What Kind of Math is on the GRE? A breakdown of the quant section
Posted on
04
Jan 2023

What Kind of Math is on the GRE?

Unless you’re a math major, chances are that when you start preparing for the GRE, it’s been a while since you took a math class. Your algebra skills, once sharp and shiny, are rusty. Formulas you once knew are getting mixed up and mixed around. Your times tables have been tabled indefinitely. If you are to regain your mathematical form, you must begin by surveying the range of content to be (re)learned.

Thankfully, the GRE quantitative sections are built entirely from concepts and topics that you probably learned in high school at some point, even if your exposure to them was brief. Very few, if any, of the concepts will be completely new.

Below is a categorized list of topics you should expect to encounter. Think of this as the table of contents to a rather thorough GRE math syllabus.

GRE Math Topics

Arithmetic

Basic operations/order of operations

Exponents and radicals/powers and roots

Units digit cycles

Fractions, decimals, percents, ratios

Absolute Value

Place value

Estimation/approximation

Number Properties

Even and odd properties

Integers

Factors/Divisors

Divisibility

Least Common Multiple (LCM) and Greatest Common Factor (GCF)

Remainders

Prime numbers/prime factors/prime factorization

Arithmetic series properties

Algebra

Linear (first-degree) equations

Quadratic (second-degree) equations

Foiling and factoring quadratics

Inequalities

Functions

Sequences and series

Applied Problems

Probability

Combinatorics (combinations and permutations)

Percentage change and profit/loss

Interest

Age problems

Averages/mixtures

Rate/work /time

Speed/distance/time

Geometry

Polygons and sum of interior angles: 180(n – 2)

Quadrilateral types (parallelogram, trapezoid, rectangle, square) and area formulas

Triangles types (equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right) and area formulas

Pythagorean theorem

Special right triangles and Pythagorean triples

Circles and formulas for area and circumference

Arcs and sectors

Cylinders

Rectangular prisms

Area and perimeter

Volume and surface area

Similarity and congruence

Angles at intersections of lines

Coordinate Geometry

Slope

X and Y intercepts

Line equations and slope-intercept form (y = mx + b)

Graphs of functions

Midpoint and distance between points

Statistics

Mean, median, and mode

Standard deviation

Range

Quartiles and interquartile range

Normal distributions

You can use this list as a starting point to gauge how much learning (and relearning) you’ll have to do on the quantitative side of your GRE preparation. If any of these topics are only half-remembered or only vaguely familiar, you’ll have to do a fair bit of studying. If you are still well-versed in the majority of these topics, you may have a good head start on GRE quant. But note that this is simply a list of topics, not an exhaustive list of terms and formulas you must know.

A cheat sheet of formulas – without accompanying explanations – is actually less helpful than you might think, and the explanations of all the formulas you should know for GRE quant are too lengthy for these articles. We provide you with a handy glossary of terms to know as you begin your preparation for the GRE quantitative sections.

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

Contributor: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

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Posted on
09
Nov 2022

GRE Structure, Scoring, and Strategy Tips

If you are at the beginning of your GRE prep journey, it’s important to understand the structure of the test and to be equipped with the right strategies for navigating each section. In this article, we’ll overview the delivery structure of the exam and provide powerful GRE tips to help you earn your best possible score on test day.

GRE Structure and Scoring

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) comprises six sections.

Analytical Writing

The first section, the Analytical Writing measure, has two tasks timed at thirty minutes each. The first task asks you to “analyze and issue” by taking a position on a brief statement. For this task, you will have to construct your own argument in support of your position. The second task asks you to “analyze an argument,” providing you with a short paragraph in which an author supports their own position on an issue. For this task, you will not construct your own argument but critique the argument in the prompt, identifying the assumptions and facts upon which it relies for strength and validity.

Each writing task will be scored on a range from 0 to 6 in half-point increments, both by a person and by a program, with the two scores being averaged. If the scores given by the person and by the program are significantly different, another person will take the place of the program, and the two human-generated scores will be averaged. (This person/program scoring approach is the same as on the GMAT). Once each of the two tasks has its averaged score, those two scores are in turn averaged into your final Analytical Writing score.

Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning

Sections two through six are the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning measures. Each section has twenty questions, but the Quant sections are timed at thirty-five minutes each, while the Verbal sections are timed at just thirty minutes each.

