Posted on
21
Jun 2022

Everything You Need to Know About the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment

If you are currently prepping for your GRE or want to do so soon, this article is just what you are looking for. Knowing your test’s sections will give you an overview of how you should prepare and divide your time. Not to mention, getting a glimpse of what’s to come on your exam day will for sure help put your nerves at ease.

Today’s headliner is the GRE’s Analytical Writing Section. Continue reading to get introduced to the third section in the GRE.

Today’s main topics to be discussed will be the following:

  1. What is the GRE Exam?
  2. What is the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section?
    • What is this section testing?
    • What is this section made up of?
      • Analyze an Issue
      • Analyze an Argument
      • Duration
    • What are the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section scores like?
      • Score Percentile 2021
    • Apex’s GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section Studying tips

What is the GRE Exam?

The GRE, also known as, The Graduate Record Examinations, is a standardized exam done for the sake of testing the test-taker’s ability to think outside the box when it comes to analytical writing, mathematics, and vocabulary. The majority of GRE test takers are students looking into Business Schools and in some cases Law Schools and also students considering  Master’s (M.A., M.S., M.Ed.), MBA’s, or Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.).

This GRE test consists of three main sections. These sections being Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing Assessment Section. 

All these sections’ scores will, later on, sum up and make a minimum total of 260 and a maximum total of 340. 

What is the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section?

Now that the bigger picture is clear, let’s talk about our main focus for today, The Analytical Writing Assessment Section.

This section aims to test your ability to critically think and write analytically. It also aims to assess your skills when it comes to articulating, supporting complex ideas, constructing and evaluating arguments, alongside your ability to discuss coherently. 

The GRE Analytical Writing Assessment has two separately timed tasks. These two different sections are:

    • Analyze an Issue task
    • Analyze an Argument task

Now, let’s break down these two different tasks asked of the GRE test-taker to complete. 

Analyze an Issue task

In this task you are given a particular point of view on a specific issue, which is then followed by instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are expected to evaluate the issue at hand while considering its complexities. You should also develop and present an argument, backing it up with reasoning and examples.  

This task in specific aims to assess your ability to express your thoughts in the form of writing, while linking different points together to make a solid point. These types of questions can be discussed and interpreted in many different ways. You are asked to present your point of view on this issue, as well as your stance on it. 

Before anything, make sure to read the issue and the instructions that follow carefully. Take a minute and see the issue presented from several different points of view. After that, make an outline of what you want your essay to look like. Do not forget your examples and supporting details!

Analyze an Argument task

Similarly to the “Analyze an Issue” task, you are to evaluate a particular argument while following specific instructions. However, what makes this task different is the fact that you are asked to consider the logical soundness of the argument given, rather than agree or disagree with the provided stance. 

Like the whole GRE Analytical Writing Assessment, this task aims to test your critical thinking and analysis. Your writing skills, when it comes to voicing your opinion, are also under the telescope here.

As mentioned before, in this specific task, you are expected to discuss the logical soundness of the provided case by examining critically and providing reasoning and evidence. 

While reading the given argument, take note of the following:

    • What is mentioned, and what is not.
    • What is used as support or proof.
    • What is clearly stated, and what should be inferred. 

Make sure to keep a close eye on the structure of your argument and how you linked pieces of evidence together. While doing that, assess the harmony of the points and if they are linked logically, and in a way that makes sense. You do not want your argument to fall short and sound blocky. 

Each task in the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section is allocated half an hour to be completed. That means that these two tasks are timed separately, meaning that once you are done with the first task, the half an hour timer starts again for your next task. 

These two different tasks complement each other. That is, one task requires you to put together your own argument, and that is through taking a position and backing it up with supporting details. The other one requires you to assess another person’s argument by evaluating the argument’s evidence and claim. 

What are the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section scores like?

As we all know by now, the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section includes two different tasks, but that does not mean that these tasks will have two different scores recorded. For a more reliable score, you are provided with one single score that ranges from 0 to 6, in half-increments*

* In half-point increments: Suppose you got a 4/6 on the Issues essay and a 5/9 on your Argument essay. This then means that your total GRE Analytical Writing score would be 4.5. Your final Writing score—the average of the two essays— is then rounded up to the nearest half-point.

GRE  Analytical Writing Assessment Section Percentile (2021):

Score 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6
Percentile 0 0 1 5 13 37 54 80 91 98 99

Apex’s GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section Studying tips

