how to top the gre
- The Secret to topping the GRE
Even though the GRE is considered one of the tougher exams, cracking it is quite simple if one knows how to go about it. The GRE comprises three sections, namely Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing. Of these, students find that the Verbal section is the one that often gives them problems. This is understandable, given that the GRE is an exam that has verbal questions of a high standard and performing in this section can be a daunting task, especially for non-native English speakers.
To crack the verbal section, let us first analyze the section. There are four types of questions in the verbal section: analogies, antonyms, sentence completion, and reading comprehension. Three out of these four kinds of questions depend on mastery of a single concept, namely vocabulary.
The importance of vocabulary cannot be stressed enough with regard to the Verbal section. Without a strong vocabulary, it is downright impossible to crack analogies, antonyms, and sentence completion questions. The reason is that while it is possible to answer questions in the Reading Comprehension section without understanding all the words, it is impossible to even comprehend and attempt questions if you do not understand the words and the sentence.
Therefore, intense preparation with regard to vocabulary is required. The recommended course of action is devoting roughly 1-2 hours everyday to learning and more importantly, retaining new words. Rather than just learning the synonyms of a given word, it is recommended to study the sentence in which the word appears, so that the meaning of the word may be placed in context.
Word Lists are a good way of learning words that seldom feature in daily conversation but are often tested in the GRE. Students who have done well in the GRE usually make their own notes in the Word Lists, often using mnemonics, personal, and vernacular keywords to help remember the word better. You may try this approach to see whether this works for you.
More than mugging new words, openness to learning new words is required. Most students have a mental block when it comes to learning new words, and this attitude hurts them during the lead up to the exam and during the exam itself. So, developing a passion for new words, short-lived and painful as it may be, is necessary to do well in the Verbal section.
Possessing a dictionary is mandatory but even more important than possessing a dictionary is using that dictionary. Feel free to look up unknown words and there will be a number of those when you prepare. Have an open mind and be confident, and you're assured of a great score in the verbal section.