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160Q/150V to 169Q/161V: Reddit GRE success story

160Q/150V to 169Q/161V: Reddit GRE success story

Related: a guide to studying for the GRE


For quant: use the questions from the Manhattan Prep book (although this guy already was a math tutor, so…). Try to develop shortcuts by reviewing questions, but don’t be afraid to use your calculator.

For verbal: this guy actually skipped vocab. Instead, he focused on reading comprehension, which he thought was much more doable.

Resources: Manhattan Prep 5 Lb and the official GRE materials. He thought the official GRE practice tests were most representative. Also, he used reddit user r/gregmat for help.


Original post

I dont really post, but I wanted to get it off my chest and also say thank you to the people that are so supportive in this thread. You guys rock.

I just did my test today and scored Q169 V161 and I am wating for my AW, but I am confident that it will be around a 5.

I scored 150V 160Q in my first practice tests and then studied for about a month and a half when I had time. So here are my tips for anyone looking to improve their scores.


This section is not about you knowing your math or not (to some extent, it is expected of you to know the concepts already), it is about ATTENTION TO DETAIL. In some ways, it is rather mean, but you need to have all sorts of tricks up your sleeve.

Disclaimer: I have been doing math tutoring for high school students and one variable calculus as well.

– Study Material:

  • Manhattan 5lb: I feel like this was more than enough for me to be able to focus in the areas I was slacking. In general, it provides you with a good variety of questions in terms of difficulty. (I did not get one single standard deviation questions on my GRE)

  • /GRE: I would eventually do some questions people asked here, but not that often. I found some of the Manhattan questions to be more challegning.

– Tips

  • Take a practice: test and go from there (I’ll mention these later). Make sure to see what areas you are consistently getting wrong. For me, it was combinations and permutations, although I realized that this was not a huge part of the exam.

  • Develop shortcuts: There are a TON of questions that being the math nerd I am, I would try to solve for a general case and that was a horrible idea as it would burn time. Instead, some questions become way easier once you start getting used to coming up with one or two values you can plug into the equations that will make them so much easier.

  • Feel free to skip questions: Something that helped me was realizing that some questions were tedious rather than hard. If you identify one of these, skip it and leave it for later. Statistics questions tend to make you calculate so many values and it is better, in my opinion, to leave these for the end.

  • USE YOUR CALCULATOR: Most people who are good at math will take pride in being quick and just calculate things mentally so quickly in order to solve the problem quickly. This led me to a LOT of silly mistakes while taking my practice tests. So,when in doubt, just use your calculator for those slightly bigger numbers. It will benefit you more than it will harm you


This section is not that important to me as I am applying to engineering programs. However, I am a non native speaker and I have never lived in an english speaking country so, taking that into account, I feel like I got a decently good grade . I believe that one big reason for this is that I DID NOT FOCUS ON VOCABULARY. Admittedly, I did some practice for vocab but it became a really absurd task and I focused in other parts.

– Study Material:

  • Manhattan 5lb: Did some vocabulary practice, although not that much. Maybe 30-50 vocabulary excercies.

– Tips

  • Vocabulary is about half of the verbal section: I would just get vocab out of the way as this is a matter of whether you know the words or you dont. Some of it can require deeper analysis and some techniques work, but in general the more words you know the easier it becomes. Therefore, if you are like me and dont know some of those absurd words, take a quick educated guess and move on. Don’t dwell on not knowing what assiduous or sangfroid mean. (Sangfroid was sort of an easy guess as it was kind of similar to two words in spanish… to my surprise it actually meant what it sounded like)

  • Give reading comprehension the respect it deserves*:* This was, for me, HANDS DOWN the most draining part of the exam. Reading drained me and so I made sure I got done with vocab really quickly so that I could turn to this and read at my own pace with plenty of time. For the most part, I skipped the reading parts and would finish vocab quickly to get back to it. I seriously think that YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS, but memorizing so much vocabulary can be really hard. Again, this goes specially aimed towards non native speakers.


First time I wrote anything, it felt like I scored something like a 3. While I have not yet received my grades on this part of the test, I am confident that my scores are both 5s. (6 is too much for me)

– Tips

I really did not develop any tips for myself here, it really is all thanks to the information /u/gregmat posts. In general, amazing guy, GREAT videos on the subject of GRE. However, there are two unbelievably useful videos that I want to highlight. These helped me organize my ideas and really made me feel like my essay writing improved and was in a totally different level after I watched them.

Issue Essay –

Argument Essay –

I don’t think there is any better guide out there than this one when it comes to Essay writing. Follow his structure. It is absurd how useful it is.

Practice Tests
  • GRE Power Prep Official: I did pay $40 but it was really useful, it was for sure the most accurate version out of the ones I tried.

  • Manhattan free practice test: Adaptive, so it simulates the GRE well in that regard. A little bit harder than the actual GRE. I was actually able to do it twice, as the second time my scores on the first quantitative section were higher and thus, I was redirected to the harder section.

  • Kaplan free practice test: this one had the same amount of sections as the regular GRE

Final Tips
  • Be ready for the experimental section, but do not overthink it. If you feel that one of the sections you tried was inconsistent in terms of the difficulty, it might have been the experimental section. However, just approach the test as if there was no experimental section at all.

  • Practice a little bit before the test: I woke up at 9:00 am, made myself a yummy breakfast and then did 10 math questions just to get hyped and ready.

  • Take your practice tests at the same time of the day that you will take the real test

  • Do whatever you need to relax before going to the test. In my case it was listening to some jazz ( Incredibly dope if you like jazz) I mean really, the song’s name is dreamer… lets dream people.

I wish you all the best of luck on your GRE’s and I hope this can be useful to some of you!

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