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GRE Prep & the way forward.

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

GRE prep and how I went about getting 318.

I didn't get the highest score, was not aiming for a 340 on 340, was aiming for enough to get through my preferred course (In this case, Michigan State University whose average score according to their website was 314 for the course I was looking for).

As like everything in my life, everything has a process.

Prep material: I took a subscription to Magoosh, as suggested by a couple of peers and that turned out to be the best decision ever. And, the official ETS guide.

Step 1: The BAD first week.

Starting off, Math was tough. I could not remember my basic school formulas nor could get anything right. The struggle was real. I almost regretted scheduling my exam 5 weeks later. But, I stuck to it - Read everything went through the formulas everyday till I managed to remember most of it. Downloaded Magoosh's free guide to formulas - over the course added my own scratches and scribbles to it to include everything.

English, now I was not the best in English but did grow up reading a lot of books. My vocabulary was not the best but I was decent, maybe even good. I started doing Magoosh's English practice sessions and sessions from the official ETS guide practice book. I was told to learn up words. Well, not my ballgame.

Started, reading the words but in context - specifically the top words for GRE. There are multiple lists that cover the same, I did a little fromm here and little from there. This was pretty much the amount of English practice I did.

Step 2: Practice, and some more practice.

My next 2-3 weeks were focused on just practice. I had a target everyday - close to 100-120 problems. My work session break down:

  1. Do problems from Magoosh

  2. Re-do the problems that I messed up or didn't know how to do from Magoosh

  3. Do problems from official ETS guide

  4. Re-do the problems that I messed up or didn't know how to do from official ETS guide

  5. Identified the areas where I am not confident

  6. Did those specific areas from Kaplan, Barron's GRE, Manhattan and Princeton.

  7. Re-do the problems that I messed up or didn't know how to do from Kaplan, Barron's GRE, Manhattan and Princeton.

  8. Re-did all the problems from Magoosh and Official ETS guide

I like to think, I cracked the code to GRE Math - practice.

The biggest problem I realized was that most books don't have problems that are similar to the ones tested in the examination. Official ETS guide is your bible. You should be able to solve every problem in that. FAST.

Time is another consideration that needs to be incorporated and that can only be done with a lot of practice.

Step 3: The final mile.

The importance of doing practice papers cannot be stressed on enough. I did all the available Official ETS practice tests and my final scores were in the range of the score that I finally got. The breakdown of practice tests schedule:

  1. ONE ETS official test

  2. Practice tests from any and every source

  3. Re-do problems from areas that you are messing up

  4. ETS official tests

That was it. Your last week or two should be dedicated to doing these tests!

Step 4: The written section.

I honestly spent 60 mins practicing for this section. Went through the official guide and website for probable topics, read a couple of given answers that scored high and their expectations from this section from a couple of blogs.

This was my "not-so-secret", sauce - I am not sure if it will work for you, worked perfectly for me. Hope this helps. Do reach out to me through the contact form in case you want to schedule a call to discuss your study plan or want to customize your plan based on this.

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