  1. Choose your words carefully:  When writing during this part of your GRE Exam, make sure to pick the best words that would best express what you mean to say. Focus on using strong words, and avoid using weak words. That would then result in strong, declarative statements. Keep in mind that having your two tasks written perfectly with strong vocabulary would sure help in boosting your final AWA score!
  2. Focus on your transitions: Moving from one point to the other can be difficult and sometimes challenging. For that reason, use just the right transition word when shifting from one idea to the other. Transition words like, “Moreover, On the contrary, Not only, Similarly”, would help a harmonious essay seem organized and coherent. Which is exactly what you should be aiming for while writing your AWA tasks.
  3. Refute the opposing view at the end: When it comes to your GRE ISSUE ESSAY, do not forget to refute the other point of view. Considering that this specific task provides you with a certain point of view that you are considered to evaluate, a lot of GRE test-takers tend to forget to refute the opposing point of view at the end of your essays. Remember, the structure is similar to that of an argument essay. 
  4. Practice: To mentally feel at ease, you need to feel like you have grasped the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section’s material and type of questioning. Knowing what you will be asked and getting the gist of this section will for sure help you in acing this section. 
  5. Avoid using the First Point of View: While providing reasoning and backing up your argument, and even when you are stating your stance, avoid at all costs, using the First Point of View. That is, do not use self-reference. Avoid statements like, “I believe”, “I found that”, or “I say” at all costs. Using such statements will weaken the credibility and trustworthiness of your tasks. Your readers want to see how you are utilizing professional sources and where you fit them in your essays.

Long Story Short 

Every GRE Test-taker should take the AWA section in their GRE seriously, and allocate ample time for prepping before the big day. Knowing the skills that you will be tested on will guide you into knowing what and where to spend time on while studying for this specific section. 

Take your time to fully understand and grasp the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section material. With the right amount of dedication and hard work, acing your GRE is more than possible.

If you are looking for professional help to boost your GRE performance, head to our official website and book your 30 minutes complimentary assessment session, now!

Contributor: Lilas Al-Sammak

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Posted on
07
Jun 2022

How Does the GRE Scoring Work?

You’ve booked to take your GRE or you have already taken it, you have quite the number of questions that you would like to get the answer to. More specifically, you’re probably concerned about how GRE scoring works. 

If that is the case, then this article is just the one for you.

We will touch bases on the following topics: 

-The GRE Exam
-The GRE Scores
-The GRE Score Calculation
-The GRE Percentiles
-Top MBA Universities and their Average GRE Scores

1. What is the GRE

The GRE, also known as  the Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test created and is still administered by the Educational Testing Service (the ETS). Just like any exam needed for graduate school admissions, the GRE is there to test and assess the level of readiness, academically and intellectually, for grad school.

Along with undergraduate transcripts, recommendation letters, and other requirements, the admissions will be able to estimate whether or not you will be capable of doing well in the program you applied to. Your GRE score is used as a common tool to compare your application to the other applicants’ applying as well. 

Some of the GRE test takers are worldwide applicants that are looking to pursue a master’s in business, MBA JD, or doctoral degree. Your GRE test score is required in thousands of schools. Schools like

    • Business Schools
    • Law Schools
    • Institutions and fellowship sponsors. 

The GRE takes exactly three hours and 45 minutes to finalize. These three hours and 45 minutes are divided between 3 main sections. Between these different sections, you are given a 10-minute break. The different sections in your exam will appear in the following order:

Section Number of Questions Time Needed
Analytical Writing  “Analyze an Issue” task, and “Analyze an Argument” task. 30 Minutes/task
Verbal Reasoning 20 questions per section  30 minutes/section
Quantitative Reasoning  20 questions per section 35 minutes/section

2. GRE Score

The GRE total score ranges between a minimum of 260, a maximum of 340, and a midpoint score of  150. Let’s break it down even further. Each of these three different sections has a certain minimum and maximum score, which is as follows: 

Section  Score Scale
Verbal Section 130-170, 1-point increments*
Quantitative Section 130- 170, 1 point increments
Analytical Writing  0-6, in half-point increments**

* In one-point increments: This means that there are 41 possible scores. In other words, you are receiving one point for each question you get right in both the Verbal or Quant sections. These points will be added up to get your raw score (0-40) for each section.

** In half-point increments: Suppose you got a 4/6 on the Issues essay and a 5/9 on your Argument essay. This then means that your total GRE Analytical Writing score would be 4.5.

After 10-15 days from your test date, your GRE test scores should be available. These same test scores will still be reportable after five years following your test date. You have the choice to pick which test scores you want to send out to your desired institution(s). For that, you have two options:

    • On Test Day: You can either send your Most Recent GRE score or All your GRE scores. (For four FREE GRE score reports
    • After Test Day: In that case, you have three choices you can pick from 
      • Most Recent GRE score
      • All GRE Scores
      • Any GRE Score. (For a FEE of US$27 per score recipient)

3. GRE Score Calculation 

Now that the basics are covered, it’s time to look into the different sections of the GRE and their grading system. 

    • GRE Verbal and Quant Score System: The more questions you get right, the higher your raw score is. You will not be penalized for the questions you got wrong. This raw score you ended up getting will, later on, be converted into a scale score. This means that GRE uses equating. What is meant by this term is that the GRE ensures that the different versions of the exam and their difficulty level do not affect your score. The process of equating makes sure that your score isn’t lower than that of previous GRE test takers.
    • Analytical Writing Score System: Upon the quality of your writing, a trained reader and an e-rater (which is defined by ETS as a “computerized program developed by ETS that is capable of identifying essay features related to writing proficiency”) will be able to score your essays. You will have to focus on bettering your critical thinking and analytical writing skills to ensure a higher score in your AW Section.

In other words, your Total GRE Score is not the summation of all the scores you got on its three sections. Each section in the exam is scored separately.

