GRE, GMAT, or EA - Which Test Should You Take For Business School?
Posted on
29
Oct 2021

GRE, GMAT, or EA – Which Test Should You Take For Business School?

So you’re dreaming of getting your MBA. Part of the hurdle of applying to business school is taking a standardized test to fulfill application requirements. With so many different standardized tests being offered, and with numerous schools allowing applicants to take different exams, it is often hard to know which exam best aligns with your goals. We have broken down the top three standardized testing options for MBA programs so that future MBAs can have a better grasp on their application process.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, allows prospective graduates with varying educational backgrounds to apply for master’s, MBA, or doctoral degrees to “show off” their skills to prospective schools. The GRE is accepted by thousands of graduate schools, including business and law schools.

Why do you need GRE?

Besides being accepted at graduate schools with a variety of backgrounds, in recent years the GRE exam is also accepted by many prestigious MBA programs too. However, be mindful that the GMAT is still the most relevant exam which you can take to show off your skills.  Especially when it comes to the field of business. One of the reasons behind this is that the GMAT was specifically designed for MBA programs and business school admissions. Also, unlike the GRE, the GMAT has an additional section – the integrated reasoning section – which will give you the possibility to prove your data analytical skills. We aren’t trying to scare you away from taking the GRE. You must decide on the right path for you. For example, if you believe you will perform better on the GRE than on the GMAT then deciding to take the GRE is the best decision for you.

What is the content of the GRE exam made of?

The content of the GRE is divided into three sections, these being: analytical writing section, quantitative section, and verbal section. The first section measures your ability to communicate complex ideas and use standard written English to prove an argument. The second section is to measure your ability to solve math, algebra, and geometry problems. The last section is to measure your ability to analyze sentences and writing passages.

GRE Scores Explained

The GRE score range is from 130 to 170; 130 is the lowest possible score, whereas 170 is the highest. The verbal and quantitative sections are scored from 130 to 170 and the analytical writing section is scored from 0 to 6 points.

Where to begin?

Similar to GMAT, once you decide on taking the GRE you need to plan your future steps: how to prepare? With whom to prepare? In-person or online? Etc. If you are interested in working with an experienced GRE tutor to help you prepare, we offer individualized and specialized tutoring for motivated students.

The Graduate Admission Management Test (GMAT)

What is the GMAT?

If you are aiming for your dream MBA school, the GMAT is an important part of the application process. The test is developed and administered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Your final GMAT scores can help bolster your chances of getting into your dream MBA program. While scores are not an exclusive part of the admissions committee’s decision, the GMAT is still taken into consideration during the admission’s process as it evaluates the necessary skills needed to succeed in business school. Additionally, the process of studying for the GMAT emphasizes the qualities necessary to advance your future business career.

Why do you need the GMAT?

Once you go through the GMAT preparation phase and you are ready to reach your GMAT goal, you will get the opportunity to stand out among other applicants and raise your chances of getting in. A high score on the GMAT will have a positive impact on your business school application.

What is the content of the GMAT exam made of?

The GMAT exam has four sections: analytical writing assessment which aims to measure your ability to think critically, integrated reasoning is for measuring your ability to analyze data and evaluate information that is presented in multiple formats, quantitative reasoning is used for measuring your ability to analyze data, and lastly, verbal reasoning measures your skills to read and understand written materials to conform to standard written English.

Good to know: before the test begins, you can determine the order you wish to take each section of the exam in.

GMAT Scores Explained

The score that many business schools and MBA programs pay the most attention to is the combined 200-800 score scale. Each section of GMAT has a separate scoring system: the analytical written assessment is scored from 0 to 6, whereas the integrated reasoning is scored on a 1 to 8 scale. In addition, the quantitative and verbal sections each have a scale score of 0 to 60. In the end, they are all combined to generate a score on the 200 to 800 scale which is the one you are most familiar with.

Where to begin?

Let’s say that you decided to take the GMAT, what are the steps that you need in order to reach your GMAT high score? First, you need to decide if you are going to start this journey on your own or you need a tutor to help you out. First of all, we suggest deciding on how you structure your GMAT studying. Are you hoping to find a premier GMAT tutor? Are you planning on doing it solo? Will you study with friends? Do you want to be part of a GMAT prep group? Figuring out how you want to study is vital to begin the process of GMAT preparation on the right foot.

If you need a 700+ GMAT score, check out our tutors here at Apex GMAT who are ready to help you from anywhere in the world! 

Executive Assessment Test (EA)

What is the EA?

The Executive Assessment, or EA, is an admission exam designed for Executive MBA programs. Just like the GMAT, the EA is also administered by the GMAC.

Why do you need EA?

Besides being an indicator of your skills for your admission process towards an EMBA program, the EA mainly helps already experienced managers, who want to advance their careers, get to even higher levels by attending an Executive MBA program. Most MBA programs and EMBA programs accept the EA as an admissions exam from applicants who have a certain number of years of professional work experience under their belt.

What is the content of the EA exam made of?

The EA test is composed of three sections: integrated reasoning, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning with a total of 40 questions. These sections test similar qualities to that of the GMAT exam.

EA Scores Explained

The scale for each section is from 0 to 20 with a total scale range from 100 to 200. All three sections are equally weighted in determining your final score. 

Where to begin?

You guessed it: the same as for GMAT and GRE, there are a few decisions to make before starting your EA journey. Look for a platform, a tutor, and plenty of other tools that can be beneficial for you to reach your EA high score.

Which one is the best for you?

After familiarizing yourself with the above-mentioned standardized tests you might wonder which one to go for. This all depends on what you are aiming for. From business school admissions to advancing your career, each of these tests can help you prove specific and required skills in different fields. Once you decide what your goal is, it will be easier to decide which test is the best way to show your strength and skills and to get into the program of your dreams!

