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GRE Student Post: My Test Day Experience

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 2.25.56 PMWant to hear a first hand account about test day? Read on to learn about Siddharth’s experience with the exam. 

Hey guys! I’m Siddharth Diwanji from Mumbai. I am currently pursuing my final year of engineering from Pune. I haven’t really decided much about grad school except that my first preference is Singaporean Universities (NUS).I would like to talk about my GRE test experience with the test itself.

Preparation Materials: almost everything. Manhattan: 5lb, all 8 volumes , advanced question bank. ETS guide, NOVA, The GMAT Official Guide , GMAT club book, LSAT 3 prep tests, Barron’s 6 practice tests and 19th edition guide, Magoosh .

Vocabulary: Manhattan basic and advanced, Magoosh online 1000  flashcards, Barron’s 1100.

Essay practice: Manhattan 5 lb  and Magoosh, ETS score it now (my score :3.5)

Tests: Manhattan all 6 tests, power prep 2 tests, Magoosh 4 tests, 2 Kaplan tests (their free online event ) and 2 ETS paper tests (from ETS guide).

Target score: 321

Preparation time : 2 and half months


Section 1: 


Section 2:

Verbal (experimental I think ): As soon as I started this section, I blanked on the first question . I flagged it and then went on to the next question–that too I couldn’t answer . It was my most horrible section I had ever given ever. I could barely answer any questions. What went wrong ?  The sentence structures were really convoluted but with very simple vocabulary, exempli gratia :

I am not a _ but neither a _ nor a  _ (options: simple vocabulary)

While I was hoping for a vocabulary intensive section, the vocab in my first verbal section was very easy.  By that time, anxiety had already taken its toll.

Section 3: 

I started the math section fine, encountering questions that were very similar to those I saw on Magoosh. And then came Data interpretation, and I was shocked to see that the questions were really tricky. Still no signs of improvement.

The scary part was that I could actually imagine my scores dropping from 340 to 330 to 325 with every feeble attempt.


I went outside and just thought about my next course of action. I knew that I had to come out of this even if it meant getting only a 310.

Section 4:

Slightly easier verbal section but with the same convoluted sentence structure. RCs were tough as usual with a lot of philosophy and literature RCs  going around.  Still  very much same old same old. Surprisingly, the  paragraph arguments were very easy.

Section 5:

For those thinking about how tough ETS math can be, this was the toughest math section I have ever given.  The questions were slightly  tougher than Magoosh and Manhattan. NOT a single standard deviation, quartile , box plot , parabola , normal distribution question , in my entire test, yet there were many devious probability and combinations questions. However, I did have one or two similarly worded Magoosh questions.

Section 6:  

Another verbal section. This one included difficult verbal sections with long RCs. I also finally got some tougher vocabulary questions resembling Magoosh and Manhattan test structures, which exactly is my cup of tea.

Final Score:  320 {q165 v 155} AWA: 4

Closing comments:

Having a prodigious vocabulary may help you in life but for the GRE, prepare to be disappointed . Let me be very clear–the GRE WAS THE TOUGHEST EXAM I HAVE EVER GIVEN.  There is a life lesson here.  Be absolutely mentally prepared for the worst case scenario and also have a lower limit score so that if you hit between the limits you are okay.

I wish each and every one of you the best of luck for the GRE. Hope you do get your target score. 🙂 Magoosh premium definitely is the only way to go. Diligent hard work is an absolute must.


Au revoir, everybody!



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6 Responses to GRE Student Post: My Test Day Experience

  1. Siddharth Diwanji February 18, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi Girish,
    My skills are a tad rusty now because it has been like 5 months . There is no clear path or a formula for GRE success.But the closest that can come is Magoosh. Trust me, keep a schedule , set your goals say xxx gre score.
    For these months just study,study,study.No movies,no hangouts,minimal college

    Give a lot of papers ,You will see an improvement in score eventually..Remember Gre has only 10 % importance / rest 90% is all about a good profile . I have seen people go with average scores to Yale because of a good profile.

    1) All in all (What to study):
    Magoosh(everything)-manhattan(6 tests +5 lb + volumes)-nova(maths only)-ETS guides

    2) Flashcards:
    Manhattan(basic+advanced) and Magoosh

    2) Papers(timeline):

    Manhattan(all 6)- Power prep 1st test- Magoosh 2 tests- Powerprep 2nd test- Magoosh 2 for last.

    3) Extra practice(Even harder than GRE):

    Gmat official guide(RC,logical reasoning and quant) + Lsat 2 papers(For RC) + rc

    You will be on a way higher level than GRE once you do all of these. If you are struggling just start with basic problems 5 q’s on timer. If u get anything wrong do it again . Do it till u feel it is okay to move on.
    And revise at least once every month .

    Wish you success for all your future endevours…

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel February 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks for (the additional) awesome tips, Siddharth! 😀

  2. Girish February 16, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    Omg! sidharth,bro u sounded too proficient with your preparation and still u found the exam too tough!! this itself gives me goosebumps bro! but for me i have to complete the exam with flying colours and for me flying colours can be around 300-320..i dont expect a score more than that or less than kindly wind me up with some simple suggestions to score in the expected range..i can aver that my GRE prep is already on! and i am struggling with my quant and verb…:)

  3. Chethan October 5, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Thank you for the valuable insight, Sidharth

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel October 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

    • Siddharth Diwanji October 9, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Thank you so much chethan . Yeah gre can be truly be a grueling experience but honestly its just another beast that can be tamed with hours and hours of pure practice be it the verbal or the quantitative or the analytical sections.

      Best of luck for your gre preparations and also on your applications .

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