Cracking the GRE®: Verbal Reasoning 1 – the GRE exam’s Toughest Nut to Crack

Vocabulary tough nuts

First, here’s some basic orientation for GRE® rookies. The GRE exam incorporates 3 types of section:

  • Analytical Writing (the essay writing section which is scored on a scale of 0-6 with half point increments)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (which tests Maths skills)
  • Verbal Reasoning (which tests English skills – both Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning are scored on a scale of 130-170 in 1-point increments)

Typically, cracking the GRE requires 4-12 weeks of preparation. A major chunk of this time will inevitably be invested in preparing for the Verbal section. Why is this so? Firstly, a lot of Indian students taking the GRE are engineers or others for whom the Quantitative Reasoning section is not a major problem. But Verbal reasoning includes questions on Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence which require good reading skills and an extensive vocabulary. However, most Indian students don’t tend to read much and, as a result, these are precisely the skills and knowledge that they lack. So, the Verbal Reasoning section is a tough nut to crack. What difficulties does it throw up?

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Cracking the GRE: Are You Ready for the Analytical Writing Challenge?

Are you ready for AW?

AW Challenging… Really?

If you ask students to name the most difficult section in the GRE, most engineers would say: “Verbal Reasoning” and most non-engineers would say “Quant”. Hardly anyone would suggest that Analytical Writing plays much of a role either in cracking the GRE or getting an admit for an MS in US. For most students taking the GRE exam, therefore, the Analytical Writing section (also called AW) is a surprisingly challenging part. There are several reasons for this.

The Problems of the Engineer

  • First, if you are like most students who come to Dilip Oak’s Academy, you have lost touch with essay writing long ago – your last encounter with this lost ‘art form’ was probably 3-5 years ago in the 10th standard, and whatever you did learn about it has long been buried under the load of highly technical data that you had to stuff your head with during your bachelor’s course.
  • Second, as an engineer (or even a non-engineer) you don’t even understand why AW should be included in the GRE at all (check out this article if you are still not clear).
  • And third, you probably think that since you did essay writing in school, you should be able to manage this section without too much trouble.

However, the AW section is important and it demands that you meet a very specialized (and exhausting) set of requirements.

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Cracking the GRE: Getting Hit by the Analytical Writing Bomb – Why You Must Prepare for Analytical Writing

The AW BombFirst Things First

Here’s a fundamental reason why you should prepare for this section: it is the first section that you will face in the GRE exam – this is always the case. The Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections come in random order, and they only come in afterwards. Only Analytical Writing (AW) has a fixed place in the order of sections in the exam, and that place is right at the beginning of this arduous test. It’s a fact you can’t change, it’s a fact you can’t avoid; and it’s a fact that is fundamental to cracking the GRE.

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Cracking the GRE: Why You Can’t Ignore Your AW Score

Why You Can't Ignore Your AW Score

What Albert Einstein had to Say

A simple survey of most GRE students will show you that Analytical Writing (also known as AW) tends to be one of the most underrated sections of the GRE.

  • Firstly, the general perception is that getting an admit for an ‘MS in US’ depends mostly on your Quantitative and Verbal scores.
  • Further, the AW section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 which, hardly seems worth bothering about compared to the 260-340 score scale of the other sections of the GRE. So, most students don’t give much importance either to this section or to being adequately prepared for it.

But, as Einstein once pointed out, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” This is certainly true for the AW section of the GRE exam. Especially if you are an ambitious student, you can’t afford to do badly in Analytical Writing. In fact, there are 2 compelling reasons why you should give this section of the exam careful attention. As you will see, good preparation for the GRE will not only help you cracking the GRE, but will help you during your ‘MS in US’ even afterwards.

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Free GMAT Score Reports

You may select up to five business school programs to which your Official GMAT Score Report will be sent free of cost. You have to make your choice of programs to which your free GMAT score reports will be sent at the test center on the day you take the GMAT® exam. This has to be done before you begin the test and once you have made your selections, you will not be able to change or delete them. (Click this link: GMAT program database to see a list of programs to which your GMAT scores can be sent.)

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Free TOEFL Score Reports

You can send four free official TOEFL® score reports to universities and colleges that you specify before you take the test (see ‘TOEFL Destinations‘ for a list of institutions to which your score can be sent).

ETS states that you can choose or delete universities to which your free TOEFL score report should be sent by using the TOEFL iBT® online registration system until 10 p.m. (local test center time) on the day before the test. You cannot change or delete score recipients after the 10 p.m. deadline. For every university or college that you select to receive a free score report after the 10 p.m. deadline, you will have to pay US$18.

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Free GRE Score Reports

On the day of the test, after you have completed the test and have viewed your unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores, you will be asked to specify the names of 4 universities or colleges to which ETS will send your GRE General Test scores free of charge. This will be at the test center itself.

If the institution that you want to send your free GRE score to is not listed, you can ask the test center administrator for a form in which you can specify unlisted institutions. If you want the score to be sent to those institutions free, you will have to fill and hand in the form before you leave the test center. It will not be accepted after you leave the test center.

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Free Score Reports for the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS Tests

Each of the major tests that students generally take to get higher education in the United States – i.e. the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL tests – allows you to send you scores to a certain number of universities or colleges free of charge.

  • GRE – 4 free score reports
    • names of universities to be specified on the day of the test, immediately after your exam
    • current fee per score report thereafter $ 18
    GMAT – 5 free score reports
    • names of universities to be specified on the day of the test, immediately after your exam
    • current fee per score report thereafter $ 28.00

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GRE News: Now Available from ETS The Official GRE App

Ripples from the smart phone revolution started by technology giant Apple are spreading out everywhere. Apps for mobiles for a variety of organizations and services are being rolled out in increasing numbers. Now, the ETS has got onto the band wagon with its launch of the first-ever official GRE® test prep mobile app on the App Store.

According to the ETS, the app, which is based on the second edition of The Official Guide to the GRE® Revised General Test, gives users access to authentic GRE® test questions from past administrations of the test, answers and explanations by ETS and the ETS’s own tips and strategies for the GRE®.

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GRE News: ETS Test Prep Videos Available

With earlier versions of the test, students would go to the ‘Big Book’ for practice on actual GRE test papers of the past. With the Revised GRE coming in August 2011, A new version of the prep book called the Official Guide came in. Now, the GRE® program also offers ‘GRE® Success Starter videos’ to help you crack the GRE®.

There are two videos:

  • GRE® Success Starter: Tips & Strategies for the Quantitative Reasoning Section
  • GRE® Success Starter: Tips & Strategies for the Verbal Reasoning Section

The videos are designed to help you familiarize yourself with the two most important sections of the test: Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning. According to Dawn Piacentino, Director of Communications and Services for the GRE Program at ETS, , “In less than 20 minutes each, these videos walk test takers through examples of the different question types in the test, provide strategies for answering each question type, and share useful tips and strategies.”

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