Contributor: Arin Agich 

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GRE Quantitative
Posted on
15
Oct 2021

Everything about the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Simona Mkhitaryan
Date: October 15, 2021

As mentioned in the previous Article, GRE consists of 3 main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. There is also one unscored section which can be either quantitative or verbal. This article concentrates on the Quantitative Reasoning section of GRE. 

How long is the Quantitative Reasoning section? 

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE has 20 questions with a total of 35 minutes, 1.5 to 2 minutes to answer each question. It is helpful to know that the number of question types included in the exam is different. The Quantitative Comparison questions come first, then Problem Solving questions and Data Interpretation questions, presented as a set at the end of the section. 

What does Quantitative Reasoning measure, and why is it important?

The quantitative reasoning section of GRE measures the ability to solve different types of mathematical problems, interpret and analyze quantitative data, demonstrate basic knowledge of algebra, geometry, data analysis, and arithmetic. The test does not cover trigonometry, calculus, or higher-level math; it will be enough to have the level of Algebra 2. 

  • Arithmetic: This section includes problems connected with divisibility, factorization, working with prime numbers, remainders, odd/even integers. It also touches upon topics such as arithmetic operations, exponents, roots, and other topics such as estimation, percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, number line, decimal representation, as well as sequences of numbers. An example can be ‘What are the factors of 13’, or ‘Which of the following is closest to the square root of 10.5’?
  • Algebra: This part mostly concentrates on equations and functions such as factoring and simplifying functions, and working with inequalities. It also includes coordinate geometry that is working with graphs of functions, intercepts, and slopes of lines. Examples include find the distance between the points (-4 , -6) and (-1 , -2) or solve the equation |- 2 x + 2| – 3 = -3 or find the x-intercept of the equation 2x – 4y = 9.
  • Geometry: This area covers topics related to 2-dimensional figures and three-dimensional figures: parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, area, perimeter, volume, and concepts such as the Pythagorean theorem and angle measurement in degrees. For instance, find the hypotenuse of the triangle using the Pythagorean theorem, or triangles ABC and A’B’C’ are similar figures; find the length AB if you know the ratio between the triangles.
  • Data analysis: This part is mainly focused on interpreting data from graphs such as bar and circle graphs; box plots, and scatter plots; finding the mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, interquartile range, quartiles, and percentiles, analyzing frequency distributions, probability types of questions as well as counting methods such as combinations, permutations, and Venn diagrams. Examples include when a number x is added to the data set 4, 8, 20, 25, 32, the new mean is 15. Find the value of x. Another one is on a six-sided die; each side has a number between 1 and 6. What is the probability of throwing a three or a 4?
What types of questions does the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Section include? 

There are four types of questions in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section:

  • Quantitative Comparison Questions – These types of questions are similar to the “Data Sufficiency” questions on the GMAT. 2 values will be given and four options to choose from such as 1) quantity X is bigger, 2) quantity Y is bigger, 3) the quantities are equal, 4) there’s not enough information to know which is bigger.
  • Multiple-choice Questions with one correct answer – usually Problem solving questions or data interpretation.
  • Multiple-choice Questions with more than one answer. – usually, Problem-solving questions, which are much like quantitative questions on the SAT or data interpretation.
  • Numeric Entry Questions – Problem-solving or data interpretation. 

The questions can appear independently or as a group of questions usually associated with a “Data interpretation” set. The data is generally displayed in graphs, tables, charts, or other informational displays. Some of the questions on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE are purely mathematical. However, there are also real-life problems and word problems that must be interpreted and solved mathematically. 

Is a calculator allowed on the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE?

Unlike the GMAT, using a specific GRE calculator during the Quantitative Reasoning section is permitted. For paper-delivered GRE, the GRE calculator will be provided during the test, but the examinees cannot bring their own to the exam. For computer-based GRE, one can use the on-screen calculator. However, simple calculations are often quicker and safer to solve without a calculator to avoid entry errors. As mentioned, not all calculators are allowed during the exam. 

So, what can the GRE calculator be used for?  

  • Add, subtract, divide, multiply 
  • Parenthesize
  • Take the square root of
  • Add a decimal to 
  • Change signs
  • Store the answers via memory keys
  • Display up to eight digits at a time

The calculator doesn’t include exponents, constants like π or e, logarithmic (ln, log) or trigonometric (sine, cosine, tangent) functions, nested parentheses, or the ability to square or cube. 

What is the maximum score for the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE? 

Each QR and VR are scored on a range of 130-170 points, making the highest possible score on the GRE a 340. Additionally, it is essential to know that the GRE is a section-adaptive test. Within each section, all questions are in the same level of complexity and are contributed equally to the final score. Unlike GMAT, GRE is adaptive at the level of the section. This means that the questions will not change within each section, yet the second complete set of 20 questions in the next section will.

How to prepare for the Quantitative Reasoning Section of the GRE

First of all, it is vital to learn the structure of the questions: In order to get familiar with the types of questions, the easiest way is to take various practice tests to become familiar with the format and then concentrate on actually solving the problems and getting the highest score possible. Find out practice problems can be found in the GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Problems. 

Thus, it is also essential to set a target score: Taking a practice test is an excellent starting point. This determines the level of your initial score. It also helps to identify how much time one has to allocate to the preparation to improve their score and achieve their goal target. 

Make a study plan and stick with the schedule: It is vital to design a personalized study plan to guide throughout the preparation, decide what sources and courses one needs, whether they are going to prepare only with tests, or go step by step through topics and types of quant questions moreover considering to take courses with a GRE private tutor, with whom one will get a lot of help and guidance in their GRE preparation creed. For more information about the Quant GRE tutoring and preparation, visit https://apexgre.com/inquire-now/.

