Exams Know-how

GRE Success Tips

Rohan Deshmukh

Arm yourself with a robust plan to beat the GRE monster and put your best foot forward by using these handy tips:

1. It’s important to time yourself while taking your mock tests. Give the mock exam keeping in mind the exact time of the final exam and try to take the exam in a simulated environment. Remember the ethics of Mr Rahul Dravid. He used to practice in the nets from 9:30 to 11:30 followed with a lunch break and then 12:10 to 2:10. After a tea break, he would go on for the final session from 2:30 to 4:30 – simulating the timings of an actual Test Match.
2. Leaving an answer incomplete is SIN! There is no negative marking in GRE but you do get penalised for leaving an answer incomplete
3. Hold your horses when you see a question you think you can answer easily. Do not start immediately to solve the question, rather use the process of elimination. Once you eliminate the irrelevant choices you stand a better chance of guessing the right answer.
4. A Radio button means the question has only one right answer whereas a checkbox means the question could have more than one answer. Make sure you keep this basic rule ingrained in your mind.
5. You must try to first answer easy questions and ones you are confident about. This would give you a psychological edge since you are starting on a positive note and have more time later for difficult ones


1. Familiarize yourself with pool of 300 topics suggested by ETS over a period of time. Since your exam starts with the essay writing section, you don’t want to come across a topic which you don’t understand. The panic will then set in and have a domino effect, affecting the rest of the sections.
2. In issue essays always take a stand. The idea is to judge how well you are able to defend the stand you take
3. In argumentative essays always try to find fault in the logic.
4. It is important to have a proper structure in place in both the essays with a proper introduction and a conclusion which reiterates and justifies your stand
5. A good essay should be around 350-500 words.


1. Use substitution method and check possibilities to ascertain the correct choice. They will save you more time than if you actually try to solve.
2. Make your own diagrams. Just because 2 sides of a triangle are 3 and 4, it doesn’t imply the 3rd side will be 5 units, unless it is a right angled triangle. Such tricky questions are a part and parcel of almost every question.
3. Just because the Calculator is available doesn’t mean you jump to start calculating. Many questions are logic questions and can be solved with the right approach. Just see if the answer you are looking for is an odd number, a prime number, a multiple of a number, etc and you will be able to save on calculation time.
4. Usually, it is the silly mistakes that cost most of us. How often have we forgotten that 0 is an even number, or that square root of 64 can also be -8! Just try to recheck the answers along with the options to make sure you have not missed the obvious


1. Use etymology to guess the meaning of words you are not confident on
2. Critical reasoning is just one per cent of the syllabus; so do not spend a
lot of time dwelling on it. They are usually time consuming and hence do not start the section with it.
3. Do not attempt to do all Reading comprehension in one go. You may lose track of the time and monotonous passages will drone you out.
4. Look out for antonyms in the option sets. They will help you eliminate the incorrect options.
5. Compensate for the extra time in Reading Comprehension questions by Sentence Equivalence (synonyms) which can be solved in less than a minute.


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