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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When You Should Do Your GRE/GMAT/TOEFL

Students planning to take admission in an American university must have their GRE/GMAT/TOEFL scores in hand at least 9 months in advance. This means that:

  • if you are applying for the fall semester, which starts in September, your score must be ready in January of that same year at the latest.
  • If you are applying for the spring semester, which starts in January, you should have your score in hand by March or April of the previous year.

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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 Opens Customer Support Centers in India

Here’s an additional bit of good news for GRE test takers in India. The growing number of students taking the GRE® test in this country has pushed the GRE Program to open customer support centers here.

According to the ETS, the new GRE Customer Service Centers will “provide guidance and information for individuals preparing or planning to take the GRE® revised General Test or GRE® Subject Tests. Information about test preparation materials, test centers and dates, score reports and other test-related inquiries can be answered by call center staff.”

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News from ETS: New GRE Test Centers Open in India

Starting in July this year, the GRE program made additional testing available across the country to support the growing demand in India. The cities where additional testing will be available include Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Calcutta, Dehradun, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Vadodara and Vasad. A surprise inclusion is Nasik. Pune is yet, however to get a test center of its own despite the large number of test takers from Pune.

Dawn Piacentino, Director of Communications and Services for the GRE Program at ETS explains that there are two reasons for the increase in the number of test-takers: “Interest in the GRE revised General Test has been steadily growing as more people are choosing to submit GRE scores when applying for an MBA or specialized master’s program. The number of graduate schools around the world who accept GRE scores is also on the rise, giving GRE test takers a lot of options.” The GRE is obviously still aggressively challenging the position of the GMAT a the premiere test for students seeking admission to MBA programs in the United States.

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GRE Prep: Verbal Study Plan Overview

Here from Dilip Oak’s Academy are the GRE Prep highlights. As the graphic above indicates the basic plan for verbal preparation for the GRE is as follows:

  • at least 3-5 months before your GRE, begin vocabulary preparation and preliminary reading practice
  • 2 months before your GRE, begin going through the practice material
  • 1 month before your GRE, begin your practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTS)

This is explained below: As you can see there are four aspects of preparation that you have to cover:

  1. Vocabulary Learning and Revision
  2. Preliminary Reading Practice
  3. Covering the Practice Material
  4. Practice on the Computer-Based Tests (CBTs)

Each of the sections below gives you a brief idea of how to handle one aspect of preparation. Each section also contains links (in red) which give you further important details about the aspect of preparation that it deals with. Before you read through the sections below read through the post on ‘some principles’ for GRE Preparation. This will give you important guidelines on how to work through the material described in each of the sections.

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How to Crack the GRE

Here’s a compilation of terrific tips on how to crack that all important exam – the GRE. The first set is from Dilip Oak’s Academy’s top scorers. The second set is from the academy itself. Tips from Our Top Scorers

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Did You Know these Facts about GRE Math?

~ By our Quantitative Reasoning Faculty

April is almost over and the countdown to the exam has already begun. You want a good overall score and if you’re an engineer, you are most probably thinking that getting 165 on Quant shouldn’t be too much of a problem (the typical engineer approaches maths questions with a raw “Just bring ‘em on” kind of arrogance and usually gets most questions right). But here’s the problem: sometimes even those with a strong background in maths may not cross the 160 mark – and when that happens, dreams of a score in the 325+ range come crashing down. To prevent that unhappy outcome, here are some basic insights about the way the math works on GRE.

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