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gre test anxiety - questions etc - your help is much appreciated :)


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Hi guys,

I will take the GRE in (less than) a month (08.03). I am Swiss, my mother tongue is French and I will apply to the master of banking and finance, University of St-Gallen (call it a pseudo Ivy league university from Switzerland). The deadline is the 30.4.16. I have a bachelor in business administration and I started the prep at the beginning of January (between 15 and 25 hours a week, working full-time). I plan to retake the exam twice if my scores are not sufficient (I need a 160Q).

The university in question requires the toefl (100 min.) and a gre (or gmat, min. 680). I did the Toefl last December (scored of 106, 5 days of preparation). I decided to take the GRE (and not the GMAT) because they only require a quanti score for the GRE (160 Q) with no specific indication for the verbal section (according to the admission committee..). Moreover I heard that the GMAT quant is harder than the GRE. I am working with Magoosh and Manhattan (5 lb books + voc flash cards). So far, I didn't take any practice exam (yeah I am a bit scared), I saw all Magoosh's video, did around 700 questions (80% quant.). I already saw 90% of the GRE Quanti topics (only geometry was dusty). 

I am a bit worried about some aspects: 

- QUANT: I am not very gifted at math. Don't get me wrong: I am ok and I understand a lot although I had to work a lot to make up for the fact that I "gave up" math as a child. I belong to these people who once had nightmares about math (yes I swear I did). I have kind of a love-hate relationship to math (anyone in that situation :) ?). The rumor has it that the GRE quant got harder over the last months. I read on forums that some people got were very frustrated because of the difficulty of the questions on the test day (vs their practice tests). Some recent feedbacks would be much appreciated (I know it's a rumor but still...). Is it that hard to get a 160Q?

- VERBAL: I don't aim for a 160 V on the test as it is not required for my university. However, I am reading a lot in English, taking a lot of notes, and I work with Magoosh + Manhattan flashcards a lot. The fact that my mother tongue is French helps me (not a lot, but it helps). Would be great to have a feedback about that section from someone whose mother tongue is not English.

Finally, I would like to know what you guys think about the following: I have the feeling that quanti can seem very hard at the beginning but in the end, it is the verbal section that is the most challenging one, notably because of the fact that you need to have a great vocabulary to aim a very good score (160+). Do you agree?

I am writing on this forum because I need some encouragements. 

Thanks a lot,


Edited by swissfox
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi - I took the GRE twice last year to get the Quant score I wanted (95%, or greater than 165, I think). I applied for engineering programs, so I studied the Quant religiously for about four or five months using Manhattan Prep. Please note that I am actually terrible at remembering how to do basic math, and my first practice test was abysmal, but after studying that hard, I ended up getting 168 on my Quant. 

My first test last year had two quant questions on a topic I was weak on, and two questions is enough to blow it. Also I was generally panick-y and just blew it.

However, I feel that Manhattan Prep, and A LOT of tests, prepared me well. I took something like 13 practice tests, and then I re-took them til I got them right. My advice: Buy all the Manhattan Prep books, and work through them all, including the 1lb book, should you have the time. I also used Kaplan, though I felt that was less helpful. Take all the practice tests you can. The GRE company has at least two for you to use, Manhattan Prep should have 6, and I imagine Magoosh has some? Or just buy another study book for the tests. Also check your local library - I checked out a few more books with practice tests there, though I didn't feel they were super great.

As far as verbal goes, I don't have much advice there. I had strong scores without much practice, so I didn't do much studying beyond the practice tests. I would warn you that I don't think Manhattan Prep is best for Verbal.

tl;dr: TAKE AS MANY TESTS AS POSSIBLE. It doesn't matter how much you know if you get stressed out and panic in the middle of your test. Buy Manhattan prep books for quant help, IMHO.

Best of luck!

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First of all, the GRE is computer adaptive, which means it's programmed to give you questions that are on the edge of your abilities - for more on this, see our free videos - https://www.greenlighttestprep.com/module/general-gre-info-and-strategies/video/1250 (the adaptive part starts around 1:40)


As far as test anxiety goes, proper mindset will do wonders for your score. If you're interested, I wrote two articles on this topic:



I hope that helps. 


Brent - Greenlight Test Prep




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