In my last article, I have discussed about some of the most common questions regarding GRE and tried my best to resolve them as much as possible by my human self. Anyhow, in this article, I will discuss about the syllabus and how to prepare properly for both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Analysis parts. There is also another part of GRE called Analytical Writing Assessment, I will discuss about this part later. For now, let’s confine ourselves with Verbal and Quant only.
Please know one thing that GRE has no specific syllabus. It only has specific topics and a question pattern. If you finish up some specific book of GRE, does not mean that you have finished up the whole syllabus of GRE or your preparation is complete. There is no “completion” of GRE syllabus. All you can do is perfect your skills of Quantitative and Verbal Analysis and be better in these. The better you become in them, the closer your score of GRE is going to get to 340, and it’s just like that.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into it.
Strategies for Verbal Reasoning:
Verbal analysis of GRE happens to be one of the biggest nightmares for those of us who are not only from non-English speaking countries but also are “not that strong” or “never cared enough to be that strong” in English. I am from a technical (Civil Engineering) background. I had to make Mathematics the means of my living. Therefore, my Math or Quant side is almost indomitable to begin with. However, even though my whole Engineering course curriculum language was in “100% pure American English”, honing up my English skill was never my priority. Therefore, I had to go some extra miles to be good (if not great) at the verbal part (still I scored less than 160 in verbal). I will now share the strategies that many students followed and scored well as a result. I also tried to follow it, but could not properly, since if I could successfully do that I could have scored at least 165 or more like the rest of the students who did.
Step: 01 – increase your functional vocabulary through reading:
Dear readers, I cannot emphasis enough on the vitality of growing up a regular and intense level of reading habit to do well in GRE verbal. In my earlier articles, I have mentioned a term called “functional vocabulary”, which is nothing but increasing vocabularies by intense level of reading, not only from various rich online resources but also from many Middle English Literature. To learn more about “growing a functional vocabulary”, please read my earlier articles.
Step: 02 – Some Traditional Preparation Materials:
After you substentially hone up your functional vocabulary, you have to study some traditional paper-or-online-books on GRE preparation.
Dear readers, there are many traditional books from various famous authors or publishers which are not only circulated in some local book-stores but also can be obtained online (may or may not be free). I am going to list some of them for your own knowledge and benefits, in the order of their importance or probable significance of your GRE preparation:
Book: 01 – Kaplan’s GRE (both Quant and Verbal) (This boos is important for those who are an absolute new-comers in the world of GRE. Please know that the questions and practice materials provided in this book is NOT up to the mark for the real test. I mean, Kaplan made it easy for you in their books, and easy questions like these will NEVER appear in the real exam.)
Book: 02 – ETS GRE guide (There are three books published by ETS themselves for GRE. One is for Verbal, another one os for Quant, and the third one is for Verbal, Quant and Analytical Writing. Please notice that ETS happens to be the same organization who arranges and evaluates the GRE exam. So, the guide book that they publish must be of vital importance. This book will provide a real idea regarding how the questions are going to be. However, recently the GRE questions have been a little bit tougher, due to the competition and all. Therefore, only relying on this book is also not going to be wise in any way.)
Book: 03 – GRE 5lb (five pound) by Manhattan Press (This book happens to be a freaking GOLD MINE of GRE practice. Those who will be able to practice all the exercises of both verbal and quant, if he can cool headedly face the GRE, he will definitely score 320 above. Therefore, if you really want a competitive score in GRE, please do not go to the exam hall without finishing up at least 60% of this book.)
Book: 04 – Cracking the GRE by Princeton (This book is also good for guidance. However, if you want to be stuck with the first three books, you will be golden.)
Book: 05 – GRE Big Book by ETS (There is a saying, “Old is Gold”; just like GRE Five Pound, this book is also another GOLD MINE for GRE VERBAL. There are 27 full-set questions here and you will also see some extra out-of-the-syllabus topics here in each set like: Analytical Abilities or Critical Reasoning. You only have to practice three topics: Sentence Correction, Sentence Completion and Reading Comprehension, that’s it. If you can solve half of what this book can offer you, your preparation is all set.)
There are also many other books in the market. Please remember that GRE is not the game of hardship, this is a game of strategy. Only because there are SO MANY BOOKS OUT THERE, doesn’t mean that you have to buy and read them all. Well, if you can properly, and I mean PROPERLY, finish up all these above mentioned books, you may stroll outside and buy other books just for the kicks of it. But otherwise, don’t even think about it.
Step: 03 – Go for some online resources:
There are many online resources which can be highly beneficial to any test-takers. Please try to cover as much as possible of these online materials. I will discuss about them in my next article.
Step: 04 – Sit for MOCK TESTS:
This is very vital for doing good in the actual exam. Whenever a scientist builds up something, he first develops a prototype of his creation and tests the prototype to find out the limitations and also how functional it would be when the right time comes. Mock tests are “GRE candidate’s prototype”. Because this is the only way to know how effective your preparation is and how well you may or may not do when the real thing comes your way. More about that will be discussed in my next article.
Strategies for Quantitative Analysis:
For quantitative analysis, you also have to follow exactly the same materials the same way as the verbal. However, to score almost 100% in GRE Quant, you have to add two more books in your list. They are:
Book: 01 – Manhattan’s Strategy Guide (all 8 parts)
Book: 02 – NOVA GRE Math Bible
Both these books are available online, and you may not have to buy them.
That’s it for today. In my next article I will discuss about some online materials and sites, along with some great sites for mock tests, which may TRULY help you to do great, if not ace, in GRE.
Till then, happy reading !!!