4. GRE Percentile

The percentile is there to give you an overview of how well you’ve done. Through your percentile, you will be able to see the percentage of test-takers that scored lower or higher than you. The higher your total GRE score is, the higher your percentile is, which means the more impressive your score is. In the GRE however, there are different percentile ranks. Unlike the GMAT, the GRE is ranked upon its sections, and not its overall score. The percentiles are distributed on its three sections. 

For example, if your scaled score was that of a 152, then that means that you’re ranked at a 54 percentile on your verbal section and a 45 percentile on your quant section. In other words, this shows that your verbal section score was 54% higher than the other test-takers, and your quant section score was 45% higher than the other test-takers. 

Here is a list of officially published GRE Percentiles 2022:  

Scaled Score  Verbal Reasoning Percentile Ranks Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Ranks 
170 99 96
165 96 84
160 85 70
155 67 54
150 44 35
149 39 35

Here is a list of officially published GRE Percentiles 2018: 

Score Analytical Writing Percentile Ranking
6.0 99
5.0 93
4.0 60
3.0 18
2.0 2

5. Top MBA Universities and their average GRE Scores

The following table includes a list of Top MBA universities and the average GRE scores of their applicants. Get a glimpse of how the GRE scores range from one university to the other.

Business School  Verbal Score Quant Score Writing Score
Yale SOM 165 164 4.7
Stanford GSB 165 164 4.9
Harvard  164 164 NA
UCLA (Anderson) 164 164 4.5
UC-Berkeley (Haas)  164 161 5.0
NYU (Stern)  162 161 4.4

To Conclude

To ensure a groundbreaking GRE score, take your prep journey one day at a time. Make time to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and prepare the perfect study schedule tailored just for your needs. Once everything is set and ready, your prep journey starts with confidence and hard work and ends with victory and rejoice.  

ApexGMAT offers private one-on-one GRE tutoring with one of the top instructors. Reach out and book your complimentary 30 minutes assessment session, now!

Contributor: Lilas Al-Sammak

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Posted on
27
May 2022

How a Private Tutor Can Boost Your GRE Quant Confidence

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE can be overwhelming for many. Say you are trying to get into Grad School, but you studied History – you may not have taken a math class in years. In cases like this, the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE can seem like foreign territory. At the same time, even if you have studied math for years, testing may just be the bane of your existence, or you just may not know the quirks of the GRE. A Private Tutor is a great way to boost your GRE Quant confidence. Follow below to see some of the best reasons as to why getting a private tutor is your best course of action when approaching the GRE and its quantitative section.

A Tutor is a Guide 

A private GRE tutor is someone who will support you throughout the preparation process. Not only through giving tips but by being a resource to reach out to when you have questions about either specific problems or strategies for GRE test day. Remember, these tutors have taken the test as well. They know what it feels like to be nervous or even to feel lost. You may find them more helpful than you intended, they are people too, and their job is to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out. 

An Easily Accessible Resource 

A private GRE tutor will give you their undivided attention. Instead of being in a class with dozens of other students or scrolling through impersonal forums and blogs for advice, they are right there in front of you, and they are knowledgeable. Any question you may have, they can answer. It is a quick resource at the end of the day. While pricey, a proper private GRE tutor will be by your side during the entire study process. Your tutor’s job is to give you all the help you need, and here at Apex, our tutors are available online and in-person, giving you more options and flexibility. Especially if it has been a while since you have encountered math, a private tutor can really uplift your GRE quant confidence. 

Time Management with Quantitative Reasoning 

A private tutor will help you develop particular strategies and skills for each section. The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE is the longest portion of the exam, with two sections lasting 35 minutes. It may not be as long as some other notorious exams, but it is still a long time to stay focused. If you know what the exam is going to throw at you, navigating this portion of the exam is much easier. That is where a private GRE tutor comes in. They help you fine-tune your internal clock while giving you strategies for handling the quirks of the test. 

Helpful in Breaking your Quant Plateau 

Even if you are a math major, or you feel very confident with the exam, but you could score just a bit higher to stand out amongst the crowd. A private tutor can help you break your scoring plateau on the quant portion of the GRE. Especially since the GRE’s sections are adaptive. This means that if you do better on the first section of the quantitative portion then the second section becomes harder. So even if you are doing practice tests, these aren’t fully representative of the difficulty of the test. A private GRE tutor can help you prepare for this.

What You Will Be Missing 

It may seem like a  better option to not get a private tutor, but a lot will be missing. 

  • You will have to come up with your own study plan and method, unlike the carefully procured study plan created by a tutoring professional. 
  • It will be harder to know the ins and outs of not only the quantitative reasoning section, but the GRE as a whole.
  • You will be on this journey alone.

At the end of the day having a helping hand is never a bad thing. With a private tutor you will have a guide to help you not face the GRE quant section alone and give you the structure to have solid GRE quant confidence. 

To Review

The quantitative reasoning section of the GRE may be harder than you anticipated, or it could be completely overwhelming. It is more common than you may think for many taking the GRE to be a bit rusty with their math skills. Feeling intimidated is normal and a private GRE tutor is a great resource to help you get over the hump. At Apex we offer top-notch professional tutors who will be excellent guides on your journey to build GRE quant confidence.

