Journey Into The GRE Quant Land: The Lessons Learned, Mistakes made, and the Strategies to Recalibrate

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Like any other competitive exam, a good strategy wins more than half the battle. The rest is perseverance!

During Prep:

  • Keep a playbook for the concepts on each specific topic (e.g. algebra, geometry). Glean the concepts from the preparation materials you are following. I named mine “MATH HACKS”.
  • Keep an ERROR LOG. This will contain the exact problems with the solutions and explanations written in your own words. Add the few lines of learnings at the end of each problem. Maintain it like a Journal. Revise it before every mock test and the big day.
  • Solve some problems every day. Even if it’s for 1 hour.
  • Internalize the topics at a granular level. You can easily recognize patterns during the exam.
  • Visualization solidifies any concept.

During Exam:

  • The first section is the CRUX. Go all in and NAIL it. Can’t underscore it enough. This will set the bar for the second quant section higher. You will be able to score much higher compared to someone who lost points in that very first section. (GRE is section adaptive)
  • The section’s name is Quantitative Reasoning, so it is obvious that GRE will test your aptitude for reasoning with numbers. NOT your ability to do tedious calculations.
  • Game of patterns. Success in the quant section largely depends on the ability to recognize patterns in numbers and shapes quickly. I maintained a blog on Medium containing a few hacks that I found super useful.
  • Say NO to tedious calculations. If you have fallen for the trap, MARK it and move on to the next problem. Often coming back to the question you are struggling with can help you to devise a solution with a fresh perspective.
  • Do the Data Interpretation problems at one go. Coming back to re-read the charts and graphs will cost you time. And of course, valuable cognitive resources will be squandered!
  • LOCK up the past. Once you have moved on from a problem, lock it up in the cage and FORGET it. Don’t let it wander around in the nooks of your brain!

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