How To Achieve High Grades On The GRE

My GRE Experience: Lessons Learnt - J.

General Tips

#Tip 1: Don’t rely on any one single book.

Each book has its strength and weakness. Combine them all for maximum impact.

#Tip 2: What books do I need?

1. Grubber 2015

2. Barron’s GRE

3. Nova GRE Math Bible

4. Kaplan

5. Princeton Review

#Tip 3: How can I get these books?


As of this moment, the GRE materials have been deleted from both accounts by google due to Copyright violations. Nonetheless, these materials are widely available through a simple google search.

If you can afford physical copies of these books – Sweet, go head and buy them all. But If you can’t afford any or you’re a ijebu madam like the lovely, simply send a blank mail to or for soft copies (Pdf’s). #MoneyMustNotWaste

(a) contains:

• Barron's New GRE 19th Edition

• Cracking the GRE 2013

• Gruber's Complete GRE Guide 2012


(b) (New*) contains:

• Gruber's Complete GRE Guide (2015)

• Mahanttan Prep - 5* lb. Book of GRE® Practice Problems (2013)

• Nova’s GRE Math Bible (2008)

#Tip 4: When should I take the GRE?

Take the exam at least 4 months before you plan to send your admission applications. That way, if you don’t meet your targeted score (not your portion…Oya say Amen!), you would still have enough time to retake the exam without duress. For example, if the deadline for admission application is September 15th, the ideal time for taking the GRE should be by May. The reason for this is simple: If you don’t meet ur target score, you can retake the GRE by June thereby providing ample time for sending your application. This is not a rule but a suggestion.

#Tip 5: How much time would it take to prepare for the GRE?

Minimum: 2months @ 4-5hours per day.

Note: The number of hours do not really matter, it’s the amount of problem solving skills learnt per unit time that counts. Some people learn quickly while for others, it might take longer to read and understand new concepts. So remember, 4-5hours are just recommendations, whether u spend more or less time – ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how much u learn and how fast you can correctly answer questions. If it takes u 4-5hours per day to achieve this goal, so be it. If it takes u less time, so be it. If it takes you more time, so be it. No one cares. Ultimately it’s your scores that matters.

#Tip 6: Can I prepare within a month?

Yes u can, but it’s not advisable. You need time to internalize and completely memorizes the GRE strategies.

And lastly,

#Tip 7: Don’t be deceived by your score on POWERPREP II.

You took the sample test on PowerPrep II, you had an average of 160-165, you feel good and cant wait to take the actual test. Truth is Powerprep II does not compare to the actual test. On a scale of one to ten, one being very easy and ten being very difficult, Powerprep is a 4.5 and the actual test is an 8.5. #OkBye

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: My GRE Experience.

This is a summary of lesson learnt from my personal experience, please feel free to add your insights and contributions. Sharing is caring.

You probably know this already but just to refresh your memory - The GRE is made up of three parts: Analytical writing, Verbal and Quantitative.

1. Analytical Writing

2. Verbal

3. Quantitative



Books and Resources needed for Analytical Writing:

Official GRE Topic List (30%) + Kaplan (60%) + Barron (10%).

(a) Official GRE Topic List: GRE maintains a list of every possible topic that you will find on the actual test date!!!!!! It’s totally legal and you can find the list here:

Pool of Argument Topics:

Pool of Issue Topics:

The list is quite exhaustive: 200 issue task topics and 200 argument task topics. Once you have the list, group the topics into categories and proceed to (b). I believe if u know the possible questions, your chances of success should be up 30%.

(b) Get a copy of Kaplan’s New GRE Premiere and head to the Analytical Writing Section. Read, digest and understand the essay development template for both the issue task and the argument task as discussed on chapter 15 – Chapter 21 (New GRE Premiere - Kaplan 2011-2012 edition. Newer editions should be better). Don’t bother reading anything else on Kaplan, the rest of the book is useless. With the Kaplan template, you can begin to draw up possible responses to each topic category from the GRE topic list that you obtained from the GRE website.

That way, on the test day, coming up with responses won’t be all that difficult because you’ve seen it all – abi how una see am?

(c) Get a copy of Barron: While this may not be compulsory, it will help you in paragraph development. Read and understand the “Claim, Grounds and Warrants” development on chapter 6 (Barron’s New GRE 19th Edition).

The last and most important step is to PRACTISE, PRACTISE AND PRACTISE. Practice using the available topics from the GRE list in a timed mode – your practice should mimic the real test. For the GRE, its 30minutes per writing task but for you, its 22 minutes. Why? It’s always better to practice with less time – It makes you stronger.

Practice with POWERPREP writing platform or Notepad to get a feel of the nature of the typing platform. Don’t practice with Microsoft Word.

One Again, PRACTISE AND PRACTISE. It’s ultra-important you do so. You can only write well by constant practice.

My Experience: I didn’t practice enough. Truth be told I practiced only once and the end result was abysmal. I could only manage one sensible paragraph for the issue task – Big Poo. The way time flies when ur messing up is simply amazing. The argument task was much better, I wrote 4 sensible paragraphs –all within 23 minutes.

Score: Surprisingly,I scored a 3 on the writing section. since the total score is the average of both scores, I assume I made a 5 on argument and a 1 on issue…lol..just my opinion.

