For students who have given the GRE more than once, the worry has always been that the universities will see their low scores along with their high ones. To deal with this problem the ETS launched the ScoreSelectTM feature some years ago. ScoreSelect allows you to decide which GRE scores will go to universities and colleges which means that you can omit poor scores from your graduate school applications. If you are retaking the GRE therefore, or have GRE scores that you are not keen to show the universities, it seems that ScoreSelect will allow you to breathe a little more easily. But you should be aware that this apparent boon does have its limitations.
Here’s our challenge for you: a cursory glance at this blog (and even this introduction!) will radically improve your vocabulary. Read it and see if it doesn’t! If you find the words challenging, take a look at the explanations below the article below. They are all from the high-frequency GRE list.
Any journey gives you a chance to take an exciting break from the soporific routine of everyday life. In fact, travelling to places and cultures very different from your own can be a visionary experience. In some cases the sights and sounds of an exotic locale can seem surreal. But going solo takes travel to a different level altogether.
(Note: debility means weakness or disability; verbal debility here means a weakness or disability relating to the verbal section. Also, check out the other difficult words in this post. To get the meaning, just hover your mouse over them.)
How to Improve Vocabulary
1. Get those Vocab Lists, Look up those Dictionaries
As we said in our previous post, a good grasp of vocabulary is instrumental to achieving success in the Verbal Section. To improve your vocabulary, start by learning word meanings, synonyms, and antonyms. In order to do this you will need to find a good GRE list on the net – there are several available – and look up the synonyms and antonyms on a good online dictionary e.g.
- 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?
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.
First 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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.