Difference between GRE and GMAT

How is GMAT different from GRE? I have given my GRE 3 years back. What all do I need to do to be prepared for GMAT?

Apart from the fact that GMAT is used to get into a B-school and GRE for technical fields like computers, electronic, physics, chemistry, psychology etc, there are many differences between the two in terms of the pattern of the examination. Even if you have appeared for GRE 3 years back, you will have to work a lot for preparing for GMAT.

Analysis of quant section
One of the areas where you will need to work a lot is in quant section. GRE’s level of quant does not match with GMAT. In GRE, quant section only has problem solving questions. If you are good with your formulae and can apply them, quant should not be a problem in GRE. This is totally different in GMAT. The level of questions is difficult. Also, you will have to prepare for another type of questions called Data Sufficiency. This requires a sound base of the math concepts else these questions will eat up a lot of time. For DS, the Manhattan Math and the Official Guide can be useful. With 65 formulae and tricks to remember those, even the book from edusoftech.com can be of great help.

Verdict: Quant of GMAT is tougher than that of GRE.

In a nutshell:               GRE   (75 minutes)                                      GMAT (45 minutes)
Math Section
Problem Solving
Problem Solving

Quantitative Comparison
Data Sufficiency

Analysis of verbal section
The main difference is that in GRE, lot of importance is given to vocabulary which is not the case with GMAT. Thus, remembering thousands of words will not ensure your success in GMAT verbal. For GMAT, you need to work more on your basic understanding of the English language. RCs here are traditionally tougher. Also, another type of question called Critical Reasoning is included in GMAT. This requires extreme analytical skills. The Kaplan 800 is good for CR section.
Another new section which was absent in GRE is the sentence correction. This tests your soundness in the English grammar. The Manhattan book is good for SC as it explains each and every aspect of the grammar with illustration. 

Verdict: Focus is more on the English literature than the vocab.

In a nutshell:                       GRE (75 minutes)                              GMAT (30 minutes)
Verbal section                       Sentence completion                            Sentence correction
                                            RC                                                      RCs
                                            Antonyms / Synonyms                         CR

GMAT Quantitative Study Plan

GMAT quant study plan

GMAT quant section comprises of 37 questions. Questions are roughly divided in to 3 sections which are problem solving, data sufficiency and data interpretation. Before you start with the preparation, clear out one thing from your mind. There are NO questions based on calculus. So do not waste time practicing those chapters. Technically speaking, even a high school graduate can appear for GMAT quant section because all the chapters that will be tested are the ones that you have already learnt during your school days. Thus, it makes sense to start off your preparation by brushing up with the concepts. Get hold of some school books and revise all the basics.

Problem solving questions comprise of the algebra and geometry. The pre-requisite here is to know all the formulae at the tip of your tongue. One good way to achieve this is to prepare your own flash cards. Make sure you go through those cards once every one or two days. Remembering as many tables as you can along with the squares and cubes will go a long way in deciding your performance on the D day.

The ‘100 Math Tips’ of THE BIG CD can be very handy especially during early stages. It comprises of well constructed concepts and formulae followed by the application of those concepts. Some questions come with the “Did you notice” bar which points out the trap laid or some exception handling. In questions such as these, guess work can be very useful. If say your answer is roughly around 85% and the nearest answer choice is 83% while other options are far off, you do not even need to solve the question. At times, backtracking method can also yield rich dividends.

The data sufficiency section tests your ability to reason quantitatively. The focus is not much on the computation part. The answer choices comprise of 5 ditto answer choices so memorizing those choices will save you precious seconds. Here, the Elimination technique is very useful. The 5 choices are:
A-only I is sufficient
B-only II is sufficient
C-both are required
D-any one of them is sufficient
E-data insufficient

Thus, if you eliminate either of A or B options, D automatically gets ruled out.

In data sufficiency question sets, it is not a bad idea to just analyze the given data for a minute and identify the relationship between the variables. You can rely on visual clues unlike the geometry questions. If the options are far off, approximation technique will save your time. Also, these questions require you to get a hand over percentages and fractions, so make sure you accomplish that.

The study material of OG is useful in the early stages. Once you are comfortable with that, move on to Kaplan series for more challenging problems. The mock tests are equally important. Start off with the PowerPrep series. All About Gmat Computer Adaptive Test from THE BIG CD is also useful. It features 5 tests with no repetition of questions. If you want more challenging test papers, go for Kaplan. But do not take the scores of Kaplan to your heart. You will score less 
here than you do in other tests.

