figure out the difficulties in GRE problems and to resolve the issues, ii) step-2, take 2/3 full length practice tests in Magoosh in the 2nd week to see improvement and continuously working to improve further, and iii) final practice in Magoosh and issue resolution – in the final 2-3 weeks. Issue resolution in all steps would include Magoosh video tutorials and Manhattan GRE books.
Tips for other students: i) Vocabulary is definitely not an issue. Don’t do any 4000 word list and their synonyms. Magoosh 1000 word flashcards or Manhattan 1000 are enough. If you really want to do more, then do the synonyms for those 1000. BTW, Magoosh and Manhattan vocabularies are quite similar.
ii) Start relaxing a week before the exam, definitely 2/3 days before the exam. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on valuable points for preparations that may not be worth anything. It happened to me. I was preparing feverishly on the day before the exam and on the night before I simply couldn’t sleep because of the anxious day. In the end, this cost me 4-5 points in quantitative. I wasn’t able to comprehend quite a few questions even though I had the ability to do so.