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GRE, the agonizing journey ...


Amstlight
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Today I've taken this dreadful exam for the 3rd time.

 

GRE scores so far:

 

1st attempt - V156, Q158, AWA 5

2nd attempt - V155, Q156, AWA 4.5

3rd attempt - V159, Q159, AWA (hoping for at least 5)

 

To recap - for the first attempt, I studied about 10 days in total, used Manhattan, Kaplan, Barron & ETS. For the 2nd attempt, I took a few months, prepared systematically; used Magoosh a lot, did all their quant questions, had an estimate of 159-164, but ended with 156, big shame! the day really went awful...

 

Now for the 3rd attempt, for quant I still used Magoosh and other resources that I found on google - there were a few topics I could not find any satisfactory materials on either Magoosh or any other test prep providers.

 

Manhattan practice test scores -

Test 1 - 164Q

Test 2 - 166Q

Test 3 - 166Q

 

Magoosh test scores

Test 1 - 164Q

Test 2 - 167Q

Test 3 - 167Q

Test 4 - 165Q

 

Magoosh quantitative estimate on dashboard 162-167...

 

Now the interesting bit:

I never prepared for AWA and verbal because I simply did not care about my verbal scores.

Especially today I was baffled to see my new verbal score of 159 with zero preparation ( I am not a native English speaker). It also hurt big time given the effort I put in the quant prep. Identical scores were the least I expected. I was hoping for a 163-165 range in the quant but this score continues to elude me.

 

Regarding the quant in today's exam, I had 3 sections, one of which was presumably experimental. In the light of what I've experienced today, I still stand by my belief that so far I do not know of any test prep provider whose quant material/prep questions actually match the real exam questions in both versatility and difficulty. In today's exam I would estimate the number of tricky questions at about 70-75%. Maybe I am unlucky and keep getting the toughies but I often noticed how even simple concepts were embedded in a challenging question format that I personally felt unaccustomed to, even after doing all the practice tests.

 

What next? Well, I reckon that for my master's applications this season my today's scores will probably do ( not sure, any opinions would be welcome), however, if I decide to pursue a PhD in the future, I will need a quant score of at least 165. Will I try again? Yes, I probably will, I simply cant let the GRE beast kill my future plans. At the same time I hope that in the near future there will be more prep materials on the market that can match the real thing. So far I am yet to see any.

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Lol, 

 

I had similar experience with my GRE...

 

Except, I put the time and effort in the first time with Magoosh and Manhattan... 

 

My practice scores...

 

ETS Power Prep: 156, 150Q

Manhattan Test 1: 161V, 148Q

Manhattan Test 2: 163V, 152Q

Manhattan Test 3: 157V, 153Q

Manhattan Test 4: 158V, 155Q

Manhattan Test 5: 158V, 157Q

Manhattan Test 6: 158V, 164Q

ETS PowerPrep 2: 156V, 150Q (what the hell happened here?!)

Magoosh Dashboard: 157-162V, 155-160Q 

 

GRE actual test 1 after decent prepwork: 157V, 146Q

 

Took the GRE 3 weeks later without studying at all... because I was annoyed by the discrepancy in practice and actual GRE score.

 

GRE actual test 2: 155V, 150Q

 

So I'm a bit stumped on how to prep for it... but am applying for top-tier East Asian Studies programs... so will probably need a much higher score. Since it's too late this year to retake the test again... we'll see what happens with my application... but if I don't get in... I have a full year to work on my building my reading and math skills.

Edited by makingmoves
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Lol, 

 

I had similar experience with my GRE...

 

Except, I put the time and effort in the first time with Magoosh and Manhattan... 

 

My practice scores...

 

ETS Power Prep: 156, 150Q

Manhattan Test 1: 161V, 148Q

Manhattan Test 2: 163V, 152Q

Manhattan Test 3: 157V, 153Q

Manhattan Test 4: 158V, 155Q

Manhattan Test 5: 158V, 157Q

Manhattan Test 6: 158V, 164Q

ETS PowerPrep 2: 156V, 150Q (what the hell happened here?!)

Magoosh Dashboard: 157-162V, 155-160Q 

 

GRE actual test 1 after decent prepwork: 157V, 146Q

 

Took the GRE 3 weeks later without studying at all... because I was annoyed by the discrepancy in practice and actual GRE score.

