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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GRE percentiles
Posted on
31
Dec 2021

GRE Percentiles – Understanding Your GRE Score

ETS, the official makers of the GRE, compile and publish statistics on the GRE. We have reviewed the statistics and organized them for you to peruse below. If you are in the middle of studying for your GRE exam and are looking for expert help, our professional tutors at Apex GRE are available anywhere in the world. You can set up a 30-minute, complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors if you are considering a private GRE tutor. 

The following data has been collected by ETS between July 1st, 2017, and June 30th, 2020. 

Performance Statistics on the GRE

When applying to graduate school, the GRE is often an inevitability. Most top-tier business schools require students to take the exam. While many programs claim that they do not have a GRE minimum for admissions, it is important to aim for a score that lands you in a top percentile. Achieving a top score may not guarantee admission, however, it will offer you a better shot at getting into the school of your dreams. 

GRE Quant & Verbal Reasoning Percentiles 

Below is a chart of recent GRE percentiles (Collected between 2017-2020). When looking at potential graduate programs, take a look at previous admissions statistics.

GRE Quant Reasoning Percentiles

Knowing the average GRE score of previously admitted students can give you a baseline to aim for. Striving for the average, means you have a better likelihood of getting a score above or around this. Giving you a higher chance at admissions. 

Interpreting the GRE percentiles requires knowing how the GRE is scored. The total score comprises the Verbal and Quantitative sections plus a third analytical writing portion. These scores show the admissions committee your higher-order reasoning skills. These scores are able to predict a student’s success in graduate school.

The scores range from 130-170, with the analytical writing portion being scored from 0-6. When comparing your score to other test-takers, it is important to look at percentile rankings. When reading a percentile ranking chart, find your score on the chart.

GRE Verbal Reasoning Percentiles

Let us assume you scored 156 on the verbal portion. This lands you in the 72nd percentile. Meaning your score is higher than 72% of test-takers. Those scoring a 170, for example, are in the 99th percentile. This means that they achieved a score higher than 99% of all test takers. Important to remember is that percentile rankings change each year. This is because as more and more students take the exam, the total scores achieved change, and your percentile ranking changes with it. 

Contributor: Dana Coggio

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Cumulative 325+ GRE Score
Posted on
24
Dec 2021

Can You Achieve A Top 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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

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+. 

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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90th percentile on the GRE
Posted on
10
Dec 2021

How Those Who Score In The 90th Percentile On The GRE Actually Do It

You’re on your GRE journey, and your exam is a few weeks away. You start talking to people who went through the same experience as you, and you look for some answers. You notice that many people have scored in the 90th percentile on the GRE, and you start to doubt yourself,  wondering if you are also capable of achieving that score. Of course, everyone aiming to take the GRE exam will want the highest score possible. And, as you could guess, this is no easy task.

So, how do those people who score in the 90th percentile actually do it?

Is it because of their study plan? The critical-thinking skills they learn before even starting to prepare for the GRE? Is it just genetics? Are some people born to excel in exams? 

To say you want to score in the 90th percentile is just the beginning of actually achieving one. You need to have a long-term plan in mind and be ready to face some challenges. First of all, you need to figure out what score the university you’re applying to actually wants. If the average is 150, you’ll probably have a good chance of getting in with a 150! Thus, scoring in the 90th percentile isn’t always a necessity for getting into your dream school. Do your research first. Then you can start implementing a plan for achieving a 90th percentile GRE score. Be warned, before you lies a rocky road on your way to ace the exam. Those who do score 90th percentile do not just say they want the score. They work hard and organize their time efficiently to get where they want to. 

1. Start with a GRE Diagnostic Test

Take a test before you start your journey, see what the GRE is all about and how it is structured. Look at your score, and from there, you can already tell which sections you need to work on. This way, you have a baseline on what you need to do.

2. Know how long  studying for the GRE Exam will take

It is crucial to manage your time in a way where you can complete your study plan in time. Each person is different in the way they comprehend things. Thus, it would help if you were realistic about how much time it will take to be ready. Maybe it will take you 130+ hours, or even 300+. You need to know YOUR abilities and track your time.

3. Be consistent with your GRE plan

Those who score 90th percentile do not change their study plan each week. You need to stick to a specific book/material/group study so that you do not go off track! But be flexible to change things up if you are realizing that something isn’t working for you. We are all unique learners. 

4. Create a board for time allocation

Know how much time you’re going to spend on each section. For example, “I have to spend no more than 3 hours a day on quant, two on verbal, etc.”. Try to use online whiteboards or create a mood board for yourself so that it is easier to track and remind yourself of the GRE plan.

5. Get to know your mistakes and improve them

It is very crucial to take note of your mistakes and try to improve them. It is one thing to know your mistake and just move on, and another to actually work on it and make sure it does not happen again. You have to track your GRE progress, and learning from your mistakes is one way to go!

6. Learn from other GRE test-takers 

Listen to successful people who got 90th percentile on the GRE, try to take each piece of advice from each one, and you’ll come up with your own. It is essential to learn from others’ mistakes as well as your own. See what they did, how they did it, what it took them to get there. Be curious and ask questions, always. As Steve Jobs once said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”

7. Take GRE mock tests

At last, mock tests are your friend! Take them as much as you can, and you’ll more or less know where you stand.


Final Thoughts 

To conclude, it is easier said than done to score 90th percentile on the GRE. It works differently with different people, so make sure to try as best as you can to learn from others, and more importantly, from yourself as well. If you would like to start with a tutor, check out our tutors at APEX GRE to help get you started. Most successful GRE test takers hire a private tutor to push them past the 90th percentile mark after taking the test without a tutor. It is shown to be effective, you can take a look at this article about private tutors and why you should consider hiring them.


Contributor:
Sarin Sulahian

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