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In this post we will discuss some of the things that are a ‘MUST do’ before retaking the GRE. This post assumes that you’ve taken the GRE before at least once and that you plan to retake it because you felt that your score did not reflect your actual potential. If you’re going to take the GRE for the first time though, our blog post about how to strategise your GRE prep might be more suitable for you.
Step 1: Analyse your test day performance
ETS lets you analyse your test-day performance with the free GRE Diagnostic service. You will be able to access this service after about 15 days of your test date and this will remain active for 6 months after the date of your test. This service will let you finely evaluate your approach for each question within the Verbal and Quant sections, the difficulty levels of each question, the question formats tested and time taken for each question. This data is invaluable as it gives you critical perspectives on how you performed, what pulled your scored down and as a result, where your preparation needs to be focused to ensure highest score improvements when retaking the GRE.
The picture above is a sample of a student’s actual Verbal diagnostic report.
Step 2: Identify and work on your core weaknesses
Perhaps your key weakness is vocabulary, or perhaps it has more to do with time management. Whichever it is, ensure that you identify it by analysing your diagnosis report. Taking a full-length mock test will also help you understand your core weakness better.
If your core weakness is conceptual (perhaps coordinate geometry), get your conceptual knowledge fixed through online videos, prep books or a preparation program.
If your core weakness is time-management, plan to solve a mixed set of 20 questions at one go, keeping time a constant. Your goal must be to respond to as many questions accurately as possible. This sometimes means letting go of a few questions that might eat up too much of your time.
Depending on what your identified weakness is, plan a course of action to remedy it so that you do not make these mistakes when retaking the GRE.
Step 3: Make all your practice sessions ‘GRE Like’
Most students are surprised when their GRE scores are much lower than the ones they were expecting or have been experiencing during their practice sets and mock tests. The reason this happens is most probably because their tests and practice sets were not ‘GRE Like’. Remember that the GRE is almost a 4 hour long testing experience. You have no option to pause the test.
This adds several new dimensions to the test taking experience
Stress management becomes a very important aspect to consider
Time constraints have a huge effect on your accuracy and the number of questions you can attempt
Fatigue sets in towards the end of the test and this makes maintaining composure an extremely hard task.
A cumulative effect of these things is that comprehension levels and decision making abilities dwindle with every section you complete.
If there is at all any secret behind why some people score 320’s and above, it’s that they are more comfortable with these four aspects of testing than the rest of the test takers.
The only way you can develop these aspects of test taking, is if you make your practice sets similar to the GRE test day experience.
Making practice test-day like
Only practice in sets of 20 – under strictly timed conditions
When taking Full-length tests, take the entire test with AWAs.
Take breaks in these only when the tests allows you to (and stick to the break timings).
If possible take your mock tests during the time (eg: 10am) that you are likely to book your next actual GRE slot for.
Step 4: Get a Mentor
Though you may be able to analyse and identify core weaknesses and even evaluate effective plans of action, you may find yourself stuck at a particular score level – unable to jump beyond it.
The only way you can surpass the “wall” you’ve hit is if you get strategic guidance from a mentor. This could be someone who has scored really high on the actual test, someone who has taught the GRE for a while or even a professor or a friend who is really good at analytical reasoning. Having a fresh pair of eyes look at your test taking approach can help you identify problem areas that would have otherwise slipped your notice and ensure that you score significantly better when retaking the GRE.
Step 5: Stick to a routine, build habits
One of the biggest reasons students aren’t successful on their GRE tests is that they practice in short burst and then restart prep at a later time. Thought this will show moderate gains in scores, you will not be able to reach the upper 320s through short bursts of preparation.
What sets a 90 percentile apart from the rest, is that these people make learning a habit. This includes learning vocabulary consistently (at least 30 minutes everyday), practicing question sets every other day and taking full-length mock tests every other week. This also means that you spend time on reviewing practice drills and vocabulary on a regular basis.
