Before you go on to the GRE Study Material and the Questions (using the Links on
this page), here are a few common Pitfalls to avoid and Basic Strategies that will
help you get a higher GRE score.
- All Questions are NOT equal
The questions on the GRE generally get tougher towards the end of a section. More
so if you are cruising along the 90 percentile+ level.
Double check EVERY answer for the first 10 questions
The GRE is an adaptive test, which means that the level of difficulty of a question
changes depending upon your performance.
The weightage of the first few questions is much higher than the last few questions.
Many students make the mistake of treating all questions as equal.
This is probably the most important pitfall to avoid. You need to be doubly sure about
the first ten questions than the ones that come later, especially at the end.
- Do NOT leave any section unfinished
The penalty for unfinished questions is much higher than incorrect answers. Do NOT
become emotionally involved with any question. Even if you think the question is
outrageously difficult or outright incorrect. Just guess and move on.
It is not simply that you will NOT get marks for each unfinished question, on the other
hand you are highly likely to be Penalized for leaving a section unfinished.
You need to be very careful of this pitfall and if running short on time, take a random
guess and try to finish the section, rather than leaving questions unmarked.
- Know that time can be your biggest enemy
Certain questions by their very nature take more time to answer. The first step to
better time management is to recognize these questions.
While doing your practice tests, try to become more aware of how much time you
have taken to answer a question. You will soon begin to develop an Internal Clock
that will help you meet the pacing requirements of the GRE and reduce test anxiety.
- Make good use of the Scratch Paper
Many of the GRE questions, in both the Verbal and the Quant sections, require use
of the Scratch paper.
Please keep in mind that you may not be able to get as much scratch paper as you
need. Learn to confine your rough work to a minimum in order not to run into
problems at the actual GRE Exam.
- Compare & Discard
This is immensely useful for the Verbal section of the GRE Exam.
While there may be a 'Perfect' answer to a question, it may not appear as one of the
options. What you need to do is compare the different answer choices and choose
the best one available.
In fact you canusually zero down on two choices and discard the ones that are
distinctly different from these two.
- Use Short cuts Only when necessary
As I have explained in detail in my book 'Ways of the GRE Winners', it is extremely
important to be aware of all the possible shortcuts that are available to you.
However, these are to be used with extremely caution, especially for the first 15
questions in each section. This is important if you need an overall score of 1400+.
- Analyze your Strengths & Weaknesses and create a study plan unique to
The important thing here is to stick to your study plan.
- Managing Test Anxiety
More than anything else, the GRE is an test of your nerves. There are hundreds of
brilliant students who score MUCH lower in the GRE than they do in their practice
It is important to manage your test anxiety. You can try using techniques like
'Thought Stopping', 'Self-Talk' and 'Visualization.
- The obvious answer is the Wrong Answer
There is a catch here. While the obvious answer is indeed the Correct one in the
beginning of a section, when the questions are easier, towards the end, the obvious
answer (the one you can guess without spending much time on), is likely to be the
wrong one, so be careful.
- PLAN YOUR ESSAYS
Take three to five minutes to think before you write. Pick a direction and stick to it,
Write for 20 to 25 minutes-and say something meaningful & coherent Use your last
few minutes to proofread your work. Also, be sure to write neatly. If the essay scorers
can't read your essay, they can't score it,
Indent your paragraphs deeply and follow established essay-writing procedures. Set
up your theme in an introductory paragraph. Include a couple of paragraphs with
examples that back up your position. Finally, wrap up with a conclusion.
I have detailed out these and other advanced strategies for getting a score of 1500+
in the ebook Ways of the GRE Winners.
Learn how GRE Winners Improve their Reading skills here.
Get some practice solving typical tough Math questions here.
Click here to read how Keith got a 1560 Score.
Of course, you cannot forget the all important 'Vocabulary' section.
This section does NOT give you thousands of 'dry' words with meaning.
It provides you with the 1100 Most Important GRE Words, and clearly illustrates their usage in
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