7 days ago
Test prep GRE and TOEFL
I attempted my GRE and TOEFL in 2021. First of all, if you haven't booked the exam, then book it. The exam slots fill up fast during the peak times from August to October. If you are wondering ‘I haven't prepared enough' or don't have that confidence. Book the exam. You will get an extra incentive to study more. Ideally, 2 to 3 months of daily practice is enough for you to score well. Delaying will only cause further problems.
Here are some of the things that helped me which might help you -
GRE Test prep reference guides:-
1. ETS official material :
You will get to know the level of the exam. I found that in the GRE, verbal is of the same level of ETS but quant is much more time-consuming than the ETS material.
2. Manhattan prep 5 lb :
Not necessary to solve everything but this book has sufficient type of questions for untimed practice.
3. Magoosh portal :
An online portal will let you know the category of questions that you are good at and which ones you need to work on. This type of assessment will help to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Magoosh level is similar to the GRE exam.
4. Barron's and Kaplan :
Not 320+ material but good to start if you are struggling a lot after ETS.
5. Princeton review
Note - GRE is a section adaptive test. The thing that helped me most was to attempt mock full-length tests with a strategy. Strategy as in like a plan for every test. A plan can be - if you spend too much time per question, then try a strategy like giving more priority to questions you are good at. You won't see the difference after 2-4 mock tests but after more mock tests, you will gain a lot of confidence and the amount of time you spend on each question will reduce. Don’t hesitate to experiment, that is how you will know the plan which works for you. I haven’t tried the Yocket tests yet but you could try since it’s free. The more full length practice tests you practice , the better it is for you. Magoosh and Manhattan prep tests are good too. If possible, attempt atleast 1 full-length mock exam every week. This way you will be able to get used to sitting for 4 hours for an exam and evaluating your performance.
Free Mock tests :-
Note that the number of free tests at each institution may vary from time to time.
1. ETS : 2 free tests, I would recommend buying a 3rd one
2. Magoosh : 1 free test
2. Manhattan prep : 1 test is free. In 2021, I got an offer that if you buy any 1 of the 8 books, you will get 6 tests for free with it. Valid for 6 months or 1 year. Not sure if this offer still exists in 2022.
3. Princeton Review : 1 free test
4. Kaplan : 1 free test
5. Yocket : 2 free tests, 40+ custom topic tests
6. Crunchprep : 1 free test
7. McGraw Hill : 1 free test
1. Magoosh Verbal flashcards vocab app
2. Kaplan commonly used GRE vocab words
3. Reading comprehension(RC) -
If you are short of time for verbal, then something that I found helpful was to eliminate the extreme options - options which have extreme vocab like “only, all, always, every, never, exclusively”. Extreme case options tend to be wrong. Note that this may not work at all times but is good to know in case of shortage of time. Reading comprehension(RC) is mostly based on scientific passages, astronomy passages, and passages related to history. Read New York Times, and Scientific American articles on these topics. Verbal RC language level in the exam would be around this level.
AWA (issue and argument) :-
1. The amount of content you write does matter. Write at least 4 to 6 paragraphs(at least around 500 words) with a specific point in each paragraph.
2. Read sample essays and topics on the official ETS website, Manhattan prep books. Search for the topics directly on the internet. You will find an essay for the topic.
3. Making a template helped me. Practice 30 minute sessions. 23-25 minutes for the content and 5-8 minutes for reviewing the entire essay.
4. If you are short of time, then at least write 1 line of the conclusion instead of leaving the essay without a conclusion.
Important - Don’t neglect to review, it’s better to write a few lines less than writing extra sentences with spelling mistakes.
In the final 20 to 30 days, revising the magoosh vocab app, attempting full-length timed tests, and practicing the questions which I was good at helped me. Try not to waste too much time per question. If you do not know then mark and move on. Remember each question in GRE no matter the difficulty can score you only 1 point.
3 to 4 weeks of practice is sufficient. There are 4 sections :
- reading (same as GRE verbal RC but of lower level).
- listening (Passage is read, you have to listen and answer the questions shown on the screen).
For speaking, practice topics while standing in front of a mirror and record yourself. Listen to the recording and try to improve the next time. Trust me this will help you a lot.
For writing, practice timed 30 mins sections. Make a template.
In general, TOEFL requires you to remember a lot of small details. So, it is better to take short notes to help you remember better. The YouTube channel ‘Tstprep’ is good. The channel has mock exams. The instructor will also give you templates, you can refer to those.
Good luck !!!
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Meghana Nanda Kumar
This is super helpful ✨
Would you know which of the listed free mock tests provide video explanations of incorrect answers? I'd like to prioritize doing those mock tests first as the video explanations help me a lot. I'm doing Magoosh questions everyday with video explanations but it would be nice to do a mock test with video explanations. Thanks. See more
I am jad searching can I help you
I really appreciate that thank you for sharing
Thank you so much