Preparing for GRE

Studying Abroad: Preparing for GRE

Studying abroad is one of the highly sought out things for graduates in India. Well, reason varies from person to person but the degree sought are usually Masters or Ph.D. In this post series, I will be writing about the starting steps towards studying in the USA. Before you start searching for the dream University, you must start preparing for GRE (stands for Graduate Record Examination).

Why GRE?

Preparing for GRE - ETS logoWell, GRE is the exam for those who wants to pursue Master’s or Ph.D. in any technical field like Engineering, Mathematics, Applied Sciences etc. For Management lovers, you need to study and apply for GMAT another exam like GRE but focused on MBA.

Coming back to the point, why GRE? If you have not got the answer let me explain in simple words. GRE is required in most of the University at the USA for admission. Though, GRE is not the sole criteria for admission but one among others which are necessary. I will share detailed information about that in my post about applying at Universities.

Before starting with any preparation tips, I am sharing the pattern for GRE below for those of you who might not know about it:

  1. There are 5 sections in the exam, divided as follows:
    1. Verbal section – There are two sections of Verbal aptitude totaling 170 marks at highest and 140 at the lowest. The structure of the Section is as follows:
      1. Sentence Completion – It is about finding two synonymous words to form two sentences which convey the same meaning. Do attempt it or One word first in the Verbal section as they are easiest to solve.
      2. One word (Fill in the Blanks) – Attempt it as soon you are finished with Sentence Completion.
      3. Two words (Fill in the Blanks) – Second last to attempt in the Verbal section due to complexity.
      4. Three words (Fill in the Blanks) – I would say attempt it in the last as it is usually answered wrongly.
      5. Reading the Passage – Simplest of all in Verbal as the answers are usually there in the Passage.
    2. Quantitative Section – Similar to Verbal Section, there are also two sections here and the marking pattern is also same in Quantitative section. For Engineering graduates, it might be a piece of cake but still you need to focus on this section as this is the highest scoring section for those who are not good in English. The list of topics which are covered in Quantitative section is as follows:
      1. ARITHMETIC: Decimals, Exponents and Roots, Fractions, Integers, Percent, Ratio, Real Numbers.
      2. ALGEBRA: Applications, Coordinate Geometry, Functions, Graphs of Functions, Operations with Algebraic Expressions, Rules of Exponents, Solving Linear Equations, Solving Linear Inequalities, Solving Quadratic Equations.
      3. GEOMETRY:  Circles, Lines and Angles, Polygons, Quadrilaterals, Three-Dimensional Figures, Triangles.
      4. DATA ANALYSIS: Counting Methods, Data Interpretation Examples, (Distributions of Data, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions), Graphical Methods for Describing Data, Numerical Methods for Describing Data, Probability.
    3. Experimental Section – Well, this section is something which must be taken seriously. There is no way to predict which section would be the Experimental one. Confused, why so? This section is a random section between Verbal or Quantitative section. It is also not sure which section you answered will be taken as experimental. So, take every section seriously for getting a decent score.
  2. Before you start with Verbal or Quantitative Aptitude, you are to write the AWA essays. They are marked on the scale of 6 and an incrementing pattern of 0.5. This section is divided into these two sub-sections:
    1. Argument task – Time provided to read the passage and write the essay is 30 minutes.
      1. My take – Read the argument in 3 minutes! Analyze and formulate the essay in 3 minutes! Write in 22 minutes and 3 minutes for correction.
    2. Issue task – Time provided to read the statement and write the issue is also 30 minutes.
      1. My take – Read the issue in less than 2 minutes! Analyze and formulate the essay in 3 minutes! Write in 22 minutes and last 5 minutes for correction.
  3. These are my experience and take on how to write and what to focus upon while giving GRE. You can check which might be useful for you.

Preparing for GRE? Confused about how to start?

Well, you will not be confused anymore after reading this post. I had prepared for GRE last year itself and it was neither a smooth road nor a tough one. That’s my experience, your’s might differ from me. But I will be sharing a number of ways you can prepare for the exam.

Join a Coaching Institute:

Some people take coaching from good institutes like Jamboree, or MJA (well I am talking about Delhi) but there are more throughout the country specialized in teaching the course of GRE. I would advise preparing from a good coaching institute, but you can also prepare for the exam by yourself. The average period of time required to prepare for GRE is 3 months if you are taking coaching from an Institute.

USIEF Membership:

usief GRE

USIEF (United States-India Educational Foundation) is an initiative by US government to help students from India or USA studying in either country. When you take a yearly membership at USIEF, you get access to their huge library and their expert counsellors. This place can be a boon for students while applying to Universities. Their counsellors provide great advice during the admission process.


Magoosh Account: 


Magoosh is an Online Test Preparation Company which teaches students via Video lectures. Those who believe in the power of Internet, this is a place for you. With their tutorials and good test content, you can also prepare for GRE quite easily. Magoosh also offers GRE flashcard App which provides good exercise for building Vocabulary.



Well, nothing can beat self-study! If you feel that you can study by self and score good marks then go for it! Try making a plan to study and start with it. But you need to study harder so as to compete against the lot who are learning from experts. Here are some websites and book names which you can use for your help:

  1. M for Math: It provides a good base for Quantitative Aptitude.
  2. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis: It is a great book to build Vocabulary in the easiest way possible.
  3. Kaplan for GRE : a Nice book with its practice tests.
  4. Manhattan 5 LB: It is one of the best books to prepare for GRE.
  5. Barron’s GRE Maths Workbook: It is a basic book, but it should give a nice idea about the type of questions which comes in GRE.

Well with this post, I have covered up nearly everything about preparing for GRE. If you feel like asking any query, do comment here. I will be happy to help you. 🙂

GODSPEED guys! Prepare well and Score good in GRE!