How to plan your study for GRE in 8 – 12 weeks?

A timeline of 8 – 12 weeks should be sufficient to get prepared for GRE. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, here is how you can proceed. Before starting, it is not a bad idea to take a full length test just to analyze your good and bad points. See which category you fit in.

My math is strong, I suck at verbal
If you are from engineering background, most probably, you would fit in this category. Start your GRE preparation by working on your vocabulary. One good way to achieve this is by means of flash cards. Various companies like Barron’s, Kaplan, Power Prep, THE BIG CD have FLASH CARDS of their own. Pick any which suits your style. Flash Cards by THE BIG CD are the only ones which have the complete 4000+ wordlist in a single pack for a perfect price. Here's a look at the actual Flash Card with Front and Back layout.

To make sure that you are always in touch with your word list, you can also install the word list in your mobile phone. You can use software like “The Complete Mobile Word List” for this purpose. For completing the word list, you can easily afford to utilize 45 days or even 2 months. But make sure you know most of the words at the tip of your tongue.

If you are good at math, you can skip going through the norms of revising the concepts that are required in the first month. Instead, you can utilize this first month for verbal section exclusively.

In the second month, practice more application based problems. For more challenging math questions, you can refer to quant books from Kaplan, Vibrant Publishers, Barrons or use practice software like Power Prep and THE BIG CD.

The good thing about THE BIG CD software(s) is that they simulates the GRE exam in terms of the exam screen, content, adaptivity, overall look and feel etc. which no other provider (except for Power Prep of course) does.

I can appear for verbal half asleep, math gives me sleepless nights!
People from non technical background who have lost touch of math since school days would surely endorse to this idea. As far as Quant goes, you can utilize the first month for getting your concepts right. The Quant books from Kaplan can be used for this purpose. This book even comprises of the solved examples so that you know how to apply the formulae that you have learnt.

I am bad at math, but am equally bad with verbal!
Well, in that case, you really need to pull up your socks. Devote your time equally for both. For verbal, get a good set of flash cards. Start reading quality English books for RC section. For math, get your basics right. The first 2 months would be very testing as you have to cover up a lot.

I am done with the studying part, what next?
Ideally, the last month should be meant for practicing test papers. The tests from power prep are a lot similar to the actual GRE and your performance here will give you a glimpse of what you can expect in the final exam. The “All About GRE Computer Adaptive Test” by THE BIG CD is also handy. It features 5 to 7 full length practice tests without any repetition of questions. Its feature of progress tracker can help you to gauge your progress. In each test for each section and for each type of question, you can know your performance as compared to previous tests. This helps you to analyze whether you are working in the right direction or no.

Tips for Analytical Writing. How does ETS assess AWA?

One of the areas where the applicants are tested is in their writing skills. By writing skills, what I mean is not how good you are in the English language or how many flamboyant words you use in your essay. The deciding factor is how well you analyze the situation and how crisply you put forward your ideas.

Your score out of 800 does not reflect the scaled score of AWA. The analytical skills are rated on a scale from 0-6. In this section, you are supposed to write 2 analytical essays. You will be given an issue and an argument and you have to analyze them without any bias. Your essays are screened by a human as well as a computer program called E-rater. In case the human and the E-rater arrive at same score, that score is taken as final. If there is a significant difference between the 2 scores, then another expert human reader is called to take the final call.

The E-rater has a database of hundreds of essays. Your essay is tested against the corresponding essays in the program’s database. The E-rater places a huge significance on the structure of the essay. An introductory paragraph followed by 2-3 content paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph is mandatory if you want to impress the computer program. Authoritative words like “according to me”, “for example”, “therefore”, “I believe” will surely earn you more points. A word of caution here is must. An essay with a unique structure or a creation from one’s own mind can prove to be Frankenstein's monster. Stick to established essay writing patterns. All the essays in the computer program’s database are written in American English so make sure you take into account that fact as well. Finally, time management plays a critical role because you have to complete your essays within 30 minutes.


Tips on TOEFL listening section

Listening section in TOEFL predominantly tests the English listening skills of the applicants. It comprises of 3 parts which are 1 long conversation generally between a man and a woman and 2 lectures. The duration is 3-5 minutes. You can improve on this section in the following manner.