While ETS (Educational Testing Service, the administrators of the GRE) maintains that the sections can appear in any order, the official practice tests on their website and the experience of thousands of test-takers indicate that these sections will always alternate types (Q-V-Q-V-Q or V-Q-V-Q-V). Only two sections of each type (two Quant and two Verbal) count towards your score.

For whichever type has three sections, one of those sections is experimental and unscored. This section exists for ETS to check the validity of new content for future administrations of the GRE. There is no safe way to recognize or distinguish the experimental section from its scored counterparts; you need to treat every section as if it counts.

Like the GMAT, the GRE is adaptive, but on a much lower-resolution scale. While the GMAT adapts on a question-by-question basis, the GRE only adapts the difficulty of the second (scored) section of each type (Quant and Verbal) based on your performance on the first (scored) section of that type, which is always of medium difficulty. ETS has not released information on how many different degrees of difficulty exist for the second sections, but the official practice tests provided on the ETS website have three possibilities for each second section: an easier one, a medium one, and a harder one.

Both the Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning measures are scored on a scale from 130 to 170. Unlike the GMAT, the GRE does not combine the Quant and Verbal scores into some overall score or report percentiles for test-takers’ combined scores out of 340 (the sum of the scores for the Quant and Verbal sections). Percentiles are only provided for the independent Quant and Verbal scores out of 170, as well as for the Analytical Writing measure.

GRE scoring percentiles:

Here are up-to-date GRE scoring percentiles:

GRE Score Percentiles for Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning

Scaled Score Verbal Reasoning Quantitative Reasoning
170 99 96
169 99 93
168 98 90
167 98 87
166 97 84
165 95 81
164 94 78
163 92 76
162 90 73
161 87 70
160 85 67
159 81 64
158 78 61
157 74 57
156 66 54
155 67 51
154 58 47
153 58 43
152 52 40
151 48 37
150 43 33
149 38 30
148 34 27
147 30 23
146 27 20
145 24 17

GRE Score Percentiles for Analytical Writing

Score Percentile Rank
6.0 99
5.5 97
5.0 91
4.5 79
4.0 54
3.5 37
3.0 13
2.5 6
2.0 2
1.5 1
1.0
0.5
0.0

GRE Strategy Tips

A main structural difference between the GMAT and the GRE is the GRE’s feature of section navigation. While the GMAT does not allow test-takers to navigate a section or return to any previously-encountered questions on the section, the GRE has a navigation screen for each Quant and Verbal section, accessible via a “review” button in the top-right corner of the test.

This screen shows you the status of each question in the section. If you haven’t seen a question yet, it will be labeled “not encountered.” If you have seen a question but not answered it, it will be labeled “not answered.” As you can see on question 4 of this section (highlighted above), a question may also be labeled “incomplete” if it has multiple parts and only some of these parts are completed (this is possible on most of the vocabulary-based questions on Verbal sections).

You should never actually leave a question “incomplete” or altogether “unanswered” before moving on, even if you mark it for review. When you toggle the “mark” button (right next to the “review” button in the top right), always fully answer the question before moving on. Even a random answer is better than no answer at all.

[Note: the label “Section 2 of 5” indicates a total of five sections rather than six because the practice tests do not include an experimental section. Also, you can toggle between showing and hiding the time remaining for the section. This feature is on the real GRE as well.]

The navigation feature represents an exploitable opportunity for GRE-takers. Since both the Quant and Verbal sections have consistent internal structures, you can choose which questions to work through first and which questions to leave until the end. For more info on these “internal structures,” stay tuned for upcoming articles.

On the Verbal sections, you can choose whether to do reading comprehension questions or vocabulary questions first. In the Quant sections, you can begin with all the quantitative comparison questions or leave them until the end. You can also specifically target the data interpretation questions early on if that suits you.

Some test-takers will benefit from getting their least favorite questions out of the way and then speeding through the easy stuff. Other test-takers might like to knock out the easy questions first in order to know exactly how much time they’ll have to complete the harder ones. You can figure out what’s best for you personally on your way through the GRE prep process, and the insights of a private GRE tutor can be of great value here.

Thanks for reading our GRE tips regarding structure, scoring, and strategy. As this series of articles continues, we’ll break down the Quant and Verbal sections independently to help you understand the structure and content of each section type.

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: Elijah Mize (Apex GRE Instructor)

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GRE Test Dates 2022-2023
Posted on
12
Oct 2022

GRE Test Dates 2022-2023

If you’re thinking about taking the GRE, it’s important to know when the test is offered. The GRE is offered throughout the year, so there are plenty of test dates to choose from. 