Also, sticking to the study schedule is critical since one has to continue studying consistently in order to see progress, especially when the talk is about mathematics. 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, as mentioned above, the quant section of GRE has four types of questions that measure the ability to understand and solve the basic problems of mathematics, which also include data interpretation. A calculator will be provided during the QR section. Additionally, the QR section of the GRE required comprehensive studies and preparation; that is why it is useful to schedule and start preparing for the exam a few months earlier.

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10 things you should consider before you begin your GRE prep
Posted on
17
Sep 2021

10 Things You Should Consider Before You Begin Your GRE Exam Prep

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Simona Mkhitaryan
Date: September 17, 2021

The Structure of GRE Exam 

The GRE test is a 3-hour 45-minutes (10 minutes break, included) exam with 3 main sections:  Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and an unidentified/unscored section. The Analytical Writing section will always be the first section, then the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order. The unscored experimental section can be either quantitative or verbal.

The GRE can be taken in two formats: computer-based and paper test. The content for each type of test is the same, but there can be some differences between the timing and the number of questions. 

Scores: The official GRE scores for computer-based exams are available within 10-15 days after the test date and for paper-delivered tests within five weeks. The scores will also be sent to the particular institutions you want. 

Retaking process: When taking the paper-delivered test, you can retake the GRE as many times as you want. However, if you took the GRE test via computer, you can retake it once every 21 days and up to five times a year.

Cost: The standard fee for GRE is US$205. 

GRE Sections

2 GRE Sections are Section-Level Adaptive 

The GRE Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are section-level adaptive. So, what does it mean? It means that an algorithm selects successive sections based on the previous sections’ performance. The final score is then composed of each section’s score equally. 

GRE Scores are Valid for Five Years

GRE test score is valid for five years. Hence, before taking or preparing for the GRE, it is essential to know the validity of the exam to plan when to take the GRE properly. If you already have a particular school or program you want to apply to, you have to schedule your test based on the deadlines the school has defined. Nonetheless, it would also be good if you keep in mind the validity time frame on the off chance that you are as yet uncertain about when you will apply to schools.

The Maximum Score of GRE Exam

The highest total GRE score is 340, a 170 both for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. Unlike other tests, GRE scores are presented separately. So, when you send your GRE results you will probably send three separate scores for each section. Moreover, the Analytical Writing Section is scored on an independent scale from 0-6. If you already know which university you are going to apply to, pay attention to whether the university or program has any section preferences or not. 

Average GRE Scores

GRE Score Ranges

The GRE Calculator 

Unlike the GMAT, you can use a specific GRE calculator during the Quantitative Reasoning section. For paper-delivered GRE, the GRE calculator will be provided during the test, but you cannot bring your own to the exam. For computer-based GRE you can use the on-screen calculator. However, simple calculations are often quicker and safer to solve without a calculator, to avoid entry errors.

As mentioned not all calculators are allowed during the exam. So, what GRE calculator can be used for?  

  • Add, subtract, divide, multiply 
  • Parenthesize
  • Take the square root of
  • Add a decimal to 
  • Change signs
  • Store the answers via memory keys
  • Display up to eight digits at a time

The calculator doesn’t include exponents, constants like π or e, logarithmic (ln, log) or trigonometric (sine, cosine, tangent) functions, nested parentheses, or the ability to square or cube. 

GRE Exam Acceptance and Graduate Programs

The GRE as the GMAT is a common and widely accepted exam for graduate programs. It is common in the USA, Canada, Australia, etc. As GMAT usually serves for the MBA Program, the GRE is recognized by several business schools and has GRE Subject tests which are available in fields such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, literature in English, and psychology. So, as a matter of fact, the GRE is used not only in business programs but also in various areas.

Defining Strengths and Weaknesses  

This analysis will help you know what you are good at and what you need to improve. First of all, plan your strategy about how you are going to analyze your weaknesses and strengths. It can be by taking the GRE practice test once and then figuring out which areas you felt particularly weak or strong in.

Another option is to maintain a notebook for a week and mark down the weaknesses and strengths you encounter during your initial studying. Via this analysis, you might get a sense of whether you are good at time management, what your speed is, and much more. During the analysis, try to identify which question types are the most challenging for you in each section. Figure out what soft skills you have that might help you during the exam and pinpoint the ones that need improvement. After that, conclude and start working on developing new skills and overcoming weaknesses. Always keep in mind having a realistically achievable goal for the final target as a score. Scoring a 300 + on the GRE exam isn’t an easy thing! 

Developing a Study Schedule 

After acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, design a personalized study plan to guide you throughout your preparation, decide what sources and courses you need, whether you are going to prepare only with tests, or go step by step through topics and sections. You should start preparing for the GRE at least three to six months before the test date, so try not to cram at the last minute! Schedule your learning format and decide which strategy fits the best with your prep level.

You might also consider taking courses with a GRE private tutor, from whom you will get a lot of help and guidance in your GRE preparation creed. This will make your prep easier since you will stick to your study schedule and know ahead of time when you should be studying. Hence, prioritizing your GRE study schedule and then fitting the rest of your day around it will be more effective.  

Using Flashcards and Other Study Methods to Prep for the GRE Exam 

During GRE preparation, it is vital to use practical and helpful materials that will guide your preparation process. It is essential to know which study method works best. Eventually, most of the time, GRE requires self-study mode. However, besides that, you can take online GRE classes, in-person GRE classes, and finally prepare with a private tutor/instructor who will help you with their knowledge and experience.

