I have grown indifferent to the term “hard-work”, because there are too many people working really hard without specific plans and goals, and they end up getting less than what they could with less time. Time is a limited resource. When you are spending it lavishly (doing hard-work), you are wasting it. So, better plan before you work. This is a guide which shares a Plan to get a good score in GRE. The goal of the writing is making students aware of a plan and help them to build a good plan to achieve concrete goals.
- Achieving a good score
- Having no stress
Common problems when you don’t have a goal and a plan:
- You end up trying to learn a lot of words
- You end up getting high marks in one section, and plummeting in the other
- You don’t have a clue what to study
- You try to learn things sequentially
- You try to repeat things more than needed
Now, achieving a good score requires:
- A balanced skill-set as most of the GRE checks your overall aptitude.
- You have a good sense of time, neither being fast nor being slow.
Having no stress requires:
- You don’t overdo things
- You take enough breaks
- You repeat things intelligently
A balanced skill-set
This is the most important part. For a good score you need to first identify which skills it requires and your levels in them. For example, Magoosh has nicely laid out Quantitative section into categories. You can track your progress in each section effectively.
Verbal is tricky and it’s not about vocabulary anymore. Here goes the basic skills you need to get 160+ in verbal:
- Grammar, especially sentence structures and “connecting devices/linking devices”(!): There are numerous resources for this. You can try some good grammar books and follow them. You can master complex structures online. There are a few books by S M Zakir Hossain which helped me in my early years.
- Modern vocabulary: Try to use an intelligent app like Memrise. It controls when to repeat things. People end up trying to memorize essays, especially the “Cow the domestic animal” one. Don’t try to memorize! Let the app do the job. They have two vocabulary courses: Manhattan Essentials and Manhattan Advanced. Total 1000 words, and you are all set.
- Analytical ability while you read: This is what GRE tries to assess. There are 4 things that you can do do build up this skill:
- Get analytical reasoning books for IBA preparation or find something online. Don’t get GRE books because they are so poor. You need to focus on the actual skill, not GRE! There is a good book by S M Zakir Hossain
- Summarize each paragraph of an article in a few sentences. Good articles can be found at MIT Tech Review, The Atlantic, The Economist, Nature, New York Times, etc.
- Read different kinds of articles. Basic categories are: History (or Analysis of History), Biology, Psychology, Environment, Social Science, and Technology. GRE loves arguments and analyses.
- Practice verbal regularly, not daily. There are many free resources both online and Apps.
- Writing: Follow any classic book on writing. Just search online
A good sense of time
Don’t try to solve thing faster, don’t watch the watch. Building up yourself is important. If you can get 70% correct, you get a really high score. So, only thing matter how much correct you are, not how many you answered.
You can create self-paced tests in Magoosh. Many use it wrongly, they try to squeeze themselves into unrealistic periods. Relax, and take a double of amount of time to solve 10 questions.
You need to do it regularly. Short tests 10min – 20min with a selected set of question types. If you are doing longer tests, you are really wasting your time. Long tests should not be done more than a month as that is stressful and does not help you much to grow the time sense. If you attend a 10 minute test, you will have energy and focus to reflect on it when you finish. So, you have a better chance of growing the time sense and correct the mistakes.
No Stress Plan
- Study sessions: 15-60 min max.
- Short test sessions: 10-20 min max.
- Use Memrise and Magoosh and let them track things for you.
- Use pen and paper while you practice reading to solving verbal questions.
- No long test more than once a month.
- Focus on skills, not on GRE.
An overall plan (2-3 months):
15-30 min vocabulary with Memrise. Break it up into multiple short sessions of 5 or 10 minutes only.
2 articles – 1 hour each
2 quantitative skill development – 30 min each
4 verbal skill development – 30 min each
2 quantitative tests – 15 min each
4 verbal tests – 25 min each
1 Grammar skill development – 1 hour
1 Writing skill development – 1 hour
That’s about 11 hours a week.
Based on your skills, you can adjust the schedule. So, create a routine for yourself and update it every two weeks. For example, when you progress, you need to give more time to reading articles and less time in math.