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GRE Student Post: Avoid Procrastination!

Arun Prasad

Want to know how Arun beat his procrastination and conquered the GRE? Read on! 

About me: My Name is Arun Prasad. I am from Bangalore, India. By education, I am a Mechanical Engineer and by profession, I’m an Aerospace Engineer. I am presently working for Cessna Aircraft Company in Bangalore as a Manufacturing Engineer. I have a total work experience of about 5.5 years. I received an admit from IIM Calcutta for their PGPEX-VLM Program, which is a one year executive MBA program offered jointly by IIM-Calcutta, IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Madras which focuses on creating visionary leaders for Manufacturing. I’d be starting in April 2014. My hobbies/interests lie in Aero-modeling, playing badminton, solving Rubik’s Cubes and my newly found interest – blogging. I maintain 2 blogs, which you can find here and here.

My biggest Challenge on the exam: Being an engineer I made 2 assumptions: 1. Verbal is very difficult for non-native English speakers, and 2. For engineers, Math is a cakewalk. I was wrong in both my assumptions. 🙁  English turned out to be very easy for me and math turned out to be challenging. Many GRE aspirants (especially from India) believe the myth that to succeed in the verbal section, one needs to be very good with vocabulary words. But it turns out that vocab-in-context is what matters the most. There is absolutely no point in endlessly memorizing word lists without understanding the usage. I came up with a blog post sometime back that talks about how I improved my English. You can find the post here. Additionally, following the Magoosh blog posts were very helpful. I haven’t seen a guy more passionate about teaching GRE vocab than Chris. He is absolutely so enthusiastic, passionate and has a great comical sense while teaching. Also, Vocab Wednesday was a great thing.

In the Math Section, again, many engineers underestimate this section. The math seemed all too simple since it was at a basic high school level. In math, the most challenging part for me was “to do it within the specified time,” not how to do it. Remember, there are multiple ways to solve a math problem. Which method you use makes a remarkable difference in the score. Any GRE math problem is solvable provided we have unlimited time to solve it. But, solving under a specified time and under pressure is what one needs to practice. Magoosh tutors highlight both the methods and illustrate the difference. I found many top rated GRE books were filled with errors. So, only use authentic sources to prepare. I choose Magoosh as my main preparation source along with the Manhattan series and the Manhattan 5 LB book. Nevertheless, Magoosh was the biggest weapon in my armory.

Tips for other students:

Tip #1 : Avoid procrastination
There are 2 kinds of GRE aspirants.
1. Those who book the GRE date (say 3 months in advance) and then prepare for GRE exam
2. Those who first decide to prepare for the GRE (3-6 months) and then book a date for GRE exam

The students who fall in the second category (including me), probably suffer from “Procrastination Syndrome”. I had this “Procrastination Syndrome” for nearly 2 years. My number one tip/suggestion to GRE aspirants is to stop procrastinating and book a GRE slot immediately. Procrastination does not only apply to booking the GRE slot. When you get a question wrong, many of us tend to oversee why the question went wrong. Whenever you get a question wrong, immediately try to figure out why it went wrong, rather than postponing to do so.

Tip #2: Live and breath the GRE
GRE prep is not a destination, it’s a journey. Every day is a day for GRE preparation. To improve in the verbal section, try using the vocab words with your friends and family. They’ll be shocked to hear you, some may even make fun, but never mind. Remember that preparing for GRE verbal is more or less preparing for grad school or even your professional career. Even after I was done with GRE, I could still spot these words in newspapers, articles and every day usage.

Tip #3: Choose your sources wisely
There are thousands of resource out there in the market. Remember to prepare only from authentic resources. I highly recommend Magoosh. Magoosh alone as a package is sufficient to crack the GRE with flying colors. It has video lessons, every question explanation, a fantastic dashboard, options to review questions – overall, having Magoosh is like having a private tutor at home. I would say that “the best $99 that you could ever spend is on Magoosh.” Instead of buying various resources and wasting money, use one comprehensive resource. Apart from Magosh, I’d suggest the Manhattan 5LB book and its test series.


Tip #4: Make sure to choose the right test for YOU!
I was one of those bewildered b-school aspirants who was stuck in the GRE/GMAT confusion – whether to take the GRE or the GMAT for b-school admission. I decided to go with the GRE for 2 reasons:
1. My target school accepts both GRE/GMAT and gives equal weight-age for either of the two.

2.Personally I found GRE to be easier than the GMAT

My advice to those having the same confusion – research your target schools, talk to them and find out which is their preferred test. Also, take a mock test of GRE and GMAT and then decide which one is the right one for you. 🙂


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One Response to GRE Student Post: Avoid Procrastination!

  1. Mireille June 28, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    Such an inspirational post! I even read your post from Arounynamics and found that interesting, as well! For instance, I was wondering why I never heard of WordPandit before, but after visiting the website, I understood why – it’s kind of like an Indian Magoosh. However, I couldn’t really get to their famous mnemonic flashcards (except for a couple given out as examples), nor was able to figure out what products they are selling and for how much. Not that I was planning to sign up for anything, just pure curiosity.

    I also wondered if you ended up moving closer to your worksite, to save the 4 hours of your daily commute for your GRE studies…and also if you ended up reaching your goal score in GRE and if that eventually helped you get into the program you had in mind at the beginning of your journey. Wishing you the best, just like in “let the best win!” 🙂

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