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In my days as a under graduate student, I took the Graduate Record Examination which is mandatory for admissions into most American Universities. I have been asked quite often about the toughness-of-the-exam and ways-to-prepare for it. For starters, its among the easiest competitive exams for admission into graduate schools. For people coming from the land of the IIT s and IIM s, the GRE does not fit under the “competitive” exam category at all.


For Engineering graduates who have been exposed to university/high school mathematics, the quantitative section is pretty straight forward. The idea, as with most other exams is to do things quickly. 50 man hours of preparation covering specific topics from any random book you can find is more than sufficient to crack the quants. I prepared with a pirated version of this book.


Preparatory section. If you read randomly and have taken the trouble (ever!) to pick up a dictionary and see what a word means (without any academic motive), this is the section for you! For the others, some sound preparation will be of use. Be sure to know the Barron’s list very well. It is quite exhaustive. I have heard some others say that the exam did have words that were not a part of the Barron’s book. But this did not happen in my experience.

Grads who are not used to reading need to specifically concentrate on the reading comprehensions since these are time consuming. Also, capitalize on other sections like the antonyms so that time gained here can be used elsewhere.


This is among the most unclear sections of the GRE. Dont prepare for it. Just ensure you know what to expect as questions and get ready for a long typing sermon.

The Biggest Secret of them all

The GRE is a Computer Adaptive test. Question difficulty level is supposedly directly proportional to your greatness. The secret to doing things well and fast is to get them right in the beginning of the test. Mistakes made in the beginning of the test are much more expensive than those made in the end. The adaptive algorithms narrows down on your score from a range.With each score, your range gets narrower until you finaly land up at a value. Mistakes in the beginning shift your range off a high target. Hence the proof!

Spend 50% of your time on the first 30% of the questions. The remaining 70% can be completed in the remaining 50%.

Having said these things, the best Computer Science Departments in the world only recommend the GRE but do not require it. So if you think that you are wasting your time studying for an exam, but would rather sit at a lab doing something you like, you are what they are looking for. Do it!

And then off course, there are those who just crack it like like a knuckle.


One Comment

  1. very informative!utimately its your ability+hardwork+loads of preparation=success.Thanks for the info!

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