4 Ways to Get a Top Score on the GRE

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Getting into the top GRE score range is crucial to acceptance into a good school. But how do you chase that elusive top score? How do you hit that good GRE score range of 150 to 170 in Math and Verbal and 4+ in AWA? Here are some tips for getting a top GRE Score.

Tip # 1: Practice with official materials from ETS

ETS, the company that makes the GRE, offers many official practice tests and question sets. The best known official GRE resources are ETS’s three GRE books, the Official Guide to the exam, and the official collections of Quantitative and Verbal questions. In addition to this, the GRE offers quite a few free official PDF ebooks and official exam practice software on their page of materials to prepare for the test.

These official materials are especially important for getting into that top GRE score range, because nothing prepares you for the test quite like “the real thing.” All questions in official ETS materials are taken from retired versions of the current revised GRE. These questions show you exactly what to expect on the test itself; to master these questions during practice is to master the real GRE.

Tip # 2: Play with math

Math on the GRE can be quite complex and advanced. So it’s important to not only practice math questions but also get very comfortable with the skills you need to reach the top GRE score range for Quants.

One of the best ways to really master GRE Quant skills and confidence is to “play” with math frequently. Look for chances to use math in your daily life in real, interesting ways. Try to calculate grocery costs in your head before you pay for your groceries, for example. And play various kinds of math games to develop “number sense,” an intuitive comfort with math. There are a lot of great math games for building number sense out there on the Web.


Tip # 3: Read, read, read!

Being an experienced reader will greatly improve your Verbal score. And it can also help your AWA score; seeing the good writing of others helps you grow as a writer. Build Verbal and AWA skills with GRE-like academic websites such as Arts and Letters Daily, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. Your practice can also include some lighter reading. Movie reviews and TV show recaps are highly entertaining, but also tend to be full of very advanced GRE-like vocabulary and wording.

Get acquainted with this kind of writing. Learn to understand it well, and you’ll have the comprehension you need for a top score in GRE Verbal. Learn to imitate the style of these practice reading sources in your own writing, and you’ll be well on your way to a top score in AWA.

Tip # 4: Be well-rested on test day

This is the simplest of the four tips, and it’s also the top-score tactic that is the easiest to forget. GRE prep is hard work, and it’s easy to keep up a grueling pace of study all the way to the final hour. But you really do need to take a deep breath and slow down right before the exam. Exhaustion, stress, and anxiety are bigger distractors than any false answer on the test itself. Countless GRE test-takers have fallen short of the top score range because they were too worn out when they took the test. To get a top score, make sure you get a good night’s sleep before test day. And be sure to eat a good meal before you go into the test center.


About The Author

David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent.

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