Quantitative = 162
Verbal = 152
AWA = 4

Here’s a GRE student, Nabiha Khan 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 info@brightlinkprep.com.

I have taken my GRE exam on 2/4/2014 and earned 314 points with Q 162, V 152 and AWA 4 by preparing for somewhat lesser than two months with a full time job. The sole purpose was taking this exam was that it was a requirement for my graduate studies at Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi.

My GRE experience and preparation goes as follows:

Quantitative Section

Most of us come from a background where we are very much into mathematics and take it easily. I would suggest that please do not take it for granted. Its tricky, Moreover, due to time constrain one comes into a little pressure. Do practice using online calculator as well as according to me it takes more time than the scientific calculator which we people are used to.


I got many questions from statistics and percentage. Some arithmetic questions were simple. Geometry was not that tricky and probability was very infrequent. In data interpretation I encountered tables and line graphs. One pie chart combined with ratios was there in comparison section. Graphs usually take more time so keep that in mind.

Preparation Material

I used 6 guides from Manhattan, 5LB Manhattan and Barron 19th edition for geometry and obviously ETS guide.

Analytical Writing

I have seen people daunted by AWA and i personally think that there is no such reason for it. I had enough time for AWA and i think I have written more than 500 words in both of the essays. The best advice I can give is make your own template and then practice essays. This way you save a lot of time because your essay will be planned and if possible get your practiced essays checked by some expert. Try Magoosh’s videos for the tricks and advice on AWA. I followed those and found them highly beneficial. I didn’t practice any full length essays as I could not get that much time. I prepared outline for 5,6 essays each of the two tasks and read few sample essays. ETS guide provides you with very good insight on this section.

Verbal Section

I used to read at least 2 articles daily from NY TIMES, Atlantis or Economist. I used Magoosh flashcards for vocabulary, princeton review for strategies, 5LB Manhattan for Reading Comprehensions (critical thinking chapter is really good) and big book for Reading Comprehensions as well. For Text Completions and Sentence Equivalences, I would say only ETS guide is good.

Most important: Don’t only focus on convoluted vocabulary; sentence understanding is more important.

Test Experience

Verbal questions were much like ETS guide. The Reading Comprehensions were much like the 6 Barron Practice test series. I always struggled with time management in verbal section during mock tests but I followed Sir Talha’s advice and it worked for me, which is as follows:

“Finish one, two blanks Text Completions and Sentence Equivalences in first 5 minutes. Then spend ample time on Reading Comprehensions and if you get spare time then try 3 blanks Text Completions as they are difficult to crack.”

Mock Tests

I took almost 8 practice tests before my exam which included 2 tests from Powerprep, Manhattan test, Kaplan test, Princeton Review test and 3 tests from the 6 Barron practice tests series. The actual GRE was much like the powerprep tests. Manhattan does a great job in quantitative section and if one can nail that hard, he will surely do well in actual quantitative test. I liked Kaplan online practice test events also as they provide you with full explanations and answers after the test as well as a chance to communicate directly with the experts. Barron 6 practice tests are also very good and their difficulty level is at par with actual GRE. All these resources are available on the web without any cost.

I would like to advise every GRE aspirant to take full rest before the exam as it is highly enervating 4 hours test. Utilize the breaks in between properly as stay calm, do not panic. Good luck everybody!