Flashcards are another great way to study and make quick notes on GRE sections. While preparing for the GRE, the Verbal Reasoning section tests the knowledge of advanced and sophisticated vocabulary. It is an excellent way to write the words on flashcards and start practicing. The GRE Quantitative Reasoning questions test your knowledge of four main subjects you need to concentrate on while preparing and practicing for the GRE: Algebra, Arithmetic, Data Analysis, and Geometry. Hence, make sure to use the right and most comfortable study methods that fit your schedule the most. 

The GRE Exam Timing 

 When preparing for the GRE, try to keep track of your time to allocate it equally to each section. However, do this step after identifying what concepts are complicated for you to allocate more time on those topics and train yourself to solve those problems. Practice pacing because, during the  GRE, time management is critical to complete the exam. The worst scenario in the GRE is that sometimes the test takers run out of time towards the end. This is because some of the test takers do not stick with the time and fall behind. Thus, set and stick to certain time milestones to finish the exam on time. Getting every question on the GRE right doesn’t do you much good if you can’t answer all the questions within the time limit. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, before preparing for the GRE, be sure to first familiarize yourself with the  GRE structure, the cost, maximum score, acceptance, GRE calculator, and format. Then define your weaknesses and strengths, develop a study plan, use different study methods and hit the green light! Finally, while practicing for the GRE, try to keep track of time and concentrate on learning rather than answering all the questions correctly. 

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GRE Prep Calendar: How To Create Your Perfect GRE Prep Calendar?
Posted on
05
Sep 2021

GRE Prep Calendar: How to create your perfect GRE prep calendar

Introduction

Congratulations, you have decided to continue with your education! Deciding to attend graduate school is a big step. It will open up doors to further opportunities for you, both intellectually and professionally. Having a master’s degree under your belt can help you earn that promotion you have always wanted or allow you to pivot your post-undergrad career into an area you are super passionate about! Regardless of why you are deciding to attend graduate school, one large hurdle stands in your way: the Graduate Record Examination or GRE for short. 

For many, the GRE can seem like a daunting task. Especially for those individuals who are returning to school years after completing their undergrad. But the task of successfully studying for and taking the GRE is doable. As long as you are driven, determined, and willing to set a strict study schedule, your graduate school dreams are within your grasp. 

Here at ApexGRE, we have created the perfect GRE calendar preparation for future GRE test takers. By following the simple steps we have laid out, you can get the most out of your GRE preparation and ace your exam! 

Steps to your Perfect GRE Prep Calendar

First, grab a calendar, yearly planner, or your phone. You will need to mark the dates and times necessary for studying. 

1. Figure out when you want to take the GRE

Once you have figured out what you want to study, you need to find the perfect graduate school programs. For most graduate schools, a GRE entrance exam is required. Some schools offer GRE waivers, however, these are rare and are usually offered on a case-by-case basis. Once you have found the programs you are applying to, check out their application deadlines. Based on these deadlines, you can figure out when you need to take the GRE. It would be suggested to take the GRE well before the admissions deadlines. Often, your GRE scores last at least 5-years, meaning you could technically take the GRE a few years before you apply to graduate school. However, here at Apex, we suggest you take the GRE at least a couple of months before the admissions deadline. This is because, if you happen to get a score lower than expected, you will have time to retake the test and aim for a one.
Count back 3 months from the test date. THIS is the day you will begin your official GRE test prep.

2. Take a free practice test

Before you even begin studying for the GRE, you need to take a practice exam. By taking a practice exam, you will know right away where your strengths and weaknesses are. It will also give you a baseline to know how to study and which parts of the exam require the most effort and attention. By keeping track of your score, you will also see your progress as you go along your test prep journey. 

Determine Strengths and Weaknesses

3. Capitalizing on when you can best prep. 

Are you a morning bird? A night owl? Do you find your brain works best during the afternoon? Knowing this about yourself can help you set your daily study schedule. If you find that your brain works best bright and early, then try to carve out an hour or two each morning to study before heading off to work or going to class. If you enjoy studying late at night, then find time after work or after dinner where you can spend two hours preparing. Once you have decided what time of day you want to study, it is important to keep a daily schedule. It is best to find a rhythm that you work best with so that your mind and body are prepared to study each day. 

Are you a Morning Bird? A Night Owl? 

4. Week 1 – GRE Basics

Great. You have decided on your test date, you have counted backward by 3 months, and you have determined what time of day you wish to study. Pull out your calendar, yearly planner, or phone and mark out the first week. Putting aside 1 or 2 hours each day in either the morning or the night where you study for the GRE. During this first week, you will get acquainted with the GRE Test Basics.
– Become familiar with the GRE format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your GRE exam. A good start is reading articles that introduce you to GRE’s structure, sections, timing, and scoring. 
– Analyze the results from your practice test. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your practice test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?

5. Week 2 – Quant Section

Great, it’s week two! During your first week, you have overviewed what to expect on the GRE overall. Now it is time to get a little bit more specific. Keeping your same daily schedule (whether you study in the AM or PM), change your study content to familiarize yourself with the GRE quant section. Read about which types of quantitative questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the GRE test.

Review GRE Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section. Make flashcards with the necessary formulas so you can memorize which formula should be used for which problem(s). If you found that during the practice test the quantitative section was easy-breezy, consider studying exceptionally difficult problems. Since the GRE is a computer adaptive test,  your questions will get exceedingly harder the more right answers you give. The more questions you answer correctly, the more difficult they will become, and thus the more likely you are to receive a higher score. 

Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.

6. Week 3 – Verbal Section

It’s week three! Bearing in mind how you have been studying for the past two weeks, be sure to maintain your same study schedule for this week. During this week it is time to get acquainted with the GRE verbal section. A great way to start working with the verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. To learn more about this section, how it is scored, and some insights about its subsections click here.

Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the verbal section (Reading Comprehension, Sentence Completion, and Sentence Equivalence) and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies. 

Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days. For example, your third week could look something like this: Monday & Tuesday Reading Comprehension, Wednesday & Thursday Sentence Completion, and Friday & Saturday Sentence Equivalence, with Sunday being a rest day.

7. Week 4 – Monthly check-in

It has been a month since you started studying. If you have stuck to your study schedule, you have most definitely made progress. Now it is time to put that progress to the test! 

Take your second practice test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to GRE practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.

Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.  

Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster. 

8. Week 5 – Quant Review

It is week five, and you now have two practice tests under your belt. You should be seeing progress in your ability to take the exam. Time to refine your reviewing and fortify your strengths while strengthening your weaknesses in the Quant section. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of data analysis, Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic questions. Now that you are familiar with these terms it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of quantitative question types. There are four types of quant questions. These are Quantitative Comparison Questions, Multiple Choice (one answer), Multiple Choice (one or more answers), and Numeric Entry Questions. Memorize how these question types look so that you are prepared for the official exam. 

9. Week 6 – Verbal Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Equivalence questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Correction questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Reading Comprehension questions. Besides reading articles related to tips and common mistakes, reading Reading Comprehension-like writing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the style and content of Reading Comprehension passages.

10. Week 7 – Analytical Writing Section

Make yourself acquainted with the GRE Analytical Writing section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you. 

Review sample Analytical Writing templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day. 

Practice. Practice. Practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your GRE essay.

11. Week 8 – Monthly Progress Check

Time for another practice test!  After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress. 

Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help. 

Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.

12. Week 9 – Review your Weaknesses, solidify your strengths

You have been spending a lot of your time preparing for the GRE. It is an arduous journey, but you’re not alone! During week 9, it is best to spend time reviewing the parts of the exam that you are most struggling with. Whether it is quantitative or verbal, spend a few hours a day reviewing those parts of the exam that you are most worried about. 

At the same time solidify your strengths. If you are a powerhouse on the verbal section, that doesn’t mean you should no longer study that portion. Switch between your strengths and weaknesses during this week in both the verbal and quantitative sections. If you know of someone else who is taking the GRE, get together with them and swap tips and tricks on how they are tackling studying. Finding a study buddy is especially helpful as you can both be emotional support from one another! 

13. Week 10 – Time and Stress Management

Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the GRE test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills.

14. Week 11 – Review and Relax 

During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough.  Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your GRE preparation journey.

We at the Apex team hope that you find this GRE study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly have some one-on-one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a GRE instructor here

 

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6 GRE Tips
Posted on
02
Mar 2021

6 Tips To Improve Your GRE Quant Score

By: Apex GMAT
Date: March 2, 2021

If you’ve experienced the GRE, you may have noticed that your score is higher on some sections than others. Some otherwise strong graduate school candidates struggle with their score on the quantitative section. The problem might derive from preparation style, in which case, you might consider professional GRE tutoring, a service offered by a number of organizations including Apex GRE. Until then, these tips will help kick start your prep process so you’re ready to ace the quant section.

What’s on the GRE Quantitative section?

First, let’s talk about what exactly the GRE quant section consists of. Test takers have 70 minutes to answer 40 math problems. This means that on average, each question should take about two minutes. However, this isn’t a hard rule, so there’s no need to get nervous if one problem takes longer than others.

The GRE focuses on numerous types of math skills, the majority of which have been learned and taught in your high school courses. Most likely, when studying for the GRE, you will have to brush up on and study these concepts.

Why is the GRE Quantitative section so difficult?

Based on the above description, you might think that the quant section won’t be too difficult. That isn’t exactly true. The GRE is designed to confuse and restrict test-takers in various ways. For example, each problem has a time limit and calculators aren’t allowed. Furthermore, the two sections don’t differentiate between the various types of questions, so test-takers must alternate between the question types. These factors can cause stress.

6 Tips To Improve Your GRE Quant Score

The following tips will help you remain calm and collected as you prepare for the quant section.

Tip 1: Don’t overthink the math

First and foremost, don’t forget that the GRE quant section consists of simple math problems. Use this to your advantage. Don’t do all of the calculations; rather, determine what makes a problem look more difficult than it actually is.

Tip 2: Start managing your time before the test

You can start saving time before you even pick up your pencil by practicing arithmetic. Limiting the time it takes to do simple equations means you can spend more time on the problems. Be sure to review exponent rules and brush up on decimals with fractions. And don’t forget about higher powers!

Tip 3: Use alternative strategies to find solutions

If you can’t solve a problem with simple math, try using an alternative path to the solution. There’s usually an easier way to solve quant problems –the GRE is designed to test for efficient problem-solving. Sometimes, straightforward logic or plugging in numbers will solve a problem faster. Keep in mind that a traditional approach might not be necessary for every problem.

Tip 4: Analyze each sentence step by step

During the GRE preparation process, learn how to simplify each question. Some problems might seem daunting, but they can be broken into smaller steps that you can solve one-by-one. Trying to solve the whole problem at once can lead test takers to answer the wrong question. The more you break down the problem, the easier it will become. Don’t worry–you’ll actually save time by (re-)reading the questions.

Tip 5: Scratch paper is a mustAlthough scratch paper may seem unnecessary for quant problems, it can help you keep track of calculations and clarify your thought process. It might take a little extra time, but ultimately, avoidable mistakes are even more time-consuming.

Tip 6: Plug in the answer choices 

Another way to save time with alternative solution paths is to start by reading all of the answer choices and plugging them into the problem. If you don’t know which answer choices to start with, start from the middle.

Bonus tip

The most important tip of all is practice, practice, and practice! There are many different ways to prepare: memorizing rules and formulas, watching GRE problem-solving videos (don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel), and enrolling in professional GRE courses.

