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GRE Student Post: 18 Days to a 322

Rahul scored a 322 after only 18 days of studying. Read on to find out how he did it! 🙂 

About Me: I am Rahul from Nellore, India. I love movies, I photograph and make films, and I live by developing software programs. I graduated from IIT-BHU (Banaras Hindu University) in India.

My biggest challenge: I’ve been good at maths (quant) since childhood. However, I used to clear English with only passing marks. For instance, during the 10th grade, I scored 99/100 in maths, yet I was stuck at 73 in English. The pattern continued my entire life until my last GRE attempt.

With my dumb-at-reading background, it was daunting even to look at those thousands of words sorted alphabetically. It was always a tug of war between me and the recondite word monsters, and the practice looked as if I was going to have to memorise a dictionary whose easy words were filtered out. I tried to do the same with a word memorising app – MEMRISE. I gave up after a while because I would forget these words in no time. Later, with a fortuitous finding of Word Power Made Easy–which was a gift from my dad in the 5th grade that I never read–I started understanding words, their roots and appropriate usage. Guess what? After the first 2 chapters, I started loving the project. I didn’t have to memorise these words, but I actually understood them. It got interesting after taking up Magoosh, whose team put in tremendous and scrupulous efforts in making such an informative product–perfect to learn from and the right way to practice. I improved my comprehension and vocabulary skills with the help of Magoosh.  Initially, I tried to memorise for the exam, which did not work out at all. Understanding the concepts through their roots helped during my IIT-JEE and now for the GRE. I strongly agree with Chris, as he says that, the effort one puts in verbal should be continued throughout their life.

I gave GRE without preparation, in which I scored 306 -143V and 163Q, and 2.5 AWA. Then I gave my GRE on July 8th and I started my preparation on 19th of June focusing only on GRE. I felt if I had been reading novels or books analytically (attentively, with the intention to comprehend the entire book and able to comprehend).

With Magoosh’s well structured study material and timed-practice, I could strengthen my weaker areas and revise the stronger ones. It also gave me an opportunity to break the patterns of carelessness, by forcing me to think about the problems in all the possible directions, while keeping track of time consumption. I started solving 70 verbal questions a day and 70 math, learning words from the flash cards at the same time. I used to feel relaxed solving math after solving the frustrating Verbal questions and then revise the words from the flash cards in an incognito window with out logging into Magoosh, so that my history won’t be saved and start all these words all over again. This entire process took around 12 hours a day. It was exhausting and enervating during the first week and I used to watch Seinfeld TV series, 4 episodes a day during the break after every 3 hours, he uses at least 2 so-called-GRE words in every episode and helped me relax.

I finished all the lessons, problems, words in 12 days and I could remember all of these words, it was an arduous effort. Next 4 days, I worked on Magoosh Verbal section again, when I remembered all the words with the help of Quizlet, continuing the same procedure I followed while solving for the first time.

Now, I took ETS practise tests for the next 2 days, I scored 169Q+153V and 167Q+150V. I scored only 3.0 in AWA with ETS Essay grading. I asked a friend to evaluate my with Issue essays and I worked incessantly for AWA Argument.

I came back and worked on the quant’s very hard and hard problems as well as verbal’s hard and very hard problems which are mostly easy questions, if you understand the concepts well. As I do not have a good English background and exposure, I scored 152 in the Verbal. However, I scored 170 in quant and 4.0 in AWA.

Bottom line: With hard work, careful and timed practice, deep understanding of the concepts and Vocabulary will lead the results.
18 day plan:
  • First six-days:
    • Vocab is the king, so understand/memorise the first 400 words
    • Solve RC(Reading Comprehension) questions as much as possible
    • Start reading the editorial section of the News-papers
    • Understand your weak areas in maths and focus on them
  • Next 6-days:
    • Now that you got a hang of it, finish the remaining 600 words
    • Solve the TC (Text Completion) and SE(sentence Equivalence) questions and save the unknown words with the help of 
    • After listening to lessons, solve all the Quant problems 
    • If you want additional practise, take up 5lb Manhattan book and focus on your weak subject
    • Continue to read the editorial section of the News papers
  • Final 5 days:
    • Take ETS power-prep test
    • Revise and practise the words and concepts
    • Do not attempt to learn something new, but strengthen your concepts by solving the tough questions
    • Revise all the words which you saved and the 1000 Magoosh words. In my experience, I was comfortable understanding 90% of the words in the actual GRE exam.
    • Have a friend to grade your essays and improve the essays so that you would not repeat the mistakes.
  • On the exam day:
    • Please carry some snacks (protein fruit would be preferable) which you can consume during the break and have a lot of water outside as they do not allow water-bottles inside the examination hall
    • Be cool, it is not the end of the world if you do not perform well, there are millions of opportunities for non MS students also
    • Please carry your ID, I have seen many GRE-Takers who go without passport and had to cancel their exam
    • Reach the examination hall at least 45 mins before, as they start the exam first come – first start. Starting soon, you can reduce disturbance from surrounding typing sounds while writing essays.
All the best for your GRE guys.

PS: If you think you are good at verbal and weak at quant, I think you can interchange the above schedule for maths with verbal, dedicating more time towards maths and practise verbal problems.

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2 Responses to GRE Student Post: 18 Days to a 322

  1. Savita Bhabhi November 19, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Hey, next time please write a 18 Hours to a 322 :).

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel November 19, 2014 at 11:30 am #


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