Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Strategic Content Analysis (Part – 2)
Hello readers, we meet again.
In my last article, I tried to discuss the contents of GRE exam. I also simply debriefed the syllabus of this specific standardized test. Those were some common discussions, nothing that you cannot find in any common sources. I just wanted to provide a common idea regarding the course content and basic idea about what to face during the exam. Today, I am going to focus this whole article on “preparation” of GRE. I am basically going to address some very common questions that usually students wonder about, specially the questions that I have been asked so many times by the beginner while being an instructor of GRE Quant.
Some questions are as such:
Is GRE difficult (Actually GRE is not difficult. I mean c’mon guyz, all the course contents are picked from high-school level, and here you are applying for Masters or PhD. Then how come you think that GRE course contents are difficult; makes no sense, right!!)
If GRE is not so difficult, then how come not many students score higher marks in them and why exactly universities in USA blindly follow the scores of it (GRE course contents may not be difficult, but it sure as hell both technical and deeply conceptual. We all know many things. But the question is “how well” do we really know them or how deep our knowledge is about them. GRE does nothing but check out the candidates’ depth of knowledge, so does all the university admission councils; the reason being why they are so hell-bent on GRE score while assessing admission applications.)
How do we do well in GRE, is there any “silver bullet” or “magic formula” for doing well; (Yes there is a “silver bullet” to do well in GRE. That “silver bullet” is called “practice”. The more you practice, the more it will get easier for you. Once I read from somewhere that, “If you want to see what’s coming, know about that situation well beforehand and prepare accordingly”. Sitting for GRE is no surprise, candidates register for it at least a month ago, and a month is sufficient to have a competitive score in GRE, only if you practice properly.)
How hard do I have to practice for GRE to do well, how many writers’ books do I have to finish up before sitting for GRE; (Please my dear readers, know one thing, “SMART preparation is way more preferable to HARD preparation”; this statement may be true for every aspect of life, but it is more and more true for tests like not only GRE but also GMAT and any others as such. Also remember that when a standardized test like GRE is concerned, “quality” of preparation is more important than that of “quantity”. There are people who never saw the face of any book of GRE in their lives, but have great scores in GRE, while others have even memorized the names and writers of all the books of GRE available in the market, but could not even score 310. If you are sound in reasoning and analytical aptitudes, you may not even have to study GRE to get above 320; but if you could not acquire reasoning skills before the GRE exam, no matter how many books you have finished, you will never get high score. All that matters is to grow reasoning skills, with or without any books, that’s it. I will have a discussion on some great books for GRE practice later on.)
Is it mandatory to memorize words, how many words do I have to memorize to do well in GRE verbal; (Guyz Guyz Guyz; I have already spent two (02) articles explaining about a thing called “functional vocabulary”. This is not even a wonder that you need to know, NOT memorize, many rarely used words to do well in verbal part of GRE. However, if you are still confused, then please read my previous articles to know more about effective or functional vocabulary.)
Please tell me about GRE fees and if there is any waiver offered in it; (For this information, you have to go through ETS website, where these information have been explained in details. Now if you still have problem understanding them, you may call ETS directly or go through Youtube for more instructions regarding Registration for GRE and other related information. ETS also offers waiver or partial waiver sometimes specific to countries or situations. For that you have to keep an eye on the website and collect information from sources.)
I am good at verbal but bad at quant, or I am good at quant but bad at verbal or I am good at both but I want to be better, what should I do; (This is the most common question I have faced in my lifetime. Dear people, many of you have heard of Pareto’s 80/20 rule. It is said in this rule that you have to “distribute” your priority to the task on the basis of needs and urgency. If you are good at quant then your maximum effort should be diverted towards verbal and vice versa. If you ask me if I can make you stronger in quant, I will simply say “no”. Because no one can make you strong, you have to strengthen yourself. All I can do is show you the way, which is also a part of our later conversation.)
How much score should I have to ensure scholarship or admission; (There is no specific benchmark for that. It is very very much subjective to individual institutions. Some institute will not even look at your application if you are below 320, while some others will happily grant you scholarship if you have only 310. I am not saying that those who are granting 310 are lesser universities that those of granting 320; you cannot measure things like these that way. But there is a standard score that you should have which is 310. Below this mark may make you face some unexpected challenges from the admission council. But then again, admission is never on the basis of only GRE score, many other variables such as CGPA, extra-curricular activities and others also matter.)
Please follow what I say right now …
Never keep in your mind that you have to score 320+ or some high score like that. Because that will “unnecessarily” increase your pressure and that will generate performance anxiety in you. With all these pressure and anxiety, you will NEVER do well in GRE. Because only those who can face GRE in cool head, can do well in it.
Give your best effort and change your thought process entirely to do well in GRE, don’t think about result in advance while taking preparation. Think that you have to “learn as best as you can”. If you can learn properly, your result will be automatically great. But if you think about result even before your preparation started (just like so many candidates do), you will never get expected scores not only in GRE but also in any other standardized tests as such.
If any of you have more questions to ask, relevant off-course, please ask them in the comment section.
That’s it for today. In our next article, I will dive deeper into the preparation strategy and do some book analysis as well.
Till then, happy reading.