GRE Verbal Reasoning Section
Posted on
11
Feb 2022

How To Crack The GRE Verbal Reasoning Section?

If you are interested in attending graduate school, you are probably considering taking the GRE. This is a standardized exam that not only tests your knowledge and skills but also reveals your potential when applying to graduate schools. The GRE is divided into several sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing. Many test-takers tend to focus on the Quantitative Section because quant skills are considered more difficult to develop than verbal skills. However, you should be careful not to overlook the benefits of spending enough time preparing for the Verbal Section of the exam. If you want to crack the GRE Verbal Reasoning section, here are some pro tips on how to do so.

What should you expect on the GRE Verbal Reasoning section?

Before we jump into the tips, let’s briefly go through the types of questions you should expect on this section. The Verbal section of the GRE has three questions types – Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence questions. These three sections are designed to evaluate your skills of analyzing written data and finding the essence of the given information. Showing prospective graduate schools that you can score high on the verbal section of the GRE exam proves that you can handle a challenge as tough as the graduate school workload. Since the GRE tests your English language and analytical reasoning skills, it is important that you can think outside of the box, interpret information and draw conclusions from any written material that you are given. 

 

1. Work on improving your vocabulary constantly

If you want to ace the GRE Verbal Reasoning section, it is important to make constant efforts to improve your vocabulary. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming to see many unfamiliar words in a text. You may not know where to start. That is why you have to come up with a specific approach for learning new words. For example, while you are reading a book or an article, look out for new words in the text. Whenever you come across a new word, highlight it and write it down in a list. Then check its meaning in a dictionary that provides a border context of the meaning and use of this word. Top dictionaries for learning new words are the Oxford Learning Dictionary and the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

When you are finished with the list of new words you found in a text, start memorizing the first few words of this list for the first few days. You should progressively increase the number of words you aim to learn per week. Another interesting approach for learning vocabulary is to use flashcards or apps that in the form of a game will help you expand your vocabulary unconsciously.

2. Read English literature 

The GRE Verbal section will test your ability to understand vocabulary in context. You should learn to focus your attention while reading on how certain words are used and how sentences are constructed. This exercise will help you gain a deeper understanding of how English grammar works. There’s no better way to understand and learn how to use new vocabulary. If English is not your first language, we suggest reading your favorite books in English. You have already read them once, so it would be easier for you to focus on the vocabulary and learn new words.

Another effective alternative is reading the news in English from newspaper articles or magazines. While reading, try to understand how a word has been used in a sentence. This can help you crack the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence sections on the GRE exam. Once you know how a word can be used in the context of a sentence, you can analyze every paragraph easily and find the word that would be the best fit for it.

3. Regularly study for the Verbal Reasoning section while preparing for GRE

Studying regularly is very important if you want to crack the Verbal section. Preparing for this section is a long-term journey which takes more time than just a few days or weeks before the exam. Try improving your English language skills on a daily basis by expanding your vocabulary, reading more, and listening to English speech. Spend a sufficient amount of time on your GRE preparation and you’ll ace this exam!

 

To Review 

Understanding the importance of regular and systematic studying for the GRE Verbal Reasoning section is the key to success that will help you deal with any verbal task on the exam day.  Improving your vocabulary and developing your reading skills is crucial for scoring high on the GRE. Here at Apex, we know that this may be a challenging task. Hence, we are more than happy to support you on your GRE journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you crack any section of the GRE exam!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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Beginning GRE Prep
Posted on
04
Feb 2022

Beginning GRE Prep: The Go-Getter’s Guide To GRE Prep

If you are looking for ways to excel in your career by embarking on a journey to graduate school, you are going to face the challenge of having to take the Graduate Record Examination, more commonly known as the GRE. Luckily, with the right preparation and guidance, every motivated candidate can obtain a score that satisfies their personal desires (and school requirements) and accomplish their academic goals. Throughout this article, we are going to provide you with the ultimate GRE go-getter’s guide.

1. Get acquainted with the GRE exam

The GRE is an essential part of one’s application to most graduate schools in the United States and Canada. It is a part of your application requirements together with your portfolio that includes your essays, letters of recommendation, interview, and resume. In addition, GRE exams are available for candidates in fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, literature, and psychology, depending on the preferences of students. For this reason, a strong performance on the GRE can be used to satisfy graduate school requirements, complement your portfolio, and make you stand out from the crowd.

This is a standardized exam that aims to measure the verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills of undergraduates regardless of their fields of study. Rather than being a question-by-question computer-adaptive exam, the GRE determines the difficulty of each section based on the candidate’s performance in the previous section. In short, it is a section-adaptive exam.

When it comes to scoring, GRE scores are valid for five years. Having this knowledge can help you manage your time properly when applying for graduate schools and may even trigger you to take the exam before you have started fulfilling other requirements of your application. 

