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Class FAQ: My GRE experience (V 770, Q 800) 20 Tháng 9 2011 lúc 15:52 The caveat: these tips were written quite a while ago so a number of them may no longer be relevant in the context of the recently revised GRE My test first started with two essays as usual. I selected the topic of Creating image is more important than the reality or truth behind cuz it immediately reminded me of Madonna When I prepare for this section, I didn't actually tackle any topics due to limited time budge
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  Class FAQ: My GRE experience (V 770, Q 800) 20 Tháng 9 2011 lúc 15:52 The caveat : these tips were written quite a while ago so a number of them may no longer be relevant in the context of the recently revised GRE My test first started with two essays as usual. I selected the topic of Creating image is more important than the reality or truth behind  cuz it immediately reminded me of Madonna When I prepare for this section, I didn't actually tackle any topics due to limited time budget. Just studied the guides and strategies discussed in prep books and read some sample essays to get an idea of how I should write. For this, I would recommend the essay tips suggested by Princeton Review  . The essay discussion is the most useful and practical part I found in their guide. Other parts are just too facile :) My next several sections is V-Q-V. My first V went very well, with questions reasonably hard, esp. reading questions as they were very time-consuming. I didn't run into any new word, except one stem word (i.e. ADJUDICATE), but fortunately that word has a familiar root, so I had no trouble guessing its meaning. I finished this part with 20 sec left The level should be similar to that of POWERPREP. My Reading subjects were the usual, one on literature and another one on biology. There was an especially hard one on linguistics (ironically huh as it is my major). I had to read and re-read that paragraph two or three times. When I studied for GRE, I found that the usual tactics applied to TOEFL reading don't work for GRE. For TOEFL, I usually read the question first and then skim the text to the part it refers to. However, in GRE, when you are to get a high score, questions are often inferrential in nature and require that you read carefully the whole shebang before you can answer. Skimming doesn't work here. Paying close attention to cohesive devices and linking would help. Another thing is that I have this bad habit of reading something while thinking about something else. Concentration is by far the most important thing in GRE reading. DON'T read and keep thinking I have to work faster, or there will not be enough time. Everytime you are in risk of losing focus, stop and close your eyes for a sec to regain it. I did that a lot in my test. My second V freaked me out somehow. First of all, I ran into my first reading passage after only 3 questions. People told me that, if you are to get a high score, reading questions should appear the soonest after your first third. In my first V, the first one was around 12th or 13th. The same thing happened when I tried POPWERPREP tests, first reading around 12-13th, second one around 18th-21st and the third around 26-27th. Second, the difficulty of the questions seemed not to increase, or at least remained the same as with the first V. The last several questions were so easy I didn't have to think at all. If this section was scored, then I guess I would get around 500 or even less. I felt really dejected at that point. For V preparation, my advice is that you guys stick to Barron's Word List. Make it your BIBLE. Use the Guru software to practice it. There is another list I compiled myself, culled from synonym groups provided by American Heritage and Webster. This GRE-compatible list contains about 4800 words (with some overlaps). If you want even more words, there's another list that contains words not yet included in Guru. If you want the software and/or these word lists, send me a request via email. Having done with the word lists, you should practice tests provided by the Barron Guide and real tests available in OG/Big Book, and FINALLY, the POWERPREP. For me, these three are enough for tackling the V part. I have compiled a list of questions I had certain problems with in my practices. It contains around 180 questions, and you may also email me with a request for it. My Q went okay too, but there is a warning note. The actual math level is definitely harder and more time-consuming in comparison to POWERPREP or OG. As a math guy, I didn't prepare much for this section, except for reading ETS math review and doing Q parts in OG & POWERPREP. Usually I got 800 with at least 5 to 10 min left for this section. But on the offical test, I finished it just in time. Also it seemed I got more probability questions than the usual share (3 of them), 2 graphs and some weird-shape & cylinder geo questions. A tip for tackling any geo object with irregular shape: there is always some way to  transfigure them to regular ones while keeping their area intact. By doing that, you can calculate the area of the srcinal object without any hassle. More importantly, as a non-native English speaker, you should read the ETS Math review carefully and check every math term you are not familiar with. Otherwise, you risk running into questions that you are not sure if you get it right. Take an example of Question No 17, Practice Set 3, Quantitative Comparison, POWERPREP. The variable x is normally distributed. The values of x at the 45th, the 15th, and the kth  percentiles of the distribution are 550, 350, and 450, respectively. I got the wrong answer because I didn't understand the question correctly. More tips  1. This is American test, so use an American English dictionary. American Heritage and Webster are the best. You may even learn more words simply by reading the definition of a new word. Pay attention to their synonymm groups . Very much GRE stuff. An example about this Antonym question CONSIDER A-activate B-infer C-table D-encourage E-deter A British may not get the right answer as table in BE means to discuss something , which is a synonym of consider . Hower, table in AE means NOT to discuss something, or put it on hold , which is the right answer. 