When did you take your GRE?
I took my GRE in September 2017 and I scored 320 – 165 in quant and 155 in verbal.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I did my engineering from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 2014 with a CG of 8.6. After that, I worked at Infosys for one year and three months in a TAC project with Juniper Network Security. My profile was that of a Technical Assistance Centre Engineer; I used to help customers in fixing their networks which Juniper firewalls deployed. Then, I joined Cisco as a TAC engineer and I am currently working on their firewall and firepower self-defence devices. Around July, I joined CrackVerbal to prepare for my GRE. I had a great experience with them. I took my GRE on 18th September and on 25th September, I took my TOEFL exam. I scored 104 in TOEFL and 320 in my GRE. I have a total work experience of 3.5 years and my CG is 8.06. I don’t have any published work as of now but I will, soon.
What made you take up the GRE?
I always wanted to pursue my masters. Initially I thought of doing it in India, but after I started working in Infosys and speaking to my friends in India and the USA, I figured out that an M. Tech from India will not give way for great opportunities. Also, when I was working in Cisco, I realized that there are a lot of things that I’d want to get into more depth in, like doing research. It’s always great to work in a company like Cisco, networking geniuses work in Cisco. But to get into research, it’s important to pursue Master’s. That’s when I decided to take up GRE. Initially, I thought of preparing by myself, but while I was preparing, I always had a time issue because, after coming back from work, I used to be tired and say let me postpone it for tomorrow and I was not focused much. That is when I decided to join an institute because I’ll have a fixed syllabus and I thought somebody with sufficient experience will be able to guide me through and I joined CrackVerbal. Since I’m an engineering student, I always thought Quant will not be that difficult – not a cakewalk, but relatively easier. I thought verbal would be a little difficult, because I do read, but not that much. GRE English is not something that you come across in everyday usage. I attended the demo class by Manoj at CrackVerbal. He is an amazing teacher.
How did CrackVerbal help you?
I think one of the biggest problems for GRE students in the verbal section, probably, is reading comprehension. Manoj was so clear and concise about the way he taught us to deal with this, he explained how it is not necessary to read the entire passage. He showed us which parts to focus on. That was massively helpful. One thing I really liked is that CrackVerbal is very structured. I joined a weekday batch because I thought I’d come back from office and do it. But CrackVerbal is very flexible. The classes were from 2 to 5, so I informed Prateek that I wouldn’t be able to make it at 2 – so he shifted the entire batch by half an hour! I think that was a very sweet gesture. And yes, the classes are very structured. For example, for one week, we only do RC. On the first day, Manoj gives us the context, second day we do questions, and on the third day, you can discuss and come up with your own questions and solve the workbook. If you miss a class, you can book a session and watch the video for that class and catch up with the others in the class. That’s a great added option. Plus, you can attend the same class at another centre according to my convenience. They have amazing faculty for both verbal and quant. I have friends who joined other coaching centres, they have a class strength of 100-odd people and they can barely interact with the faculty. Our CrackVerbal batch had around 20-25 candidates. We had Aditya for Quant and Manoj for Verbal. Both the tutors gave individual attention and made sure that you are sure about something before moving on to the next concept. I think it is very important to get personal attention. If you concentrate properly, you don’t even have to go back home and revise it.
What advice would you like to give for the aspirants?
You should practice as many questions as possible. I think you should keep in mind that time is a very important factor. It’s not important that you get two hundred questions, but what is important is how much time you are taking for those two hundred questions. Similarly, it is not important that you are able to solve all the five questions in your RC, but how much time you take for each reading comprehension. So, initially, you should practice just for accuracy, but when you think your accuracy is good, you should focus more on time because GRE is more of a time game. You have to solve 20 very difficult questions in 35 minutes. Always time your preparation. Take a lot of practice tests and don’t pause your practice test, ever. Sit through the test exactly like a 3 hour GRE test would be. Then you will have a fair idea of what you will be going through on the actual exam day. After the tests, make sure you go through every question where you went wrong. Definitely take the two ETS practice tests by GRE because they are very similar to the final test. Also, do practice the first writing section (AWA) that a lot of students miss. I did not score well in that test, I got 3.5. I applied to a university that had a cut off of 4. So, I did regret for that and thought I should have practiced more on that. At CrackVerbal, Manoj took time for that as well, we had two classes on AWA. So yeah, that is important.
When did you give your GRE?