Sections

The general GRE test is about 3 hours and 45 minutes long. It consists of three main sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The 60-minute Analytical Writing section is broken into an Argumentative Writing Task and an Issue Writing Task. The duration of each of the two Quantitative Reasoning tasks is 35 minutes, whereas the duration of each of the two Verbal Reasoning sections is 30 minutes. On the computer-adaptive version of the exam, there is also a 30-minute experimental section.

The test includes a 1-minute break after each section and a 10-minute break after the third section.

Unlike the GMAT, the format of the GRE allows the examined person to freely move back and forth between the questions of each section, leave unanswered questions for later, and mark them for review. 

2. Choose a way to prepare

We live in a digital age and have an infinite amount of resources at our disposal. If we want to take up a hobby, acquire a new skill, or prepare for an exam, we can do it all online by ourselves. 

When it comes to the GRE, the situation is similar. Having so many resources at your disposal can seem overwhelming when beginning GRE prep. Here at Apex we know how useful it will be to you to have access to a GRE go-getter’s guide that can break each step of your preparation down to smaller tasks. 

Firstly, you can choose to prepare by self-studying. This decision can be made for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is cost-efficient. A candidate will have access to online resources such as practice tests and articles. However, one should be aware that these are very limited. Another reason why you might choose to self-prep is that you will be able to work at your own pace.

There is also the possibility of hiring a specialized GRE tutor. Although costly, GRE Private tutoring is an option that is reasonable because your GRE needs will be met by a person who knows how the exam works and how you can prepare for it without wasting your time. If you’re interested, we have written a more detailed guide on what type of preparation is best for you.

3. Plan your GRE preparation

Every GRE journey begins with determining one’s goals. This includes choosing a program to apply to, doing research on the minimum score the respective school requires of candidates, and finally, beginning GRE preparation.

Here comes the time when it would be best for you to take a free GRE practice test. Make sure to take one without any preparation. By doing this baseline assessment, you will get to know where you currently stand, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how far you will need to go to achieve your goals. You will also use this result to track your progress. 

Then it is time to begin studying. Take your time to work on each section separately. First, you need to analyze the results from the practice test you took, see where you made mistakes, and make note of inefficient solution pathways. Only then you can focus on the Quant section and on the Verbal section. Don’t forget to review what you’ve learned once again. Then, we suggest working on the Analytical Writing Section towards the end of your prep.  

Final Thoughts

All in all, in this go-getter’s guide, we looked at the main steps one should consider when beginning GRE prep. The latter includes learning more about the nature of the exam, choosing a model of preparation that will suit your needs, and coming up with a GRE study plan. If you are interested in individualized private tutoring, we offer complimentary 30-minute consultation calls with one of our top-scoring instructors!

 

Contributor: Reneta Georgieva

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325+ GRE Score
Posted on
28
Jan 2022

Can You Achieve A 325+ GRE Score On Your Own?

Those of you who are preparing for the GRE have probably come across the price tag of a private tutor. You are not alone if the cost is a bit off-putting. Too often those put off by the price of a private GRE tutor attempt to achieve a cumulative 325+ score on their own. Some are successful. Many more are not. There is more to achieving a cumulative 325+ than what meets the eye. 

We here at Apex have helped dozens of clients achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE. All of whom realized during their prep that the only way to achieve their goal is with help. Asking for help is a noble thing to do and, more often than not, those highly successful individuals you see attend a top-ten graduate program didn’t go it alone. They had help. Often, in the form of a private tutor. 

But we are not here to convince you that a private tutor is the be-all and end-all to GRE studying. In this article, we break down whether you are one of those few who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score without the support of a private tutor. 

1. YES, you can! But…

To answer your question. Yes. It is possible to achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE without hiring a private GRE tutor. But just because one can doesn’t necessarily mean one should. What do we mean by this? Well, studying – as you are well aware – is stressful. Attempting to ‘go it alone’ is even more stressful. 

Let’s assume you study 10 hours a week, and you notice practice exam after practice exam that you are not surpassing a cumulative 310 or 315. Sure, you can bump up the amount of hours you are studying, but this might just turn into a waste of time. You see, studying doesn’t always come down to the amount of hours you put into it. Achieving success on the GRE is highly dependent on your testing strategy. A strategy that even an extra 5 hours of studying won’t help you fix. 

2. Your testing strategy is EVERYTHING. 

The testing strategy you choose to adopt is the one that can make, or break, your GRE goal. If you are determined to ‘go it alone’ and not hire a private GRE tutor, then watch videos where professionals can help break down different types of test-taking strategies. If your strategy works for you, that is great! But often some test takers can’t seem to figure out what they are doing wrong, or they don’t know how to maximize their strategy for the greatest results. This is where a private tutor comes into play. They analyze your test-taking strategy and tailor your prep to best suit who you are as a test taker. 