 

GRE actual test 2: 155V, 150Q

 

So I'm a bit stumped on how to prep for it... but am applying for top-tier East Asian Studies programs... so will probably need a much higher score. Since it's too late this year to retake the test again... we'll see what happens with my application... but if I don't get in... I have a full year to work on my building my reading and math skills.

hey makingmoves

 

With the deadlines coming up within the next few weeks (not sure about yours), it's hard to plan a re-take. See how things go during this season and then decide. Unfortunately for me, I do not have a choice - even if I get into the masters program, I will still go for a re-take. Before that however, I need to refine my exam-taking strategy - yesterday for example I noticed a slight improvement in my anxiety/pressure management (As I know I need to score high in Quant, the pressure gets too high), I have a long way to go in learning to manage my fears. Also the problem could be that yesterday I ran completely out of time in my last quant section and this forced me to solve 6 questions in less than 4 min. I thought I was good with timing but it was probably due to the twisted questions that I ended up wasting too much time. I still need to improve on how to "let it go". Apart from that I need some more challenging GRE practice materials (beyond Magoosh) but I do not know where I can get them. Any thoughts?

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

Just curious, do you pay for the Manhattan, Magoosh and ETS PowerPrep tests? And if not, how many free attempts do you get? And are they timed tests?

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Just curious, do you pay for the Manhattan, Magoosh and ETS PowerPrep tests? And if not, how many free attempts do you get? And are they timed tests?

 

Depends. To access Manhattan's practice tests, one has to purchase an instructional book. This means, a book meant to educate rather than a book whose sole purpose is to provide practice problems. These aren't technically free because they come with the book (it's provided via code in the book). Magoosh's practice tests are only available if you purchase the product. However, their practice test is comprised of practice questions. Nothing original there, but also not free. ETS' Powerprep tests, however, are a little different. A program can be downloaded via ETS' website called Powerprep that provides 2 (I think, it's been a few months) free tests, and you can determine whether a test is timed or untimed. However, were you to purchase the Official Guide, you would receive a CD that essentially has two tests. I do not know if the two tests are exact copies though.

 

As for Magoosh and Manhattan's tests timed and untimed, I unfortunately do not remember. I never took a practice test using Magoosh, and I think you may have been able to install a time limit on the test for Manhattan, but I do not remember. Hope that helps.

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How is a 159 going to keep you out of any program? You've taken it three times already and have a respectable score, I would just leave it at that.

I should be fine for some of the M S programs I am currently applying for but it's not enough for PhD programs [sigh]

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I'd kill for a 159. LOL 

hahaha ..i can understand that. I wish you best of luck, if u're still looking for tips on how to get up to 159, PM me :))

 

I've realised in my case that staying within 155-159 range is relatively easy. The problem is pushing the score over this damn threshold. I still feel that coping with pressure/anxiety is my main problem since all my practice tests were in the 163-167 range... but I would welcome any suggestions/thoughts from GRE high achievers.

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hahaha ..i can understand that. I wish you best of luck, if u're still looking for tips on how to get up to 159, PM me :))

 

I've realised in my case that staying within 155-159 range is relatively easy. The problem is pushing the score over this damn threshold. I still feel that coping with pressure/anxiety is my main problem since all my practice tests were in the 163-167 range... but I would welcome any suggestions/thoughts from GRE high achievers.

 

Is there a particular type of question that you have problems with? I think you could take a look at your GRE score report to check. If not...I have some anecdotal advice for you. :)

 

My biggest problem with the GRE was also generalized anxiety...and what I realized what simply fatigue. (I missed lots more questions at the tail end than at the beginning of the test.) I started with a score of 156 for the Q section, and studied on-and-off for about two months to review concepts and such. Then, for two weeks, I did the following routine: I took a practice test (including the writing) and also did an extra random practice section to simulate the experimental section. Afterward, I'd review the questions I missed -- every day for two weeks. 

 

This got me very familiar with the physical/mental rigors of the test, which I think was my weakness. (As opposed to not understanding the material on the exam.) I managed to score a 167 on test day.

 

Of course, if I knew then that I would be applying to humanities Ph.D. programs with those GRE scores, I probably wouldn't have tried so hard to get my math scores up...

 

Best of luck to you!

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  • 3 years later...
On 12/19/2013 at 3:14 AM, Amstlight said:

Today I've taken this dreadful exam for the 3rd time.

 

GRE scores so far:

 

1st attempt - V156, Q158, AWA 5

2nd attempt - V155, Q156, AWA 4.5

3rd attempt - V159, Q159, AWA (hoping for at least 5)

I'm curious which sections you got as experimental in each of the 3 times you appeared for the test?

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