Maximize your GRE Score

Maximize your GRE Score : Ishaan is a second year B.tech student pursuing mechanical engineering in a prestigious engineering college in Warangal. He has evaluated his interests about what he wants to become in life and has come to a decision on going to US for higher studies. He read news articles about GRE and understood that it has three areas: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing. He wanted to know more, and plan his time. He wanted to understand what would be the right time for taking GRE.How to improve his scores?  Ishaan asked his elder brother Rushil for guidance on when to write and how to score better? Rushil who completed his Master’s suggested him to go through http://www.ets.org/gre  and also prepare a timeline.

GRE exam requires you to work on your vocabulary and mathematics, reading and writing skills. Improving your skills and learning words cannot happen in one day. Skills can be improved only by practice. Knowledge should be gained and practised for you to do well.  It needs a consistent effort and lot of practice.

Preparation for any exam involves two aspects: The content and subject knowledge, how to present your responses in the exam. It is the same for GRE exam.

The GRE exam pattern is like this:

Topic

QuestionsTime

Score

Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task30 minutes per task

0-6

Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)

20 questions per section30 minutes per section

130-170

Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)20 questions per section35 minutes per section

130-170

Unscored

Varies

Varies

ResearchVaries

Varies

The unidentified unscored section can come any time after Analytical Writing Assessment. But, the research section comes towards the end.

Analytical Writing Assessment: The exam begins with this section. You have 30minutes for each of the two tasks that you have to respond to. There is no choice here.   AWA score ranges from 0-6. The global median average a year ago was 3.5. So, students should target to score at least 3.5.  This section needs practice.

How to improve AWA score?

  • Each task has a specification given; read, understand, and respond completely to the specification. Issue task is about presenting your point, but when it comes to argument task it is more about analyzing the given paragraph and presenting a response
  • Divide your 30 minutes for the task, into planning for the task, typing it, and then proof reading it.
  • Write your response relevant to the topic. Do not digress from the topic
  • Avoid spelling and grammar errors.Use examples to explain your point
  • Write your response using paragraphs. Include introduction and conclusion passages
  • Practiseat least 5 different topics, typing on a notepad
  • Verbal Reasoning:You have two sections each of 30 minutes. The score range is 130 to 170.  The average score isat least 150.  This section has three types of questions.

    Sentence Equivalence: here you will have a sentence with a blank. You need to choose two options from the given six options that meaningfully complete the sentence. If only one option is correct, no partial mark is awarded.

    Text completion: Here you will have a sentence or few sentences with one, two or three blanks. For one blank question, you will have five options. For two or three blank question, each blank has three options. Incase of two or three blank questions, no mark is awarded for partially correct answer.

    Reading comprehension: Here you will have a paragraph and questions relevant to it. You may get one question with five options. Or there will be one question with three options where more than one answer can be correct. One more question type is you have a question and you need to click on a line in the paragraph.  In questions with three options, one answer may be correct, two answers may be correct or all three may be correct. No partial mark is awarded. Marks are given only if all the correct options are selected.

    To improve your scores in Verbal section:

  • Read English newspapers and articles regularly. Spend atleast half an hour every day.
  • Learn new words and try to apply them or make sentences of them.
  • In Sentence equivalence and Text completion questions, read the sentences carefully. Guess the words that complete the sentence before. You will have some clue in the sentence that will help you with the answer.
  • In reading comprehension questions, read the passage and identify the main idea of the passage. Read the questions and identify the line in the passage that gives the answer. Eliminate incorrect options.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: You have two sections each of 35 minutes. The score range is 130 to 170.  The average score is at least 150.  This section has multiple choice questions, numeric entry questions and quantitative comparison questions. An online calculator is also provided,  which is ideally needed to be used for the numeric entry questions or where the calculations are complex. Some questions have more than one correct answer, and it will be explicitly specified. For such questions, only if all the correct options are selected, marks will be given. So carefully evaluate all the options before marking them.

    The syllabus is more or less what you have learnt upto Class X with a few topics that are covered in Class XII.

  • Revise all the concepts
  • Practice problems in all the topics.
  • Do not use online calculator unless it is mandatory.
  • Most of the Indian students find it comfortable with Quantitative reasoning section, provided they have done well in school and college. So, you can target even 170. And in the Verbal section, you can target atleast155. An overall score of at least 300-310 is what you should target. And scores above 315 are very good.

    The features in GRE exam:

  • Use the mark and review features in the sections. Within the given timelimit of the section, you can move forward and backward.
  • The test has no negative marking.
  • Right time for the exam:GRE score is valid for five years.   Students can plan and write the test in your third year, so that they can concentrate on the project work and placement exams in the final year.  In the first semester of the final year you can focus on applying for admissions.

    Ideal preparation:

  • Enrol for GRE coaching in the third year.
  • Practise all the concepts for 3-4 months.
  • Attempt atleast 5-6 mock GRE tests that are computer-based.
  • Evaluate your strengths and areas for improvement
  • Work on your weak areas and consolidate your strengths
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     External Links
  • ETS GRE