 

Contributor: Lukas Duncan

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GRE Study Plan Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting It
Posted on
29
Apr 2022

GRE Study Plan – Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting It

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a very popular exam that thousands of students take every year. A large percentage of these students find the GRE extremely challenging, so don’t worry if you feel the same way. However, if you are determined to succeed in your exam, you should have a well-developed study plan. An important aspect to consider when drafting your GRE study plan could be some of the most common mistakes that test-takers make in the creation of their study plan or schedule. In this article, we’ll give you more information on some of the most common mistakes in drafting GRE study plans and tips on how to avoid them.  

1. Dedicate enough time to preparation in your GRE study plan

The GRE is not an exam for which you can prepare within a matter of days. Although some students may be lucky enough to pass the exam with only 2-3 weeks of studying, do not rely on that. Most of them probably won’t get a satisfactory grade that will help them get into their dream school. To avoid such unpleasant situations, we suggest spending sufficient time and attention on your GRE prep. Different people take a different amount of time to prepare, so there is really no ultimate rule that applies to how early you should begin your preparation. However, it may be a good idea to start at least 3-4 months before your planned exam day in order to have enough time both for the exam preparation and the documentation part.  

The most important thing to remember is that preparing for the GRE should be a methodical process. You can’t cram it all in two weeks and expect to achieve a satisfactory result. Give yourself the time you need to succeed. Start your preparation on time and go with the pace that fits your abilities. Eventually, your persistent gradual work will pay off.

2. Prepare equally for every section of the GRE exam

While drafting their GRE study plan, many students make the mistake of devoting too much time to the section they find the hardest. When they start preparing, they get carried away with this particular section and underestimate the others. Unfortunately, this mistake often hurts their overall score. No single section should be avoided or paid less attention to. Each section is equally important for your overall score and you have to spend as much time on it as you feel you need. 

For example, the Quant is often considered the most difficult section by many students who tend to spend an enormous portion of their GRE prep time on it. However, you should not forget that you also get a large portion of your points from, for instance, the Verbal section. This means that you cannot overlook this section because you risk losing valuable points from your final result. Try to balance the different sections and spend enough time and effort on each of them, so that you can make sure you will achieve the highest result possible.

3. Take time to destress 

We have already mentioned the importance of hard and consistent work while preparing for your GRE exam. It’s now time to turn our attention to something very important, which many students wrongly neglect. Many students are very ambitious and they want to achieve a high GRE score. They are ready to work for hours and hours to perfect their knowledge and skills. However, they often end up overworking themselves and forgetting to put their minds to rest and recharge. This is a major mistake. It doesn’t matter how skillful or knowledgeable you are when you can’t put into practice what you know because you are overworked. Pushing yourself too far will not only negatively affect your score but also your mental health.

You should learn to take care of your emotional and physical health because they are crucial for gaining knowledge and building long-lasting skills required for acing the GRE. Make sure to not underestimate the power of good rest and separate enough time for it when drafting your GRE study plan. By doing this, you will be able to improve your memory and learning skills in the GRE prep process.

Conclusion

Knowing the most common mistakes that test takers make when preparing and undertaking their GRE study plan can help you avoid or deal with them effectively. Here at Apex, we know that preparing for the GRE exam day may be a challenging task. For this reason, 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 with every stage of your GRE journey!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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5 GRE Memorization Technique
Posted on
14
Apr 2022

5 GRE Memorization Techniques

Preparing for the GRE exam requires dedication, constant effort, and determination in order for one to achieve a satisfactory score. While there is theoretical knowledge that should be acquired and cannot be neglected, there are a few tips and tricks that you can learn relatively easily. The latter can save you some precious time so that you can focus on what is more difficult for you on the exam. Our tutors at Apex are 700+ scoring professionals who tailor their approach according to the mental and cognitive abilities of each client. Through this method of Cognitive Empathy, they help our clients learn tips on how to deal with the GRE exam and find simple solution pathways. Here are four of these GRE memorization techniques that our clients are taught.

1. Memorize the answer layout.

Some question types have the same responses. On the GRE, answers to the Data Completion Questions are presented in the same way. These being: 

  1. Quantity A is greater.
  2. Quantity B is greater.
  3. The two quantities are equal.
  4. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

As a test prepper, you can memorize these statements, given they remain the same throughout the entire GRE. We suggest memorizing a more simple form of these answer types. For example: 

  1. A is bigger
  2. B is bigger
  3. Both are equal
  4. Cannot know 

By using this as a memorization technique it will cut down on the time you spend on the test. You won’t need to reread the answer types each time you come in contact with them. 

2. Practice the vocabulary in everyday life.

Specialists argue that people can easily improve their English language skills if they broaden the size of their vocabulary by transferring words from their passive to active vocabulary. When a person knows what a certain word means but doesn’t ever use it in everyday life, this word is in their passive vocabulary. Once this word gets used when speaking or writing, it can be easily recalled from memory whenever it is needed. In this way, people can learn to use the word in a sentence while also considering the appropriate context and suitable collocations. This can be an immense benefit when preparing for the GRE, as the vocabulary section on the exam is quite challenging.

