Cracking the GRE: Step by Step Guide for Indian Students

A General View of GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a pivotal step for Indian students aspiring to pursue graduate studies, particularly in the US and other European countries. Excelling in the GRE can significantly enhance your chances of admission to top universities and securing scholarships. This article provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide orientated for Indian students preparing for the GRE, covering everything from understanding the exam's structure to mastering test-taking strategies.

Step 1: Understand the GRE Structure

The GRE General Test comprises three primary sections: Evaluative Composition (AW), Linguistic Analysis (Verbal Reasoning), and Numerical Analysis (Quantitative Reasoning).

Analytical Writing: This segment evaluates your proficiency in expressing intricate thoughts in a clear and effective manner, backing up ideas with pertinent reasons and examples, and scrutinizing assertions along with the associated evidence. It includes two assignments: 'Evaluate an Issue' and 'Evaluate an Argument.

Verbal Reasoning: This segment evaluates your capacity to interpret and derive conclusions from discussions, reason with partial data, comprehend various layers of significance, and identify connections between words and ideas.

Quantitative Reasoning: It evaluates your basic mathematical skills and your ability to analyze data and solve problems with quantitative methods.

Grasping the structure and variety of questions you will face helps orientate your preparation effectively.

Step 2: Set a Timeline and Goals

Start by setting a real-time that should be the same as the real exam time. Most students require at least three to four months of dedicated preparation. Your study schedule should be orientated to your personal strengths and weaknesses. Establish precise, quantifiable, attainable, pertinent, and time-sensitive (SMART) objectives for each section of the GRE to keep track of your progress.

Step 3: Gather Study Materials

There are numerous resources available for GRE preparation:

Official Materials: ETS, the body that manages the GRE and provides an array of preparatory resources, such as the Official Guide to the GRE General Test and GRE Practice Tests.

Books: Consider purchasing books like Kaplan's GRE Prep Plus or Barron's GRE, which offer comprehensive review and practice tests.

Online Courses and Apps: Platforms such as Magoosh and Manhattan Prep provide extensive online courses accumulated to different learning styles, featuring video lessons, practice questions, and full-length tests.

Few More Resources

ETS Official GRE Guides:

Official Guide to the GRE General Test: This guide includes four real practice tests and comprehensive coverage of the GRE sections.

Official GRE Super Power Pack: This three-book bundle provides extensive content review and practice questions for both the Quant and Verbal sections.

Official GRE Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions: Each volume focuses on extensive practice for its respective section (ETS).

Manhattan Prep GRE Guides:

Book of GRE Practice Problems: Known for its extensive math practice problems, this book also offers verbal practice though it's more focused on quantitative questions.

GRE Strategy Guides: These include thorough content reviews and access to six online practice tests, making them valuable for comprehensive preparation).

Kaplan GRE Prep Plus:

Offers expert strategies, a full-length practice test in the book, five additional online tests, and a question bank to customize practice. It's a solid option for both self-paced learning and extensive review (Test Prep Insight).

Princeton Review GRE Premium Prep:

Recognized for its comprehensive reviews of key topics and inclusion of four extensive practice tests. It includes $100 towards an online GRE course, making it a great package for comprehensive preparation (Test Prep Insight).

Barron's GRE Practice Tests:

Six full-length practice tests that vary in difficulty, providing a good mix of questions to prepare for the section-adaptive nature of the GRE.

Step 4: Develop Foundational Skills

Before diving into GRE-specific studies, ensure your foundational skills are strong.

Mathematics: Revisit basic concepts from numerical operations, algebraic manipulation, geometric properties, and statistical analysis. Since the quantitative section does not allow calculators for all questions, mental calculation speed is crucial.

Vocabulary: Having a robust vocabulary is crucial for excelling in the verbal portion of the test. Utilize apps like Magoosh's Vocabulary Builder or Anki for spaced repetition learning.

Step 5: Practice Rigorously

Diligent and sustained practice is essential for mastering the GRE.

Practice Tests: Engage in practice tests under timed conditions to mimic the actual testing environment and build endurance. Analyze your results to know the requirements of progress.

Question Banks: Utilize online question banks to get accustomed to the variety of questions you might face.

Step 6: Master Test-Taking Strategies

Develop strategies to maximize your performance:

Time Management: Develop effective strategies to balance time during the exam to ensure you have sufficient time to address all questions.

Guessing: Sometimes educated guessing is necessary; learn techniques to eliminate incorrect answers.

Step 7: Prepare for Test Day

Simulate Test Conditions: In the weeks leading up to the test, simulate the test day experience, including waking up early and solving a full-length test under timed conditions.

Check the Test Center Rules: Familiarize yourself with the test center rules and requirements. Prepare your identification and other necessary documents.

Step 8: After the Test

Once you’ve taken the test, evaluate your performance.

Score Evaluation: Understand how the scoring works. Keep in mind, that if your initial GRE scores don't meet your expectations, you have the option to take the test again.

Application Strategy: Use your GRE scores to strategize your applications, focusing on universities where your scores fall within or above the average range.

Cracking the GRE requires a balanced approach that includes understanding the test structure, rigorous practice, strategic preparation, and stress management. With a focused approach and the right resources, Indian students can excel in the GRE and move one step closer to their dream of studying abroad.