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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GRE Stress
Posted on
24
Sep 2021

How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GRE

By: ApexGRE
Contributor: Nemrout Safarian
Date: September 24, 2021

The Hows:
1. Taking a GRE Preparation Course
2. Creating an Effective Study Schedule
3. Controlling Your Emotions
4. Maintaining Connection to Your Support Team
5. Resting and Getting Good Sleep
6. Celebrating Your Big and Little Achievements
7. Meditate
8. Doing Things You Love

Experiencing too much anxiety over the GRE Exam might cause a negative impact on your mental health and make it difficult for you to keep your sanity. Moreover, it might even make it more challenging to concentrate when studying and disrupt your sleep schedule. However, with the correct test stress and anxiety-busting tactics, as well as an effective studying schedule, your GRE exam preparation may become much simpler.

Here are 8 tips we recommend in order to make your GRE exam preparation stress-free and effective.

1. Take a GRE Preparation Course

Everyone’s GRE story is different. Some people can get a high score based on everything they already know, without opening a GRE book. But, for most students, a preparation course or one-on-one prep time with a GRE personal tutor is necessary for two reasons: first, it puts you in the right direction in terms of exam content, strategies, solution paths, and tactics to tackle problems, by helping you structure a concrete and designated studying plan; secondly, it makes you feel much more confident and emotionally calm, as you work with a trustworthy and an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the exam and preparation for it, and can assist you with anything necessary throughout the process. Apex GRE, for example, offers complimentary consultation calls for interested individuals, looking for structured and personalized GRE preparation. 

2. Create an Effective Study Schedule

Don’t wait for the perfect time to take the GRE. This moment may never reveal itself! Life will always throw you curveballs and can end up curtailing well-thought-out plans. Situations may arise which may interfere with your GRE preparation. During your GRE prep, you should take the extra effort to harmonize any unexpected situations with your study schedule. One effective method you could try is to divide your studying schedule into multiple time frames throughout the day so that you can concentrate in smaller doses rather than studying for 5-7 hours straight and losing your ever so vital focus. Study the materials during the weekdays and devote some part of your weekend to practice tests where necessary. Those, in turn, will help you to assess your progress and help you to understand your main strengths and weaknesses.

3. Control Your Emotions

At some point, the GRE will stress you out, making you feel disappointed and frustrated. This is natural! Whether it is an unsatisfactory score on a practice test or the feeling of giving up, the GRE can make it easy to have an emotional breakdown. However, it is important to be able to take control of your emotions, and have a “never a failure, always a lesson” attitude. Every time you make a mistake, try to dive deep into that specific concept and figure out why you made that particular mistake, and learn from it. This is exactly how you make progress. Whenever you feel like you can’t go on anymore, remember your goals and aspirations, and that this test is a key to the completion of those. With the proper frame of mind, you will find yourself studying again in no time.

4. Maintain a Connection to Your Support Team

The people you communicate with during your GRE preparation process are very important and can hugely affect your frame of mind. Try not to isolate yourself too much from them, spending your whole time in your room cracking all those GRE books and practice tests. Instead, spend time with the people whose presence is pleasing to you, who support and believe in you – whether it’s your family, your best friend, or the new acquaintance that has no idea what the GRE even is. Constant communication with the people you love will positively affect your overall mentality and help you stay positive when preparing for the test.

5. Get Some Rest and Good Sleep

Another essential thing to remember is to arrange your sleeping schedule. When you need to get up at a certain time, subtract half an hour from the number of hours you wish to sleep. This time becomes the designated moment for turning off the lights. The extra half-hour is crucial, as we frequently overlook the time it takes to get ready for bed, set the alarm clock, and so on. This being said, be cautious as to what you are eating or drinking as an unhealthy diet can negatively affect your sleep schedule. Although the effects of caffeine may differ from person to person, try to avoid all sources of caffeine after 3 p.m. and modify accordingly. Aside from coffee, caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, including tea, chocolate, and carbonated beverages. However, there are benefits to caffeine products when consumed thoughtfully. 

