Quantitative = 165
Verbal = 158
Here’s a GRE student from Karachi (Pakistan) and her advice for GRE preparation and test day, based on her exam experience. If you’d like to submit your own experiences please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Hello everyone. I had my GRE Exam today. I will like to share my experience because I benefited a lot from the information I found online. Since I did not get admission in any academy or online courses, I completely relied on tips and wisdom of people who share online. There is plethora of information available on experiences of test takers in other countries, but brightlinkprep is the only website I found catering specifically to Pakistani test takers.
Experience of Test Center:
I reached at test center way before time to be safe, around 8:15 a.m whereas my appointment time was 9:00 a.m. I was not expecting a house-like test center, but Parametric Test Center in Karachi (KDA Scheme V) is just a regular house, not very conspicuous, with only a small board carrying its identity. They started entering the test takers into the center one by one, after approximately five minutes each. I entered the center at 8:35, went through security checks similar to immigration security at airports. Received my locker and keys and went on to wait with other students where I was asked to fill a simple form indicating my name and cursive writing style. Out of approximately 15 people, I was the only one in test center taking GRE. Since other test takers had some lengthy medical test of about 8-9 hours, they were led inside the test room before me. They too were called-in one-by-one after a gap of five minutes each. I was called in the test room at 9:35 a.m.
There I had to go through another security check, where I was scanned and my ankles were checked for mysterious cheating material I could be concealing for GRE test. After a couple of formalities, I was shown my desk and computer. It was quiet despite of other students taking their tests. I was given noise-cancelling headphones, scrap sheet and pencils. The invigilators were very nice and cooperative.
I was glad to have Analytical Writing section up-front because it would calm my nerves. It was very useful to have practiced 7-8 complete sample tests in ten days leading up to my test date. I was not intimidated by the essays questions and I started typing frantically. However, my thunder was cut short, for the invigilator came asking me to type slowly or softly to avoid the noise. Apparently it disturbed other test takers. However, I continued more carefully. I will like to mention that both tests of PowerPrep are magically helpful. I did not feel alien to the software because I spent a lot of time doing and redoing practice tests on it.
I knew that my weak area is verbal while I can manage quantitative. The nerves were taking over me again when I got done with both essays. I utilized all my breaks in the test and made full use of them except for the break between two essays. In that break, I got overexcited and mistakenly double clicked to the next essay. Anyway, I was scared of verbal so I was relieved to see first section of quantitative. I was super slow in solving the first couple of questions but gained my momentum afterwards, probably just a little shock of actually doing the real test. In all the timed practice tests, I always had time left in quantitative sections. But I found time wanting in actual test. Next came verbal section, in which I have no clue what I did, I am absolutely blank on the memory of solving verbal because I was so scared and intimidated by each question that was thrown at me. I missed one question because of time. And I was quite sure that the ones I did were all wrong. Then came break. So, I went outside at once and tried to shake off the bad performance on verbal. I thought of possibility of that section being experimental. After the break ended, came another quantitative section which was not much harder than the first one which made me think if either of these are experimental. I wasted a lot of time on this section too and ended questions time to time. Second verbal section went same as the first one. I tried not to think about it and solved the final section of quantitative. So it was certain that experimental section must have been quantitative. This time surprisingly, I got done with the quantitative with 5 minutes to spare. I rechecked all the questions in the remaining time.
To my happy surprise I got 158 in verbal and 165 in quantitative. For verbal’s score, I believe only luck, prayers and months of practice got me this score. I did NOT perform well. By the time I got out of test room it was 1:50 p.m.
I think the only way I got this score in verbal was because at some level my mind was attuned to correct answers. I practiced like crazies on different books for three months. For preparation I started with Gruber’s Complete Guide 2012. Strategies in Cracking the GRE by Princeton Review helped me with managing the terror of test and time. I also kept consulting with this book to revise basic concepts. I went on to 1014 practice questions by Princeton Review. After solving all questions I did GREManhattan’s 5 lb. book of practice questions. In my opinion GM’s was the best one for practice. Towards the final days before test day, I did only complete sample tests and practice questions in ETS’s official guide to get accustomed to their kind of questions. And of course Powerprep sample tests. I am surprised with the accuracy of sample test results. Just day before my test day I solved powerprep test 2 and got 156 in verbal and 167 in quantitative.
I regularly read blogs like Magoosh, GREManhattan, BrightlinkPrep, urch, and others to boost my confidence. I also referred online looking for difficult questions’ solutions. One can find simplest and quickest solutions to such questions online. There are thousands of people preparing for these tests and many are kind enough to share online.
Reporting to Universities:
After the test results, ETS asked me to choose universities I wanted to send my scores to. I was told that I won’t need to remember their codes, but it was required. Since I did not know those, I tried to search them via their geographical regions. I was also wrongly told that they will ask the universities name before telling the scores.
1. Negligible difference of difficulty between the sections
2. Shortage of time in actual test because of nerves. Keep practicing with lesser time than officially required.
3. Practice will reflect in scores.
4. You can perform well in first attempt and without professional help if you can genuinely give your time to it.
Thank you for bearing through the garrulous account of my test experience. I tried to give minor details because I would have wanted to read it before my test. Best of luck!”