Tips to ace the GRE!

posted at June 17, 2022, 4:19 p.m.

Gradvine’s co-founder Sreekar Sannapareddy scored a 323 on his first attempt at the GRE. From his personal experience and expertise, he answers burning questions on what is most important for this exam:

Student: Is coaching necessary for GRE?
Sreekar: While enrolling in a coaching center is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to cracking a good score on the exam, taking help from a center or even a trusty learning resource like Princeton, Manhattan, and Magoosh can be very useful. A prep center will help you understand the types of questions that will appear in each section. Coaching will also give you a basic idea of how you can approach certain types of questions and how to identify patterns. It will give you tips like… for sentence equivalence and text completion questions, come up with your answer first and then look at the options as they may confuse you. Or, eliminating extreme options and skipping questions that take time to solve (ones whose solution is not clear to you at the outset) to revisit them at the end.

Student: Should I learn 4000-5000 words for the verbal section?
Sreekar: NO! Most centers or websites will give you a list of 1000 words. This is all that you have to learn. In the verbal section, the challenge is not to know as many words as you can but to be able to critically analyse the conditions in the sentence and its formation. Focus on breaking down the parts of a sentence more than vocabulary.

Student: How long do I need to study for the GRE? What schedule should I follow?
Sreekar: Give yourself 45 days or more for focused prep. Understand that the GRE is an aptitude test. That means that it tests one’s natural ability/fitness to do something. You don’t have to ‘learn’ anything but you do have to practice. For a period of 30 days, take a mock test every alternate day. So that's 15 tests. On the remaining days, practice the questions you’re doing badly in. Try and take the mock tests in the same time slot as your actual GRE (If you know your date). That will help you develop a pattern that will see you give your best performance. The quality of the test doesn’t matter. Attempting the entire thing does.

Student: The actual score is what is important, so I don’t have to focus on the AWA section during mocks, right?
Sreekar: Wrong! The GRE is a mental test to see whether you can slug it out for 4+ hours and give the best demonstration of your aptitude. If you skip the AWA sections during your mock, you will be ill-prepared to attempt the main sections after writing essays for an entire hour. Do not make this rookie mistake. Attempt the AMA section even during practice tests.

Student: I’m nervous though, I don’t know if I will be able to crack a good score like you on my first attempt.
Sreekar: No university cares about the number of times you give the GRE. Don’t go into the test center thinking that it is D-Day. It doesn’t have to be. Go in with the attitude that you will give it your best shot and will come back another day if things don’t go according to plan. As long as you go in with this attitude, your ability to perform goes up a notch.

Looking to get such assuring guidance even after your GRE? Sreekar’s team of young professionals at Gradvine has helped 98% of its mentees to top 50 universities. It is sure to do the same for you too. Book your free call to pick their brains at Gradvine