What many people do and what we would also suggest is using flashcards for memorizing the words and engraining them in your memory. Then commit to using a handful of them during the week. You can also keep a notebook with the most difficult terms, their dictionary definitions, and examples to revert back to them as your vocabulary grows.

3. Use Acronyms and Mnemonics.

If you are a couple of years out of school or if you are just having a hard time remembering mathematical concepts and formulas, the Quantitative portion on the GRE can seem like a daunting task. We understand this, which is why we avoid using math on the GRE all together! But sometimes, the best path is the most direct. Remember some basic math equations and formulas using the following tricks: 

  • Simple Interest Formula
    • Interest = principal x rate x time 
    • I = prt 
    • Remember the equation as: I am Pretty! 
  • Distance Formula 
    • Distance = rate x time
    • D = rt
    • This equation can be remembered as the word: dirt
  • Linear Equation
    • Y = mx + b 
    • B for begin / M for move 
    • To graph a line, begin at the B-value and move according to the m-value (slope) 
  • Multiplying Binomials 
    • (x – a)(x + b) 
    • Remember FOIL for the order: 
      • First
      • Outside
      • Inside
      • Last 
  • Order of Operations
    • When answering an equation which looks something like this: 7 x (4 / 6) + 2 = remember: PEMDAS or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 
    • Parentheses 
    • Exponents 
    • Multiplication
    • Division
    • Addition
    • Subtraction

4. Apply a visual meaning to things.

It is a common fact that people’s brains process visual stimulation much faster than textual information. That is why some people who have superior visual memory can recall visual information easily. Their brains have established relations between visual objects and data. This type of memory is very important when it comes to many academic tasks including doing reading comprehension exercises and mathematical operations. Naturally, it can be used on the GRE as well. So, if you are one of these people, or if you have never consciously used your visual memory to your advantage, this is your sign to try.

While studying, look at what is around you and apply meaning to objects. For example, when you are working on a particular math problem, stare at the radiator in your room. Then, during the exam (if you are taking the GRE online), look at the radiator once you come in contact with a similar problem. This trick will help your brain in remembering what you learned beforehand. If you are taking the GRE onsite, consider pieces of clothes or jewelry which you will wear during your test. Perhaps fiddle with a ring on your finger while memorizing words, or wear a favorite sweater which you associate with certain mnemonic devices.

5. Apply the knowledge you are learning often.

Reading information out of a textbook and taking notes is the approach most people have when learning. Although this may seem useful, people seem to forget most of the information they read about. For this reason, applying what you just read about in real life can be very useful. One way to do this is to practice doing questions in different locations – at a restaurant, while riding into work, while cooking dinner, etc. This will challenge your brain to think strategically in various situations and prepare it for the dynamic environment of the testing facility. You can do this both with the quantitative and qualitative portions of the exam. Plus it would look extra cool if you are seen jotting math equations down on a napkin while waiting for your food at a restaurant. 

These GRE memorization techniques may seem straightforward, but they require work. However, hard work does pay off in the long run! The amount of work you put into your studying can dictate where you end up attending school, and thus the job you receive after graduating. While you are not your GRE, your test score does play a large role in your overall application to your dream school! If you are looking for extra help in preparing for the GRE, we offer extensive one-on-one tutoring with high-achieving clients. You can schedule a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call with one of our tutors to learn more! 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GRE As A Returning Student How to study for the GRE?
Posted on
01
Apr 2022

GRE As A Returning Student – How to study for the GRE?

Been a while since you attended university? Even in the best of circumstances, the GRE can be a daunting undertaking. But the thought of taking the GRE as a returning student – a decade or two after university – can be downright frightening. The tutors here at Apex often work with clients who have spent years in the professional world and outside of an academic setting. Our tutoring experts have compiled tips and tricks for returning students who want to make sure they are on the studying path of ‘least resistance’. Browse our 5 suggestions to make your return to high-caliber preparation as easy and productive as possible. 

1. Take a GRE practice test

This may sound like a no-brainer, but we cannot stress enough how vitally important it is that you take a practice test even before cracking open your first GRE prep book. This test gives you a baseline of where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where you need to grow your skills. Though you may use math skills on a daily basis, your quantitative knowledge – as it pertains to test taking – is of a different vain. By taking a practice test before you begin studying, you can be certain you are assessing your current skills level and knowledge as accurately as possible. From there, you can build your GRE study schedule and timeline and establish out which parts of the GRE deserve the majority of your dedication. 

2. Find the school  and score that suits you

What are your goals, both professionally and personally? It may sound like a simple question, and one that you get asked a lot, but interpreting the answer could take time. It is important that you are honest with yourself when it comes to what your goals are and if they are achievable. Achievable is the key term here.

A mere desire to attend a top graduate school and earn a GRE score in the top 95% is a difficult challenge, especially if your time out of school has been full of non-graduate school-level opportunities and tasks. Perhaps your goal is simply to earn a graduate degree so that you can climb the professional ladder at your current place of employment. In this case, your dream isn’t to attend Harvard or Yale. Decide on which schools you want to attend and the GRE score needed for admission. Our advice is to find the average GRE score of the most recently accepted class in the program of your choice and aim for a score a few points higher than the average. 

