GRE Guide

COST ESTIMATE : 205$ (Last updated: July 2017)



  1. GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. Conducted for a total of 340 marks out of which 260 marks are default, so, you’ll attempt the exam for 80 marks. NO NEGATIVE MARKING.
  2. 80 questions with each question carrying one mark.
  3. 80 is divided into 40 for Quantitative (Mathematics) and 40 for Verbal Reasoning (English) sections.
  4. The verbal/quant sections are divided into five 20 question sessions (one section is unmarked)
  5. Excluding AWA, the sections pattern can be QVQVQ or VQVQV.
  6. Two essays termed as AWA (Analytical Writing Analysis) is conducted for 6.0 which won’t have an effect on your 340 score. Each of the two essays are evaluated for 6.0 (with 0.5 increments) and the ceil of average is the total (Eg. 4.0 and 4.5, avg = 4.25 rounded off to 4.5).
  7. After the exam ends, your Quant and Verbal scores will be displayed on the screen. As AWA is evaluated by people, you’ll be scored within the next 10 days.
  8. You’ll have an option of sending your GRE scores to 4 universities of your choice for free (can also skip the section). Find out beforehand what universities (Read article on University Selection) to opt for each range of scores (I may write about the rankings in future) as you’re going to save $27*4 = 108$ (~7.5k INR).


For every section, you’ll have a timer on the right-top of the screen. You can always skip to next section before the timer runs out. If the timer runs out, the answers are automatically saved and submitted.

Section-I : AWA – 1hr (2 paragraphs x 30 min each x 6.0 each)
NOTE: You can always re-evaluate your answers before the timer runs-out in the QUANT/VERBAL sections. Each QUANT section spans for 35min while VERBAL for 30min.
Section-II : QUANT-I / VERBAL-I – 20Q x 1M each
Section-III : VERBAL-I / QUANT-I – 20Q x 1M each
Section-IV : QUANT-II / VERBAL-II – 20Q x 1M each
Section-V : VERBAL-II / QUANT-II – 20Q x 1M each
Section-VI : QUANT-III / VERBAL-III – 20Q x 1M each


  1. If you’re planning to apply to the following year’s fall, take the GRE by the end of September (i.e. for Fall 2018, take your GRE by September 2017).
  2. A 3 month preparation period is enough considering you’ll have to spend at least 3 hours a day. (~90hrs)
  3. For Verbal, spend 1.5x the time you spent for your Quant.
  4. Book your GRE slot by the first week of September if you’re planning it to write by the end of the month.

Make sure that the NAME TO REGISTER FOR GRE matches exactly with your NAME ON THE PASSPORT.


  1. Don’t use a pen to solve problems. Most of the problems can be solved just by looking at the question and others require a calculator . (You will be provided with one on the screen).
  2. If you didn’t join a coaching center, go through this material. This is my notes which consists of simple tricks to solve time-taking problems. One important trick is to never use formulae (You might forget them during the exam) except for “Area and Volume” problems.
  3. Every Sunday, write a mock test (Don’t skip the AWA section). Write two of the ETS official mock tests (downloadable from the ETS website) in the last week of your preparation. Always remember to go through your wrong “Quant” answers and search for an explanation. Skip verifying “Verbal” answers.
  4. Always note down where you go wrong.
  5. Quantitative section is the easiest in GRE. Read an re-read a question before solving (Data Interpretation questions are tricky and takes more time to solve). Missing little details can get you the wrong answer.
  6. You can re-visit questions so, skip to easier questions and save difficult ones for later. You’ll have plenty of time to revise your answers in Quant sections (I evaluated my answers twice before the timer ran out).


  1. Learn the high frequency words (Either the 2000 words one or 333 Barrons). Revise the meanings once each week. These words will cover the “Meaning” and “Synonyms” questions.
  2. Solve one critical reasoning, one large paragraph and one small paragraph every day. Verbal section is majorly composed of paragraph questions (Correct answers can elevate your score to the high 20s).
  3. Synonym questions are the easiest. Find a pair which means the same unless you get more than one pair. Tips for other types can be found on the web where most of the paragraph questions are answered by “Finding boundaries where the answer lays”.
  4. You will not have the time to revise your answers unlike the Quantitative section. So make sure you mark answers the first time.
  5. Verbal reasoning usually seems tough (and I’m not talking about those 330+ mark IITians) and scoring anything above 20 will greatly improve your chances of getting a good overall score.


  1. Know your tricks. Know how the paragraphs are organized (1st para intro…last para conclusion). Make sure your essay is coherent (flow of thoughts must be ensured using connector words like Also, So, Hence, Although, but etc) and grammatically correct (tenses and such).
  2. Read one issue and argument topic everyday (online or from material).
  3. Read what you typed after the mock ends. You won’t have the time to revise what you wrote in the original test. You must type whatever comes to your mind.
  4. In the exam, type down keywords that comes to your mind in the first 5 minutes, in the text box (NOT ON THE PAPER). Add one sentence using the keyword, one sentence for the keyword introduction and one for the keyword conclusion. For example, lets say you noted down the word “Education”. You’ll have to write in the following manner- Education is a process of …(whatever you think education is). This definition supports the author view that… (whatever is in the article). Hence, it supports the conclusion ..(How does this supporting point add to the conclusion)”.
  5. You must complete typing your essay in 20 minutes. Spend the first 5 minutes of the last 10 minutes adding sentences between sentences, ensuring coherence. Spend the last 5 minutes to delete unimportant details and correcting your grammar.


  1. Passport and Booking printout are the only things required.
    IMPORTANT: Find out where your 4 free universities are located. You will only be provided with a drop down of US states (and not a search box to enter the university name).
  2. The PROMETRIC test center (usually hosts ETS exams including TOEFL) provides you with drinking water and washroom facilities, booklet (rough work), pencils and lockers (to put in your cellphone, documents, eatables/drinks, watch, kerchiefs etc).
  3. I won’t suggest you to get something to eat as the test is only for 3.75 hrs.
  4. Make sure you get to the center 30min before your original time. The center takes time to verify your identity and perform check-ups. Also, the process will start whenever you are ready before your booking time (usually can start before 1hr of your booking time).
  5. The temperature will be low. If you’re not comfortable in cool temperatures, wear a sweater.
  6. Don’t panic. Raise your hand (Don’t yell at them like I did) and the coordinators will approach you.

Comment any further queries. Read my experience.



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