Follow these 5 steps and you should be on your way to a stellar GRE test day experience! Good luck!
On GMAT and GRE, the problem solving question can get quite tricky. They could trap you putting you on a loop of time-wasting calculations, or sending you on a spiral with the increasingly complicated computation steps. To avoid these traps, it is essential to use a strategic approach to solve these tricky problem solving question types.
Using Answer options to solve complex, time consuming Problem Solving Questions
In this strategy article we will discuss how you can work from the answer options to make strategic decisions on quantitative reasoning questions that have…
Numerical Answer Choices.
Only one of the choices is the right one.
Have five answer choices.
The options are in the increasing order from A to E.
These types of questions are fairly common in many exams such as GRE and GMAT. Let’s understand this strategy with an illustrative example.
Today Richard, who is 34 years old, and his son, who is 8 years old, celebrate their birthdays. How many years will pass before Richard’s age is twice his son’s age?
A. 10 B. 14 C. 18 D. 22 E. 26
Let’s solve this problem solving question using answer options
plusprep problem solving strategy
Let’s try this out
If we start with option B we get that Richard’s age is 48 and twice of his son’s age is 44 ( which should have been equal), therefore it seems we need to increase the value of the age difference.
So Neither B nor anything less than the value of B can be an answer. Eliminate Options A and B.
Next we move to D. At option D we notice that Richard’s age is 56 whereas twice of his son’s age in 60, i.e. we have gone too far and we need to reduce the number of years; thus we can be sure that D and values more than D would not be the answer. Eliminate option D and E.
It must logically follow that C is the correct answer. And it is as only C satisfies our criteria.
Solution Check with option C
To be sure that we got the correct answer, we can check the answer. Richard’s age after 18 years = 52 Richard’s son’s age after 18 years = 26
26 X 2 = 52
That was the condition in the question.
Try out a few more questions from the official guide to test this method. Let us know how it went.
Now would be a good time to test your quantitative reasoning acumen with the GMAT / GRE Quantitative reasoning mini-test.
Mechanical engineering is one of the most diverse engineering disciplines & often students who opt to pursue a Masters in Mechanical engineering in USA or Germany or any other country are faced with a dilemma while picking a specialization. It is important to know the options available in this exciting field and pick the right course.This blog will help you out in choosing some of the best specializations in Mechanical engineering
are some of the Specializations you can pick in Mechanical
1) Biomechanical Engineering1
GRE vocabulary is filled with tricky GRE words. Especially troublesome are the ones that seem familiar to you but have a secondary meaning you are not aware of, or has a definition that is quite contrary to what you might imagine it means.
Tricky GRE words : secondary meanings & counter-intuitive definitions
In this article let’s explore some of these often-tested tricky GRE words that are very likely to appear on the GRE.
Continue reading to find more in-dept explanations and real word usage of these words; plus a totally crazy revelation about three set of “common” words that you probably don’t know the actual meaning of!
1. COW (verb) : cause to submit by intimidation
An innocuous looking word; yet, ‘cow’ as a verb means to intimidate someone into submitting to one’s wishes.
Other forms: Cowed into (something).
Bill reiterated that he will not be cowed into staying quiet and will continue being an advocate dedicated to exposing the truth.
2. WAG (noun) : a funny and intelligent person
The verb wag is what a dog would do. The word ‘wag’ as a noun, however, is a person who is witty, funny and humorous. This is the kind of person who is fun to have in social gathering; quick witted and always guaranteeing a laugh!
Other forms: waggish.
One local wag says voters face a choice between “the evil of two lessers.”
3. QUALIFIED (adjective) : not complete or absolute; limited
The words ‘qualify‘, ‘qualified‘ and ‘qualification‘ have several commonly known meanings. However it does have a meaning that most aren’t aware of. Exams such as GRE, GMAT and SAT love adding a level of complexity to questions and answers by using this word to throw students off their games!
Compare these sentences
“John loves Dominos Pizzas.” This sentence shows unrestrained love or enthusiasm about Dominos Pizzas.