6. Celebrate Your Big and Little Achievements

Your GRE preparation process aims to help you reach your goals! Reward yourself a little – take a moment and celebrate your achievements – whether it is seeing progress on practice test scores or a complicated Math concept that you finally mastered. It will help you feel more positive and confident about your overall knowledge and skills and be brave enough to challenge yourself with tougher concepts. As you progress down your GRE journey, be sure to celebrate your short- and long-term accomplishments.  These moments of celebration will undoubtedly assist you in keeping yourself on top of your game.

7. Meditate

Studying hard and spending time on your GRE study materials is very important. However, you need to keep in mind that during this process, your mind should be at ease as much as possible, and mediation can provide you with that!

The goal of a study done by Santa Barbara academics was to find an answer to the question of whether meditation can increase students’ test scores on a test. The researchers gave a group of students a two-week mindfulness training course to determine if effective mindfulness practices may help them perform better. Following the program, participants were required to take a GRE reading comprehension test. The test takers who followed the mindfulness training protocol fared better on their examinations, with considerably higher average marks, according to the researchers. So, you can be sure that by meditating you will definitely improve your overall performance on the test.

8. Doing Things You Love

Nothing can ever make you happier than doing what you love. Whether it’s singing, dancing to your new favorite pop song, or watching movies, you should devote some time to distracting yourself from studying by doing the things you enjoy. Not only will this help you not to feel pressured and overwhelmed by all those GRE materials, but it will also make you feel much more energetic, full of life, and HAPPY. These are absolutely necessary for you to perform as well as possible on your GRE test.

Good luck studying and remember to believe in yourself!

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GRE Private Tutoring
Posted on
27
Feb 2021

One on one GRE Tutoring: Your Way to GRE Success

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: February 27, 2021
When it comes to GRE tutoring, we at Apex have learned that there are a set of core characteristics that all successful GRE test takers embody; no matter their industry, degree, personal traits, or prior levels of knowledge. In this article, we’ll:
  • explore each of these eight core characteristics
  • deconstruct a few of the faulty assumptions that test-takers bring to the process
  • distinguish one-on-one GRE tutoring as an efficient way for most people to achieve a competitive GRE score and build a solid foundation for a graduate program.

Many people preparing for the GRE believe that it’s the instructor’s responsibility to implement their own expertise and style to improve one’s current skill level and address one’s weaknesses. The reality, however, is more of a two-way street, where the important element is the compatibility between a tutor’s teaching style and a student’s learning style. A qualified instructor is one that first examines the way a client processes new information and perceives problems, and the techniques he or she uses to address those problems. Only after a tutor has understood one’s learning style can he/she match professional guidance with the needs of the client.

8 Ways One-On-One GRE Tutoring Gets You To A 328+ Score On The GRE

1. Creating a productive & efficient learning structure

Oftentimes, test takers seek GRE tutoring because they have stumbled upon enough types of challenging problems that they can’t tackle alone, or they’ve reached the peak of their self-preparation but still seek higher results. One-on-one GRE tutoring differs from self-prep and group work with a tutor in terms of the learning environment and having the benefit of external perception of your performance. With private GRE tutoring, communication dynamics are on a much more personal, and personalized, level – yielding stronger results much more quickly than alternative solutions.

The privacy and trust inherent in a One-on-one GRE tutoring setup permit test-takers to feel comfortable sharing their weaknesses in a safe environment and tackle those things that are challenging to them without worrying about how it will be interpreted by peers. The comfort afforded by this situation should not be underestimated. A private GRE tutor not only helps with improving one’s technique and self-knowledge but also strives to create a healthy and secure learning environment that is vital for:

  • reducing test anxiety
  • building GRE confidence
  • improving studying habits
  • avoiding distractions and disruptions of the learning process
  • encouraging freedom to ask questions
  • nurturing motivation
2. Constant two-way feedback

A fundamental rule of management states, “No feedback is bad feedback”. Another is “What gets measured gets managed.” When preparing alone or within a group, a future test taker will not have a clear indication about how effective they are performing until they take a practice exam, and even then the exam only focuses on specific metrics. A good private GRE tutor will know what to look for, what to measure, and what feedback to give to provide rapid and lasting results. They will guide you through questions that are matched to your current level of skill, meaning that you will be consistently receiving feedback on your methodology, time allocation, implementation of knowledge, and solution paths as you progress through your GRE preparation. This ongoing back and forth communication will allow you to identify your weak spots in self-prep as well, and revisit appropriate material to deepen your understanding of less comfortable concepts.