3. Get a consistent schedule

As a professional, you are no doubt busy. Most likely, working full-time, raising a family, and living a 9-5 life for a decade or so make even the best of students forget the rigors of school. Wanting to earn a graduate degree will put you right back into the world of late-night and early morning study sessions. The GRE is your first step into that world. So be sure to create a study schedule that will work with your personal and professional life. We have created a 3-month timeline template which you can adjust to fit your own needs.

Once you have created a schedule, be sure to Stick. To. It. Of course, make adjustments where you deem necessary. This may sound obvious, but we find our clients have a difficult time sticking to a study schedule. We get it, your personal life is your priority and we know it is always changing. But keep in mind that as intense as your GRE journey is, it is quite short compared to your graduate school journey. If your goal is to earn a graduate degree, the GRE is a necessary stepping stone on that journey. 

4. Learn the GRE basics

Let us assume that you have already done your due diligence. You have taken a practice test, have chosen the school(s) you wish to attend, and have come up with a consistent schedule which works for you. The next step is to unwrap the basics of the GRE. Understand and become comfortable with the layout of the test, and the many different types of questions you encounter.

But learning the ‘basics’ goes beyond a simple understanding of the test and its structure. You also need to get comfortable with the many skills you learned during high school, yes, that’s right…HIGHSCHOOL. The quantitative, qualitative, and analytical skills you learned during high school play a large role in your success on the GRE. While this may sound like an exaggeration, remember how much you have grown intellectually and professionally since your time in high school. The skills you gained during those years have helped you develop and grow. 

5. Utilize the proper resources and Find Help! 

Not all GRE prep books are made the same – nor are all GRE tutors. You need to browse the market and find the books which are best structured for you. With so many different types of books on the market, it might be difficult to find which ones are best for you. We suggest looking for books which offer various solution paths to the same question. This gives you the best chance to find the strategies which work for you and your skill sets.

Additionally, working with private GRE tutors can set you down the right path. A private tutor is ideal for someone who is taking the GRE as a returning student. Our Apex tutors are professionals in working with our clients’ strengths and weaknesses. We also have a unique way of teaching the exam where we show our clients how to consider testing questions from a tester-maker’s point of view, not a test-taker.  

6. Bonus Tip: Be proud of yourself! 

Your decision to return to school and earn a graduate degree after years out of academia is an incredible choice. You should be very proud of yourself. Such a decision is not an easy one to make, and yet your decision to broaden your horizons and achieve your goals is inspiring. During your GRE journey, remember to stick with a structured schedule and find help if you need it. Most people don’t go down the GRE journey alone, and neither should you! 

 

If you are considering taking the GRE as a returning student and are interested in getting help on the GRE, we offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls with one of our top GRE scoring instructors. 

 

Contributor: Dana Coggio 

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5 Reasons You Should Get An Online GRE Tutor
Posted on
18
Mar 2022

Top 5 Reasons You Should Get An Online GRE Tutor

During the days of a global pandemic, it can seem overwhelming to even motivate yourself to get out of bed, let alone apply to grad school. The GRE can seem like just another obstacle to get through. You most likely have to prepare extensively for the test, in order to get into your desired program, and so you have to designate a lot of time and effort into this one test. Something that you shouldn’t be ashamed to do is ask for help whenever you need it.

A GRE tutor can be that thing to make your life just a bit easier. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, but even if we weren’t, an Online GRE Tutor can make access to these tutoring services easier. They can be a helping hand in your GRE prep from the comfort of your home.

Here are five reasons to get an Online GRE Tutor. 

1. GRE Prep from the Comfort of Your Home 

In our busy lives, it can be difficult to squeeze in the time to commute. Having an in-person tutor will save, potentially hours, off your day. Not only that but the money spent on gas to drive back and forth just adds to the already high price tag of a tutor. But with an Online GRE Tutor, you can have prep from the comfort of your home. Being outside of your own home can be nerve-wracking and not the most cost-efficient. Being at home also provides you with the luxury of online resources.

2. Access to Quality GRE Tutors 

In your area, it may be difficult to find a quality GRE tutor. An Online GRE tutor may be your only option, but that isn’t a bad thing. It is a blessing that we can have top-notch tutoring from almost anywhere in the world. Here at Apex GRE, our tutors work with students from all across the globe. No matter where you are, an Apex tutor can be accessed online. Our online services offer top-notch advice and guidance to any aspiring grad school student.

3. Focus and Motivation

GRE prep can be a hassle, but with an Online GRE Tutor, you will have your own personal motivator at the click of a button. An Online GRE tutor will be the person to help you get through that concept that you are struggling with and help keep you focused up until test day. The GRE being a long test can seem intimidating, but taking each question and each section one at a time is an easy way to help break it down.

4. Confidence 

You may be struggling in a certain area or subject of the GRE, as it is designed for a vast array of Grad school admissions. You may have spent the past four years studying statistics and haven’t spent much time focusing on your reading and writing skills. It may seem a daunting task to do well within the Verbal Reasoning section, but with an Online GRE tutor, you can bolster your skills and feel more confident. Also, an Online GRE tutor can help you realize your own strengths, which will help boost your confidence to get that desired score.