I gave my GRE in 2017 in the month of September and scored 324. I got an admit in Schulich School of Business, which is a part of York University in Toronto.
Can you tell us about your background?
My background is in economics. I did my bachelor in economics, mathematics, and statistics and in 2011, I did my masters in econometrics, post which I joined TCS BaNCS as a market researcher and strategist for their pre-sales team. With CrackVerbal’s worksheets, study plans and forums and all of that, I was able to put in the hours, be dedicated about it, do the homework that was given and really motivate and push myself to study for it.
How did CrackVerbal help you?
Regardless of your educational background and how confident you feel, a place like CrackVerbal will instil dedication and focus. You can be smart but honestly, dedication and focus is all you need. The nice thing about CrackVerbal is that they gave a lot of tips and tricks to crack the exam, which I may not have realized if I was studying on my own. I would have probably solved a particular question without, say, eliminating choices, because it is hardwired in my mind to do a particular question in a particular way. It’s not about learning how to do time and distance problems or anything like that, it’s about really knowing how to crack it in the most efficient way possible. CrackVerbal helps you do that.
What advice would you give other aspirants?
I’d say whether you score 720 in your GMAT practice tests or 310 in your GRE, I think a course like CrackVerbal’s will be very helpful.
Can you introduce yourself please?
Hi! My name is Shilpa Shenoy and I work for Cisco Systems in the supply chain operations division. I graduated with an engineering degree in 2015 and have been working with Cisco for the past three years. I gave the GRE twice actually, once in October 2017 and the second time in November 2017.
What made you think of taking up the GRE?
At Cisco, I’m part of the supplier chain operations division and I manage the daily operations for the software that Cisco delivers. I have a vendor management team and I lead the level 1 and level 2 teams that look after the software delivery to make our customer experience hassle-free. This became a catalyst for me to apply and do my masters and I just finished my application processes and I’m back to working now.
How did you balance your work and GRE course?
So, the entire process of giving the GRE, filling out the applications – I think takes a considerable amount of time and we need to make sure that we devote that time for this application process. My schedule at work was quite busy where in I used to be at work until 6 and then I come back home and have conference calls and meetings in the night but I realized I have to make a few compromises to get what I eventually wanted. So, I made a few changes in my daily schedule. The first two months, studying for GRE itself required a considerable amount of time every day. So, I worked around my meetings and changed my work schedule so that I would devote at least three hours every day for GRE.
How did CrackVerbal help you?
Another aspect I can think of which I had to change around would be when I signed up for CrackVerbal I think finding the suitable option for me I had only a month between my first and the second attempt. During that month is when CrackVerbal helped me. There were a lot of options like classes, personal tutoring and so on, I think finding the right one that suited my schedule would work and what I was looking for because attending classes everyday between 2-5 is not a feasible option for me. So, personal tutoring kind of helped there.
How did you know about CrackVerbal?
I heard about CrackVerbal from a friend of mine who I work with. She was also in a similar situation. She had a lot more time, so she went for the classes and I decided to choose personal tutoring and what I liked about CrackVerbal, especially with the personal tutoring, was that they were extremely flexible with what I wanted and they catered it to my needs. Aditya, who was my maths tutor, was also like my academic advisor as well. So, he managed my English and maths sessions in spite of being my maths tutor. I like it quite a bit. Another aspect that helped me prepare well for my GRE was that the tutors made sure they prepared me with harder, GMAT level questions, so that when I’m actually appearing for the GRE exam, I would find the GRE level a little easier in the exam.
Can you tell us about your experience in the application process?
The GRE is your first step to your application, but I think doesn’t end there. Even after the GRE is done, I spent about a month, writing my statement of purpose. Depending on the college the essays vary. I wrote two essays, three essays… and it went on for quite some time. I think I was writing essays for two months. Getting the letter of recommendation from work or college, all that took some time and after two months I was glad to be done with the entire application process.
What advice would you like to give for the aspirants?
One advice I would give is that I think there is a lot of application materials and training materials, a lot of advice that people give out – it can get a little overwhelming. So, you need to decide what works best for you, because everyone is different, right? For example, I realized that personal tutoring and in-person classes worked best for me, so, although a lot of people said, “online classes are good, you should be able to do it,” I gave that a shot, but I realized that personal tutoring and in person classes works best for me. So, I decided to go with my instinct. That’s how I succeeded.
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