3. Learning at your own pace, and then speeding it up

Timing is the most crucial aspect of the GRE that you need to master to achieve a great score. Naturally, everyone excels at tackling some problems and needs more time to solve others. Tutoring can hone your timing decisions and your tutor can create a customized plan for timing allocation across a range of problems depending upon your relative strengths and weaknesses.

Studying with a private GRE tutor will also allow you to spend the right amount of time on each aspect of the exam according to your scoring needs. This lets you avoid inefficiencies and master only those techniques that will be most useful to you in order to fulfill your potential.

4. Developing specific skill sets to tackle each section of the GRE

The GRE test is a complex exam designed not to test high school knowledge, but rather core character traits like adaptability, time management, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and multitasking. You cannot achieve a high GRE score if there is a significant difference between your performance in each section of the exam. A private GRE tutor can give you the best insights on how to build, manage, and combine the different skills needed to get a great end result and achieve parity between your verbal and quantitative scores.

5. Realizing better use of your time

Flexibility and accessibility of learning are key to maximizing your potential. One-on-one GRE tutoring is:

  • Usually offered online. This means that you can schedule sessions at the most convenient time depending only on your flexibility. You can have lessons in your breaks from work, gaps between classes, during daily commutes, during holidays, in the park, etc.
  • Available at any time. This is not the case with group GRE tutoring as classes are scheduled depending on the instructor. Apex works globally and has tutoring available in every time zone around the globe. Private GRE tutoring should be designed to meet your lifestyle requirements and you should aim to schedule sessions when you are most productive. A technique that the best GRE instructors adopt is to schedule sessions at a time of the day when you are supposed to sit your actual exam. This can help you simulate conditions similar to those on test day and give you important insights on how to maximize your productivity at that specific time frame.
  • Offered with different options depending on duration and material covered in the program. Whether you are a beginner or someone who already has a strong understanding of the GRE, you can choose a specifically designed GRE curriculum depending on what you strive to achieve. This is reflected in the amount of hours you are going to spend with an instructor and in the price of the service. At Apex we offer a complimentary first call to help you determine what course of action will be the most suitable for you depending on your current level of preparation and your GRE aspirations.
6. Understanding where you excel and what you struggle with most

If you are aiming for an elite GRE score, you’ll need to leverage your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Understanding the meaning behind each question, its structure and underlying testing purpose, and the methodologies the test writers use to construct the problems are essential for success. The best one-on-one GRE tutors are aware of the subtleties of the exam and can not only guide you around them but teach you how to leverage these subtleties for high-level insights into the hardest 330+ problems. This will predispose you to uncover features of the test that most preppers have never even considered.

7. Utilizing learning aids

Finding and gaining access to challenging GRE problems, authentic and reliable practice tests / mock exams, and appropriate study tools can take ages to hunt down (and cost a fortune). One-on-one GRE tutoring allows you to refocus your valuable time as experienced instructors will already have compiled a solid database of resources and questions and show you the ones that are most relevant to your success at your current level. That way, your instructor, and not you, will spend the time filtering them according to your needs and present the ones that will have the greatest positive impact on your GRE preparation.

8. The expertise and professional mentorship of a private GRE tutor

Working with an expert GRE tutor who has scored well into the top 1%, and who knows the exam inside and out will help you accelerate your learning and move the needle of your progress in ways you only read about on GRE blogs. Experienced instructors are trained to teach you how to overcome the different GRE scoring plateaus and meet your personal target. The goal of great tutors is not only to show you how to answer a question correctly, but also to help you extract a methodology that can be continuously applied to other questions across the GRE, and to problems beyond.

Apex’s tutors focus on teaching the higher-order strategies that are necessary for the achievement of a 328+ score and bringing out your optimal performance. Enlisting the help of a one-on-one GRE instructor is recommended for those who are short on time or those who already have a solid understanding of the exam and are scoring well (mid-200’s), but are looking to gain those extra points that will make them get into their dream graduate program and lay the groundwork for a challenging, engaging, and lucrative career.

