GRE Preparation

Updated on
May 15, 2020

GRE Preparation Tips & Top GRE Coaching Institutes in India List
Prepared by Higher Education Research Team


Conducted by US-based Education Testing Service (ETS), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized, computer-based, multichoice exam accepted by all top US Universities for MBA, MS, Law and other graduate programs. More than 1,300 business schools including Harvard, Wharton, Chicago and all Top 50 B-schools accept GRE scores. GRE exam has three sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. GRE can be a good alternative to GMAT, particularly for students who have good English language skills when compared to their Quantitative ability.


There are two different types of GRE Exams: GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test. Syllabus is different for both.


GRE General Test
The GRE General test measures one’s command of quantitative ability like basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis as well as college-level vocabulary. More importantly, it measures your reasoning ability to analyze and evaluate written material, think critically, and solve problems.


GRE Subject Test
The GRE Subject Tests are conducted for admissions in the field of English Literature, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology and Biology. This test aims at evaluating the applicants’ ability on a particular subject. This length of these tests is 170 minutes and are given at paper-delivered test centres worldwide three times a year; September, October and April. In this article we will share GRE preparation tips for GRE General Test.


Before we delve deep into GRE Test preparation, let us understand the GRE Exam structure and its sectional order. As said, GRE exam has 3 sections: Analytical Writing Assessment, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The writing section always apears first, whereas the other two, along with the dummy unscored sections may appear in any order afterwards. The computer-based test is different in pattern and time duration to the paper-based version. Let’s compare the two different patterns for these two versions of the same test:




Analytical Writing

1 section-2 tasks (60 minutes)

2 sections-2 tasks (60 minutes)

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections-40 questions (60 minutes)

2 sections-50 questions (70 minutes)

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections-40 questions (70 minutes)

2 sections-50 questions (80 minutes)

Dummy (unscored)






To understand how to prepare for the GRE General Test or subject test, we must understand what all is covered across different sections. So, here’s a detailed section-wise analysis of the GRE:


GRE Exam Section wise AnalysisMust before Beginning with GRE Preparation 2020


1. Analytical Writing Assessment
In this section, candidate is supposed to write two essays: Issue Analysis and Argument Analysis. While in the former, any random problem, generally a currently trending topic, is given to be analyzed, the latter tests the candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given argument. Needless to say, the candidate’s ability is checked through a certain set of attributes, that the examiners look for in the essays. It’s always advisable to follow a certain pre-defined and practised template that includes all the important points and ably expresses the test taker’s comments and viewpoints on the same.


2. Verbal Reasoning
This section usually includes questions on two broadly different areas: Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension. In order to prepare for the former, the candidate needs to develop a habit of memorising new words daily, and go through tough language articles by world renowned publications/editors. Daily practice of such words and also including them in regular daily conversation would be the key to prepare for such questions.


Reading Comprehension is a more peculiar and dicey set of questions. Because this category of questions is more time taking and tedious, hence reading speed is one attribute on which the performance depends heavily. For improving this, candidate needs to develop and sharpen the reading speed, by regularly reading novels and newspaper articles.


3. Quantitative Reasoning
Given below is a list of topics that are covered in this section:

  • Percentages
  • Profit and Loss
  • Ratio, Proportion and Variation
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Time, speed and distance
  • Permutation and Combination
  • Quadratic and Linear equations
  • Basic Statistics
  • Probability
  • Time and Work
  • Powers and roots
  • Set Theory
  • Geometry
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Number Properties
  • Mensuration
  • Order of operations

Now you must have had a basic idea of the GRE and its sections and the topics covered within them, it’s also necessary for you to understand the basic comparative analysis of the GRE with the other more prevalent exam, i.e. CAT as far as Indians students are concerned to enable you to opt for best GRE Exam preparation strategy. So, here’s a detailed comparative analysis.


GRE Preparation 2020 vs CAT Preparation
If you are already preparing for CAT exam 2020, then understanding the similarities and differences will help you in planning your GRE preparation 2020. The table below will summarize the comparison between these two exams:




Conducting body



Exam date

Throughout the year (except Sundays and National Holidays)

2 slots (last Sunday of November)

Application Cost

$ 205 (approx. INR 15,550)

INR 1800/-


5 sections: -

AWA- 2 essays

QR- 2 sections (20 questions each)

VR- 2 sections (20 questions each)

1 Dummy section and/or Research section (Quantitative or Verbal)

3 sections: -

Verbal Ability (34 questions), Data Interpretation (32 questions), Quantitative Ability (34 questions)

Test type

Computer-based (section-adaptive)


Test duration

3 hours 45 minutes

3 hours

Max score/range

Score range: 260 to 340 for the Quantitative and Verbal sections;

Score range: 1 to 6 for the Analytical Writing section

Max score: 300

Score validity

5 years

1 year

No. Of attempts

GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period

Once a year

After gaining the knowledge of the sections, and also the comparison with CAT, the next genuine concern would naturally be, as to how to prepare for the GRE General test as well as subject test. So, given below is an in-depth week-wise study planner for any Indian test-taker.


GRE Preparation 2020: Strategy
The GRE tests both the logic and the aptitude of the test taker, across all sections, apart from the basic foundational knowledge of math and English. Since most serious candidates recommend a time period of 8-12 weeks for the preparation, we shall give you a detailed 10-week study plan for GRE preparation, which will help you cross the 320+ range as a score in the exam. We recommend, before starting with the plan, one should attempt the Free Diagnostic GRE test, available on the official website, which will help in guiding the study plan further. Here’s the weekly planner:


Week 1:  Brush up on the basics and vocabulary
Since most test takers are either the working class, or are undergoing their graduation courses, it’s firstly recommended to brush up on the foundational mathematics topics and the grammar rules. Apart from this, a good 20-30 minutes should be devoted to the enhancement of the vocabulary, which forms a good part of the verbal section.


Weeks 2 and 3: Focus on Verbal more than Quant
It’s widely accepted that for the average Indian test-taker, the Verbal section proves a lot tougher than the Quant section. Hence, it’s highly advisable to focus the next two weeks on the most important part of the exam: Reading Comprehension. It’s recommended to thoroughly go through the GRE Official Guide and practice the questions and techniques to solve the Text Completion, Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension Questions from the same.


Weeks 4 and 5:  Practice from Official Guide (all sections)
Now it’s time to finally shift some attention to the Quant section. Since, Data Comparison and Problem solving are the two most prevalent question types, it’s recommended to solve at least 10-15 questions of each from the Official Guide. Also, don’t forget to solve some easier Reading Comprehension questions, and brushing up on the vocabulary for 20-30 minutes everyday. This is also the right time to start maintaining a Performance Tracker to keep a tab on the rightly and wrongly attempted questions, time taken, and also the usual error areas.


Week 6:  Practice for AWA, Data Interpretation, and Pick a Date
Now would be a good time to look at the untouched section thus far, i.e. AWA. The candidate should go through the general guidelines as given in the Official Guide and start attempting and writing essay topics, one each of the two types: Issue-based and Argument-based.


Also, start to practice another important category of questions asked in the Quant section: Data Interpretation. