How to prepare effectively to score 330+ in the GRE?

By, Mukund Bharadwaj, SSN College of Engineering – 331-scorer in GRE

“I have decided to take a break for a year after this year to pursue a few of my interests and to travel around India for a bit before proceeding to do my Master’s!” – Mukund Bharadwaj

When hard work, persistence and smartness pay off, there is calmness…

Mukund is a simple and smart Engineering student from SSN College of Engineering, Chennai. While doing his Electrical Engineering course at one of the premier institutes in the city, Mukund kept his aspirations high and started his GRE prep journey with us at Galvanize Test Prep.

Being an independent learner, Mukund started his preparations at the right time and progressed gradually but efficiently. His effective means of GRE prep eventually paid off when he took his GRE. A 331 is not an easy feat, is it?!

In an interview with us, Mukund shared his prep strategy and study-abroad plans with 100+ aspirants. Apart from the GRE preparation strategy, he shared a lot of important information like how he built his profile, what internships and projects he did, how he managed his course work and the GRE prep, how to set manageable targets and prepare, and how the team at Galvanize Test Prep helped him during his preparation.

To make the webinar more interesting, we shot a round of RAPID FIRE questions at Mukund. He cheerfully answered questions like his favorite Quant topic, favorite Verbal topic , the toughest word he encountered, his favorite word in English, his favorite author, his favorite course Manager at Galvanize, the Quant topic that he hates, the most recent book that he’s read, his role model / inspiration and which university does he want to hear from.

Here is the video recording of the webinar

Webinar Transcript:

GRE Score details – (Verbal – 163; Quant – 168; AWA – 4)

CGPA, Internships and Projects:

CGPA – 7.8 / 10

Internships:

  1. Design Intern with TORP Systems Pvt. Ltd, Chennai (2014-Present)
  2. Summer Intern at Laure Plasma Technologie GmbH, Stuttgart (June, 2016)
  3. Summer Intern at Ashok Leyland Pvt. Ltd, Chennai (June & July, 2017)

Projects:

  1. Processing and analysis of Satellite Image Data for segmentation and classification purposes using Machine Learning techniques (Started as part of a competition at IIT Bombay where my team came 2nd)
  2. Study of hand vein pattern for biometric analysis – Paper given for review
  3. Adding IoT capabilities to legacy devices (Over 30 devices currently in the field)
  4. Study of Silicon Etching
  5. Study of silicon-silicon direct bonding

Dream Universities:

  • UCB
  • Stanford University
  • MIT
  • TUM – Technical University of Munich
  • CMU
  • ETH Zurich – Switzerland

College Vs GRE Prep:

“My GRE prep mostly consisted of writing my mock tests and learning through the mistakes I made – the topics I needed to focus on, time management, etc.”

“Apart from that, my prep was mostly concerned with improving on Reading Comprehension and ensuring I scored well in the Quantitative section. I was confident of my English vocabulary, which meant that I didn’t have to spend too much time and effort on reading up word lists.”

“I always scheduled my mock tests on the weekends when I was free from college so that I was mentally fresh when I sat to write it and I also had time to unwind after I was done taking it.”

Challenges in the GRE Prep:

“The biggest challenge for me during my prep was to actually buckle down and start my work seriously.”

  • Juggle between college work, projects, internships
  • Finding the required motivation to put that all aside for a bit and focus on the GRE

“ I found the Text Completion questions with 3 blanks to be the hardest I faced in the verbal section. Quant was mostly ok except for for the odd question in permutation and combination which left me a little confused.”

Managing GRE Verbal Prep:

“I have been an avid reader of books, news and other articles, which meant that my vocabulary was pretty good to begin with. I definitely did not put as much effort into studying for this as compared to most students.”

“Could I have scored better if I had spent more time on it? Maybe, but that’s something I took a gamble with. Due to this, I had more time to study other topics I had difficulty with.”

Anxious Moments:

“I was a little anxious during the last week that my prep might have been a tad insufficient. However, that was mostly just a feeling that I was being a too overconfident. “

Exam Day Experience:

The exam itself was a breeze and very similar to how one would approach a test at home. The best thing to do on the exam day, I found, was to use all the time given during the breaks!

Experience with Galvanize Test Prep:

“I got to know about Galvanize when a team from Galvanize visited my college and conducted a sample test.“

“I think the biggest help Galvanize Test Prep gave me was to set up a call on the week of my exam with verbal and quant instructors to give me helpful tips based on my performance on the mock exams. This really did help in boosting my scores – especially in quants”

Galvanize Test Prep –  a YES or a No?

“I do feel that Galvanize was the right choice for me. My prep was almost completely focused on the mock exams, meaning, the well-curated questions and the analytics along with them were the biggest advantage I could get.”

“I found the experience to be very comfortable. They were with me the whole time and gave the required help and push whenever I needed one.”

“Yes, I have recommended, and would recommend, Galvanize for future applicants. However, I always let them know what they should expect from the platform and try to see if it fits with what they want/require.”

Message to the audience:
I sincerely wish you all to score well in your GRE and achieve your dream. Start early, focus on profile improvement and GRE preparation. Stay confident. Utilize your breaks during the exam. All the Best!

Summary

a. Don’t rush your preparation
b. Weekends are ideal for mock test and focused preparation
c. Focus on the feedback from mock tests and ensure you show improvement on the next test
d. Use the break times during the test
e. Have a guidance/motivation call with the Galvanize team a week before your GRE Test
f. Even while preparing for your GRE, ensure to do everything to improve your profile

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