3. The Pros and Cons.

Weigh out the pros and cons. Studying, if you do it right, is time-consuming. GRE private tutors, if you choose a good one, are pricey. And while a private tutor may not reduce your studying time to 0.5 hours a week, what they can do is guide you towards your goal without having you waste your precious time. An excellent one-on-one GRE instructor has a keen eye, and is able to notice where you might be struggling – or excelling – without you ever knowing it. And while a private tutor may be pricey, at the end of the day achieving your goal of a cumulative 325+ GRE score will pay back the cost of a private tutor 10-fold. Don’t believe us? Getting a high GRE score can open doorways to top graduate programs and even future professional opportunities.  

4. It comes down to statistics. 

Still wondering whether you can achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score on your own? Only about 20% of the test takers achieve a cumulative 325+ score. And the majority of them utilize help in some form or another. We have found very few individuals who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ purely on their own. And while it is possible, sometimes skill isn’t the only factor at play for achieving a cumulative 325+. 

Final Thoughts 

As we talked about earlier, strategy plays a huge factor in your abilities as does looking at things from a fresh perspective. If achieving a cumulative 325+ on the GRE was easy, well, then everyone would do it! But it is difficult for a reason. Graduate schools want to be sure that their students are up for the challenge of a Graduate program. And just like you won’t go through Graduate school all alone, why expect to go through the GRE studying experience all by yourself as well? 

We here at ApexGRE pride ourselves on helping clients achieve a GRE score above a cumulative 325+. We often get clients coming to us who have found themselves plateauing around the 315 mark after attempting a cumulative 325+ on their own. We are able to develop a strategy with them. Keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses. And because all of our tutors have scored above a cumulative 330 on the GRE and have years of tutoring experience behind them, we are well equipped to help any type of learner. 

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute, consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us! 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Three Pitfalls of GRE Prep
Posted on
21
Jan 2022

Three Pitfalls Of GRE Prep – How To Avoid Them?

The GRE is the do-it-all of graduate school admissions tests, the closest thing to the SAT or ACT when it comes to your postgraduate education. It is the most commonly used standardized test for grad schools in the United States and has been implemented for over 85 years. The GRE is used as a part of the admissions process for a variety of programs, from STEM to the humanities. For some, it may even be difficult to choose between the GRE and other types of standardized tests, like the GMAT. Once you finally decide on the GRE, the next thing to think about is how to start with your GRE prep. Here are some simple GRE prep pitfalls to avoid.

1. Don’t Underestimate or Overestimate The GRE 

This test is meant for anyone and everyone. From engineers to artists, this is a test that is supposed to be comprehensive, so the skill sets of applicants will vary. With the GRE being split into Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical sections, you may find some sections more comforting than others. Let’s say you’re an English major, you’ve been writing your entire life, you are a genuine wordsmith. You may take a few practice tests and you find the verbal section is a breeze. You are hitting high above the required score for the programs you’re interested in. On the other hand, in the quantitative section, you may be barely hitting the mark. 

A terrible GRE prep pitfall is thinking that you simply cannot do it. Thinking, “I wasn’t a math major in college” is not going to help you get a good GRE score. The GRE is a test meant for a wide range of fields, you are surely not the first – or last – of your respective field to take it. It’s important to keep in mind that the GRE is not a test which you can fail. 

Despite that, do not overestimate yourself from your GRE prep. Test day is a completely different story. And it is important to keep your nerves in check, even when the test may be more difficult than you expected. Even though the GRE is a more comprehensive test, it is not meant to be easy, you may even need help in places you wouldn’t expect.

2. Everyone Prepares Differently 

Seeking resources to help yourself with GRE prep can be downright confusing with so many sites telling you what strategies will work. It may be easy to take what one person says works for them and run with it, but it is crucial to remember that everyone studies differently. What works for one other person may not work for you. Here are three things to keep in mind for GRE prep.

    • Experiment: It is okay to try different things. If you are struggling, never be ashamed of trying a different route, who knows it may be what gets you to that desired GRE score.
    • If it Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It: There is no doubt that the GRE is not your first rodeo. Most likely, you have been taking some form of standardized tests your entire life, and you certainly have developed some study habits over the years. Trust yourself and implement your own study strategies into your prep.
    • Seek a Tutor: A one-on-one GRE tutor may be just the spark you need. A tutor can help personalize your studying experience and may also be helpful in keeping you on track. Looking into an online GRE tutor can be especially helpful in regards to flexibility, especially in our increasingly complex lives.

