My GRE experience


I apologize for my extremely long absence from the screen. I had been busy with my GRE preparations as I am intended to purse Graduate Studies at US universities for fall’08 session. I had my test on 10th September 2007 at Prometric Test center (G01 ,Block 2B, Knowledge Village). Alhamdullilah , I have scored 1310 /1600  ( V:520/800,  Q:790/800). I think my score is quite decent if not spectacular, as 1500+ is not a rare score. I am waiting for the AWA assessment, which will be dispatched in 3-4 weeks (I hope).

Graduate Record Exam – General (GRE) is a standardized test often required at the admission in graduate studies in US universities. It is composed of 3 section; 1) Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)  ,2) Quantitative (Q) , 3) Verbal (V).   AWA is scored at the scale of 6 , while Q and V both are marked out of 800. GRE is administered all over the globe in many countries. It is offered in 2 formats; Paper Based Test (PBT) and Computer Based Test (CBT). CBT is offered at most of the centers. PBT usually offered at centers only when CBT can not be administered at that center. GRE CBT is an adaptive test, which means you response of the current question determines the difficulty level of next question. If you answered wrong then the next question might be less difficult one then the one you just answered. Therefore it is often advised to get correct as many as you can in the beginning (5-10), to get a good score range. If you  answered wrong in the beginning then your score will be affected badly, no matter you answered the rest correctly. In CBT, you can not move back to a previous question and you must answer each question before moving on. PBT are a different that they are not adaptive, they have fixed set of question and you can work on the question which you have skipped.

I think the ability which GRE tries to assess ,is your responsiveness within limited boundaries of time. In Quantitative section you are given 28 problems and 45 minutes to work them out and in Verbal section you have 30 minutes to answer 30 questions. Quantitative covers high school mathematics concepts while verbal targets your knowledge of English language. I don’t think question in mathematics are difficult to be solved, what makes them tough is the time restrain. Anyone can solve the toughest question of the test given enough time but you have usually 1 minute and 30 seconds to understand and solve a question, and that’s where your problem solving ability comes into light. Sometimes you have to look into the problem in an unconventional way. You should avoid any lengthy calculation and try to use common sense and mathematical facts to discard unnecessary calculations. Verbal section examines your knowledge of English. I think memorizing a lot of words won’t do any good here unless you know how to use them, that’s what , which is tested in GRE. Verbal section contains Analogies, Antonyms, Sentence Completion, Comprehension.

I don’t feel myself at ease in verbal section, but having a mathematical background I can better perform in the quantitative section. I started preparing for GRE in January 2007, initially I was planning for taking the test in April or May. Unfortunately due to my extremely busy schedule(:P), I wasn’t able to take it until now. I regret that, I have spent too much time during this period. I don’t know why , but it happens often to me, when I have some tasks at hand, I usually loose my concentration on that task, and try to escape by engaging myself in completely worthless activities at that very moment. When I started preparing for GRE, suddenly I found myself completely indulge in all activities except, preparation :D, gaming, movies, swimming, gym, sleeping, HP(harry potter), Programming (I was overwhelmed by the numbers of idea pouring in my head while I was trying my best to learn a wordlist :)) .Though they weren’t worthless activities but they aren’t pertinent to the preparation. And now the test is over, I feel less attracted towards them.

Few advices for those, who are preparing for GRE. First and foremost, do take a diagnostic test before your preparation. It will indicate you current standing  and let you to estimate the effort required and an approximation of your score. For verbal section try to LEARN as many words as you can. Baron’s has a decent word list of 3,500 words along with a High Frequency Words list, both are really good, especially HFW, you can start by learning HFW then moving on to the complete wordlist. A part from learning the words, try to read as many articles/ book as you can that are rich in usage of these words. For quantitative section, I have only two thing to say Practice and CONSTANT VIGILENCE!!. work out as many problems as you can. Take model tests. Visit online forums where users discusses questions and their solving strategy. check Revise your basic mathematics concepts, Algebra, Logarithms, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability, Statistics, Ratio , Proportions, Series ,Sequences. And keep a watch on your time. For AWA, again practice.

Well quite a lengthy post after a long time. All the best!!




10 responses to “My GRE experience

  1. Thats actually quite a reasonable score.

  2. Hello Faraz.
    I am from Karachi. i want to pass GRE exams. i want to ask you that did u pass GRE International exam or GRE local exam and secondly how did u get preparaed? through some institute or self practice.Please update.
    You can mail me details at my email address..

  3. I think you should check out this site for help on GRE Preparation – – this is for Faraz

  4. hye faraz.. its quite encouraging read your post. I am an teaching at a medical univeristy, i am now converting from british boards to US boards for my PhD. it would be extreme help if i could speak to you for couple of mins regarding the GRE prep.

    Best Regards,

  5. Salllaam,

    You have done a great job, congrats. Basically I belongs to Quetta and I am new here in Karachi. Earlier I have done GCE A Levels. What do you suggest me that I should attend any preparation courses or self practice will be enough.
    Waiting for your reply.

  6. hi faraz,great work man!!!
    but i have a query…..m supposed to start my preparation next month n i’ll take my test 5-6 months later…….
    i would like to know what are the other things that we shud take care of apart from my gre score n my degree at my present graduate program….i mean like….some extra curricular activities and some extra technical stuff might offer some kinda help in getting scholarship….like if we have have published some journals etc or social work of some kind…….can u give me a idea of these n some more……

  7. i need some help in gre test prep
    can u help me
    my email ad is
    i woould appreciate

  8. Hi Faraz,
    great to hear your experience, as i am doing engineering from IIEE-NED in Industrial Electronics as i am in final semester now and my B.E will INSHALLAH completes in DEC 2010 , then after that i am deciding to do preparation for GRE ,as my Immigration is also in progress and i will INSHALLAH gets a Visa soon,so i want to ask what is better for me to give GRE here in Karachi or give GRE in USA,from where should i prepared for GRE test,please guide i will be very thankful to you for that.

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