GRE test taking experience

My Test Taking Experience of New GRE Exam

This is the test taking experience of New GRE submitted by a GRE taker. You can read other GRE takers’ experience here.

My GRE journey was long and difficult, but I finally managed to score 327 (Quant = 169, Verbal = 158). In my previous attempt, I had scored only 294 (Quant = 149, Verbal = 145). I did not change my strategy the second time around; I only read what high-scoring students reported on


1) Set a target score.

To remain motivated and to study dedicatedly, it is important to set a target score. My practice test scores were around 320 and my aim was 315+ (Quant = 165+, Verbal = 150+). Previously, I had 3-4 weeks to prepare. The second time, I spent 2.5 months in studies.

2) Write a GRE diagnostic test.

A diagnostic test will show you your weaknesses and strengths so that you can focus on improving your problem areas and not waste time on sections you are good at. It will not demoralize you, instead it will acquaint you with the length and format of the test.

3) Spend time improving your weak areas.

Try to work out why you are weak in certain areas. Keep an error log. I was always making mistakes in exponents because I was applying the rules incorrectly. I rectified my mistake and did not repeat it. I discovered I was better at reading comprehension than at text completion. So, I divided my time like this: 60% quant, 30% sentence completions, and 10% passages.

4) Focus on understanding concepts instead of just practicing problems.

I spent around 60% of my time understanding the question types and the skills most frequently tested. Then, I spent the rest of the time practicing questions. To know the most frequently tested words, I used 333 Most Frequent Words by Barron and The Princeton Review’s 800 Hit Parade.

5) Write 6-8 practice tests and work out a test strategy.

Practice test-taking skills like flagging difficult questions, skipping questions, and pacing yourself. An efficient strategy is to skip long and difficult quant questions and return to them later after the other questions have been attempted. In the verbal section, I attempted the passages first and the completion questions later.

One week before the test, review all the concepts, your error log, and your vocabulary list. Do not take any more practice tests. One day before the test, relax and do not study. To acclimatize yourself to the testing environment, you can take one of the practice tests offered by ETS at their centers 3-4 days before the GRE.

Satabdi is a content writer and editor with degrees in Biology and English. Her interests include education, health and wellness, and books. When not writing, she can usually be found reading in a corner.

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