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GRE_Notes

GRE_Notes

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Published by: thribhu on Nov 11, 2010
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01/24/2013

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

One of the biggest frustrations of taking a CAT test is that you don’t have the questions
and answers right there in front of you. Without the luxury of being able to write notes,
eliminate answers, make equations or draw pictures, I am certain that you will find this
extremely annoying in a CAT environment. Some of the following might sound like
common sense, but not everyone employs these useful strategies that will save you
valuable time come test day

The CAT test format can be frustrating, and time consuming, for many reasons, but there
are some tricks that I found useful when taking the test that seemed to help me out.

First, you will find that you are spending a lot of time looking between the screen in front
of you and your blue book. USE YOUR PENCIL AND BLUE BOOK (but do not waste
valuable time writing needless things down). One of the worst things you can do is to
waste time staring at the screen. Do not make this mistake. Instead, you should get in the
habit of immediately writing down ABCDE on your scratch paper for every question.
This should be a habit as you study for the GRE, they don’t give you material to write
things down for nothing. USE IT! This way, you can immediately eliminate answers that
you know are incorrect. Don’t waste your valuable brainpower trying to remember
answers that might be right or wrong, WRITE THEM DOWN! You have no idea how
many times you will be very appreciative of doing this when you look down and see that
you have two answers to choose from instead of trying to look up at your screen and
trying to remember what answers you told yourself to eliminate. Even if you don’t know
the exact answer, your test scores will be drastically improved if you can eliminate even
one or two incorrect answers. If you can eliminate three incorrect answers, your
probability of guessing the right answer is 50%! So be sure to get in the habit of writing
down ABCDE and then crossing answers out as you go.

Next, read the entire question carefully and write down the useful information (this is
more geared for the Quantitative part). Don’t worry about writing everything down at
first, but as you practice, you will become more proficient at identifying the key pieces of
information. With easy questions, you won’t have to write down much, but with your
ABCDE and key pieces of information, you will have essentially transferred the problem
from the computer screen to your paper, which will make your life much easier, as you
will be able to make equations, draw pictures, do whatever you need to do to eliminate
answers. BUT, a key here is to make sure you transfer information correctly. The worst
thing you can do is to write down wrong numbers or facts, etc. I can’t tell you how to

become a pro at accuracy, but in general, work slow to work fast. Once you are certain
you have it down in front of you, go to town on cracking the problem. Eliminate answers
as you go.

Another issue with CAT test prep is that it is difficult to simulate the test day
environment. That is where prep services like Grockit come in. Become comfortable with
using the computer to answer questions, it will be invaluable come test day. I’m sure that
you will employ traditional book based studying (such as Official Guide for GRE
Review) and I highly encourage you to use such books. But as you become comfortable
with the material itself, it is essential that you are able to transfer your mastery of the
material to a CAT environment. Supplement your computer testing with your paper
(book) testing and vice-versa. Don’t become too comfortable with studying out of books,
but use that practice to become a master at translating the key pieces of information to
your scrap paper.

Employing the above methods will help you become a master of the CAT environment
and will definitely pay dividends come test day. USE YOUR SCRATCH PAPER,
WRITE DOWN ABCDE, and good luck! If you have any other strategies that you have
found helpful, please post below, or check out Grockit’s GRE forums for more advice.

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