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Successful GRE
Posted on
24
Feb 2021

5 Takeaways from a Successful GRE Journey

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: February 24, 2021

Each client that contacts us is in a different stage of their GRE prep, but a universal constant is that each is striving for a great 328+ GRE score. The threshold difficulty standing in their way is the lack of a proper mindset, which in turn can lead to a poor performance, whether due attitude, inefficient solving mechanisms, misplaced focus, or myriad other issues. No matter what, mindset leads the way to performance.

To adjust one’s way of perceiving problems requires much more intricate work than cramming a bunch of material, facts, and figures. Taking the time to understand this and elevate your approach to the test is challenging but ultimately rewarding come test day. Here are five takeaways that anyone scoring 328 or better on the GRE comes to realize along their GRE journey. These insights that help test takers thrive help top performers continue to excel in their grad school programs and in their post-graduate school careers, long after the GRE is a distant memory.

It is not what you know… it’s what you do with it

The GRE is a psychometric exam. It expects you to be knowledgeable in a core group of secondary school concepts. It’s not a knowledge test, but it uses this universe of information as a baseline that everyone reasonably has been exposed to long before they thought about the GRE. The exam tests not so much your knowledge but your creative application of that knowledge.

In the process of preparing for your GRE it is vital to maximize your performance, which necessitates deep understanding of seemingly straightforward concepts so that you can be flexible in how you navigate them. For instance, in the Integrated Reasoning section there is a high chance that you will come across an unfamiliar graph you need to use. In such a case the ability to draw conclusions from known graphs and apply them to the new situation is much more valuable than having seen the specific graph before.

This holds true well beyond the exam. The amount of information you will be exposed to within the 2 years of a top tier graduate school program is staggering. In order to thrive in this demanding environment you must be selective, actively deciding what information you take on to master, and use universal thinking tools (heuristics and mental models) to be adaptable as new concepts and information come your way.

For the GRE, the core concepts are indeed essential. But it is also important to notice what concepts and information you can derive from fundamental knowledge and how to do so, hence not needing to memorize it. Knowing how to successfully apply your knowledge will result in efficiency which will afford you the ability and time to excel in the GRE, explore what your graduate program has to offer, and be a thought leader in your chosen career.

Prioritization is crucial 

On the GRE there are harsh penalties for unanswered questions, so it is vital to complete each section in the time allotted. Therefore, proper time and process management are critical when sitting the exam. Essentially, each problem represents a decision where you must weigh the likelihood of obtaining a correct answer, your time commitment to that problem, ancillary considerations like stress and focus management, and how this problem fits into your larger strategy for the section and the exam. Ultimately, you must decide how much time it is worth expending on each problem as part of your core process.

This mental cost-benefit analysis must be deeply embedded in your thought process to achieve an elite GRE score. With the proper calibration, this sense will certainly be useful in graduate school and beyond. In the professional world, there will always be time constraints – be it stringent deadlines or time zone differences. Being able to prioritize focus and make decisions quickly and accurately while navigating uncertainty and incomplete information is a huge strength. Similarly, actively choosing to abandon a low value or less important task so that you can fully devote to solving an issue of importance is not a sign of weakness or incapability, but rather an asset in a world that will always ask more of you than you can give. Time is scarce in the workplace, and just like on the GRE, you should prioritize what adds the most value to your bottom line.

Every problem has multiple solution paths

A common theme in our client’s feedback is their fascination with a core principle that we teach; that every GRE problem has multiple solution paths and that sensitivity to how you solve the problem is more important than simply arriving at the correct answer. Let’s take a means and averages problem from the Quant section as an example. Many would be tempted to solve this mathematically straightaway, but this problem can be solved more efficiently using a scenario or a graph rather than processing equations, delivering greater clarity and freeing up valuable time for other, more challenging problems.

Wresting yourself away from the paradigm that a problem has a single “correct” solution path is essential to conquering the GRE but is also valuable in life. Very few things are clear cut and unambiguous, and training yourself to recognize multiple ways to get to the same destination is important, especially if you can recognize them before committing to any specific path. Seeking answers beyond the ordinary and obvious will provide you with innovative ways of overcoming obstacles and drive progress, and make you a thought leader among your peers and in your graduate program and organization.