5. Lowering GRE Prep Stress 

Studying for the GRE is stressful. Going to an office, or test center, or to a tutor’s house may seem unwelcoming and may only add to that GRE prep anxiety. Having an Online GRE Tutor and studying at home can help mitigate a lot of that GRE prep anxiety. 

To Review

Achieving that desired score on the GRE can seem like an insurmountable task, but with an Online GRE Tutor, many of those goals can be achieved. You can prep from the comfort of your home, have a helping hand to build your confidence and keep you focused, and have access to quality tutors that you may otherwise not.

 

Contributor: Lukas Duncan

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Help with GRE Anxiety
Posted on
04
Mar 2022

Pro Tips to Help With Your GRE Anxiety

Are you feeling stressed about the GRE test? You’re not alone. Most students feel anxious about standardized tests every year. Test anxiety can have a significant impact on your grades and performance. In order to achieve your desired score on the GRE, it is important to adopt ways to work with or overcome your testing anxiety. There are plenty of ways to help with GRE stress and perform your best on test day.

1. Understand why you’re feeling anxious and what’s causing your stress

Figure out the source of your anxiety and formulate a plan to cope with it.  Some common sources of GRE test anxiety include:

    •     Fear about not doing as well as you think you should.
    •     Pressure from family and/or friends.
    •     Worrying about rules regarding time or breaks during the test.
    •     Worrying that you’ll lose your cool or forget information in the middle of a section.

Once you’ve figured out what’s causing your anxiety, develop a plan to help you overcome them. Remember, a little anxiety is a good thing – and completely normal! 

2. Prepare as much as possible

Do plenty of research on the GRE test, find out when and where you are supposed to show up, what to bring with you, etc. All this information will help with GRE anxiety and relieve some pressure once the big day finally arrives. We suggest practicing getting to the GRE testing site before test day so that you know how to get there when the day arrives. 

Prepare for “what ifs”. Anticipate different scenarios that could happen during your exam day so that there is no room for surprises. For example, what if you run out of time and can’t finish a section? (We suggest fine-tuning your internal clock while prepping for the exam so that you can have a good sense of how to pace yourself come text day) Having all of this information will provide you with a clear plan to put into action if these circumstances arise.

3. Practice 

This is a tried and tested method of helping with GRE anxiety. Take several practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the actual GRE as closely as possible. Figure out what time limits work best for you and how much time you’ll need to complete each section of the real GRE. We work with our clients to develop their internal clock. A good test taker may look at the clock once or twice during the test. A great test-taker will never have to look at the clock once! 

The GRE test is designed to be challenging. Don’t get discouraged if you are struggling with some concepts or don’t do as well as you would have liked on a practice test. But keep in mind, when you’re doing practice tests you’re not learning! You’re putting your knowledge to the test.

4. Get plenty of rest and eat healthily

A good night’s rest and a healthy diet can work wonders for your performance. Try to plan a schedule that gives you plenty of time to sleep at night, and allows for some time in the morning to get rid of any excess energy. This will help with GRE anxiety by keeping your mind clear and more focused to take in information.

Self Talk Do's and Don'tsSelf Talk Do's and Don'tsSelf Talk Do's and Don'ts

5. Self-talk 

Be your own cheerleader. Keep telling yourself that you’re going to do great and it will help you stay positive, help with GRE anxiety and help manage stress.

Remember that you’ve prepared well. If things start to get overwhelming, tell yourself everything is OK and remind yourself why you prepared so hard for this test. When you feel stressed, take a moment to breathe deeply. This can help with GRE anxiety and calm you down.

6. Talk about what’s bothering you with someone close to you

A parent, a close friend, or someone else you trust can be a great tool for alleviating your anxieties. Try to find help with GRE anxiety from those around you and not only help yourself but help them as well.

Discussing your concerns with someone you trust might help reduce the stress associated with the test. You can help with GRE anxiety by turning some of that anxious energy into productive conversation. Don’t be afraid of help and support – ask for it! Doesn’t matter if it’s help with GRE anxiety, help in some other area in your life, or just some simple advice. No one goes it alone. 

7. Private GRE tutoring

If you are still struggling to overcome your anxiety, private help is available. A good private tutor can help you find strategies to overcome your anxiety regarding your test performance and help you truly learn the material.

A great tutor will help you feel less alone during this process. They can also guide you when it comes to test pressure and help you improve your test performance.

Conclusion 

Finally, remember that this is just one test you will take in your life, and it’s not worth sacrificing your (mental) health or happiness over. You can do great things with your life regardless of your GRE score. Focus on what matters to you the most and strive for success. There is no “pass” or “fail” when it comes to life.

 

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

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GRE Tips
Posted on
25
Feb 2022

Top 5 GRE Tips For The Exam Day

If you are interested in attending graduate school, you may have already started considering taking the GRE exam. This is a standardized exam that not only tests your knowledge and skills but also reveals your potential when applying to graduate schools. If you want to earn a high score, you have to consider different aspects during your preparation, including useful strategies to use on the day of the test. Below you can find our top 5 GRE tips to keep in mind during the exam!

