Starting with the GRE prep ? Beware of these myths!
March 14, 2012
March 14, 2012
In this article, we discuss about some common myths about the GRE.
Myth #1: Taking the GRE more than once is going to hamper my admission chances
Nothing could be far from the truth. Taking the GRE twice isn’t going to have any negative effect on your application. The Admission committees at graduate schools understand that you might not be well prepared to take the GRE on your first attempt, that you might have taken the GRE hastily or because of some other reason you could not do well, so they are not going to hold it against you that you have taken it twice. In fact, they won’t be much bothered even if you take it thrice. Beyond that, they will be definitely concerned that why you had to take it so many times and may view multiple attempts negatively until and unless you don’t have a strong reason to justify your case.
Myth #2: The schools give equal importance to both Quantitative and Verbal reasoning sections
Depending on the type of graduate program you wish to study in, the schools usually give more weightage to either Verbal or Quant score . That means that if you apply to a program such as MS in Financial Engineering, your performance on the Quant section is going to matter much more than on the Verbal section. Similarly, if you want to go for your graduate studies in any subjects in liberal arts, then Admission committees will be more bothered about your Verbal score than your quant score. However, that doesn’t mean that the Admission committees will ignore your score on the less important section. Your performance on the less important section is also important, if not very important, and your overall GRE score matters a lot to the schools.
Myth#3: If I get a great GRE score, then my admission to the top schools is guaranteed
This is the biggest myth floating around! The GRE is just one component of your application and isn’t the sole determiner of your admission chances. The other parts of your application, such as your undergraduate GPA, your SOP, LORs ,the quality of research you have done in your undergraduate program, are important determiners of the success of your application. So it is entirely possible that a school might take a candidate who has a low GRE score but has a couple of research paper publications in journal of international repute, has a history of personal accomplishments and may reject a candidate with stellar GRE score but with an otherwise below average profile.
Myth#4: I need to burn the midnight oil and study 8-10 hours per day to succeed on the GRE.
The good news is that the GRE is unlike the exams you’ve have in your college in which you won’t be able to write anything in the exam until and unless you don’t study it. The GRE tests you essentially tests you on high school maths and Verbal which tests you on your ability to read, process, and comprehend professionally written English at a rather fast pace..So even if you don’t study anything for it, you may probably get a good score if your maths skills are good and you are good at Verbal too. What is more important for the GRE is that you prepare in a systematic way. Since your preparation will be spread over 2-3 months, you need to ensure that you don’t “overstudy” . The best study schedule is 2-3 hours on the weekdays and 4-5 hours on the weekends over a 3 month period . Also remember that you set a day aside during the week in which you would take a complete rest from your prep.
Myth#5: I should be able to quote the likes of Shakespeare & Milton to do well on the Verbal section
Ever paid attention to the fact that the GRE has “Verbal Reasoning” and not “English literature” as the name of the Verbal section? We bet, you would have! The name itself- verbal reasoning- makes it clear what the GRE verbal section is about. It’s not about silly grammatical rules. They will not ask you to critique the works of poets and authors. They want to test your ability to think, to reason out . They want to see whether you can do well when you are pressed for time. There are good chances that an English Literature graduate will not get a perfect score on the Verbal section for the GRE Verbal section tests you on reasoning, something which you are not taught much in English literature classes. Secondly, one has to learn how to effectively tackle each type of question and employ techniques to be able to eliminate options in the shortest possible time. These are attributes which you sharpen with practice.
Myth#6: Reading comprehension cannot be improved because it is function of how much well read you are and it is impossible to improve within 2-3 months.
This is one of the most common beliefs which is harboured by candidates from engineering backgrounds. While it really helps if one has been a voracious reader, but if you haven’t been, then you simply can’t get away with the excuse that since you are an engineering student , you won’t be able to improve on reading comprehension. You can improve by practising. However, you must do some preliminary work if you think that you haven’t read many articles/books in the last couple of years. You should get into the habit of reading magazines/newspapers with quality articles .Additionally, you can put your hands on some books with high quality English. Doing all this before you actually start preparing for the GRE will go a long way in lessening the burden on you during the 3 months of your preparation.
Myth#7 I have a full-time job and think that it is difficult to manage time
Yes, it is difficult but people do manage to prepare for the GRE alongwith doing a full time job. It’s going to a little difficult juggling work, studies , household chores and what not, but in the end if you really want to go to a graduate program, you’ll have to do it! No excuses, because if you make excuses, you should be happy doing your job . Graduate study is very taxing and hectic and that’s why it’s better to incalculate discipline now. At then end, it’s all about organizing yourself and your day better. If you plan your schedule wisely without stressing yourself too much, you should be able to crack the exam.
Myth#8 So I know that I need to become better at Quant or Verbal , so is studying definitely going to help me ?
Yes and no. Depends on how you study. There are people who study for more than 6 months and yet see no improvement in their scores and there are candidates who improve substantially by studying for 2 months only. So studying haphazardly isn’t going to get you there; studying the right way will lead you to your goal. Remember that the GRE test makers have an unlimited imagination while making questions and in all probability the question you’re going to see on the GRE are going to be new to you even if you would have done 2000 practice questions. However, the GRE test makers have a finite number of concepts which they’re going to test you on and those concepts will be tested in different questions. So you should be able to identify the strategies required for different types of questions
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