GRE Exam Results Success: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing Your Scores


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test which is an admissions requirement for top graduate schools in the United States, Canada, and a few other countries. It is a computer adaptive time bound test that assesses one’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. With the introduction of the shorter tests from 22nd September 2023, the total time of the GRE General Test has now become about 1 hour and 58 minutes from 3 hours and 45 minutes. To have good GRE exam results in the General test, one must have a strategic tailor fit plan along with consistent practice. Mentioned below are some steps that can help in achieving a good GRE exam score on the GRE General Test.

First and foremost is to know the entire syllabus and the content of the test to ace GRE exam results. The GRE General test is made up of three items: Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. The GRE score card will have the scores of all of the above test sections.
Under the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), there is one essay question that is to be done within 30 minutes and it is scored from 0 to 6 in half-point increments. The AWA Score does not add up to the total score of the GRE scores. The AWA question will always appear first in the test and the rest of the items can appear in any random order.

The Verbal Reasoning consists of two sections timed at 18 and 23 minutes each with 12 and 15 questions respectively. Both sections add up to a score in the range of 130 to 170 on your GRE Score card.
Similarly, Quantitative Reasoning consists of two sections with 12 questions in the first section and a time allotment of 21 minutes whereas the second section consists of 15 questions with 26 minutes. Both the sections here too lead to a score ranging from 130-170 on your GRE Score card and the final GRE exam score is a total of the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning Section Score.

The GRE results after the exam are received in two ways. The unofficial GRE scores of Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections are displayed immediately after the test is over whereas the official GRE score on the GRE Score card with the Analytical Writing Assessment Score is received within 15 days.


GRE Timing


Taking the diagnostic test:

After having understood the content of the GRE , a student should always take a full-length timed test. Taking the diagnostic test will help in understanding the actual exam scenario, the structure of questions and the time management needed. Analyzing the GRE scorecard from the diagnostic test can help in setting a realistic target and in identifying the strengths and weaknesses. Proper analysis of the weak areas is an essential tool to have a good score in the final GRE score card.


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Curating a study plan based on the diagnostic test:

Based on the analysis of the diagnostic test, the student should be able to make a study plan to sharpen the areas of strength and work on the areas of weakness.


Working on the skills required and weaknesses:

Each topic of the GRE General test requires some specific skill. For instance, reading comprehension questions require the ability to quickly comprehend the stated message well by utilizing one’s critical reading skills. If the student has not scored well in the Reading Comprehension questions, he/she needs to allot more time in solving those questions by applying the tools and techniques for such questions.


Building a strong vocabulary (GRE relevant vocabulary):

Having a strong vocabulary is essential to have a good verbal score. One should learn new words regularly and try to retain the words using flashcards or mnemonics. Additionally word roots, prefixes, and suffixes can be used to decipher the meaning of hard or unfamiliar words. Apart from the literal meaning one should also be able to understand the contextual meaning of certain words to have a good score in the vocabulary testing questions i.e. Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions.


Working on Critical Reasoning:

To excel in critical reasoning questions, one must have good analytical skills, logical reasoning, and critical thinking. Understanding the different types of critical reasoning questions like assumption, weakening, strengthening, and identifying the reasoning, to resolve or explain the flaws can help in developing specific strategies for each question type. Having a strong critical reasoning ability paired with logical reasoning definitely helps to tackle most of the questions from the verbal reasoning portion which again is reflected in the scorecard of the GRE exam results.


Working on Quantitative Reasoning to get:

Time and again students face hurdles in the Quantitative Reasoning portion of GRE , not because of the mathematical concepts needed to solve problems but rather they face obstacles in making good time management against various question types. Quantitative Reasoning portion of GRE consists of 4 different question types thereby making it more exciting to get good GRE scores:

  1. (QC) Quantity comparison problems
  2. Fill-in (numeric-entry ) problems
  3. At least 1 answer correct multiple-choice questions (with 3-10 answer choices to choose from)
  4. Only 1 answer choice correct in (MCQ) multiple-choice questions (with 5 answer choices to choose from)

By looking at the question type in the Quantitative Reasoning section , one must change the strategy needed to solve the problem. An MCQ against the numeric entry question may have more good strategies to solve.

As the students can change their answers while they are solving a particular section, maintaining organized scratch paperwork would be very beneficial adding to good habits of being an effective test taker. Exam being adaptive needs indispensable attention in solving the first 12 questions in both the sections namely Quantitative and Verbal section, to let the computer bring you the next section harder thereby inviting good scores to pop up.

Doing well in the first 12 Questions which is a mix of easy , medium & hard questions advances you to the next 15 Questions which would be of hard difficulty.

However , scores and the difficulty level goes hand in hand. Someone who gets the next 15 questions of Easy difficulty should not take it as a reward, rather should be aware of the fact that the GRE exam score is going to be low.

