Crack the GRE

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Un­der­stand what the test mea­sures Un­der­stand test- tak­ing strate­gies Prac­tise, prac­tise Make final prepa­ra­tions for test day Rest ad­e­quately

More and more In­dian as­pi­rants are tak­ing to the Grad­u­ate Record Ex­am­i­na­tion (GRE) with ev­ery pass­ing year for get­ting into busi­ness pro­grammes of many grad­u­ate schools in the United States and in other English-speak­ing coun­tries. The test is cre­ated by the Ed­u­ca­tional Test­ing Ser­vice (ETS), which aims to mea­sure ver­bal rea­son­ing, quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing, an­a­lyt­i­cal writ­ing and crit­i­cal think­ing skills of a test taker.

The GRE re­vised Gen­eral Test, a com­puter-based ex­am­i­na­tion, was in­tro­duced in Au­gust 2011 and is be­ing ad­min­is­tered by se­lected qual­i­fied test­ing cen­ters across the world. Fur­ther, the re­vised test fea­tures a new de­sign and new ques­tion types, there­fore us­ing test prepa­ra­tion for the prior ver­sion of the gen­eral test is not rec­om­mended.

Here comes some strate­gies and tips that will help you pre­pare for the GRE

re­vised gen­eral test:

The 'An­a­lyt­i­cal Writ­ing' sec­tion mea­sures your abil­ity to sus­tain a well-fo­cused and co­her­ent dis­cus­sion, ar­tic­u­late com­plex ideas clearly and ef­fec­tively, sup­port your ideas with rel­e­vant ex­am­ples, and ex­am­ine claims and ac­com­pa­ny­ing ev­i­dence. There is one an­a­lyt­i­cal writ­ing sec­tion in the test, with two 30-minute sep­a­rately timed tasks: 'An­a­lyse an Is­sue' and 'An­a­lyse an Ar­gu­ment'. The an­a­lyt­i­cal writ­ing score is re­ported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point in­cre­ments.

The 'Ver­bal Rea­son­ing' sec­tion mea­sures your abil­ity to an­a­lyse and draw con­clu­sions from dis­course, un­der­stand mul­ti­ple lev­els of mean­ing, se­lect im­por­tant points, and un­der­stand the mean­ings of sen­tences and en­tire texts. There are two 30-minute ver­bal rea­son­ing sec­tions in the test, each con­tain­ing about 20 ques­tions. The ver­bal rea­son­ing score is re­ported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1point in­cre­ments.

The 'Quan­ti­ta­tive Rea­son­ing' sec­tion mea­sures your abil­ity to in­ter­pret and an­a­lyse quan­ti­ta­tive in­for­ma­tion and use math­e­mat­i­cal skills such as arith­metic, al­ge­bra, ge­om­e­try, prob­a­bil­ity and sta­tis­tics to solve prob­lems. There are two 35-minute quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing sec­tions in the test, each con­tain­ing about 20 ques­tions. The quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing score is re­ported on a 130170 score scale, in 1-point in­cre­ments.

Know the test for­mat

The to­tal time al­lowed for the com­puter-based GRE re­vised 'Gen­eral Test' is three hours and 45 min­utes, and has six sec­tions with a 10-minute break af­ter the third sec­tion. The di­rec­tions at the be­gin­ning of each sec­tion spec­ify the to­tal num­ber of ques­tions in the sec­tion and the time al­lowed for the sec­tion. The an­a­lyt­i­cal writ­ing sec­tion is al­ways the first sec­tion, while the ver­bal rea­son­ing and quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing sec­tions can ap­pear in any or­der. An uniden­ti­fied un­scored sec­tion that does not count to­ward a score may be in­cluded and may ap­pear in any or­der. An iden­ti­fied re­search sec­tion that is not scored may be in­cluded, and it will al­ways be at the end of the test.

The ques­tions in the re­vised test have a va­ri­ety of for­mats. Some re­quire you to se­lect a sin­gle an­swer choice, oth­ers re­quire you to se­lect one or more an­swer choices, and still oth­ers re­quire you to en­ter a numeric an­swer. There­fore, be­fore an­swer­ing a ques­tion, make sure that you un­der­stand what type of re­sponse is re­quired.

