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Graduate students who are applying for a master’s degree to any non-business related school for admission in subjects like engineering, psychology, and education need to take the Graduate Record Exam, or the GRE. The GRE is undergoing a radical change. For starters, the look, feel, and software capabilities of the exam will now change. Students will be permitted to go back to answers, skip questions, preview sections, and even have an on-screen calculator while taking the exam. Basically, the experience will be like taking a paper-based exam on the computer.
One of the chief complaints of students was that the GRE focused a lot on vocabulary and more specifically, vocabulary used in American schools and colleges. The new GRE reduces the focus on vocabulary, eliminating antonyms and analogies completely. In the end, the test makers claim that they are changing these tests for the better, to become more accurate predictors of students’ success in business or graduate school. Whether this holds true or not is still to be tested.

The following is a sample study format you can adopt if you plan to do a self-study programme:

THE NEW GRE

Week 1
Go through the ETS The Official Guide to the GRE and make a list of the words you do not know. Look up a dictionary and start making your own word list. Don’t just memorise the words – try to create sentences which will help you remember the words.

Week 2
Use ‘The Quantitative Section’ in the same book to brush up your math concepts (topics such as mental math, ratios and percentages). Ensure that your word learning does not take a back seat.

Week 3
Start practicing math problems topic-by-topic (such as permutations, probability, statistics, and so on). Identify the areas where you need more practice.

Week 4
Now that your vocabulary is a little better, start with the sentence completion section of the verbal section.

Week 5
Now introduce yourself to the world of Critical Reasoning.

Week 6
Practice mixed math problems from all topics. In addition to this, refer to Cracking the new GRE (Princeton Review) and DVD.

Week 7
Dedicate this entire week to the reading comprehension module.

Week 8
Take a mock test which helps you to evaluate your current performance. You can do this test online on various websites.

Week 9
Focus on your essay writing skills and write practice essays from the ETS book.

Week 10
Under time constraints, solve quantitative comparison and data interpretation related math topics. Again, try to do this online.

Week 11
Now you are ready to practice an entire GRE test at one stretch. Make sure that there are no distractions around you and time yourself. Try to finish one test per day and analyse your errors. You can use the paper tests from the ETS book, but avoid repeating the tests. It’s even better if you have access to online tests.

Week 12
After practicing the Computer Adaptive Tests in Powerprep and other online software you should now be confident to take the GRE exam at the testing centre.

BOOK TO BUY

  • ETS The Official Guide to the GRE
  • Cracking the new GRE (Princeton Review)
  • Kaplan GRE Premier Program

Volume 1 Issue 1