Posted on
10
Aug 2022

Tips to Skyrocket Your GRE Performance

Hundreds of thousands of hopeful students take the GRE exam every year. Getting an excellent score on the test is one of the biggest reasons students get into top ranked b-schools.  Moreover, boosting someone’s GRE performance is about more than just the quantity of study time, and more about studying and preparing effectively. Getting a high GRE score may seem like something reserved for those Ivy league type students, but it’s something that anyone has the capability of doing. We’ve prepared some tips for you that we think will help skyrocket your GRE performance!

Pace Yourself 

This is one of the largest factors when earning a great GRE score. Absolutely pace yourself, both studying for the GRE and while taking the GRE itself. Give yourself months beforehand to study, and space out your studying for a short time everyday. Do not cram in the last few days for the exam, giving yourself time will let your brain absorb more information, while also relieving much of the stress that will be put on you right before the exam. You want to go into the GRE relaxed, prepared, and confident. 

However, it is equally important not to rush through the exam and try to remain focused and consistent in your pacing. If a question is taking you too long, skip over it. If a question seems way too easy, make sure you take a moment to read it once more. The last thing you want to do is make a simple mistake just because you weren’t paying enough attention. 

Performing Under Pressure 

Being prepared and taking your time are very good ways at reducing stress during the GRE exam. But it is important to be able to think on your feet. No matter how much you study, you cannot predict and know every single question on the test . In this sense, it becomes paramount to try and develop strategies and skills for dealing with the pressure of GRE. 

Make sure that your GRE prep involves materials that you are unfamiliar with, make sure you are studying a variety of questions. Address reading, writing, and quantitative materials. If you feel weak in one area, spend more time with it, but do not completely ignore the other ones. Read complex texts that will help train your brain to essentially think critically, analyze, and problem solve, as you try and decipher some of these more difficult readings. Choose math problems that challenge you, that you struggle to comprehend. If you need help, turn to a colleague or friend, or even better, a private tutor.

Get a Private Tutor 

Here at Apex GRE we believe private tutoring sets many applicants apart during the GRE exam, and any other standardized tests. What we at Apex offer is a highly personalized approach to tutoring, in which a tutor essentially acts as a personal guide and mentor for testing success. Private tutoring has helped boost the scores of many, and it’s a great advantage over others who are studying alone or in a group setting.

Also it is important to not be afraid of the price point. Hiring an expensive private tutor is a worthy investment, and is an investment for the long run. Trusting and buying into your tutors philosophy and time can really benefit you, as your private tutor will embrace you, your education, and your potential. Here at Apex  GREwe offer top of the line private tutoring. Don’t hesitate to sign up for a free 30 minute consultation with one of our tutors!

In Review 

A GRE score can become something that can define you, the stress and anxiety caused by the ever looming test day can become a cripple for many. While it may be a crucial test, something that could change your life, it is best to approach it in a calm and composed manner. With proper preparation, anyone can boost their potential on the exam and their score.

 

Contributor: Lukas Duncan

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Posted on
21
Jun 2022

Everything You Need to Know About the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment

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

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

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

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

What is the GRE Exam?

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

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

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

What is the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section?

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

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

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

    • Analyze an Issue task
    • Analyze an Argument task

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

Analyze an Issue task

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

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

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

Analyze an Argument task

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section scores like?

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

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

GRE  Analytical Writing Assessment Section Percentile (2021):

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

Apex’s GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Section Studying tips

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

Long Story Short 

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

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

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

Contributor: Lilas Al-Sammak

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Posted on
07
Jun 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Prepare equally for every section of the GRE exam

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

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

3. Take time to destress 

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

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

Conclusion

Knowing the most common mistakes that test takers make when preparing and undertaking their GRE study plan can help you avoid or deal with them effectively. Here at Apex, we know that preparing for the GRE exam day may be a challenging task. For this reason, we are more than happy to support you on your GRE journey and assist you in every step of the process. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors who can help you with every stage of your GRE journey!

 

Contributor: Diana Materova

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GRE Quantitative Section
Posted on
11
Mar 2022

GRE Quantitative Section – Everything You Need To Know!

If you are planning to apply to graduate schools, business schools, or even law schools, then you probably know by now that your GRE score is an essential part of your application. More likely than not, you have already begun studying for the GRE. In today’s article, the main focus will be on the GRE’s Quantitative (or Math) Section and what this section is all about.

The quantitative section in the GRE tends to measure your ability to solve problems and reason quantitatively. Besides that, it tests your basic mathematical skills and your capabilities to comprehend elementary mathematical concepts. All this can sound a little pressuring and frightening at first but when you get familiar with the section, you will feel much more confident. Remember, everything you need for the GRE quant section you already learned in high school. 

The GRE Quantitative Section: The Layout

To start, the quantitative section consists of Data Interpretation, Quantitative Comparison, and Problem Solving questions. You are given 35 minutes to finish each of these sections. With 20 questions in each section, you will have between 1.5 to 2 minutes to solve each question.

