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By: Aditya G. Parameswaran S News
(who, weirdly enough, managed to get a 1600 on the 8th of August, 2005.)
❍ Barron’s - Wordplay 550+
words you need to know
Until the pattern of GRE changes (which I suppose will happen sometime in
2006), the following fundae should be reasonably accurate. ❍ Princeton Review : Word
Disclaimer: The author takes no responsibility WHATSOEVER for the (poor) GRE ❍ Study Abroad Guidance
the reader may achieve, but would be glad to take credit for anybody who benefits
from the ideas in this document. (especially in the form of a top GRE score).
Infact, it is mandatory to attribute any good score (even if it is not due to
this document) to the author.

Edit: 18/02
For the benefit of the guys who arent well versed with the IITian jargon (and
seem to be quite a few of them checking out this site recently), here is a
quick glossary:

funda, plural fundae : ideas, concepts, paradigms (derived from fundamentals)

junta : people in general (derived from the hindi word for people)
infi : infinite, a large number

Stuff to get(You wont need more than this..)

1. kaplan (version 6.0)

2. princeton (stuff that has proper tests - new version)
3. 800 tests
4. powerprep (get the latest version from the gre site)
5. essay list from gre site
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Journey To GRE Test » A 1600 GRE score tips and tricks

6. math prep fundae from gre site

7. wordweb - dictionary ● » Tell-a-friend
8. cambridge tests
Your Name
Your Friend's Name
1. barrons
2. any essay book which does gre essays Your Email
3. if you have time, you may try kaplan or princeton books, but i didnt
have time to do them Your Friend's Email
4. big book

Fundae Send it

(the time written in brackets is from an optimal schedule, NOT my actual ● » Reload this Blog
schedule depending on
❍ Without ads / With ads
the time you have, you may want to move this around)

Step 1. Go through words in barrons - 50 lists - mark out words you dont know (5-
10 days)
Get some familiarity with the words that you dont know at all, read the
sentences and

try to understand them. at times when i wasnt clear with the meaning, i used
www.thefreedictionary.com for additional meanings and sentences.
Also read the fundae on GRE given at the start of barrons so that you dont have
misconceptions ● » Contact me
❍ EMAIL admin@gre-preparation.
Step 2. Once a familiarity is achieved with most words start mugging just the info
words that
you dont know and at the same time start with tests. (8-15 days) ❍ ICQ

kaplans tests are good at this stage to frighten you (:-)). according to most
kaplans scores are a strict lower bound on what you may get in the actual test. ❍ YIM

big book tests are also very good because they are from the actual gre guys
and would necessarily test the same vocab. keep doing this - there are infi tests ● » Categories
in this book and they wont run out. but make sure that in paper tests you
❍ Analytical Writing (RSS) (3)
follow the same attempt once and ditch funda rather than moving around arbitly
in the paper. also paper tests have a different number of questions than the ❍ Free GRE test (RSS) (3)
online test, so make sure you know that and time yourself accordingly.
❍ Miscelanous (RSS) (7)

Step 3. General testing stage (15-30 days) ❍ Quantitave (RSS) (3)

keep doing tests in this stage, my rule was attempt one math every two verbals
❍ Tips and Tricks (RSS) (4)
do a few full time tests as well.
❍ Verbal (RSS) (7)
if you are done with kaplan, you may want to try princeton, pretty easy stuff
not really at teh level of gre, but practice nonetheless.

you could do 800 tests too, the tests arent great, but its online.
i think cambridge tests are good, but i didnt have the latest cd.

the words that you find are not even there in barrons, write them separately
for last minute revision.

you should do the tests in barrons as well, they are pretty decent.

Step 4. One week before the exam stage (7 days)

you MUST do powerprep. it gives you an exact feel of the online gre exam
and is really good. do the practice exercises in it as well.

continue with the testing process, and revise the words from barrons. (if you had
the time and the enthu to make flash cards, revise them now)

read the fundae in barrons for both math and verbal to make sure that you know

also spend some time reading sample essays and discussing them with ppl / showing
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Journey To GRE Test » A 1600 GRE score tips and tricks

your essays to ppl and making them evaluate, stuff like that.

Step 5. The day

Chill and attempt questions sensibly.

In verbal, try and finish up the antonyms, anal and sent. comp. quickly enough
so that you can give more time to the comprehension sections. Maybe you can try
this in practice tests: try and quickly review your answer before jumping to the
next question, it helps to reduce careless errors.

In math, i tried to review each answer in the first 15 questions, as a result i

was nearly out of time at the end. be warned, for some reason, the math in
the actual gre is far tougher than any of the ones uve faced so far, but still
easy enough if done properly.

Essays, follow the schedule that uve developed while writing practice essays.
use similar techniques and stuff. for some reason readers in US prefer some
kind of unconventionality, and you may want to try something different, but not
too different. For the argument section there are usually 3 odd flaws, put one
flaw per para and elaborate.

NOTE 1: (Added on 17-12-05)

The order of the sections in the exam can vary. But for sure, you will get the
writing sections up first. Then you may get either verbal or quant: be
prepared to attack whatever comes. After these sections you may get another
verbal or quant or a known "experimental" section which they declare in
advance (which is usually a second essay). If you know FOR SURE that its an
experimental section (they told you so), you could ditch it halfway and go
ahead and get your scores Even if you have slight doubts, attempt it

For some reason, whether you get a second verbal/quant or an experimental

section depends on the following: (these are purely based on observation on a
relatively small number of test cases - so it could be wrong!)

