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What’s it like preparing for GRE Test?. GRE Preparation and Test tips and Experience on the day of GRE Test.

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My GRE Test Preparation

My experience with GRE
321 (156 V, 165 Q)
Exam date: 1 pm, 10th July 2013 

This is for all those GRE aspirants who are currently preparing for gre. Rest of you probably won’t get the drift.

Those in rush jump to tips, skim and buzz off.

Those who are going to read this while surfing, do me a favor. Open this in new tab, finish your surfing and read this at last. 
 

Prologue
What’s it like preparing for gre?
Test experience: D-day
After
Tips

Prologue

We take a lot from this world gratis (beautiful gre word) and its better if we requite in some way. As such, when I was preparing for gre similar memoir had inspired me, helped maintain confidence and patience (believe me you’ll need it, a lot) throughout my preparation. It’s now my turn to show my gratitude and here it is.

I could have only posted the tips and leave but what I felt from similar posts is that they are “dry”, in the sense that you don’t really feel them, catch them. So I thought to meld the tips with my test experience, which I think will be more helpful.

Let’s go.

What’s it like preparing for gre?

Have you seen “Aankhe” movie? It’s about how even the blind people can rob a bank. They did it because they had simulated the whole procedure. GRE is exactly that. First, study the materials (that’s obvious) and then lots of simulated test. I had done almost a dozen of them hence less anxious about the real test.

1 day before gre

Had saved ets powerprep’s second test for this day. I had my test at 1 pm so I usually take simulated test at that time. Got 317, missed 3 questions on first verbal due to my fault in time management. When you find passage abstruse or long or both better you take it at last. Second verbal was fine as I had learned my lesson about time management.
Went out to buy banana for tomorrow. I’d read in some gre blog about what to eat at the break and they’d recommend banana, dates and nuts. Banana has high calorie density and potassium ions, they said.
Got some best of luck calls and messages. Funny incident, it was difficult to pass the time as the test is near. Though not much of a “facebooker” myself, I logged into FB, an old acquaintance of gre institute had sent friend request. We chatted for a while. The person on next side had no idea I had exam tomorrow. So when I revealed it, there was a moment of shock. 

2 days before gre

Ets book’s second test today. At 1 pm simulated test. Come to realize it’s only a day left for real test.

3, 4, 5, 6, 7 days before gre

I had learned in one of gre books about tapering the study hours as the test day approached. So I had kept myself to a full length test a day. In addition I did a very light review of some important topics which I deemed important. Pressure had begun to mount and had tried to keep myself calm. Equanimity was what I needed at this moment.

15, 16…, 20… days before gre

You are bound to get anxious now. You feel gre and really coming to you. Sometimes you may feel like not reading at all or read all the time. Whatever the case it, to keep you motivated, make a mental note of what you’ll like to do after gre, some fun thing, as an incentive to your work. There was lot of hype about Raanjhanaa and the music was by AR Rahman so, I had planned to watch that after gre.

GRE Test experience: D-day

The importance of good night sleep cannot be underrated. It may be difficult to sleep at first but if have a brisk walk at the evening and keep to your usual sleep time you’ll have deep sleep. I’d slept more than usual. The strange dream of teleport had overwhelmed my mind. It didn’t leave me until I washed my face and faced some sunlight. After the lunch I prepared myself to leave for test center. I’d given mock at the center and had no fear about being in new place.

Got my visa for identity requirement. Packed banana, apple and juice for snacks during break. Had planned to go by public transportation than bike, you don’t want the traffic jam to get to your nerve before test. I was early, its better to be early than late. Had talked to the people at center during the mock about the procedure and they’d said if the computer are available they’ll admit you as soon as you arrive. I’d begin 20 minutes early.

Before that I was made to stay at waiting area. Was briefed about the provision of 10 minutes break after 3rd section and gave a paragraph to copy. The paragraph was about the confidentiality of test question. I was checked thoroughly before entering the test room. I showed my pocket inside out. Regarding what to wear, put on what you feel comfortable in (no one objects if you wear half pant too). It’s better to take a light jacket as the a/c temperature might not be to your preference.

The people are center are usually courteous (ets has trained them) and in my case except one lady supervisor everyone was polite. Prepare yourself for any kind of staff at the center. Don’t get nervous if the staff is not polite, (the lady supervisor reprimanded few test takers) they are inured to test takers like you and me. Anyways I was acclimatizing to test center atmosphere by walking around the waiting room, stretching body as if I’m going on race. Then, I got in.

The environment inside the room is really solemn. You can see the supervisors outside the room through the glass partition. There are other test takers in the room deep into their test. The monitor was little far than what I was accustomed to. I didn’t rush to exam, it will not start unless I click continue so I took some time to pull the monitor towards me. Got adjusted to chair and the test started.

