Did you know that it is possible for you to get a perfect score, 340, on the GRE? Yes, it is, but under one condition- if there were no time constraints on the GRE. Since ETS tests you only on basic English and Math, it is quite possible that you know how to solve every question on the GRE. Unfortunately, the GRE is a timed test. It may be quite easy to score between 130 and 150 on the quant and verbal sections, but for a score between 150 and 170 you need to possess two important qualities: ability to manage the time and test-taking acumen.
Let us take it for granted that you are well acquainted with the topics tested. The challenge is to score a maximum within the specified time limit. The normal response of any student, for a difficult question, is to spend more time on it. This results in a lack of time for the rest of the questions and, hence, what follows is an increase in stress level. Simply put, this amounts to poor decision making.
The solution is simple.
1) Target the low hanging fruits first. For example, the Sentence Equivalence and Text completion questions on the verbal section may be relatively easier and less time consuming (unless you are vocabulary challenged) than Reading Comprehension questions. You can navigate between questions in the GRE, so attempt the easier questions first.
2) The next are the hard nuts, which you can crack but need some intense focus. Mostly these are questions that you are able to pare down to 2 options, yet unable to take a final decision. In such a situation, you can use the ‘Mark and Move’ option. Parking it for a while to tackle later may allow you to look at the question with a new perspective. Remember, just like hard nuts, which are rich in proteins and vitamins, these questions have huge rewards hidden inside.
3) Then come the fruits beyond your reach. These may be questions that you don’t know how to solve or may be the ones that give you jitters with tough vocabulary. What is the best response here? Skip these questions, for the time being, work on the hard nuts again and then return to these questions. Throw stones on these high-hanging fruits, till time permits you. In other words, take a guess, if need be – of course, an educated one!! You need not worry about getting them wrong since there are no negative marks for wrong answers.
Test Taking Acumen
The next quality one should have is a strong test-taking acumen. This astuteness will help you take the right decision, but how can one take the right decision, especially when one is focusing on the hard nuts? After all, one needs to chase hard nuts to become indomitable! Practice!!! The more you practice, the more likely you are to be able to identify the mistakes made. This learning process engenders test-taking acumen. It is the ability to identify the pearls among the pebbles. The 2 to 3 options that remain are the most challenging ones since each option will be extremely alluring. You may get confused and be reluctant to take a final call. The more you practice, the more your ability to analyze the errors, and better your test-taking acumen.
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