3. Your GRE Score does not Define You

It is important to remember that the GRE does not determine your intelligence, it does not fully determine the potential you have, and is not the ultimate indicator of your grad school success. A GRE pitfall to avoid is thinking when taking a prep test or even when taking the GRE multiple times, that your score is not personal, so don’t make it such. It is just a number. The last thing you want to do is take this number to heart. Thinking of yourself as a failure will do nothing but hurt you.

The GRE can be overwhelming especially when it’s something that could drastically change your future, but it’s important to keep a cool head and keep these GRE prep pitfalls in mind. Don’t oversell or undersell yourself and make sure you find the strategies which work for you.

 

Contributor: Lukas Duncan 

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GRE Verbal Section
Posted on
14
Jan 2022

GRE Verbal Section – All You Need To Know

The business world is dominated by numbers, charts, and graphs. Thus, most business school hopefuls understandably focus on developing their analytical thinking and math skills when preparing for the GRE exam. But it’s a mistake to neglect the GRE verbal section. Effective GRE test prep requires a balanced, well-rounded approach.

Here’s what you need to know about the GRE verbal reasoning section. 

What is the GRE verbal section and what does it test for?

The verbal section of GRE primarily evaluates the test taker’s overall command of standard written English, their ability to analyze and evaluate arguments, and critical reading skills. As such, the verbal section is made up of three types of problems: reading comprehension, text correction, and sentence equivalence

The 3 sections have a total of 36 questions, with a time limit of 65 minutes. This leaves, on average, 1 minute and 50 seconds per question.

How Is GRE Verbal Section Scored?

The verbal section of GRE, like the quantitative section, is evaluated on a scale of 130 to 170 in one point increments. A 162 on Verbal and a 166 on Quant is considered an excellent score – it is a 90th percentile score that will be competitive for most graduate programs. 

“What are GRE percentiles?” you may ask. Basically, the GRE ranks test takers by percentile. The percentile system uses GRE scores from the previous three years to calculate how applicants performed compared to their peers. For example, if an applicant scores in the 80th percentile, it means he or she performed better than 80% of test takers over the last three years. 

Although the GRE scaled scores don’t change over time, the percentiles do. Graduate schools assess both the scaled and percentile scores to get an adequate understanding of the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Language on the GRE Verbal Section

The language on the verbal section is more sophisticated and academic than what is used in everyday vocabulary. If you aren’t accustomed to reading formal English, your verbal prep might require some extra time and energy. 

It will be easier to identify errors, main points, and bias statements once you’ve trained your ear to formal English. Practice reading formal texts efficiently and effectively, and avoid vernacular texts. Instead, choose sources that are known for using elevated writing styles, such as The New Yorker or The New York Times. 

GRE Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension subsection of GRE evaluates not only the candidate’s understanding of words and statements, but more importantly, the underlying logic behind them.
In this subsection, you’ll find passages of texts followed by several questions about the text’s details and implications. Some passages draw from various disciplines, such as the physical, biological, or social sciences, while others refer to business-related fields. 

Here are some tips to make the process less tedious and more efficient:

  1. Read the whole passage without taking too much time to memorize details
  2. Analyze the logical structure of the passage
  3. Ask yourself:
  • What’s the main argument?
  • What does the author state explicitly? What is implied?
  • How would you describe the author’s tone and attitude?

Keep an eye out for opinionated words–for example, “clearly,” “obviously,” or “apparently”–these words hint at the author’s attitudes, and they’ll help you suss out the main point. 

GRE Text Completion

Text Completion is another subsection of GRE consisting of questions designed to test candidates’ abilities to build coherent and meaningful sentences. What test-takers should do is to read short passages that miss crucial words in them. Then, based on the remaining information, they need to choose the word or short phrase that would best fit the blank and thus, construct clear and logical texts.

Here are a few tips to nail the GRE Text Completion subsection: 

  • Don’t focus only on the sentence with the blank space, read through the whole passage to learn the context.
  • Don’t waste too much time on the first blank – if you can’t think of anything at the moment, continue filling the rest and then come back to it.
  • Keep an eye on words like although, therefore, as they are connective words setting the direction of the passages.

GRE Sentence Equivalence

Similarly, the sentence equivalence subsection of the GRE aims at assessing a candidate’s ability to formulate a meaningful “whole” by choosing the proper way to fill in the blank spaces. Test-takers will have to complete a sentence by choosing two of the six answer options to fit one blank. The two words must be synonyms and lead to the constructing of a sentence with, more or less, the same meaning. No credit is provided for partially correct answers. 

Here are some tips to consider while doing the GRE sentence equivalence subsection:

  • First and foremost, you need to equip yourself with rich vocabulary, as you need to identify perfect synonyms. 
  • As there may be more than one set of synonyms among the answers, make sure that the words chosen by you are appropriate for filling in the blank.
  • After you’ve made your choice, make sure to read the sentence again in order to ensure it is grammatically and logically coherent.