1. Season: If you are giving the gre in july-august, for some odd reason, the
chances of you getting an experimental are much much higer because
for some reason, the number of applicants in that period are a lot
more and they dont want to take too much pain.

2. Score: This is again based on observation on 5-6 guys who gave the GRE in
the month of jan-feb. Guys who got < 1500 got another quant/verbal
and guys > 1500 got an experimental essay.

Btw, I got an experimental essay, but even though I knew it was experimental,
I sat for 20 odd minutes and gave it a good shot.

Bottom Line: Dont think too much, give it your best shot.

Also on the exam day:

You would need the following (if i have forgotten something - pls correct me)
- passport
- ID Card (with photo ID) or drivers license with photo
(Your name must match in all of these items)

If you are carrying a jacket, either keep it on all the time or take it off
after your “tutorial” phase and keep it in your locker; they will pain you
if you try taking it off/putting it on in the middle of the exam. I heard from
a guy at the centre that he was giving the GRE again for this very reason; the
administrators pained him because he kept the jacket on the chair or
something, and they didnt like it - so they disturbed him in the middle of a
passage. Poor guy cancelled his scores due to that! Its not too cold inside, but
I preferred keeping it on all the time. (and this was in august)

Another relatively minor point but a friend got quite disturbed by this: keep
the paper that they provide not on your lap, but on the desk - sometimes if
they suspect of any weird form of cheating, they will be closely watching you
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Journey To GRE Test » A 1600 GRE score tips and tricks

and will not hesitate to disturb you in the middle of the exam.

Watches, calculators, writing material are not allowed, might as well keep it
inside the bag right away.

This I have to add because I got feedback that junta are still confused about
the pattern of the GRE: Please get the LATEST edition of Barrons (it doesn’t
cost too much - just around 250 Rs. and read the fundae in it. They are

NOTE 2: (Added on 23-12-05)

Words which were not in barrons

Be prepared to find words which were not in barrons and those which you may
never have seen before in your gre; even in the first 10 questions! One would
tacitly assume that since the first 10 questions are “supposed” to be easy,
they definitely have to be easy - but this is not the case. There is a certain
randomness in the system which even allows it to throw really hard or really
easy questions at you. You would be surprised - I found a word “commingle”
which I had seen once in some test before (and vaguely knew the meaning) in
my 4th question and got some ridiculously easy questions towards the end (due
to which I was able to comfortably finish on time). Three of us who gave the
test at nearly the same time found atleast one word which we hadn’t seen
before in barrons. (for example, “exemplar” - guessable though, like commingle)

Also be prepared to encounter meaning of words which are different from those
in barrons. Have an open mind to all possible interpretations.

I feel that once you have done Barrons and know nearly all the words - with
perhaps not able to recall meaning of say around 50-100 odd words without
context and have done sufficient number of tests, you are well set for vocab.
One really cant predict which words they will hit you with; so just hope for
the best!

NOTE 3: (Added on 08-01-06)

Written by B. Aditya Prakash (who got a 1600 on the 2nd of Jan, 2006) after I
asked him to share his ideas for GRE prep. Thanks, BAP!


20% of 500 > 100% of 100. I had seen this in some GRE book and this
actually typifies the attitude one must have while mugging words from
Barrons. It is more beneficial to recognise vaguely some 500 words rather
than mugg up each and every denotation of 100 words. One must remember
that the words list in Barrons is quite old and so isnt quite fully
indicative of the words ETS can ask. I got some 2-3 completely new words
in the first 6 questions itself. So, do mug words from Barrons but dont
break your head in the last week over trying to remember each and every
secondary, tertiary (and so on) meaning of words. More important during
this period is that you learn and practise recognising different
derivative forms of familiar words, recognising words formed with stems
you have already seen, remembering phrases/contexts in which words are
used and trying to test your intuitive ‘feel’ to completely new words etc.


I found that mostly all the practice tests focus mainly on pure vocab i.e
almost all questions are made tough only by giving you weird words i.e.
once you know the primary meanings of the answer choices almost all the
choices are useless and hence can be eliminated easily. But in the actual
GRE and in the PPREP, the most challenging questions were based on
recognising fine shades of usage of generally known words - so the answer
choices are very close. Most often than not, the hardest analogies are the
ones which involve known words only. As you cant possibly mug up all the
meanings of a word, it is necessary that you know different contexts in
which a word is used in every day english. Knowing the context helps a lot
as it gives pointers to a word’s meaning as well as its usage. So, try and
do this while studying the words itself. Dont be blind to a word’s
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Journey To GRE Test » A 1600 GRE score tips and tricks

connotations and usage. Most of the times, meanings (as given in Barrons)
simply dont give much insight.


I heard from many people that their primary problem is that they cant
do RC well. As this is the least vocab dependent part, learn to crack it
properly. Improve your reading speed, accuracy and practise properly so
that you dont miss out on any RC question. Time yourself properly and dont
waste so much time on RC that finishing the section itself becomes a

NOTE 4: Added 12 March, 2006


(I got a score range of 243-300 on the 27th Feb, 06, havent got the essay score

TOEFL is an easier ball game compared to the GRE, and almost everyone who
gets > 1400 in GRE gets an extremely good score in the TOEFL, usually > 290
(not counting the essay section).

All that I did for the TOEFL is to take the two powerprep tests and read the
info given about the exam in the same package, plus I downloaded one sampler.exe
file from the net off the ETS site and did the questions in that as well. (The
listening section, especially)

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