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Self Study v/s Coaching Classes

A wise man once said: ” The GRE is not about how smart you are, it’s about how good you are at taking the GRE.”

A standardized test by nature, the GRE only assesses certain basic skills. Currently, the exam is comprised of a verbal section, a quantitative section and an analytical essay writing section. Most test takers feel that the GRE is a good indicator of their aptitude; it measures the abilities one would need in any occupation. It also places everyone on a common platform, irrespective of his or her background.

However, the GRE serves only as a screening tool – all good universities will tell you that while a high score does not ensure admission, a poor score may thwart it. Standardized test scores like GRE, GMAT, TOEFL are only one component of successful admissions. There are various opinions as to how best to study for the GRE. The biggest question at hand is whether to enroll for coaching classes. A graduate, currently applying for her doctorate, feels that a lack of guidance made no difference to her score. Antara Datta, a student at Oxford University says, “Classes can only help so much. After a point, more practice does not actually help improve your score. The GRE is very much about what happens on the day of the test”.

There are several GRE prep books (Barrons, Kaplan and Princeton Review), which come with CD-Roms containing practice tests. If you are confident about your verbal and quantitative skills, self-study is a feasible and cheaper option to coaching classes, the cost of which can range between Rs 5,000 – 10,000 for 90-120 day courses.

A lot of test takers feel they would do better on the GRE if a pre-determined practice schedule were imposed on them. “Coaching classes help keep you focused. You have no option but to study,” says Suhaan Mehta, a student planning to go to the US for further studies.

Another option is to study at home and then enroll at a coaching center to take simulated online tests. “At home, test taking is never the same as in a simulated environment. The phone rings and there are countless other distractions,” says Nivedita Gupta, a student at Mumbai University.

A computer-based test is very different from the paper based exams we’ve been used to taking in school and college. You need to make sure you are comfortable with the format.

ETS, the agency that conducts the GRE provides all candidates with their Powerprepp software. Aside from this, material is available for download on www.gre.org. For instance, on kaptest.com you can even take a full-length test online for free.

The GRE is not a complex exam. Traditionally, Indians have done well on the test. What is required on the student’s part is a bit of introspection to see where you stand in terms of a) your verbal, mathematical and reasoning abilities and b) the study schedule that best suit you.
Sulakshana Gupta

GRE Coaching Centers In Mumbai
Centre For International Education
RNA Arcade, Ground Floor, Opp Akbarallys, S V Road, Santacruz (W), Mumbai
Tel: 56932900. E-mail: maxgre@imsindia.com
Jayant Pai
Main branch:
1 Boman Lodge, 2nd Floor, Above Citibank, Opp. Agrawal Classes, Dadar T.T., Mumbai
Tel: 24121237, 24168716/ 34
Centers also at:
A) 103 Above Firdous Restaurant, Next to Paneri, Andheri (W), Mumbai. B) 307/8/9 Sai Arcade, Next to Union Bank, Mulund (W), Mumbai. Email:jayantpai74@rediffmail.com
Arjun Classes
Pinki Palace Building, Next to Rajasthan Hotel, S V Road, Khar (W), Mumbai. Ph: 26041414/ 26057070
K.P Singh Classes
Crystal Plaza, Opp Laxmi Industrial Estate New Link Road, Andheri (W)
Hemanshu Brahmabhatt
Email: Hemanshu1@vsnl.com
Ascent Education
Rustomjee Ascent, Rustomjee International School, Rustomjee Acres, Dahisar (W)
For more on the GRE visit:
a) www.gre.org
b) www.princetonreview.com
c) www.kaptest.com
If you’re confident about your verbal and quantitative skills, self-study is a feasible and cheaper option to coaching classes, which cost between Rs 5,000-10,000 for 90-120 day courses.