2. Switch to the GRE mode. By GRE mode I means a. Try to use newly learned words at every chance. My friends told me that recently I start talking like a highfalutin. I have changed from being fluent in monosylabic grumbles to fussilades of big words in no time. A guy was shocked when I told him his girlfriend's new dress was tacky, tawdry, gawdy and meretricious :) b. Never say there are 5 hills, but there are 1 knoll, 1 mound, 1 hummock, 1 hillock, & 1 mesa. Do you get it if I say drivel claptrap guff folderol hogwash bunkunk dross gibberish piffle hooey??? Never mind if you don't, cuz it's just a bunch of nonsense. But keep in mind, I'm in my GRE mode! c. When you learn a new word, try to learn its antonym as well, like, since we can inter, we can also disinter. d. For a group of synonyms, try to set some inequalities whenever it is possible. For example: reprove < reprimand=scold < berate species < genus < family < class < phylum < kingdom trot < canter < gallop 3. Pay more attention to words that a. are marked as formal , old-fashioned or literary in dictionaries. These are words favored by GRE nerdy folks. b. looks extremely easy to you, such as start , meet , nice , hide , fell , file , shy , culture or humor etc. Unless you are wallowing in blissful ignorance in the shallow puddle of 300 points, these words may carry a very different meaning in the context concerned. For example, meet may means proper , shy means throw, and humor means body fluid .  c. look similar and are related, but actually different in meanings. For example, systematic & systemic , unexceptional & unexceptionable , seasonal & seasonable , progenitor & progeny . d. look very much similar, but are totally different in meanings. Some examples inveigh & inveigle brawl & bawl venal, vernal & venial beacon & deacon sleigh & sleight shrew & shewd arable & parable pedant & pendant forte & fort enjoy & enjoin goal, goad & goat lust & lush bridle & brindle brandish & blandish lumber & slumber matinee & martinet diver & divers aesthetic & anesthetic acetic & ascetic finicky & fickle misshape & mishap sublime & subliminal factitious & factious impurity & impunity seemly & seamy impudent & imprudent splice, slice & spice aver & avert reconnaissance & renaissance loath & loathe harrow & hallow hypercritical & hypocritical trout & trough scorch & scotch sprint & splint wraith, wrath, wreath & wreathe disport & deport e. chances are you will get it wrong if you haven't learned them yet, e.g. adventitious, comely & homely, livid, capitulate & recapitulate. 4. Make the most use out of Powerprep's 2 tests. You may find some of the questions in your real test look similar to practice ones. First, try your best to answer questions. Read review to find which questions you got wrong. Repeat until you get the absolute 800. After that, try again. If you know the answer already, deliberately make a wrong choice. By doing it, you can bring out easier questions. 5. Stop using the GURU list or any synonym list a week before the real test. From that on, whenever you see a word, you should immediately connect it to its antonym, not synonym. After the actual test, I have used the registration number given in my score report to log into GRE diagnostic service and checked how I performed. It looks to me that, ETS has five levels of difficulties  assigned for test questions. Starting questions are of level 2. If you got it right, it jumped to questions of level 4 or 5 in my case. For the verbal part, most of my questions are of level 3 & 4. There are only a couple of level 5 questions. I got 2 questions wrong (number 13 & number 17). I had 8 reading question and based on my given amounts of spent time, I spent more than 15 min (out of 30 min) on these questions alone. In particular, I spent more than 4 min on a reading question of level 5 and still got it wrong :( Most of my Q questions are of level 4 & 5. To my surprise, I botched even more in this section, 3 of them. Fortunately, I only started making mistakes in the last 10 questions, when time was running out and I couldn't double check my answers any longer. Obviously, you are allowed to have a few slips in the Q part and still got the perfect 800, as long as these mistakes don't happen too early in the test. My guess is that toward the end, your final score is more or less stabilized and then, if you miss a question, u lose like 10 points but if u get the next question right, that would make up for the 10 points lost. So my suggestion is that you spend more time on the early part (like 50% of your time on the first third, 30% on the second third and 20% on the last). You can test this strategy on Powerprep's 2 tests. Try, like, deliberately got the first 5 questions wrong and the rest right, then got first 25 questions right and the last 5 wrong, and u can see the difference for urself. Important: Never leave any question unanswered. Just answer all remaing questions randomly if you are running out of time. From what I heard, if you leave, for example, 3 last questions unanswered (~ 10% of the total number of questions), you will lose 10% of your total points. Regarding the time needed for GRE preparation, it all depends. I spent virtually no time on the essay part. Barely enough to get familiar with its format and have some ideas about the strategies I would need in dealing with them. Took a few hours to review math and complete practice questions available in POWERPREP. For the verbal part, I used the GURU software to review words. It took me around 8.5 weeks, 4 hours each day on avarage, to finish the first round of GURU, double check word definitions in dictionaries, compare with the Barron's list and other word lists I could get hold of, and compile my own lists of additional words and synonyms/antonyms. The second round took only 5 days, the third round 2 days and the final review of GURU (feeling up to here with it) - within 1 days. Then I started attacking tests provided by Barron's and ETS Official Guide, one test a day, in a strictly timed manner. Took roughly two more weeks. The last 2 weeks, I toyed with POWERPREP, repeating their 2 tests, trying to pry out as many questions as I could. Practiced more questions from Princeton's Review, Petterson & Kaplan just to be safe. In short, it took me around 14 weeks, 3-4 hours a day, from being frightened out of my wits by GRE to being able to look it straight in the eyes. It should be noted that most of my preparation time was dedicated to the verbal part. If you have troubles with math or are fussy about the essays, it should take longer
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