Top 10 Mistakes that Student make while preparing for GRE


The Graduate Research Examination or GRE is an annually administered test by Educational Testing Services (ETS). The GRE is a computer adaptive test that serves as a gateway towards admission into top graduate schools and countries in the US, UK, and a few other countries. The test assesses an individual’s ability of verbal reasoning, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. The test contains three major sections: 

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Reasoning

Many aspirants sit for their GRE preparation every year but make the following mistakes that appear as hurdles in their study abroad journey:

Not knowing the test content thoroughly

  • The first step in making any activity or preparation successful is to know about the thing in detail. A test taker must be well-equipped with the content of the GRE course and the skills tested in each topic/section. Although the GRE tests contain questions from English and Mathematics, one should not assume the questions to be mere subject-based questions. 
  • The GRE tests one’s ability to apply their skills critically and analytically. GRE preparation should always start with the proper understanding of the course and the content. It will help a test taker to curate a tailor-made study plan and help in achieving the top GRE Score
  • For GRE Preparation, one should consult only reliable and reputable sources like the official materials or refer to those manuals that are made in adherence to the actual GRE course, like the one which is comprehensively structured by the Princeton Review, followed in the classes for GRE preparation at Manya-The Princeton Review

Unplanned GRE preparation

  • Many test takers plan to take the GRE but due to lack of proper research and guidance, they start their GRE preparation in an abrupt manner. 
  • Tests of global standards like the GRE cannot be taken within just a few weeks of practice. It requires proper planning, a pivotal study plan, and an understanding of the skills required and the tools to be used for specific question types.
  • One can take help from renowned institutions that offer GRE prep courses like Manya-The Princeton Review.

Proceeding without a planned schedule

Proceeding without a plan schedule

  • Every action needs a blueprint before execution. Similarly, the GRE preparation also requires a proper and strategically planned timetable. One should always begin by taking a GRE mock test to first understand the test fully and to know one’s potential. Depending on the GRE score achieved on the test, one should start preparing the schedule for GRE preparation accordingly.

Focusing on one section

  • Every section of the GRE is equally important and both the quant and the verbal sections together contribute to the final score. Some top colleges also ask for a specific AWA score. Hence, it is essential to give equivalent time to all three sections and prepare for all the sections equally. 
  • Let us suppose, the verbal section is found difficult by a test taker. He should definitely give more time in preparing for the verbal questions but that again should not hamper his practice for quant questions or the essay preparation. To have a good score, one should be aptly prepared.

Avoiding certain topics

  • While a student may excel in one particular section in general, it may still be a bottleneck when it comes to the actual test. Thus, one should not become overconfident and leave particular topics or one exclusive section while preparing for the GRE. 
  • As the GRE is a time-bound test, one will require proper pacing even when doing one’s favorite set of questions.

Not taking enough mocks

  • Theory and practice go hand in hand. One should always take mock tests after completion of certain portions of the test. As per one’s ability, a test taker should first divide the entire sections into parts and after the completion of each interval, she/he should sit for a mock. 
  • Taking GRE mock tests will not only give the test taker the feel of the real examination but also help to understand the intensity of the test. Appearing for mock tests will also allow a test taker to apply the learned skills in a mixed bag of questions and review where one stands after days of preparation.

Not reviewing the mistakes you made in your mock tests

  • After taking a mock one should always review all the questions both correct and incorrect. Full-stop reviewing the incorrect questions will help one understand where the mistakes are. How to correct them by going through the incorrect questions can provide an inside of understanding how to solve the same question within a lesser amount of time.
  • You should always review each and every mock test and then prepare for the questions that are difficult.
  • Making an error log and updating it after every attempt of the mock test is advisable.

Not applying the skills or strategies regularly

  • The GRE is a standardized test that requires the application of certain skills and strategies to a bunch of questions within a time frame. Although one can learn the skills required for specific questions during GRE Preparation, if the application of those skills is not practiced on a regular basis, one may not be able to apply the same during the actual GRE test. 
  • On the other hand, certain questions of a harder difficulty level can still be solved with the application of discrete tools. If one does not practice these regularly, it will be difficult to apply the same during the actual test.

Poor Time Management and Panicking during the exam

Poor time management for GRE

  • Time-bound tests like the GRE not only tests one’s ability to answer different questions but also expects the questions to be answered within the time frame. Not being able to solve a set of questions within the stipulated time can lead to low scores. 
  • Thus, test takers should always practice with the use of a timer, learn strategies to solve questions first, and with the use of specific tools, give a fighting shot to extremely difficult questions too. 
  • Although taking regular GRE Mocks can give students the feel of the actual test, the pressure and intensity of the actual test will definitely be more acute. However, a test taker needs to maintain her/his calm and proceed as planned, working first on questions of her/his forte and slowly taking the leap towards the questions of difficult levels.
  •  If you come across an extremely difficult question, you should immediately know what is to be done because you have had such situations earlier during the GRE Mock tests too. Moreover, one incorrect answer will not ruin the whole test but panicking over one question and getting stuck on it will largely hamper your GRE score.

I have a calculator: Yay -Easy ride

  • GRE calculator is a very basic calculator wherein feeding values and operators is a time-consuming task. The test taker should learn handy calculation skills during GRE preparation so that each time you get an idea of using the calculator, you should be sure whether it is really needed or not. During GRE preparation, trainers at Manya-The Princeton Review will guide you on how you can be judicious with the usage of a calculator. Devise your own quick ways of comparing fractions, manipulating equations, and operating numbers which you will get after having solved a variety of GRE based problems.
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What are the mistakes made in the verbal section?

The Verbal Reasoning of the GRE assesses a test taker’s reading skills, logical reasoning, and stock of vocabulary. Many students do not utilize the specific strategies required for such question types and do not focus on GRE specific vocabulary.

Is the AWA score important?

As the Analytical Writing Assessment or AWA score doesn’t add up to the final score of 340, many test takers tend to avoid giving sufficient time for its preparation. However, it is worth mentioning that many top colleges and universities ask for a good AWA score during the application scrutiny process.

How to avoid mistakes in the quantitative reasoning section?

Following the technique of maintaining organized scratch paperwork will help you in the long run. Sometimes in haste, despite having solved a question correctly you tend to mark a wrong answer. Jotting down everything on paper first will help you stabilize what particular answer you should mark. Not bookmarking time-intensive charts or data interpretation questions may give you a tough deal to complete the whole test. Not drawing the figures for geometry-based questions may make an easy problem look complex. Not following the keywords of the final question before filling in an answer for Numeric entry questions may make you avoid rounding off the answer that they actually wanted. If you skip steps or tend to do it in mind or forget that you have answer choices to take clues from or start panicking about having found something weird may make you under-perform and hence low GRE score.

Why is a comprehensive GRE Prep course needed?

During classroom training, you come across a variety of problems where you develop your own instinct for dealing with a problem. The GRE Prep course will let you learn global techniques to enhance your GRE score. Initially, you should start learning your essential reasoning skills through the foundations of each verbal as well as Quant covered in your GRE Preparation. During your GRE preparation, comprehensive learning should include GRE mock tests at suitable intervals with thorough review and analysis.

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