The distribution of these sections is as follows:

     1. Quantitative Comparison Questions
     2. Problem – Solving Questions
     3. Data Interpretation Questions


The GRE Quantitative Section: Quantitative Comparison Questions

When it comes to the quantitative comparison questions, you are given 2 quantities – A and B and are asked to pick out the connection between them. Connections like Quantity A is greater than Quantity B, Quantity B is smaller than Quantity A, or the two Quantities are equal.

You will most probably see around 8 of these questions in your quantitative sections.

The Quantitative Comparison section is there to measure your ability to link concepts and to find relationships between mathematical matters in general. Alongside that, it tests your skills to reason quantitatively.

 Example: 

                                                     y>4

             Quantity A                                               Quantity B

             (3y+2) / 5                                                        y

(A) Quantity A is greater
(B) Quantity B is greater
(C) The two quantities are equal
(D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given

Answer: B


The GRE Quantitative Section: Problem Solving Questions

Often Problem Solving Questions are asked in the form of multiple-choice questions. You are given 5 answers to choose from but only one of them is correct. The format of these questions can also vary – you should expect to be asked to enter answers in a blank box (Type Your Numeric Answer Questions).

You will face around 6 to 7 Problem-Solving Questions during your GRE exam.

These types of questions test your problem-solving skills as well as your knowledge of basic math. Your strategic mathematical calculations are also evaluated.

Example: 

At Store T, the dollar amount of sales for 2007 was what percent of the dollar amount of sales for 2008?

Give your answer to the nearest 0.1 percent.

Answer: 108.7% (or equivalent) 


The GRE Quantitative Section: Data Interpretation Questions

These types of questions are correlated to graphs and/or charts. Answers to these types of questions should be derived from these given graphs and charts. Analyzing and understanding them would be the most important factor to guarantee you points on the Data Interpretation Questions.

Your skills in comprehending elementary mathematical concepts are tested here.

Example: 

Store

Percent Change from 2006 to 2007 Percent Change from 2007 to 2008

P

10

-10

Q

-20

9

R

5

12

S

-7

-15

T 17

-8

Annual Percent Change in Dollar Amount of Sales at Five Retail Stores from 2006 to 2008.

If the dollar amount of sales at Store P was $800,000 for 2006, what was the dollar amount of sales at that store for 2008?

(A) $727,200
(B) $792,000
(C) $800,000

(D) $880,000
(E) $968,000

Answer: B


Apex Tips to Ace Your GRE Quantitative (or Math) Section

1. Avoid doing the math
As ironic as that sounds, if you are doing complex, long calculations, you are likely to be doing something wrong. To ace the Math Section during your GRE, try to find methods that can help you solve the problem without drilling on calculations. This way, you will see things differently without using your calculator and wasting time.

2. Guess if you are unsure
You are gaining points upon every correct answer. Do not waste your time trying to find the answer to something you are unsure of. Plan to find the answer to a question within a minute and a half. If it is taking more than that, then guess the answer by elimination and move on to the next question.

3. Do not let your math anxiety get the best of you
If you feel like you are getting anxious during your prep journey or even during your exam, take a minute to breathe and gather yourself. Math is much easier if you don’t let it get the best of you.

With our help and your dedication and hard work, you have nothing to worry about. Book your free consultation session with one of our top-scoring GRE tutors here

You are one step closer to acing your GRE Math Section!


Contributor
: Lilas Al-Sammak

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Help with GRE Anxiety
Posted on
04
Mar 2022

Pro Tips to Help With Your GRE Anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

2. Prepare as much as possible

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

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

3. Practice 

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

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

4. Get plenty of rest and eat healthily

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

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

5. Self-talk 

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

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

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

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

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

7. Private GRE tutoring

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

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

Conclusion 

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

 

Contributor: Cynthia Addoumieh

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325+ GRE Score
Posted on
28
Jan 2022

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

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

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

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

1. YES, you can! But…

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

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

2. Your testing strategy is EVERYTHING. 

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

3. The Pros and Cons.

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

4. It comes down to statistics. 

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

Final Thoughts 

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

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

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

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Three Pitfalls of GRE Prep
Posted on
21
Jan 2022

Three Pitfalls Of GRE Prep – How To Avoid Them?

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

1. Don’t Underestimate or Overestimate The GRE 

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

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

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

2. Everyone Prepares Differently 

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

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

3. Your GRE Score does not Define You

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

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

 

Contributor: Lukas Duncan 

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GRE Verbal Section
Posted on
14
Jan 2022

GRE Verbal Section – All You Need To Know

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

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

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

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

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

How Is GRE Verbal Section Scored?

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

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

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

Language on the GRE Verbal Section

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

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

GRE Reading Comprehension

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

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

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

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

GRE Text Completion

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

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

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

GRE Sentence Equivalence

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

Contributor: Bilhen Sali

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Mistakes in GRE prep
Posted on
07
Jan 2022

5 Rookie Mistakes To Avoid In GRE Prep

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

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

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

1. Preparing without a GRE study plan

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

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

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

2. Avoiding weak spots

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

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

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

3. Procrastinating

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

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

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

4. Last minute cramming

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

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

5. Compromising rest

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

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

 

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

 

Contributor:  Bilhen Sali

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