“Joseph loves Dominos Pizzas, but he dislikes the service and ambience.” In this sentence Joseph qualified his love or enthusiasm for Dominos. You could also say that Joseph has qualified love towards Dominos.
It was oddly radiant, as certain small, qualified smiles sometimes are.
You might have heard ‘pedestrian’ used as a noun to refer to someone who walks. Yet, this common word has a secondary meaning that not many are aware of.
Pedestrian as an adjective is used to describe something that is lacking inspiration and therefore is dull and boring.
I won’t tell you what they say to each other, except to note that it is both commonplace and shocking, as tragedy tends to be when it’s embedded in the pedestrian details of everyday life. It is not a scene of resolution or closure or even full explanation.
5. FLAG (verb) : become tired or less enthusiastic
You’re probably aware of multiple definitions of the verb “to flag”. For instance the phase to ‘flag off’ means to set something in motion, to “kick off”; to ‘flag something’ for review is to suggest that you are marking something that seems suspicious – to become alert!
Did you know though that ‘to flag’ also means to be drained of energy or enthusiasm? It could also be used to mean that something is losing momentum or intensity.
Other forms: flagging, flagged.
The increase suggests that home sales may rebound this year after months of flagging purchases.
6. COLOR (verb) : influence, in a negative way; to distort
The word color as a verb can mean ‘to influence’ or ‘to distort’ usually suggesting that the truth or reality gets influenced negatively as a consequence.
For instance: The jury, during high profile murder trials, are prohibited from watching the news since it is believed that watching news reports about the case could color their perceptions and prevent them from being disinterested.
Other forms: colored (adj) (v); colour / coloured (brit)
“The Hungarian government campaign color the truth and seeks to paint a dark picture of a secret plot to drive more migration to Europe”, the EU correspondent said.
7. PAN (verb) : to criticise severely
Not the pan you are thinking about! The verb pan suggests that someone of something is being criticised very badly for being ‘not-good-enough’.
Other forms: panned (v)
She was also featured in editorial cartoons that were widely panned as racist and sexist – which the prime minister subsequently condemned.
8. DISINTERESTED and DISPASSIONATE (adjective) : impartial; without bias
The words disinterested does mean to be uninterested, but GRE almost always only tests it’s other definition – which is to be impartial or without bias. This is true for the word ‘dispassionate‘ too.
Why is this the case? because the word ‘interest’ suggests a hidden predisposition or partiality towards something. Disinterested therefore shows lack of such underling “interests”. A judge who is disinterested or dispassionate, by the way, would be considered a good judge!
What are the words used to express lack of interest or passion? Well, uninterested and passionless might be the better alternatives.
Other forms: disinterest (n), dispassion (n); disinterestedness (adj), dispassionateness (adj).
One aspect of it is to dispute the very possibility that a judge, reporter or expert might act in a disinterested, objective fashion.
9. ARTFUL and CRAFTY (adjective) : clever, deceitful, cunning
Neither of these words mean to be ‘artistically creative’! They instead suggest that someone has the ability to out-wit someone; in that they can be deceitful and cunning! These words can be used interchangeably and mean the same thing.
What’s the word to describe artistic creativity then? Perhaps artistic!
Other forms: artfulness, craftiness (adj); craftily (adv)
Indeed, changing minds sometimes requires a dash of crafty Trojan-horse-style marketing.
10. ARTLESS and CRAFTLESS (adj) : without cunning and deception
Now that we know what artful and crafty mean, it should be straightforward what artless and craftless mean. And as predicted these mean to lack guile, deception or cunning. A simpleton might be called artless since he lacks the cunning and cleverness to deceive or manipulate.
Other forms: artlessness, craftlessness (adj) Note: Craftless and craftlessness are not as widely used as artless and artlessness.
“But in contrast to New York itself, I wanted to design it with extreme simplicity, unsophisticated, almost primitive and with naïve artlessness,” Kawakubo says.