GRE Test Dates: How often is the GRE offered?

The GRE has two testing options – at home or in a test center.

if you decide to take the GRE at home, 24/7 with testing dates available around the clock.

Things to consider:

  • The GRE at-home test option is not available in China and Iran.
  • You can take the GRE every 21 days if you need to. If you’re not happy with your GRE score, you can always retake the test.
  • The GRE at-home exam is identical to an exam that you would sit for at a testing center.

if you decide to take the GRE at a testing center, you can choose to take a paper-based exam or a computer-based one, which most people do. For computer-based exams, testing dates are widely available at your convenience, except on national holidays and weekends.

For a paper-based exam, there are select testing dates for 2022-2023. The registration started on July 1, 2022. All the dates are listed below.

Keep in mind that paper-based exam is not available in all test centers.

All dates shown are (MM/DD/YYYY).

For Paper-Based Testing in the United States and Puerto Rico:

Test Date Regular Deadline Late Deadline *
09/17/2022 08/12/2022 08/19/2022
10/29/2022 09/23/2022 09/30/2022
04/08/2023 03/03/2023 03/10/2023

*Late registration is available for online registration only for a fee of US$25.

For Paper-Based Testing in All Other Locations, Including U.S. Territories:

Test Date Regular Deadline Late Deadline *
09/17/2022 08/05/2022 08/12/2022
10/29/2022 09/16/2022 09/23/2022
04/08/2023 02/24/2023 03/03/2023

*Late registration is available for online registration only for a fee of US$25.

To register for the GRE you need to create an ETS account, and you need to provide a method of payment and a passport or an ID. You can choose to request ETS disability services.

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: Cynthia Addoumieh

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Posted on
07
Jun 2022

How Does 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 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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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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Before taking the GRE
Posted on
03
Dec 2021

Before Taking the GRE, You Should Do These 3 Things

Imagine that you wake up on a sunny day, you feel energized and positive about where your day is headed, and you have a plan in your head on how to organize your time efficiently so that you can begin preparing for your GRE exam. Then, suddenly, you realize that you only have a few days left before your GRE exam date. You start overthinking about what you know or don’t know about the exam, its procedure, the dos and don’ts, and you feel yourself getting stressed. This is a normal feeling for most people who have exams coming up and feel like they lost track of time. There are a few things you can do to help with the process.

1. Get yourself accustomed to the exam procedure

It is of utmost importance that you know the GRE exam procedure by heart before taking the test. This can help by making sure the exam goes smoothly and so that you are not worrying about making silly mistakes. So, how is the GRE structured and what are its procedures? The GRE has three sections:

    • Quantitative Reasoning, two sections (35 minutes per section).
    • Verbal Reasoning, two sections (30 minutes per section, 20 questions per section).
    • Analytical Writing, one section with two separately timed tasks (30 minutes per task).

The total time it takes to complete the GRE, with breaks, is usually 3 hours and 45 minutes. If you’re interested in learning some test strategies to boost your score, check out our article 8 GRE test strategies to help you boost your score.” 

2. Take the GRE practice exam during the same time as the real one

Having routines in life helps us manage our time efficiently. The same can be said for the GRE exam. It is crucial that you know what time your real exam is going to be so that you can start preparing and practicing during the same time of the day. Why is this important? Let’s say you usually wake up at 11 AM and start studying around 1 PM. If your exam starts at 10 AM, you’re going to have a hard time functioning to the best of your abilities. Thus, it is suggested that you create a routine around your exam time so that your brain and body can get used to it.

3. Revise your previous GRE mistakes, but don’t acquire new knowledge

Cramming in new information a few days before taking the GRE does not usually result in effective learning. It is a student’s habit to start learning new material at midnight, but this will not help you solidify your knowledge. GRE needs practice and time, and you simply cannot learn new things in a span of a few hours. That is why it is better to go over what you have learned thus far, which will help in remembering what you already know. If this makes you feel like you have to have a plan, that is great! You can start with study plans months or even a year beforehand. Take a look at these GRE prep tips to help you start with your GRE journey in an efficient way. 