Good conceptual knowledge of Algebra and Arithmetic is important to get decent GRE scores in Quantitative section on the exam.A crisp approach of 3 steps to Geometry questions is a boon where the trainers at Manya ,The Princeton Review guide their students to draw figure , label the items and write the formula to understand what unknown needs to be found.

Data Interpretation and Charts questions coming up in the first section of 12 questions in Quantitative Reasoning need good time to read question stem , see and understand charts given making them double time consuming than a normal problem solving question with no charts.

These questions need good time management as the rest of the 9 questions out of 12 questions would require time to solve them. Doing well on the first 12 questions makes the next 15 questions harder, allowing one to obtain good scores which is an onus to the final GRE exam results.

During the test preparation , students should sit for several other mock tests before the actual GRE in order to understand the structure and make strategies after each mock test to do better. Creating error logs so that one does not repeat the same is useful and handy for one to revise. Understanding and working through the error logs will definitely help in bringing a positive outcome in the final GRE exam results.

Practicing drills containing GRE-like questions is suggested. Students’ portal like that of The Princeton review has their engine of drills which are adaptive enabling students to get accustomed to exam-like interface while they are doing daily practice.


Bringing in the efficient use of the GRE Basic Calculator:

You should know how to drive a car to drive it. Buying it just won’t help. Pacifying oneself with the fact GRE has a calculator should be a sin. The GRE calculator is too basic with its operations to add/multiply/divide/subtract that it even needs proper syntax or the knowledge of precedence of operations to complete the calculations you desire. Feeding -2 x -3 to the calculator brings us -5 as the result where the proper syntax one needs to feed should be (-2) x (-3).
Self reliance on calculations should be more except when very unusual numbers are there needing GRE Basic calculator to operate with.

At times, charts and data interpretation questions may give uncommon numbers which may hamper our ability to tackle calculations in the problems without the use of a calculator. Hence, charts and data interpretation questions containing unusual figures of the numbers brings us the idea of using a calculator to save precious time for the rest of the exam.


Practicing Essays:

On your GRE score card the AWA score and a score of 4 or more is considered a good score in the essay which most universities and colleges look for. One should practice essay writing along with practice on verbal and quantitative reasoning. To have a good GRE exam score in the essay, one should be able to analyze and support an issue with relevant and suitable examples. Understanding the GRE word processor is also important as it has got a few basic tools available with certain limitations, unlike the Microsoft Word processor.


Reviewing mistakes:

After taking a test, one should always analyze it thoroughly to understand the repeated and new mistakes. The analysis will help in developing strategies or taking up alternate approaches to solving those problematic questions.


Working on Repeated Errors:

Maintaining an error log helps to keep track of the mistakes, which in return can help to track one’s progress and understand the pattern of mistakes that are getting repeated. So, identifying the errors and dedicating more time to improving them is a very important step.


Practicing from official materials and reputable third-party study guides and resources:

Preparing from reliable and reputable guides can help in acing the GRE. Practicing from the official GRE materials and taking the tests timely can help to get a realistic sense of the actual GRE exam’s format and types of questions.


Taking regular mock tests:

Along with preparation, one should take full-length timed tests in intervals to understand the progress and to identify the weaklings. Additionally, taking timed tests can help to manage time well, which is an important factor for such tests.


Working on Proper Time Management:

Pacing is a very important tool for all time-bound tests. Prioritizing the preferred type of questions according to one’s order of difficulty and allocating specific time limits for different question types both during the practice period and practice tests can help save time and let one invest more time in solving difficult or critical questions during the actual test. Developing strategies to tackle questions within the allocated time frame without compromising the level of accuracy is a key skill to have a good GRE score.


Practicing Questions daily is to step up daily:

From getting an idea of appearing for GRE to the time one reaches the college of his/her dreams , proper planning and scheduling of preparation is of paramount importance.

  • Annotate more for practice
  • Acclimate to GRE
  • Alter your learnings to GRE learnings

Carefully observing what I did wrong in the previous mock I sat for helps students get better with their approaches to solve problems. Working on what type of questions and what concepts I lagged at will be fruitful to get score improvement. Practicing and relaxing yourself regularly is the key. Keep an eagle eye on your flaws and try avoiding them in your further tests.



The GRE is a standardized test required for admission to most sought graduate schools. The test assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills(AWA -Analytical Writing Assessment). The GRE exam time being revised and becoming shorter from September 22, 2023, the duration of the General Test (GRE) is now shortened to 2 hours minus 2 minutes. Aiming top GRE scores like 325+ on your GRE score card needs a strategic plan and a habit of being regular.


GRE Sections


Adding congratulatory and good luck notes already, to an idea of yours to obtain good GRE exam results. Practicing should be silent enough to let your GRE scores sound louder.

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