Arjun Shah, currently pursuing 3rd year of Chemical Engineering in ICT, has cracked GRE with a perfect score of 340. Here is his mantra for the examination and his preparations.
Here's how our conversation with Arjun flowed
When did you start preparing for GRE?
From 20th December to 10 January was the crucial period when I started my rigorous GRE preparation. I built my foundation, vocabulary and the concepts, in the month of October but due to college studies it was difficult to channel my time and concentration towards GRE.
Which GRE prep books did you refer to?
The official ETS and Jamboree study material were the only things I referred.
Verbal is a weak point for a lot of Indians. What was your take on it?
True. Verbal is quite difficult for many students. I find the conventional method of learning 2000 - 3000 words in one go quite inefficient because it's difficult to remember each word. Also, out of this wordlist I was aware of approximately 500-700 words which meant I would be wasting my time learning them.
So I made my own wordlist comprising of the words I had come across in books and tests. This method helped me remember words better because writing words registers them twice in the head. This gave me confidence that I would not forget them.
Reading helps a lot - novels, news, blogs. Regular reading habit was helpful in the Reading Comprehension section.
Tips for the writing section.
I had a fixed frame work for all kinds of essay. The body of the essay came from the news, my reading habit or the examples from the past.
I always found Argument writing very logical and key method to crack it is to find loop holes in the question.
For time management, speed of typing on the computer is a must. I had no problem with typing but many of my friends suffered because of the speed. The solution is to practice typing regularly.
Does it matter if you score anything above 330 or a perfect GRE score would stand out?
Yes. A perfect score would always stand out. My seniors had guided me saying that very few people score a perfect 340 in GRE, a slightly bigger number fall in the range of 335-340 and the number keeps on increasing as the range steps down.
How many Mock Tests did you give?
I gave a total of 8 mock tests and never did I score a perfect 340. I would land up in the range of 330-335.
I always gave my Mock tests seriously in one go. It is very important to sit for continuous 4 hours to build up the stamina. After the test, I would devote an hour to analyse my test marks.
What is your mantra or mindset while preparing for any exam?
My mantra is to always be motivated to score as high as possible. I never put a definite score in my head because that might limit my preparation for an even better score.
During the exam too a calm and composed mindset with confidence in your preparations is a must.
Which Universities are you aiming for?
I still have a year of college and I am not sure about the course I'll be picking. So I have not planned the universities I'll be sending my score to.