 

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GRE Studying
Posted on
01
Mar 2021

How to GRE: Efficient Learning

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ivan Minchev
Date:  March 1, 2021

Studying can be a daunting task for many, especially when there is a limited amount of time, and when the exam – like the GRE – isn’t a standard standardized test. Lack of interest (it’s ok to admit it… not everyone is as excited as we are about the GRE), stress, and exhaustion can be distractions that hinder one’s concentration and progress. There are a myriad studying techniques out there to tackle these obstacles, with some more effective than others. This is why this list of 8 studying tips is aimed to assist you in preparing for the GRE in the most efficient manner possible.

1. Avoid Last-minute Cramming

Make sure you have enough prep time before the exam: our tutors recommend spending about 90-120 days on your GRE preparation from start to finish. Shorter time frames can work too, but if you can, give yourself the privilege of not having to rush.

Last-minute cramming is the most inefficient way of preparing for an exam, and can be counterproductive for the GRE, which tests your flexibility, not your knowledge. Cramming can result in added stress and anxiety, which can further detract from your performance. Moreover, the GRE doesn’t lend itself to cramming, meaning that you’ll need to dedicate some time to get used to its format, the types of questions, and most importantly the skills required to tackle the test to achieve a successful outcome.

2. Designate A “Study Spot”

Find a place where you feel relaxed, but alert – cozy but serious, without the presence of any stress-inducing or distracting factors. Be sure to keep your spot clean and tidy, and only use it for studying or similar mental work. The more you become accustomed to studying in your spot the easier it will be to transition into ‘study’ mode and you’ll be able to get the optimal yield of your GRE prep time.

3. Listen To Music (Optional)

Some people don’t fancy studying in silence, while others do. In fact, many people find it harder to concentrate due to the lack of background noise. The solution is simple – music. Play some calm background music to go with the study session. The genre depends solely on one’s musical tastes but typically jazz, lo-fi hip-hop, and classical music are go-to’s. Try to focus on instrumental music and avoid anything distracting.

Keep in mind that on the GRE itself no music is permitted, so your use of music is only to get into a flow state for studying. This means that on the GRE you’ll most certainly have to contend with annoying noises that you’d typically not notice. Especially when the testing room is silent and crowded, even the smallest of noises can become irritating. To counter this, also try studying in places that mimic the test environment in this negative sense. Total silence on test day is not a realistic expectation.

4. Don’t Forget To Rest

Taking a break is an essential component of progress. When somebody works out, they don’t train for 3 hours straight without any rest. Build a routine. Determine the best and most productive time of the day to study and take regular breaks to let your brain rest. For most people mid-morning and mid-evening are peak times for productivity in this regard. When preparing for the GRE try to spend 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15-minute units.

good night’s sleep is also crucial for a sharp mind, especially with mentally exhausting tasks such as the GRE. However tempting it might be to stay up late at night, not getting enough sleep will lower a person’s ability to concentrate and will greatly hinder your brain’s functionality when the time to study comes around. In fact, sleep has been shown in many scientific studies to be essential for long term retention of information and new ways of doing things, meaning that a good night’s sleep can actually be more valuable than a few more hours of studying.

5. Maintain A Healthy Diet

Food has an enormous impact on energy levels and focus; two things essential for success on the GRE. Keep your brain fueled by snacking on healthy and nutritious food.

Ideally, snacks should be slow energy release foods, such as nuts, some fruits like blueberries, green vegetables (avocados, broccoli, spinach, celery), yogurt, and even high protein foods like fish and eggs.

Avoid junk food, especially things that will cause fluctuations in your blood sugar. Also watch out for highly processed products (chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, and even fruit juice). Such food might give your body an energy surge for a while, but a crash will follow soon after.

6. Hydrate 

Just as eating the right way is of vital importance, staying hydrated is equally essential. Around 60% of the human body is water, with the brain being composed of almost 73% water. While this isn’t a scientific argument, numerous studies point out that in order to retain a higher level of focus and cognition, the brain, and the human connected to it, needs to be well hydrated. Make sure to drink enough water during study sessions and exam day. On test day, be sure to be hydrated, but don’t get stuck having to “go” in the middle of the test. There is nothing as distracting and hindering performance as being under pressure.

7. Try To Explain New Concepts Out Loud And In A Clear Way

As soon as a new strategy, concept, or technique is learned you should try to explain it out loud as if trying to teach it to someone else. Better yet, find someone to teach! And this doesn’t only apply to GRE prep but to efficient learning in general. This is a great way to make sure that it is thoroughly understood and can be successfully implemented. It also forces you to develop a vocabulary so that you can speak to yourself about a challenging problem in a productive way. Try doing this multiple times until you are able to explain it so effortlessly that another person can grasp it without much trouble. This is easier said than done but will accelerate your preparation immensely, even if imperfectly implemented.

8. Learn From Your Mistakes

Go over past GRE practice tests and redo them to see if there are still problematic sections that need extra focus. Keep track of past and current scores to measure progress more comfortably, and maintain an error log to track the types of problems that challenge you most frequently, as well as those that you understand but tend to sink a lot of time into due to inefficient solution paths.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it: 8 great techniques to enhance your study time. This isn’t a comprehensive list, though. Always actively try out new tactics to find what works best for you. At the end of the day, everybody has a unique way of learning, and your strategies should reflect your unique approach. If you have difficulty figuring out what works best for you and are in need of some guidance on your GRE prep journey you can schedule a complimentary call here

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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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GRE test strategies
Posted on
25
Feb 2021

8 GRE Test Strategies To Help Boost Your Score

By: ApexGMAT
Contributor: Ivan Minchev
Date: February 25, 2021

More than 500,000 students take the GRE every year as a requirement to get into the thousands of different graduate and PhD programs worldwide. However, due to the complexity of the exam as well as its adaptive difficulty, only the top 10% of test-takers manage to score 328 or above. Here are 8 GRE test strategies you can utilize to achieve a higher score on the exam, no matter where you currently are on your GRE preparation journey.

