ABOUT ME. I’m Ogonna Anaekwe from Nigeria. My bachelor’s degree is in economics. I like watching football, the Big Bang Theory, Suits, and Scandal. Also, I never tire of watching 24 (Jack Bauer is awesome). I like watching people dance and sing. (Yeah! I watch a lot, sometimes I over-watch. I can’t wait for the next episodes of Suits and Scandal.) What I find most enjoyable, however, is challenging myself, something I won’t write on, in deference to your patience and time.
MOST DIFFICULT CONCEPTS ON THE GRE. The graduate schools to which I’m applying greatly emphasize the quantitative section of the GRE, where I spent the bulk of my (preparation) time. I knew early on that I had difficulties with a number of mathematical concepts especially probability, permutation, and combination: here, Magoosh was a godsend. The video tutorials (as well as the practice problems) on these topics were truly exceptional: I’ve yet to see better explanations to permutation and combination. Nonetheless, the most difficult concept I had to grapple with was something (about the quantitative section of the GRE) that I found counter-intuitive: The quantitative section of the GRE is not meant to test your computational skills; contrariwise, it’s designed to ensure you avoid tedious computations. I bet this realization made all the difference for me. In fact, during my practice sessions, I stopped solving immediately when I realized I was doing tedious computations. Over time, I trained myself to avoid tedious computations, trying instead to find the tricks in the questions. Really, on the quantitative section of the GRE, there are at least two ways to solve any given question: the first way (which I think is more natural) is to do tedious computations, and the second (which I find less natural, but more efficient and time-saving) is finding the trick to any question, and in that way gleefully duck tedious computations. I highly recommend you choose the latter.
WHAT WOULD I CHANGE ABOUT MY STUDIES? Nothing. Ok, maybe something; just one thing. I combined The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test and Magoosh, a combination I found rewarding. Perhaps, if I had to change anything, I might only add the Manhattan materials given their copious math questions. I was low on finances, and could afford only The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test and Magoosh.
TIPS FOR OTHER STUDENTS. Surely, no one needs to be told to study for the GRE: it’s that obvious. Learn touch-typing; it would make you more confident and efficient in the analytical writing section. (I learnt with Mavis Beacon.) If you’re anything like me, in your last (two) sections, you might feel tired. No worries. This is simple to overcome: Just think about Serena Williams or Lionel Messi. Fatigue stops neither of them from being exceptional, nor should it deter you. Again, having a target is important (Yes, have one!), but it is not as important as believing that you can ace the GRE: whether or not the GRE is easy or difficult is irrelevant here. Simply believe that you can ace it. Believe. Seriously, believe. And don’t fear that you might perform below your expectation or abilities. I mean, have no fear of failure. You probably heard that failure doesn’t determine you, nor is it final. (When I first took the GRE, I had 153 in both the verbal and the quantitative sections; on my second attempt, I had 165 in the verbal section and 160 in the quantitative section.) You need to have the mentality of a winner, who understands that failure is not final, and that in winning a war, you often lose some battles. I’ve a quote (from Samuel Beckett) that greatly inspires me, and I hope it inspires you as well; I first saw it when I failed terribly at something some time ago; here: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail again. Fail better.” Bon chance!
P.S. If you want, we can connect on facebook; search for Ogo Nna. Or, you may send an email: ogonnaDOTanaekweATgmailDOTcom