1. Answer every question

There is no negative marking on the GRE. This means that you will face no penalty if you guess on some of the questions. If you aren’t sure about a particular question, it would be better to guess what the correct answer is rather than leave the question unanswered. Try to make a quick, but also educated guess. Even though it may not be the correct answer, by trying you can only gain points. In comparison, leaving a question unanswered will definitely bring you no points. Try your chance, it may be your lucky day, and you may even get it right!

2. Starting with the easy questions

All GRE questions in one section are worth the same points. Thus, you should start answering the questions that you are sure of and collect the “easier” points first. Whenever you come across a hard question, skip it for the moment and go back to it later. You can always use the marking function during the GRE exam to indicate which questions aren’t answered yet. When you are done with the rest of the questions in the section and have earned “all the easy points”, complete your marked questions. Then, review the questions you were unable to answer since you may be able to answer them when you return to them a second time.

3. Use the process of elimination

When you are not sure of the correct answer to a particular question, use the process of elimination. When you eliminate the incorrect answers you are closer to getting the correct answer. This increases your odds of picking the correct answer and getting some extra points from the question.

4. Read every question carefully

Reading your questions carefully and understanding what you are expected to do is crucial for success on the GRE exam. Many students often make careless reading mistakes which result in awkward answer choices. Some of them include misreading a word like “not” or “except” or formatting an answer to a math problem in the wrong way. All this can be avoided if you adopt the essential GRE tip of reading closely! 

5. Keep your pace

You have to keep an eye on the time and have a clear plan on how to organize it while taking the GRE test. The Verbal and Quant sections have 20 questions each. The Verbal section is 30 minutes long, which means you have about 1:30 minutes per question. The Quant section is 35 minutes, meaning you have about 1:45 min per question. You may want to practice sticking to these time limits so that you can ensure that you will have enough time for every question. Some questions may take you longer, but still, this is a good general guideline to follow in order to organize your time effectively.

 

To Review

Learning useful GRE tips and tricks for solving the exam can become a game-changer and help you skyrocket your score. Here at Apex, we know that preparing for the GRE exam day may be a challenging task. For this reason, 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 ace your GRE exam!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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Successful GRE Prep
Posted on
18
Feb 2022

Successful GRE Prep – The Dos and Don’ts

Studying for the GRE can be nerve-racking and pressuring. Preparing for something that important can be anxiety-ridden. But this feeling is normal. With proper help and planning, your GRE prep can be easier than you think. Before doing anything, getting introduced to the GRE can be very beneficial. Here we let you in on the major Dos and Don’ts of Successful GRE Prep.

1. Do take GRE practice tests

Practice tests give GRE takers a full overview of what to expect during the exam. This includes the types of questions you’ll encounter, time management, or even tricks hidden in certain questions. Taking practice tests while preparing for the GRE has a lot of benefits, but one of its main benefits is identifying certain techniques and gaining an eye to the GRE’s exam questions. After taking mock tests, you will familiarize yourself and your brain with the exam’s style. You will understand the pattern of particular question types and learn how to answer them. This can save you time during the actual GRE.

2. Don’t concentrate on certain sections on the GRE while prepping

Make sure you give every section its well-deserved time. Concentrating and giving your full energy and time on one section of the exam while studying can be meaningless and wasteful. While taking the practice exams, make sure the questions you are answering are diverse and different. That way, you are getting all that you need to ace your GRE. 

3. Do know your weaknesses and strengths

By reviewing your answers and results, your weak and strong points will be revealed. What is great about that is that you can know what you should be focusing on early on in your successful GRE prep. Daily practice of questions which challenge your weak areas, will help you reach the end of your GRE prep ready to tackle almost anything! That way too, you can construct a tailored GRE study plan. 

4. Don’t underestimate the vocabulary in the GRE

Vocabulary on the GRE verbal section is like the charger to your phone. And your phone without the charger is pretty much useless, right? And that is the case here too. The more vocabulary you know, the more points are guaranteed. However, memorizing the words and their definitions, simply extracted from the dictionary, is not enough. GRE takers should be able to know how to use and understand the words in certain contexts. It is about understanding and benefiting from the usage of the words learned, not just memorizing their meanings without being able to effectively use the words later on.

5. Do know what you are working for

Setting goals is scientifically proven to keep us, humans, on track. Having a solid target will remind you of why you are going through this process when things get tough! The power of goal setting is underestimated. When you have a vision, you will have the power and motivation to go through anything to get to it. All the long hours of studying can be sweetened with the help of a vision.

6. Don’t stress

The last and most important Don’t is, Do. Not. Over Stress. Regardless of the situation, stressing will do more harm than benefit. Stressing to the point of hair loss, sleepless nights, and restricting your personal life will make you underperform on the GRE. Successful GRE prep means you have a healthy work-study-life balance. Always remember, whatever you are stressing about, is probably not as bad as you think it is.

Closing Thoughts

Your GRE prep is the foundation of your performance for the actual GRE. Having a solid start is crucial. You need to know what you should focus on first, then divide your time and be able to manage all the tasks at hand. Your successful GRE prep can be simple and easy if you make it so. 

 

Contributor: Lilas Al-Sammak

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