The re­vised test of­fers to the test tak­ers a friend­lier and tech­ni­cally ad­vanced test pat­tern, which is de­signed to pro­vide grad­u­ate and busi­ness schools with even more use­ful re­sults. Its friendly de­sign fea­tures be­cause pro­vide a bet­ter test­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, as you not only have the free­dom to move back and forth, edit or change an­swers, skip and re­turn to ques­tions, all within a sec­tion, but you also have the abil­ity to use more of your own test-tak­ing strate­gies. The on-screen cal­cu­la­tor is an ad­di­tional ad­van­tage. New ques­tions em­pha­sise real-world sce­nar­ios and there is less reliance on vo­cab­u­lary out of con­text, adding to the ap­peal of the re­vised test. On the an­a­lyt­i­cal writ­ing mea­sure, time man­age­ment is im­por­tant. Within 30minute time limit for each task, you'll need to al­low suf­fi­cient time to think about the topic, plan a re­sponse and com­pose your es­say. Save a few min­utes at the end of each task to check for er­rors. Although an oc­ca­sional ty­po­graph­i­cal, spell­ing or gram­mat­i­cal er­ror will not af­fect your score, but se­vere or per­sis­tent er­rors will de­tract from the over­all ef­fec­tive­ness of your writ­ing and lower your score.

Your ver­bal rea­son­ing and quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing scores are de­ter­mined by the num­ber of ques­tions you an­swer cor­rectly. There is no neg­a­tive mark­ing for a wrong an­swer. There­fore, to max­imise your scores on the ver­bal rea­son­ing and quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing mea­sures, it is best to an­swer ev­ery ques­tion. Work as rapidly as you can with­out be­ing care­less. Since no ques­tion car­ries greater weight than any other, do not waste time pon­der­ing in­di­vid­ual ques­tions that you find ex­tremely dif­fi­cult or un­fa­mil­iar.

Go through each timed sec­tion rapidly first, stop only to an­swer ques­tions that you can an­swer with cer­tainty. Then go back and an­swer the ques­tions that re­quire greater thought, and con­clude with the dif­fi­cult ques­tions, if you have time.

Plan your prepa­ra­tion

Prepa­ra­tion for the test de­pends on the amount of time you have avail­able and your per­sonal pref­er­ences for how to pre­pare. At a min­i­mum, be­fore you take the test, you should know what to ex­pect from the test, in­clud­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures, types of ques­tions and di­rec­tions, ap­prox­i­mate num­ber of ques­tions and amount of time for each sec­tion.

The ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures in­clude reg­is­tra­tion and ap­point­ment sched­ul­ing, date, time, test cen­ter lo­ca­tion, cost, score-re­port­ing pro­ce­dures and avail­abil­ity of spe­cial test­ing ar­range­ments. Find out more by vis­it­ing www.ets.org/gre/re­vised_ge neral/pre­pare/tips/. Prac­tise tak­ing the test. Make use of the free ma­te­ri­als that are avail­able at www.takethe­gre.com/prep. Down­load the 'Pow­er­prep 2' soft­ware to ex­pe­ri­ence a sim­u­lated test-tak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Take a prac­tice test, and be­come fa­mil­iar with the test di­rec­tions, ques­tion types, on-screen cal­cu­la­tor, test­ing soft­ware and test de­sign. Printed ma­te­rial is also avail­able, such as The Of­fi­cial Guide to the GRE re­vised Gen­eral Test from ETS, the mak­ers of the test.

Re­mem­ber your valid Photo ID, check the ETS web­site www.ets.org/gre/re­vised_ge neral/test_­day/id/ to make sure that you have valid and ac­cept­able iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The name you used to reg­is­ter must ex­actly match the name on the ID doc­u­ments that you will present at the test cen­ter.

Con­nect with other test tak­ers by vis­it­ing the GRE page on Face­book and in­ter­act with them to ex­change ideas. Sign up to get of­fi­cial test-taker up­dates at www.takethe­gre.com/signup . Pack any­thing that you may need such as water and a snack to have dur­ing the break. Pack your bag the night be­fore and set an alarm. On test day, wear com­fort­able clothes and dress so that you can adapt to any room tem­per­a­ture. A good night's sleep will work won­ders.

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