1. Adopting the proper mindset

Perspective is everything. It is very important to understand that even though getting in the top 10% of test-takers might seem like a spectacular achievement (and don’t get me wrong, it certainly is) setting your goals on a certain score tends to be counterproductive. Instead, focus on attaining specific skills, knowledge, and command, and the score will follow. Goals lead to expectations and fear of failure, and fear of failure, in turn, results in stress, which can greatly hinder performance.

2. Overcoming stress!

Stress and fear can greatly influence your results, but there are ways to manage these very normal responses to a high-stakes situation. One of the ways to reduce stress and boost your confidence is by beginning your preparation process as early as possible – ideally 90-120 days before the exam. This provides enough time to fully grasp the complexities of the exam, and more importantly internalize a new set of skills to handle that complexity.

A test taker’s greatest enemy is test anxiety. Understand that anxiety happens to everyone. What sets top performers apart is how they handle that anxiety, and how they direct it back into their performance. Many people use a variety of relaxation techniques for dealing with test anxiety. The most common and easy to use method is to practice deep and controlled breathing in combination with visualization techniques.

3. For exam day…

Are you a coffee drinker? Surprisingly, caffeine can really help your performance on test day. Caffeine is a powerful nootropic that will help keep your senses sharp and will also boost the oxygenated blood flow to your brain, subsequently enhancing your performance. For more info on how coffee affects your performance click here.

Remember how we said that it’s important to begin your exam prep early? This “early bird” attitude can be applied in more ways than one. What this implies is that you must (not might, not should) prepare your GRE Test Day Survival Kit on the previous day and not leave this for the last moment. Everyone has waited for the last minute to do something, and chances are everyone has left something crucial behind. With the GRE being such an important exam such situations should be avoided as much as possible. Try having a mock exam day. Map out the whole test day and practice it as if it were real, including your trip to the testing center. This will help you normalize the process and alleviate anxiety on test day.

4. Value your time and manage it efficiently!

Since the GRE is a timed exam one’s planning and strategic skills are put to the test as they have to come up with an efficient time management strategy.

Use mental math tools whenever possible and also try getting used to reading and analyzing charts, graphs and tables efficiently for the data interpretation section.

Once you’re further along in your preparation and have mastered seeing multiple solution paths before engaging any of them, familiarize yourself with common problems, and built up test reading and perspective skills, then you can begin dedicating yourself to timed sets: working on a cluster of 10 consecutive questions for each section of the exam when on the clock. This helps you calibrate your timing decisions and more readily notice when they require adjustment.

Remember, just because the GRE is a timed exam, this doesn’t mean we must learn under a time constraint. Like good cooking, good learning takes time. Give yourself sufficient time to learn, while also making sure the learning time is spent as productively as possible.

5. The Data Interpretation section

A good way to rapidly identify information needed to solve a problem is knowing what to look for. Read the problems carefully (and this applies to all sections) and proactively determine what you want out of the information or solution path. This way, you will sift out most unnecessary information in advance, saving plenty of time along the way. However, this does NOT mean ignoring the text written around the tables/graphs/charts.

6. The Analytical Writing section 

Failing to plan is planning to fail! Always plan your essay! Set aside 4-5 minutes to plan what you are going to write and how you are going to structure your essay.

Create an essay template in advance! There are many ways you can go about making one but usually, the more you practice your essay writing skills the more used to a specific writing style you are going to get ultimately resulting in your own template.

7. Ask for help

There is nothing embarrassing about asking for help, especially when it comes to an exam that is so vital to one’s future. There are numerous GRE forums and courses on the web, where you can ask and get help from people who have already taken it.

However, if you would prefer a more personal and individualized approach you could consider hiring a private tutor. The benefit of not preparing alone but hiring a tutor is that it allows for direct feedback on what are an individual’s strengths and what needs improvement, while also receiving advice on how to achieve those improvements. As a result, when the exam day comes you will not only be well prepared but will also know it, having built up confidence in your abilities.

8. Practice, practice, practice!

No doubt you’re familiar with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” There is a reason why this is such a popular saying: it’s true! Not all practice is equal, though. Varied practice that aims at building on existing skills and knowledge is much more high yielding than repetition. No matter how clever you are, no matter how good of a student you’ve been or how proficient you are in math, if you do not put enough time and effort into your prep you are not likely to be happy with the end result. Even the top tutors and courses out there won’t be able to help you out if you don’t give your best. So remember, don’t just go through the motions, but practice by constantly looking at the same problems and concepts in new ways, and trying to use them in novel situations, and you’ll find your GRE prep vastly accelerated.

That was the list of 8 GRE Test strategies to help you score high on the exam. Keep in mind that what works for one person will not necessarily work for another as everybody learns differently. It is only through practice and proactive learning that you will be able to find what are the best methods for your success

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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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Private Tutoring GRE
Posted on
24
Feb 2021

How Can Private Tutoring Help You Score 328+ on the GRE?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Irena Georgieva
Date: February 24, 2021

Achieving a 328+ score on the GRE is not a simple task – it requires significant preparation, excellent organization, and continuous motivation to learn. Studying for an exam can be overwhelming, especially when there is no one by your side to keep you motivated. Perhaps you’re struggling with quant problems or you’re not sure how to apply the strategies that you have learned. Well, don’t worry… This is where private GRE tutoring comes into play.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should start working with a tutor in order to ace the GRE.