The AW was easy, usually is. Issue was regarding the beginner bringing new idea than expert. The argument too was usual. I found the keyboard comfortable than the one at my laptop. The writing went like a breeze. I was anxious about which one will be the experimental section and it turned out to be verbal. I had got my lesson about time management in verbal on ets test so I went on with my usual pace. As you do that much simulated test you get the feel of whether you are taking more time than necessary for certain question. The words were familiar ones. I’d consulted with test takers before my test and they had said not to worry about the words. The structure of some three blank TC was really tough. You have no idea what’s the blank want when you reach the bottom of the text. Short length and middle length passage were relatively easier than the long ones. Quantitative was my forte when compared to verbal. I’d some minutes to spare when I completed Q which I used in revision. 

The 10 minutes break started and I rushed out to get my snacks. After snacks, went out to wash my face. The cold water did the magic of refreshing me. I stayed out for a while getting some air. Take your mind off the test as far as you can. Human brain has the tendency to lose concentration after continuous mental work of few hours so you need to refresh it every few hours. This is your chance to do so. Taking the simulated test at home I had the feel of how long the 10 minutes is. I got in and there were three sets to go. 

Next set, verbal, had to be strict with time now. The second set tends to be tougher than first one, unless you perform worse in first set. So you’ll have to change your pace too. Then came quantitative which was much tougher than first, meaning I’d performed better. The data interpretation questions were like out of the world. I’d been warned about this by my friends who had already taken the test so I didn’t panicked. Whatever the situation you have to maintain your composure, otherwise you are at risk of colossal damage, i.e. failure to do one difficult question will affect your ability to perform on other questions too. All you have to do is, deal one question at a time and forget about it once you click next. The time at gre is too precious to ponder whether you answered correctly on previous question. You can always return if you’ve time to spare at last.

The last set was verbal and I was ready to tackle whatever comes my way. The questions were not much difficult than earlier test. As the time approached towards the *** of test I saw its 10 minutes to *** the test. I was happy as well as felt to need to concentrate 10 more minutes and I’m done. Finally, test is over. Score time now. 

There was some fear inside me when I clicked report score. I was content when I saw the score. I was hoping for 320 or above and it was 321. 156 V and 165 Q. Eager to get out of the center I quickly filled the names of the university. The name of the university is not enough as two universities could have similar name, get the full name along with the location of university.

Got out of the center. There were some missed calls. Called home. Folks were happy to hear the score. Came to Collins, the gre institute where friends were waiting me. It was already beginning to get dark. Partied hard. Slept at around 0100 in morning.

Experience After the GRE Test

Day after test
Hangover was bittersweet and helped me to get out of gre. Didn’t believe that gre exam is over. Freshened up. Went out to watch Raanjhanaa.

Next day
Met friends whom I hadn’t met since a month.

Next day
Next day
Next day

1 week after test
Thought to write the experience down while still sleeping. GRE AW had guided into outlining before writing, which came handy. Took nearly 4.5 hours from conception to completion.

GRE Test Tips

- Simulation is the key to perform better at gre. Take as many simulated test as possible. (Simulated test is full length test with AW, V, Q sections.)
- You can hardly do better at gre if you hate gre. You may not love it at the beginning but slowly you’ll like it. Try not to be hostile to gre. It’s for your own good. Your chance to prove yourself. Utilize it to your favor.
- You have to have gre mindset, meaning; gre gets priority in your life. This doesn’t mean don’t meet your friends, don’t watch movies but gre needs to be your priority.
- As the date approaches try to turn down the volume of the distractions. It means less interaction with world or simply more concentrated to gre.
- They say gre is test of aptitude and yes it is. You cannot rote the lesson and throw up on test day. You need to change the knowledge into skill, meaning; it should be your reflex. You don’t think when you remove your hand away from fire, its instinct; similarly you should think automatically when you are presented a gre question. It should be fast because time is crucial factor in gre. You are bound to get tired in 4 hours of testing so if you train your brain to short circuit the thinking process you’ll solve the question in any condition. Practice is the key to such skill.
- Everyone had different mark requirement. Different subjects require different marks so know what you need first and put only the required effort.
- The test can easy make you impatient, anxious and exhausted. Maintain your composure at all times. Key is simulated test.
- Take mocks if available at the testing center.
- Practice vocabulary much before the test day. Get your siblings to quiz you. This way they too enrich their word power and its fun to learn this way.
- Taper your reading as you approach your test day. Don’t change your general routine of sleep and other stuff as the test day approaches.
- Stay away from distractions weeks before test day.
- Follow the gre groups on fb. Some of the them are listed. Preparation For The Revised GRE, GRE, New gre, all of these groups had helped me. Thanks to the creators of those groups. 
- Remember at all times, equanimity is the word. 

Thanks to teachers, book writers, family, friends, internet, google, fb gre groups for making gre less formidable. Hope this piece of writing can assist in your conquest of gre.

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