Generally, Argument tasks are easier than issue tasks – for Argument tasks, an essay or issue with faulty premises is given; your job is to identify and logically explain them while for the Issue writing Task, you have to develop your own argument from scratch. Finding faults is easy (argument task), writing from scratch is less easy (issue essay). But for you reading this right now, a minimum of 4.5/6 should be perfectly achievable. Why? Cos you know every possible topic, you have pre-planned responses and your “hand dey hot” due to constant writing practice.

One last tip: As soon as you are done with a particular section, whether you performed well or not, it’s best to completely ignore that section, it belongs to the past - it doesn’t matter anymore. Whether you did well or not, does not matter and if you believe you didn’t perform well, it still doesn’t matter. Focus completely on the next section – You have seven (7) more sections to deal with and you need a focused, optimistic mindset to proceed successfully. There’s no use crying over spilt milk. [/b]


Books You Need for Quantitative:

Grubber (25%) + Barron’s (25%) + Nova GRE Math Bible (25%) + Mahanttan (25%).

Do you have to read them all from cover to cover? Not really. Each book has its strength and weakness’s. You want to be prepared for every possibility. Better you write the GRE once than write it twice. Think of the cash - $200. Think of the time spent on preparation – weeks, even months and finally, think of your Goals. So grab does books and study like mad. The end justify the means.

Lesson 1: Study each question category and solve the most difficult questions you can find on that category to re-enforce your understanding of that category.

For example, if you had prepared with Grubber like I did, you will find the data interpretation, graphical and statistical questions difficult. Why? Grubber does not really delve into these sections. Barron in addition with Manhattan and Nova does a better job. So read and understand the underlying principles and skim all books for difficult questions on all topics.

Likewise, if u ignore Grubber’s Data Comparison and algebra strategies, you might not do so well. But then, there are notable exceptions. Individuals with an engineering, mathematical and statistical background would generally do better in the Quantitative section – they’ve been doing these problems for years. Also those with an aptitude for numbers would better. Does that mean those with little mathematically backgrounds would end up with low scores? – Nope. Just read up and practice, you might end up doing better than the so called Math wizards.

The GRE Quantitative consists of two sections made up of 25 questions each. Each section runs for 40minutes – that’s an average of 96 seconds per question – which leads to lesson 2.

Lesson 2: When studying and solving quantitative questions, set a time limit of 50 seconds per question and stick to it. Like previously stated, practicing with less time makes you stronger and faster.

Lesson 3: Solve lots of Quantitative questions.

Manhanttan and Nova Math Bible offer a huge collection of quality quantitative questions. Solve as much questions as you can on both books. Luckily, if you don’t know the answers, solutions and explanations are provided in both books.

My Experience: I studied solely with grubber. Algebra and data comparison were a walk in the park but “I hear “ween” for Data interpretation/Statistics, Combinations and Graphs. On the actual test, I saw 6 hefty graphical and data interpretation problems and some others I can’t recall @ the moment. Were they super hard? – Not really but “them hard small o”. To answer them, you need to understand the question (30secs), solve for solutions (30-40secs) and compare possible answers (10secs). If u get it wrong, u start all over again. But as you start over, remember Time dey go ooooo!

That’s why you need Lesson 4.

Lesson 4:Someone on this thread advised - if you find any question difficult, simply mark that question and move on to others.. You may return to that question later. Don’t waste time trying to solve one question for over 1 minute, skip and return later. This is so true!.


Books you need: Grubber (90%) + Barron (10%).

Honestly, You can actually survive by using only grubber. The verbal section seems like the easiest section on the GRE but don’t be complacent o! This section is pretty tricky. I remember one particular essay with about seven (7) paragraphs. It was so dense that you could barely understand the content of a single paragraph; It also felt like it was written in another language. It was that difficult.

Also,the verbal section is made up of several subsections all mixed into one. You will find sentence completion (synonyms and antonyms) and essay comprehension all packed into one.

My Experience: I scored a 157/170 – Not bad @ all given that Grubber was the sole book I used. I won’t lie, am an avid reader – I guess that helped. However, if you study the Grubber Verbal Strategies: Latin and Greek Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes; the Most Important/Frequently Used GRE Words and Reading Comprehension Strategies – You should have no problem with the Verbal section. Grubber does an excellent job by building ur vocabulary, teaching new words and providing some interesting strategies for essay comprehension.

There are other books like Princeton Review but since I didn’t use it, I can’t say much about it. This is where external input is advisable. Those who used Princeton, oya speak up.

Final Advice:

Unlike Jamb (wicked people) that provides a single opportunity to write the exam per year, the GRE gives you 5 chances per year to write the exam (better people). But because you can doesn’t mean you should. Prepare well and write it once. A score of 160 per section is totally achievable. Just read and solve a huge collection of difficult questions in a timed mode.

Oya it haff do, una bye bye, I don try. 

UPDATE 1: If you had to choose one Book for Quantitative Analysis, Barron's should be it. That Book is the truth. The best GRE Quantitative prep book ever.

UPDATE 2: Added Kaplan New GRE to "". If you want a copy of the Kaplan GRE book, send a blank mail to".

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