Conclusion

Taking the GRE quantitative section into account, there are a number of score combinations that will lead to the same overall score, which leaves plenty of room to maneuver. However, given the rise in GRE quantitative scores in recent years, total scores and percentile rankings have shifted. This gives candidates an opportunity to boost their overall scores by mastering the verbal section of the GRE.

 

Contributor: Bilhen Sali

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Mistakes in GRE prep
Posted on
07
Jan 2022

5 Rookie Mistakes To Avoid In GRE Prep

If you are reading this you are probably an ambitious high achiever, firmly determined to pursue a graduate degree. In order to achieve your goal, however, you’ll need to face and conquer the GRE. Many people find this “battle” daunting until they realize that the right study plan and strategy can turn the GRE into their friend rather than an opponent.

The process of “befriending” the GRE is not a straightforward one. There are inevitable mistakes in GRE prep that every test-taker makes. The good thing is, mistakes exist to teach us how to perform better.

In this article, we’ll give you hints on how to overcome the 5 most common mistakes in GRE prep.  

1. Preparing without a GRE study plan

As you may already know, the GRE is not a test you simply sit and study for. It’s rather a test that requires constant improvement of the necessary skills. Meaning, the GRE is not concerned with one’s knowledge but rather with their individual and creative approach to completing the exercises. That said, memorizing a bunch of textbooks and doing as many practice tests as possible, wouldn’t develop the needed skills to conquer the GRE.

Therefore, no matter what you do right during your GRE prep process, if you don’t have a study plan, all efforts will be in vain. The reason is that a clear GRE study plan ensures that future test-takers maintain focus and coherence throughout their entire prep process. Having a focused study plan helps you follow your progress much easier. What’s more, you can detect what your shortcomings are with plenty of time to better them. Having a proper prep plan will work with you to improve your overall performance.

That being said, a clear study plan ensures that your GRE prep will be tied to your personal needs and capabilities and thus, help you excel on exam day.

2. Avoiding weak spots

As in every other test prep process, test-takers do a great job on some sections while not so much on others. That’s also the case with the GRE and this is absolutely okay. What is not okay, however, is merely focusing on strengths and neglecting your weaknesses. Many people take this approach in order to become even better on the sections where they perform well and potentially compensate for the lost points on sections they struggle with. While this strategy might work with other tests, in the GRE’s case, just focusing on the parts you excel in, is not sufficient for achieving a satisfying score.

The GRE is a section adaptive test designed to assess a candidate’s intelligence by asking questions that adapt to his or her own answers – if they are doing well on a given section, the next becomes more challenging and vice versa. Therefore, your GRE score depends on your complete skill set and overall performance on the exam.

That said, to achieve a score that would put you in the shoes of a high achiever, it’s important that you pay the required attention to your weak spots, work on them, and become as well-rounded skill-wise as possible. After all, you never know which “small leak” can “sink the whole ship.”

3. Procrastinating

One of the very common mistakes in GRE prep is putting off your preparation with the excuse that “there is still enough time until the exam, I’ll practice tomorrow/next week.” While there’s nothing wrong with having a rest for two or three days, this attitude, if repeated, could impair your performance and respectively, your score on the GRE.

To lower the risk of failing on the GRE, and feeling guilty about not having put enough effort, we’d advise you to do the following things:

  •   Create a GRE study plan with clear goals for each period of your prep process.
  •   Decide which days of the week you are going to study and how many hours.
  •   Distribute your efforts evenly throughout the prep process e.g., don’t exhaust yourself one week and then be forced to rest for the next two.
  •   Track your progress and adjust your study plan accordingly.
  •   Don’t forget – “Many a little, makes a mickle,” or in other words, it’s better to study less per study session but do it regularly, rather than to study many hours over a short span of time.
  •   Stick to the aforementioned mindset and follow your study plan!

4. Last minute cramming

Another very common mistake test-takers make is underestimating the GRE to such an extent that they start preparing for it at the last possible minute. While this practice might have worked during college years, it could easily prevent you from reaching your desired GRE score.

As already mentioned, the GRE requires putting consistent effort to develop analytical and critical skills rather than cramming a textbook’s worth of content. Thus, rushing through textbook pages wouldn’t do you any good in reaching your desired score. What’s more, a typical GRE preparation takes from a minimum of 6 weeks to a maximum of 24 weeks. So, even if you had to just memorize a bunch of terms and definitions, it wouldn’t be possible to do it on the night before the exam.

5. Compromising rest

Having spoken much about how important hard and consistent work is, it’s time to turn our attention to something as important and as neglected. Many test-takers are so obsessed with acquiring their desired GRE score, that they forget to put their minds to rest and recharge. Taking care of your emotional and physical health is as important as building the skill sets required for conquering the GRE. What’s more, no matter how skillful you’ve become, if you feel exhausted, this will affect your mental health negatively and also affect your score.

