Home » GRE - Quantitative, GRE - Verbal, GRE/GMAT » Revised (New) GRE test experience – Dark, Dungeon test center


Thanks to Mike Hardy for sending his New GRE test experience.

Took the revised gre the last week . Hard to give any specific advice as everyone is different and you need to find your own study style…but here’s what I did. I used an ETS book for basic test taking strategy – i.e. when to plug in the answers, when to plug in your own numbers, when to estimate, what key words to look for in sentence completion, etc. Once I worked through the majority of that, I went into a Princeton review book of practice questions. I worked through most of the math questions, which were divided up based on the type of question (probability, triangles, graphs and charts, etc). I think it’s nice to do a bunch of the same type of question in a row to really hammer down and refine your approach. As I got closer to the test I looked over some sample essays as well and tried my hand at a few. I didn’t really do any actual practice for verbal, but I’m a native speaker and I was more concerned with getting a good quant score. I’m sure studying vocab flash cards would’ve been helpful, but I just can’t support that. Overall, I studied an hour or two each week over the course of a couple months.

As far as practice tests are concerned, I completed one each week over the last three weeks. Two were paper-based and one was computer-based. The computer-based test was absolutely invaluable; you must do this. I didn’t take the computer one as a timed test, I just went through and familiarized myself with the layout and functionality, but this step is critical. If I had to do it all over I would do one timed paper test, one timed computer test and then I would work through questions on another computer test, without it being timed. In any event, you must do a computer test….seriously.

Couple other odds and ends….
It’s absolutely critical to know what the test taking center is like. Mine was in a dark, dungeon-like room with no natural light, old computers, and uncomfortable chairs in drab colored cubicles. Had I not known this going in, I would’ve bugged out. Prepare yourself. My center did offer headphones, which were kind of helpful. People are coming and going throughout the test because everyone is on a different schedule so it’s nice to be able to block out most background noise.

For me it was more difficult to read and do problems when you have to look up and read them on a computer and then look down at your scrap paper and then up and down again and up and down. This, as opposed to looking down at both the question and your scrap paper with the paper-based tests. You also have to redraw the math figures on your paper w/out being able to look at the screen at the same time. Don’t underestimate how annoying this is. Again, prepare yourself beforehand. What was all that talk about a new test-taker friendly design???

Last suggestion…ask for more scrap paper during your break, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. I didn’t ask and then during the last section I was writing in the margins and in between other scribbles from previous questions. Needless to say, that’s not ideal.
You won’t get your actual scores for a couple months, but you get an immediate “estimate” based on the old scoring system. I have no idea how accurate or useful that estimate will prove to be, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

My estimates were 750-800 quant and 630-730 verbal. The verbal range in particular seems pretty large, so I’m interested to see how that turns out.That’s all folks. Hope you learn from some of my mistakes and I wish you the best of luck.

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