Enjoyed this article? Learn more advanced English words through fun themes and word roots. Checkout the Advanced Vocabulary Course by Plusprep.
The IELTS is now available in Computer based format and has seen scores of test takers opt this format instead of the traditional paper based IELTS, however there are still a lot of myths floating around about the new format and some of it are spread among test takers, it is essentials to understand the test clearly before attempting the test in order to get a high band, the below table is an effort to dispel Computer based IELTS myths.
Debunking Computer Based IELTS Myths
Computer Based IELTS format is
No, the test format is the same in both modes
All sections are on Computer
No, speaking test is still face-face and offline
Computer based test is harder /
No, both formats are same and has the same difficulty
Can take my own device
No, the device is provided by the test centre
Scores are given immediately
No, scores on CB test takes 5-7 days
Computer test is costly
No, the fee is the same for both modes
Computer based test can be taken
No, the test dates are fixed like the paper-based test
Computer based test scoring is
No, the scoring pattern is the same for both tests
Computer based IELTS is only for General test
No, the test is available for both Academic & General test
Let’s face it: GRE vocabulary can be terrifying! You need to learn words you’ve never heard of before and the process of learning words can be quite painful and boring! This is why it’s important to learn words in a way that is both meaningful and fun. Etymology is a great way of doing this (check our article on How to build a killer words to know more), so too is the use of word themes to learn GRE words. In this article we will learn some words through GRE word themes; specifically words related to our solar system!
But the solar system as a GRE word theme? How does this work?
Numerous GRE words have Greek, Roman or Latin origins; Many specifically have their origins in ancient astronomical concepts and mythology (since those were closely related to each other). Because of this, many themes of words exist that have direct relationships with mythology and astronomy. Our Solar System, for instance consists of celestial bodies (planets and such) that epitomized the Greek and Roman gods of old. The qualities that these gods possessed, in most cases, evolved into more complex words in modern use! Let’s look at some examples and learn words through GRE Word themes.
The messenger god also called Hermes, Mercury was considered a hot headed, moody and unpredictable character; not dissimilar to the planet itself. It constantly changes from extreme hot to extreme cold temperatures over a very short time.
1.Mercurial: to be susceptible to sudden and unpredictable changes in mood.
The goddess Aphrodite is also called Venus. She was the goddess of love, desire and sensual pleasure. The word ‘aphrodisiac‘ comes from this greek name of Venus.
2. Venerate (v): to venerate someone is to adore them and show desire for them through respect. This word shows that you are absolutely filled with respect for someone to the point that you almost worship them!
3. Venal (adj): a person who is likely to behave in immoral ways to satisfy their immediate desires and pleasures can be called venal. For instance, someone who is likely to take bribes; some one is corrupt can be called venal.
4. Venereal (adj): as in a venereal disease; these relate to sexual desire or the act itself. A venereal disease is a STD.
Also called Ares, Mars was considered the god of war.
5. Martial (adj): Related to war. e.g. martial law, martial arts…
Jupiter, also known as Jove, was considered the head-god. He was characterized, in some mythologies, as a cheerful and fun-loving being. This dictates the meaning of the following word.
6. Jovial (adj): Full of or showing high-spirited merriment.
The planet Neptune is called the “gas giant”. So too is the mythological figure Poseidon (Greek version of Neptune) the god of seas, rains and other nautical things. The root word “nebh-” is derived from this and means “cloudy”.
7. Nebulous (adj): to be hazy and unclear; lacking definition or definite content
Saturn season, harvest, and fertility. Chronus symbolizes time.
8. Saturnalia (n): a wild gathering (party) involving excessive drinking and promiscuity. This originates from the Greek pagan festival in celebration of Saturn and involved wild partying, immoderate drinking and promiscuity.