Therefore, to prevent yourself from failing the exam due to increased tiredness and anxiety levels, make sure to not underestimate the power of good rest. This will not only keep you away from burnout but will also improve your memory and learning skills in the GRE prep process.

 

These five rookie mistakes in GRE prep are some which all test preppers make. BUT, these ‘mistakes’ are easy to correct. All you have to do is check your work, your study plan, and your focus. By consistently checking in with your progress you can catch mistakes in your GRE prep early. If you are looking for support in your GRE prep, our Apex Tutors are here to help. We offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls where we can chat with you to discuss your GRE and graduate school goals!

 

Contributor:  Bilhen Sali

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GRE percentiles
Posted on
31
Dec 2021

GRE Percentiles – Understanding Your GRE Score

ETS, the official makers of the GRE, compile and publish statistics on the GRE. We have reviewed the statistics and organized them for you to peruse below. If you are in the middle of studying for your GRE exam and are looking for expert help, our professional tutors at Apex GRE are available anywhere in the world. You can set up a 30-minute, complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors if you are considering a private GRE tutor. 

The following data has been collected by ETS between July 1st, 2017, and June 30th, 2020. 

Performance Statistics on the GRE

When applying to graduate school, the GRE is often an inevitability. Most top-tier business schools require students to take the exam. While many programs claim that they do not have a GRE minimum for admissions, it is important to aim for a score that lands you in a top percentile. Achieving a top score may not guarantee admission, however, it will offer you a better shot at getting into the school of your dreams. 

GRE Quant & Verbal Reasoning Percentiles 

Below is a chart of recent GRE percentiles (Collected between 2017-2020). When looking at potential graduate programs, take a look at previous admissions statistics.

GRE Quant Reasoning Percentiles

Knowing the average GRE score of previously admitted students can give you a baseline to aim for. Striving for the average, means you have a better likelihood of getting a score above or around this. Giving you a higher chance at admissions. 

Interpreting the GRE percentiles requires knowing how the GRE is scored. The total score comprises the Verbal and Quantitative sections plus a third analytical writing portion. These scores show the admissions committee your higher-order reasoning skills. These scores are able to predict a student’s success in graduate school.

The scores range from 130-170, with the analytical writing portion being scored from 0-6. When comparing your score to other test-takers, it is important to look at percentile rankings. When reading a percentile ranking chart, find your score on the chart.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Percentiles

Let us assume you scored 156 on the verbal portion. This lands you in the 72nd percentile. Meaning your score is higher than 72% of test-takers. Those scoring a 170, for example, are in the 99th percentile. This means that they achieved a score higher than 99% of all test takers. Important to remember is that percentile rankings change each year. This is because as more and more students take the exam, the total scores achieved change, and your percentile ranking changes with it. 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Cumulative 325+ GRE Score
Posted on
24
Dec 2021

Can You Achieve A Top GRE Score On Your Own?

Those of you who are preparing for the GRE have probably come across the price tag of a private tutor. You are not alone if the cost is a bit off-putting. Too often those put off by the price of a private GRE tutor attempt to achieve a cumulative 325+ score on their own. Some are successful. Many more are not. There is more to achieving a cumulative 325+ than what meets the eye. 

We here at Apex have helped dozens of clients achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE. All of whom realized during their prep that the only way to achieve their goal is with help. Asking for help is a noble thing to do and, more often than not, those highly successful individuals you see attend a top-ten graduate program didn’t go it alone. They had help. Often, in the form of a private tutor. 

But we are not here to convince you that a private tutor is the be-all and end-all to GRE studying. In this article, we break down whether you are one of those few who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score without the support of a private tutor. 

YES, you can! But…

To answer your question. Yes. It is possible to achieve a cumulative 325+ on the GRE without hiring a private GRE tutor. But just because one can doesn’t necessarily mean one should. What do we mean by this? Well, studying – as you are well aware – is stressful. Attempting to ‘go it alone’ is even more stressful. 

Let’s assume you study 10 hours a week, and you notice practice exam after practice exam that you are not surpassing a cumulative 310 or 315. Sure, you can bump up the amount of hours you are studying, but this might just turn into a waste of time. You see, studying doesn’t always come down to the amount of hours you put into it. Achieving success on the GRE is highly dependent on your testing strategy. A strategy that even an extra 5 hours of studying won’t help you fix. 

Your testing strategy is EVERYTHING

The testing strategy you choose to adopt is the one that can make, or break, your GRE goal. If you are determined to ‘go it alone’ and not hire a private GRE tutor, then watch videos where professionals can help break down different types of test taking strategies. If your strategy works for you, that is great! But often some test takers can’t seem to figure out what they are doing wrong, or they don’t know how to maximize their strategy for the greatest results. This is where a private tutor comes into play. They analyze your test taking strategy and tailor your prep to best suit who you are as a test taker. 

