GRE preparation Strategy and Tips from Student who got 1480 Score

In Application Info by KumarUpdated : 8 Comments

Getting good score in GRE requires proper planning and strategy. Akshay has got an awesome GRE score of 1480…he was very kind to share his GRE test preparation strategy and other tips with our readers. Thanks to Akshay for taking time to share his GRE test prep strategy and experience. It is amazing and hope you all will find it helpful. If you would like to share your GRE test prep strategy and experience, please email me to redbus2us(at)  If you do not know, GRE pattern is changing in 2011, read  10 things to know about New GRE 2011 for more info.

By Guest Author Akshay

Books used for Preparation :

Barrons GRE

Nova Series- GRE

Big Book tests

Test Date: 21 October 2010

Practice Test scores:

Princeton 1 – V-660, Q-720

Princeton 2 – V-640, Q-760

ActualGRE – V-680, Q-800, AWM – 4

AcutalGRE Total : 1480

Preparation Strategy for Verbal:

Started working on vocabulary 4 months in advance. Initially, I used to work on 1 Word list per day, from Barrons. Would study the word lists in the morning, and then revise the same in the evening. Slowly I fastened the pace of studying the WL’s, and started reading 2 WL’s per day. And, eventually I used to do 3 WL/day. And, then revise the studied Word-Lists on Sunday. As I felt, only reading and memorizing words, without revision, was not of much use, every weekend I used to revise the  already studied Words.

But, only vocabulary could not guarantee me a good score. So, I began working on RC first. Jotted down the 8-9 different kind of questions expected in a passage, and read passages with these questions in mind. The segregation of RC questions is given neatly in the Nova series book. So everyday, I used to work on atleast 2 RC’s (from Barrons, Nova and most importantly Big-Book), along with studying WL’s.

I completed my WL’s 22 days befor my actual exam. Once finished, i worked on Antonyms, Analogies and Sentence Completion (again from excercises given in all 3 books). This was deliberately done, because without knowing the words , working on these type of questions felt futile. And, also I used to revise 5 WL’s a day. I studied some extra words given in Nova, in the mean-time. But, this was not as rigorous as the Barrons.

Of all the Verbal questions, I personally found the Analogies quite tricky. Different pairing of words is given in Nova. Since this was my weakest section, I worked on this in detail, so that I could form the relationship of head-pair correctly.

Preparation Strategy for Quantitative:

For this section I worked on all the tricks given in Barrons and solved mostly all exercise problems given in Nova. I found, the level of questions in the actual test, somewhat matching the questions of Nova. Topics that I read in detail, from these books, were : Geometry, Probability, Permutations & Combinations, Ratio-Proportion. For me, in the test, mostly questions were from Geometry and probability. Infact, most of the questions in my actual GRE test were from Geometry. So brush up all your basics of Geometry – Co-ordinate Geometry, Circles, Polygon properties, and so on.

Preparation for Analytical Writing:

I screwed up this section big-time. Please take some time out and atleast read the AWM material given in Barrons. Else, you would end up like me, in the actual test, not knowing what exactly is asked. Glance most of the topics given in ETS website for AWM, and you’ll get an idea as to what kind of Essays are asked.

GRE Practice tests Strategy :

Since, I am a working professional I actually did not find much time to take these tests, which was indeed a pity. I only could solve the two tests of Princeton- the one given by ETS itself, on regitaring for the test. On completion of my actual GRE, I found the Princeton test scores exactly mapped to my GRE score. Practice almost all the questions from the Princeton. After the first time of taking a test, I answered the questions wrongly to get some new questions. There are also practice questions present, which are of much help.

Also, practice atleast a few Big-Book verbal tests – atleast 10 out of 54. The RC’s and Sentence Completion questions are of the kind you would encounter in the actual test.

GRE Test Tips, from my personal experinece :

  • Please take time to answer the first 10 questions, in both Verbal and Quant sections, since these answers would map to your scoring in the Adaptive test. Answering 5 wrong in the first 10, and answering the rest almost correctly, will still not fetch a good score. But, answering all right in the first 10, and then wrongly answering, say, in the last five – whre you will encounter shortage of time, would still, atleast, be okay.
  • Your Princeton scores are nearly accurate indicators of your actual GRE score. So, take these tests only when you are complete with all the preperation for all the sections. Else, you’ll unecessarily waste these tests.
  • Please practice essays – atleast 2-3, since writing in the actual test environment makes you a bit nervous – it happened to me. And, since this is the first section, you usually dont want to mess up

Do you have any other tips for GRE  to share ? Any other preparation ideas ?

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Comments ( 8 )

    1. jy

      Most of the universities require GRE. I took the exam, but my program doesn’t require it. I also took IELTS instead of TOEFL because I am more familiar with it. They gave credit on it, too. It may be best to ask the contact person and look for the requirements for the program you would like to be admitted.

      This page is very helpful.

  1. Soundarya

    I gave GRE and got a score of 1260 with 570 in verbal and only 690 in quants. Many of my friends are telling me to retake the GRE, but i don’t want to. Maybe i am scared that i would score even lower.
    But will my low quant score really affect my admission? It would really help if anyone replied.

  2. administrator

    If your question is whether you can do part-time college course while working in US on H1, then the answer is yes. You can do that as long as you are able to maintain your H1 status i.e. work the number of hours specified in the LCA.

  3. krishna

    I got by h1b stamped. Now I have question, Can I join any part time college course. like distance education for masters or something like that.

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