9. Saturnalian (adj): relates to something that is characterized by immoderate drinking, wild partying and promiscuity.
10. Chronic (adj): being long-lasting and recurrent or characterized by long suffering.
11. Chronology (n): a record of events in the order of their occurrence
12. Chronicle (v): record in chronological order; make a historical record.
13. Chronicle (n): a record or narrative description of past events.
14. Synchronize (v): arrange or represent events so that they occur at the same time / together. Abbr – sync.
15. Chronograph (n): a device used to measure time accurately, to minute measurements.
16. Anachronism (n): Something located at a time when it could not have existed or occurred.
Though not technically a planet, Pluto has a few words derived from it. Pluto (also called Hades) was considered the god of the underworld and also god of wealth – since it was believed that both the underworld and all the riches (gold, diamonds etc..) were found below the earth.
17. Plutocracy (n): A political system governed by the wealthy people.
18. Plutonic (adj): meaning ‘hellish’.
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Most test takers consider GRE vocabulary the most challenging aspect of their preparation. This is because of two facts. First, GRE tests words in “context” of how the word can be used in a sentence. Second, “normal” people almost never come across, in their everyday lives, the kind of words that GRE tests.
Therefore, knowing what a word means in different contexts and what kind of other words it can interact with are essential parts of GRE vocabulary building.
GRE Vocabulary: Illustrative Example
Consider the following question.
The previous CEO, who was known for his aggressive tactics and hostility toward competition, created a lot of antagonists in the tech industry. In contrast, his __________ successor has helped repair relationships with rivalling firms to create a more nurturing ecosystem in the tech industry.
A. emollient B. repugnant C. sophomoric D. peripatetic E. indigent
Through context it is easy to predict that … in contrast, his “non-aggressive” successor… So a word such as “passive” or “friendly” could work here.
Move to the answers, however, and things get a bit unwieldy. You may not have seen many of these words before. Yet, these are the kind of words that GRE loves to test through its Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions. The answer here is “emollient”, which means ‘attempting to avoid anger or confrontation’.
How to build vocabulary?
1. Learn words through context
Vocabulary.com is a great resource to learn what a word, as used in contexts, means. More over, it has a section that provides copious feeds of these words used in actual publications and articles. This helps learn the word in its entirety: context, connotation, usage and everything else!
Try it: Find out the meaning and contextual use of the word emollient.
2. Maintain a vocabulary Note book
You cannot just mug-up words off a word-list and expect that to be fruitful. You need to be systematic and methodical about your vocabulary building. This means that you keep a record of all the words you are learning. This record should contain the following things.
WORD (Part of speech)
Definition of the word / Meaningful explanation of the word
Real-world (meaningful) usage
Etymology / Word Themes / Related words
Connotation (Is the word positive, negative, neutral or dependant on context?)
Other Side Notes (Is it used only in formal settings? Is it a word that goes along only with other specific words?)
Beyond this, ensure that you test yourself on the words you have learned over the week on one day of each week. This will ensure that your understanding of the words and your ability to recall them are cemented.
3. Use Word themes and Etymology
GRE vocabulary tends to consist of words that sometimes fall into similar thematic groups. It also contains a lot of words that are related etymologically (similar origins or roots). By studying this, Vocabulary building can become quite interesting and effective too!
Watch this Webinar to learn more about GRE Vocabulary and Etymology
The speaking section on PTE is one of the trickiest sections since it involves multiple sections and tests your skills on not just speaking but also listening & observation, however this is a section which can give you a very high score and if practiced well & if the strategy is right even a score of 90 is not impossible, here we have complied some useful tips to score high on the PTE Academic Speaking section.
Before you start the Speaking section, there is a small personal introduction task to complete, which is not scored. This response is also shared with the institutions that you select to report the scores to.
Tips for Personal Introduction
plans for future study
you chose to study abroad
you choose this test
Your introduction should be less than 30 seconds and can include a mix of 2-3 topics.
Section-1 : Read Aloud:-
Scan for hard words and Spell it clearly before it starts recording.
Rising and falling tone for some words is important.
Be aware of Plurals, don’t spell wrongly.