The Pros and Cons

Weigh out the pros and cons. Studying, if you do it right, is time-consuming. GRE private tutors, if you choose a good one, are pricey. And while a private tutor may not reduce your studying time to 0.5 hours a week, what they can do is guide you towards your goal without having you waste your precious time. An excellent one-on-one GRE instructor has a keen eye, and is able to notice where you might be struggling – or excelling – without you ever knowing it. And while a private tutor may be pricey, at the end of the day achieving your goal of a cumulative 325+ GRE score will pay back the cost of a private tutor 10-fold. Don’t believe us? Getting a high GRE score can open doorways to top graduate programs and even future professional opportunities.  

It comes down to statistics

Still wondering whether you can achieve a cumulative 325+ GRE score on your own? Only about 20% of the test takers achieve a cumulative 325+ score. And the majority of them utilize help in some form or another. We have found very few individuals who are able to achieve a cumulative 325+ purely on their own. And while it is possible, sometimes skill isn’t the only factor at play for achieving a cumulative 325+. 

As we talked about earlier, strategy plays a huge factor in your abilities as does looking at things from a fresh perspective. If achieving a cumulative 325+ on the GRE was easy, well, then everyone would do it! But it is difficult for a reason. Graduate schools want to be sure that their students are up for the challenge of a Graduate program. And just like you won’t go through Graduate school all alone, why expect to go through the GRE studying experience all by yourself as well? 

We here at ApexGRE pride ourselves on helping clients achieve a GRE score above a cumulative 325+. We often get clients coming to us who have found themselves plateauing around the 315 mark after attempting a cumulative 325+ on their own. We are able to develop a strategy with them. Keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses. And because all of our tutors have scored above a cumulative 330 on the GRE and have years of tutoring experience behind them, we are well equipped to help any type of learner. 

 

If you are interested in speaking with one of our GRE tutors, you can sign-up for a complimentary, 30-minute, consultation call. You can also learn more from our past clients who were able to achieve their cumulative 325+ score with us! 

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GRE Procrastination
Posted on
17
Dec 2021

Overcoming GRE Procrastination

You have everything prepared. Your desk is neat and tidy, your books are placed perfectly within reach, your computer is on, and your flashcards are written. Perhaps you have brewed a fresh cup of coffee and have just settled in with every intention to study for the next few hours. But lo and behold, 3 hours later, you find yourself glued to your phone, having wandered down the YouTube rabbit hole and watching your fifth 20-minute video on how paint dries! 

You can’t help but be frustrated with what just happened. And it happens more often than people would like to think. Whether it is spending hours cleaning your room or gazing wistfully out the window, procrastination is every student’s worst nightmare and biggest foe. When studying for the GRE, you will encounter opportunities to procrastinate around every corner.

So how do you overcome these distractions?

We have 5 tips and tricks which you can incorporate into your study schedule to avoid GRE procrastination Whether you are just starting out, or you are already months deep into your study schedule, these habits can be incorporated now and follow you throughout your GRE journey and into your professional future. 

1. Acknowledge when you procrastinate

Maybe you are staring out the window because it is a beautiful day, or you are maddeningly vacuuming your home because it’s been needing to get done. Regardless, you’re procrastinating. And the first step in overcoming procrastination is to admit when you are procrastinating. If you find yourself in the middle of a cleaning session, there is no need to stop in the middle of your task. Rather, re-evaluate why you are cleaning. Is it to avoid studying or is it because you’ve been meaning to vacuum for a while. Regardless, finish what you are doing. Finish vacuuming, finish staring out the window, finish cooking or cleaning. While completing your task, however, begin thinking about your study schedule. What will you be studying and for how long? Once you complete your procrastination task, sit down and begin studying. You should have spent the last hour(s) mentally preparing for the studying session, and by the time you are ready to begin your body and mind should be fully primed. 

2. Create a list and a reward system 

Yes, this may sound cliche, but lists (and rewards) help! Before sitting down to study, write out what you are planning on doing during the session. Create a list with high-priority and low-priority tasks. Establish a rewards system. What do you crave most when studying? Do you want to take a walk? Clean? Chat with a friend? After completing a high-priority task, reward yourself with a cleaning session, or a quick walk around the block. This will keep you on your toes and create a rhythm which your body adapts to. 

3. Free yourself of perfectionism 

It’s important to expect the best for and from yourself. However, striving for perfectionism on a daily basis can lead to stress and anxiety. Be realistic in what you can accomplish while studying for the GRE. Not every day will be a perfect study day. But studying every day, whether perfect or not, will bring you one step closer to achieving your GRE goals. Also, recognize that you may not find the perfect time to study every day. Some days are more full than others. On days where studying is difficult to sit down and accomplish, find time in between the chaos to review old concepts. Whether it is flipping through vocab flashcards or attempting a couple of math problems, any form of studying is worth doing (whether perfect or not). 