Index:

1.     Individualized Learning Experience

Although the GRE is a standardized exam, there is no “one size fits all” approach to success. While some students favor graphical solution paths, others are more analytical or methodical in their approach to answering GRE questions. Some struggle with geometry, others with algebra, yet others with critical reasoning. There are learners who have excellent writing skills, while others, particularly ESL students, require practice to achieve a good score on the analytical writing assessment. The existence of these differences indicates that there is not only a singular path to studying for such a nuanced exam and that preparation should be customized to maximize one’s strengths and abilities.

Unlike classroom teaching where the teacher rarely deviates from the prescribed syllabus, a competent private tutor will tailor your learning plan based on the knowledge and skills you currently possess and their expertise. By identifying your learning style and framing your entire prep program around it, a skilled GRE tutor will ensure that you are not only progressing through your prep but enjoying it as well.

What’s more, a perceptive private GRE tutor will also focus your attention on the areas where you experience difficulties or need improvement, especially those areas that you can’t see for yourself. Due to this guidance and direction, you will be able to spend more time on improving, and less time repeating the same mistakes or going over content that you’ve already mastered. You’ll develop new skills that were previously lacking and adopt more favorable methods to solve difficult problems. Additionally, you will learn how to organize your time more effectively which is essential for you on the exam.

2.     Personalized Attention

Although classroom teaching can prove beneficial for mastering the fundamental knowledge needed for higher-level approaches, one disadvantage of learning with others is the lack of personalized attention and focus on the lowest common denominator type construal of the concepts being taught. Teachers in any classroom cannot pay attention to all of their students’ needs, especially those who struggle differently than most, or who have higher goals than their classmates. While one student might be struggling with the clustering principle that defines standard deviation as it applies to comparing different sets, another might require a refresh on calculating variance and how the underlying concept operates. Whatever your specific case may be, the help of a private tutor can address it.

By working with a top-notch tutor outside of the classroom, you’ll be able to rapidly progress and draw on personalized mental models to confidently approach GRE problems of the highest complexity. A skilled GRE tutor will not only help you acquire new knowledge but s/he is also going to teach you valuable meta-strategies that can be useful for you when you study for the exam. At Apex we focus on solution paths, problem forming, and many other innovative techniques that make for high-yield self-preparation, and top-level scores.

Moreover, a highly qualified private tutor will have a team behind him/her and copious amounts of materials and drills, while drawing upon a flexible curriculum so that your preparation can be as personalized and efficient as possible and result in the score you are striving to achieve. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak openly with your GRE tutor about any concerns you have regarding your preparation, and your tutor should always be open to your feedback and input, rather than trying to “run the show”. Recall that the purpose of engaging a tutor is not only the acquisition of knowledge but also the attention and support you will be given.

3.     Improved Confidence

Working with a proficient private tutor will definitely boost your confidence, and confidence is essential to exemplary GRE performance. After a few sessions, you should expect to see how much your tutor has helped you learn and adopt fresh skills and additional perspective – about the GRE and about yourself as a test taker  – and address the problems you thought impossible just a few short weeks prior. Almost imperceptibly you will become more proficient in your execution and more sensitive to the different ways the GRE modulates complexity and delivers hints about the most viable and efficient solution paths (here at Apex we call these “Test Reads”). Thorough preparation will marginalize your fear of failure and help you combat latent (or not so latent) test anxiety so that you can manifest the high expectations that you’ve likely set at the outset of this process.

In addition, a capable private tutor will ensure that you address your anxiety about the exam in a healthy way. Aside from designing a study plan customized to your learning style, your GRE tutor will focus on other salient, but less popular factors that affect GRE performance; the amount of sleep you get, and overstudying, to name just two. While you might not have considered these factors, or believe them to be unimportant, they drastically influence productivity and affect test day performance. That is why an experienced GRE tutor will do everything s/he can to make you ready, and make you feel ready, for your exam.

4.     Greater Motivation

Constant preparation can be exhausting and without the proper support and encouragement, it’s normal to lose your motivation along the way. A tutor, however, can provide that motivation and understanding of what you’re going through – something well-meaning friends and family cannot – so that your goals become reality.

Apart from ensuring your efficient preparation for the GRE, a personal GRE tutor will also be your greatest mentor, motivator, and cheerleader. S/he will be the person who will check in, see how you’re doing midweek, and encourage you the most because he/she will be personally invested in you and will have a professional stake in the outcome of your preparation. The best tutors take their clients’ successes personally, and this informs their attentiveness and personal pride. The faith that your tutor has in you should inspire you so that you can achieve your dream score and satisfy your collective expectations. Thus, you will be even more motivated than before and you will perceive the exam as an opportunity to demonstrate all the novel skills you have developed and trained throughout your preparation.

5.     Higher GRE Score

Last, but certainly not least, preparation with the help of a private tutor will result in a higher score on test day when compared to classroom learning or self-preparation alone or in combination. As we have already mentioned, lessons from a devoted private tutor will provide you with an individualized learning experience and more personalized attention which will lead to an increase in your confidence and motivation for the exam. Finally, you will learn more than just GRE strategies from your tutor. You will learn critical and creative thinking skills, heuristics, mental models, and other thinking tools that will help you make the most of all future learning opportunities. The best tutors, like the ones here at Apex, teach you how to better learn, and become mentors and trusted advisors as you progress through your graduate school and further career.

Final Notes 

To sum things up: private GRE tutoring can be expensive but the value it will deliver will be more than worth the money. The best tutoring stays with you and will add color and perspective to your future learning, whether in your graduate program, on the job, or as you progress through your career. If you want to embark on your GRE journey with a private tutor, make sure you:

  • speak to several instructors at first. Apex offers a complimentary consultation call and you can schedule one HERE
  • hear the opinions of others who have already tried private GRE tutoring HERE.

Thanks for reading this article and good luck with your GRE preparation!

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