  • Start listening to spoken American style English well before the exam. Try to be in tune with channels like CNBC, NGC, and Discovery channel and so on. These channels cover a range of topics like academic, social and political which generally find their place in the final exam.
  • Try and expose yourself to as many different types of accents and pronunciations as possible.
  • A time period of 1 week prior to the exam should be sufficient. Practice note taking. You will hear the passage only once. It is not possible to memorize every single detail while listening. The only solution is to develop a hang of writing important points while listening. Make sure that you do not miss critical points while jotting down the points. This will develop only with practice. You can refer to Official ETS study Guide for your preparations. It also features a CD for listening section. The TOEFL iBT Big CD can also be very useful. It consists of 3 tests with look-a-like screens and same pattern as the actual exam. This software also provides a detailed review of each section.
  • Familiarize yourself with the type and the format of questions. There are certain fixed types of questions that generally appear. This will help you finding the answers even before you have read the question.
  • The clock is ticking only when you are answering the questions, not when you are listening. So, forget about the time constraint when you are listening.
  • One effective way of notes taking is writing down the words “main idea”, “tone of the passage”, “details” and “main points” even before you start listening to the passage. While taking down the notes, fill in the above points.
  • Do not ignore visual materials provided when the lecturer is referring to them. Some visuals like the blackboard in the background, the graphics or the illustrations may give clues about the theme of the passage.
Recommended Products for TOEFL Practice Tests

Remember Words Synonyms (useful for GRE GMAT and SAT) by reading this story Synonyms - Story 4


Libel, defamation, denigration, misrepresentation, obloquy, slander, aspersion, vilification, malign, traduce, smear, besmirch, tarnish, imputation, vituperation, defile: An abusive attack on a person's character or good name; Place under suspicion or cast doubt upon; Spread negative information about; State of disgrace resulting from public abuse

Story using the above synonyms:

Lives of women in 19th century and prior to that was like a living hell. They had no rights whatsoever. They were not even allowed to leave their home without a man to accompany them. Any reference to women’s education was meted with vile aspersion. Any girl expressing her desire or wish was vilified. Without a choice, she was married at a ripe age. The very thought of obloquy and humiliation that women of those days had to face is sufficient to petrify your senses. But more vulnerable and misrepresented were the lives of the philanthropists and social reformists who worked for the betterment of women and girls’ community as a whole.

Such reformists were looked down upon. Many even besmirched them and tarnished their reputation by tagging them as womanizers. Such were the mindsets of the individuals during those days that they could not accept a woman being treated on equal terms with a man. So they went out of the way to defame and denigrate not only woman who tried to make her life a better place to live in but also men who gave some honor and respect to the women.

Reformists working for women during those days were smeared and slandered. They had to face vituperative remarks. There were many rumors spread to defile their image. Their families had to face the music as well. Their actions and intentions were traduced and unfavorably spoken about. The incidents of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule are not unknown to us. They were imputed of inciting the young girls for taking the wrong path. Stones were pelted at them. Given the libel that they had to face, lesser mortals would have surrendered long back. One can only imagine as to what they had to suffer and how their repute was maligned for a cause that was only meant to give due and equal rights to women in India.

One can only thank the initiatives taken by Mahatma Jyotirao and many others because of whom women now have equal rights and are free to achieve their dreams.

Remember Words Synonyms (useful for GRE GMAT and SAT) by reading this story Synonyms - Story 3


Scurrilous: obscene, indecent
Calumnious: slanderous, tending to discredit or malign
Libelous: defamatory, harmful and often untrue; tending to discredit or malign
Opprobrious: Expressing offensive reproach, abusive

Story using the above synonyms:

Racial segregation had been prevalent in South Africa for years until 1994. These segregations based on color were officially recognized when Afrikaner Nationalist party came into power in 1948. Its president Daniel F Malan included the policy of apartheid which isolated whites from the non whites.

During the regime of apartheid, blacks had to face many atrocities. They were scurrilously looked upon. Calumnious remarks were made about blacks. They were deprived of even basic rights and amenities. Medical care and public services even if available were of inferior standards. They were allowed to do only certain types of jobs and more often than not, had to slog their way out to even earn their basic livelihood.

Blacks were refrained from interfering in any government activities including casting votes. Libelous things were written and spoken about them. Derogatory remarks were made. They were vilified time and again. The havoc against them was prevalent to such an extent that the term ‘blacks’ was used as a by-word of opprobrium.