4. Improve your surroundings

The age of technology is full of distractions. We suggest putting away unnecessary technology. If necessary, put your phone in another room, set it to silent, and close all unnecessary tabs on your computer. If you study better with music, we suggest listening to music which is calm and without lyrics. Lo-Fi study beats, for example, are opportune for the studying brain to zero in and focus on the task at hand. Additionally, make sure your desk and study center is free of clutter. This removes visual distractions and forces you to focus on the studying materials lying directly in front of you. If you live with multiple people, let them know that you have blocked out a certain number of hours for studying and ask them to not distract you during this time. 

5. Forgive yourself

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We hear this a lot. But what is in the past is already behind you! So don’t fret about trying to fix what has already passed. Instead, train your focus on the task that lies in front of you, and trust that you will make the best decisions for your study schedule going forward. 

Your GRE score and future graduate school opportunities are dependent on how hard you are willing to work for it. GRE procrastination is a normal part of studying. Developing habits now which can help you manage your procrastination will make a world of difference during your GRE journey.

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio 

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90th percentile on the GRE
Posted on
10
Dec 2021

How Those Who Score In The 90th Percentile On The GRE Actually Do It

You’re on your GRE journey, and your exam is a few weeks away. You start talking to people who went through the same experience as you, and you look for some answers. You notice that many people have scored in the 90th percentile on the GRE, and you start to doubt yourself,  wondering if you are also capable of achieving that score. Of course, everyone aiming to take the GRE exam will want the highest score possible. And, as you could guess, this is no easy task.

So, how do those people who score in the 90th percentile actually do it?

Is it because of their study plan? The critical-thinking skills they learn before even starting to prepare for the GRE? Is it just genetics? Are some people born to excel in exams? 

To say you want to score in the 90th percentile is just the beginning of actually achieving one. You need to have a long-term plan in mind and be ready to face some challenges. First of all, you need to figure out what score the university you’re applying to actually wants. If the average is 150, you’ll probably have a good chance of getting in with a 150! Thus, scoring in the 90th percentile isn’t always a necessity for getting into your dream school. Do your research first. Then you can start implementing a plan for achieving a 90th percentile GRE score. Be warned, before you lies a rocky road on your way to ace the exam. Those who do score 90th percentile do not just say they want the score. They work hard and organize their time efficiently to get where they want to. 

1. Start with a GRE Diagnostic Test

Take a test before you start your journey, see what the GRE is all about and how it is structured. Look at your score, and from there, you can already tell which sections you need to work on. This way, you have a baseline on what you need to do.

2. Know how long  studying for the GRE Exam will take

It is crucial to manage your time in a way where you can complete your study plan in time. Each person is different in the way they comprehend things. Thus, it would help if you were realistic about how much time it will take to be ready. Maybe it will take you 130+ hours, or even 300+. You need to know YOUR abilities and track your time.

3. Be consistent with your GRE plan

Those who score 90th percentile do not change their study plan each week. You need to stick to a specific book/material/group study so that you do not go off track! But be flexible to change things up if you are realizing that something isn’t working for you. We are all unique learners. 

4. Create a board for time allocation

Know how much time you’re going to spend on each section. For example, “I have to spend no more than 3 hours a day on quant, two on verbal, etc.”. Try to use online whiteboards or create a mood board for yourself so that it is easier to track and remind yourself of the GRE plan.

5. Get to know your mistakes and improve them

It is very crucial to take note of your mistakes and try to improve them. It is one thing to know your mistake and just move on, and another to actually work on it and make sure it does not happen again. You have to track your GRE progress, and learning from your mistakes is one way to go!

6. Learn from other GRE test-takers 

Listen to successful people who got 90th percentile on the GRE, try to take each piece of advice from each one, and you’ll come up with your own. It is essential to learn from others’ mistakes as well as your own. See what they did, how they did it, what it took them to get there. Be curious and ask questions, always. As Steve Jobs once said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

7. Take GRE mock tests

At last, mock tests are your friend! Take them as much as you can, and you’ll more or less know where you stand.


Final Thoughts 

To conclude, it is easier said than done to score 90th percentile on the GRE. It works differently with different people, so make sure to try as best as you can to learn from others, and more importantly, from yourself as well. If you would like to start with a tutor, check out our tutors at APEX GRE to help get you started. Most successful GRE test takers hire a private tutor to push them past the 90th percentile mark after taking the test without a tutor. It is shown to be effective, you can take a look at this article about private tutors and why you should consider hiring them.


Contributor:
Sarin Sulahian

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