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, it is often easy to get stressed before the exam and lose track of time. To feel prepared to take the GRE, we that you get accustomed to the exam procedure, take the practice exam during the same time as the real one, and revise your previous mistakes, but don’t try to acquire new knowledge a day or two out. These are only a few tips to help you feel more confident about the big day! If you would like to read more about GRE and what to expect on the test day, we have answered some FAQs for you. Some people feel more assured about taking the exam when they have GRE tutors. If you can do it on your own, then good job! If you are thinking about having an instructor help you with the GRE, you can sign up for a complimentary consultation call.

 

Contributor: Sarin Sulahian

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How To Study For Your GRE Retake
Posted on
05
Nov 2021

How To Study For Your GRE Retake

You’ve studied countless hours, canceled plans with numerous friends, and even changed your diet and caffeine consumption to fuel your brain as best as possible. And yet, after all that, your final combined score result is just a 320. Not bad, but also not perfect. This score can get you into most graduate school programs, but can it get you into that elite ‘top’ school you are aiming for? If you have the resume and top-notch essay responses to back up your GRE score, then you may feel comfortable applying to your dream graduate school with that score.

But what if you are still unsure? Is it worth spending the hundreds of dollars, and continuing the stringent study plan you had just spent months trudging through to try again? Perhaps a second attempt means you will bump up your score to a 324, or maybe your second attempt will land you with a score of equal or – gulp – lesser value! After going through the cost-benefit analysis of such an undertaking, you may have decided on the undertaking of retaking the GRE.

But how do you study for the GRE the second time to guarantee a higher score?

You are not alone in asking this question, and, unfortunately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer or study plan that can guarantee a higher score and make the retake worthwhile financially and timewise. However, there are some things you can begin doing now which can help you embark on your GRE retake journey.

1. Book the GRE retake sooner rather than later

Deciding on ‘when’ to retake the GRE can have a huge effect on your ability to succeed in the test. We suggest booking the retake sooner rather than later. This will help set a definite timeline of how long you must study and how you can expect to structure the coming weeks. Additionally, don’t wait months to retake the GRE. Once you have decided that you will retake the exam, be sure to schedule it a couple of weeks after the last test you took. While it may seem to be a time crunch, this is because you are not starting from scratch when studying for your retake. You already have a whole host of wealth stuck in your head! It will hang around for a few weeks, requiring only brief reviews and refreshers to keep the knowledge up to date.

2. Focus on your weaknesses

So, you have taken your first GRE test. You now know how you test under time pressure, and you can adjust your studying accordingly. Did you find that you struggled with the time constraints? We suggest focusing on different studying methods which will help you feel more comfortable under the time constraints. During the test you may realize that you did not study enough for certain quantitative-type questions, or your GRE vocabulary was lacking. In this case, spend time before your retake focusing on the areas you found most challenging. By no means does this mean ‘ignoring’ your strengths, rather, spend the most time on your weakness, being sure to set aside a few hours a week to review and rehash the parts of the exam you feel most comfortable with.

3. Consult with your network

Whether you recognize it or not, the people around you are important to your mental health and wellbeing. Because studying for the GRE is a mentally draining venture, relying on your network can help you get through the most difficult aspects of studying for the GRE. As you already experienced over the last few months of studying, an effective student may opt for moments of quiet study rather than social events with friends and family. This doesn’t change your second time around taking the test.

However, your friends and family may be disappointed to hear that you are extending your absences from events further to study for your second round. It is important, then, to confer with them. Let them know what you are doing and why. Perhaps someone in your network had a similar experience and they can offer you advice and tips on how to rock your second round. Additionally, do not be shy to let them know how you are feeling and how they can best support you during your studying. This can help alleviate any further stress you may accumulate during the time you sequester away over the books.

4. Get a private tutor

It may seem obvious but hiring a private tutor who specializes in the GRE can help push you to the next level. Often, your struggles with the GRE can be alleviated by the unique perspectives and solution paths a private tutor can give you. Our GRE tutors at ApexGRE specialize in working with students who want to achieve an elite score and are looking to develop the skills to do just that. We invite all interested potential clients to sign-up HERE for a complimentary consultation call where we can discuss your GRE and graduate school goals. Our tutors are happy to work with an array of clients. Whether it is their first or fifth time taking the GRE and whether they have 6 months to prepare or just a few weeks, we can work within your time frame and skill level to help you achieve your goals.

Finally, deciding to retake the GRE means countless more hours of hard work. Deciding whether it is worth it is up to you, however, being prepared for the process of retaking the GRE can help alleviate the stress of the decision.


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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