No long disconnection of sentences.(i.e. Gap to each sentence)
Avoid uneven words or Irregular Phrasing.
Beware of Inappropriate stress and incorrect pronunciation to some words.
Before it starts recording, read the total sentence once.
Rate of Speech should be moderate, do not speak too fast or too slow.
There’s enough time for this section, so don’t hurry
Avoid silence of more than 2-3 seconds
Don’t fake any accent be natural.
Section-2: Repeat Sentences:-
on the recording, don’t freak out if you miss 1-2 words
careful not to not add new text or omitting Listened
you can’t remember whole sentence at-least give
importance to Keywords.
practicing this section ensure you practice in different situations
Section-3: Describe Image:-
these phrases such as to illustrate…, it shows, the image depicts
to show… etc…
about Highest and Lowest figures or key points or axis, this is the
most important aspect
describing image use the words such as: on the left-hand side / the
right-hand side, next to, above, below or bottom, at the top,
graphs use – ‘X-axis on graphs shows…. range……’, and
‘Y-axis on graph shows…. range….’
the words like over, about, under… to point out the values on the
keep silent, speak something about the image as you see.
the keywords by understanding the context of the topic.
you can’t remember exact names, you can use titles where
applicable such as doctor, the Scientist, the teacher etc…
is to understand the context and the gist of the recording which can
help in re-telling the narration
phrases such as ‘The lecture provides brief information about….’
or ‘According to the speaker, he said…..’ etc… to elaborate
the given lecture.
silence, speak something relates to lecture.
not add your own story.
you don’t know the answer, just repeat the words in the
forget the articles a,an,the before some words.
Tips for PTE Speaking:
Fluency and accuracy are the key to score high on PTE.
Avoid Silences / long gaps while answering.
Be familiar with question types and timings.
Practice with headsets and in different atmospheres.
Try to familiarize with different accents.
Record yourself while practising and hear it to identify mistakes.
GMAT is one of the most crucial aspects of a B-School application and plays a key role in getting an admit to a B-School, a higher GMAT score will not only make your application stronger but also will help in long term prospects such as Job interviews & placements.
Getting an admit into a top MBA program is tough & more often than not applicants apply without adequate research on programs, statistics & chances, in order to make it easier for applicants we have compiled a list of top B-Schools in the USA with average GMAT scores over the past few years, do note these are the average scores and doesn’t indicate minimum or maximum scores for an admit.
As we all know the Statement of Purpose – SOP is a critical piece of the puzzle for a graduate school application and can make a huge difference between getting an admit or reject from your favored Master’s program, while there are many different aspects to keep in mind while drafting the SOP one key element that needs to be addressed strongly to ensure a strong SOP is the Question of WHY’s?, a winning SOP can be drafted if this question is well answered.
So, what are
these Why’s and how to present them?
The 4 critical
Here the reasons
to apply for the university would be addressed which includes
program, research work being conducted, professors, location &
any other factor that makes the university your choice. It is
important to be specific & not rely on generic templates, a lot
of research on the university will help to understand the offering
and answer this question.
degree’s will give you an opportunity to specialize in an area of
your choice & being specific about your interests & aligning
it with your profile makes the application stronger. While it’s not
necessary for you to be an expert in the area of choice but it’s
necessary that you have the basics in place & speak about your
urge to develop a stronger understanding of the subject through the
This section is
yours to brag! Without going overboard, the why you is essentially
your space to talk about your achievements, grades, projects,
research conducted & most importantly what will you add to your
class. Do keep in mind universities don’t just look at your score
card but also would prefer a well-rounded individual who can also
contribute to the class.
students apply at different stages of their life for a Master’s
degree, some opt for it right after college while some prefer to
apply after a few years of work-ex, irrespective of which category
you belong to it is important you convey why you decide to apply for
the program now and how will it assist you in your goals.
Ensuring these 4
Why’s are well articulated will certainly make your SOP stand out
and makes your application stronger.