Focusing on the structure of the GRE helps you compare solution paths and choose the best for the current challenge, resulting in not only a correct answer, but a timely one. Moreover, thinking of a problem from multiple perspectives means that you take into consideration unlikely or unnoticed features of a problem, and when applied to a professional setting, this added vision can drive great insight into stakeholders interests and uncover innovative solutions to intractable problems.

In order to succeed first know yourself

The GRE is not an exam where you can get 100% of the problems correct. In fact, your score will not depend on the number of questions that you get correct, but rather by the difficulty level of the ones that you do get correct. Since the GRE is computer-adaptive, it increases in difficulty until it matches a candidate’s capabilities, and the aim as a test taker is to get to the most difficult problems that you can handle, and then get most of those correct. In this way, the GRE drives you to perform at your best rather than spending a lot of time testing fundamentals.

Ultimately, this means that you must decide how to allocate your time and energy to produce the best performance. This means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, evaluating each problem in light of those, and then deciding which problems make sense to handle, which make sense to invest extra time in, and which (few) problems you might want to walk away from right off the bat in order to preserve your valuable time for higher value problems. Don’t simply put your head down and try to get everything right – at least not at first.

During your GRE preparation you should be conscious of how you perform and how you have progressed from where you began. If you struggle to finish a practice exam in a timely manner, this is a sign that your time management skills require polishing, and that you’re not making timing decisions well. If you perform well on Sentence Equivalence but not on the Reading Comprehension, then that means that you can spend less time on SE questions and reallocate that time towards Reading Comp, thereby increasing your score and building confidence in your GRE allocation decisions along the way.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the workload you handle best will help you excel in your career. Furthermore, knowing your capabilities can aid you when setting work boundaries and defining your professional skill set on the other side of graduate school. Successful professionals know how to focus on what they do best, and remove those tasks that impinge upon their productivity and value.

In this way, they don’t find themselves taking on too much, and are able to have work-life balance, all while placing them in a position to continue to achieve because of that balance. Overworking is counterproductive because it drives burnout and reduces focus and efficiency. In much the same way that athletes require proper rest for peak performance, those working in intellectually rigorous fields requiring creativity need mental breaks for better focus, clarity and job performance. In this sense, being aware of your own limitations will guide you towards a healthy work-life balance and in turn increase productivity.

5% talent and 95% hard work

Being naturally intuitive with numbers or extremely well-read can provide a great footing for your GRE preparation. Without further development, however, natural talent can only take you so far. The GRE begins testing you the moment you can no longer trust your intuition and talent, and then need to rely upon knowing what you don’t know, and navigating towards deeper insights. The GRE tests a range of skills such as critical assessment of data, ability to reason and analytical thinking. This means that being knowledgeable and skilful with fundamentals, or being a strong student only lays the foundation for success. It’s persistence, determination, and having a comprehensive study plan and clear understanding of GRE architecture that defines those who score a 328 or better.

The good news is that the skills necessary to get a 328+ GRE score can be cultivated and enhanced with hard work, perseverance and determination. Moreover, these same skills can help you get the most out of your graduate program and career and enhance your skill set. For example, in graduate school you may come across an exceptional mathematician pursuing a concentration in  economics because she has identified a weak point, and wants to focus on how to conduct research, to write and communicate clearly and effectively and to understand and implement data in the decision making process. Similarly, someone with average mathematical Mathematical ability might excel in Finance courses because of the skills he has developed – analytical thinking, problem solving, and constructing mental models.

Conclusion

The most important thing is to put in the hard work (effortful learning, not just a lot of prep time) to grow those top-level skills, regardless of how naturally gifted you are in a given subject. Graduate programs aren’t all creativity or math, and in this way professional challenges are similar to the GRE itself, which is neither about Math nor English grammar. Compensating your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths in your chosen concentration will be a vital part of your graduate school experience, and it should start with your GRE preparation.

Your GRE journey can be pleasant and enriching rather than an arduous, distasteful experience that you dread having to go through. With the proper mindset, guidance and support you can grow through your GRE experience to acquire valuable skills that will help you for years to come.

Schedule a call with one of our experienced GRE consultants  and get a head start on the road to achieving your goals!

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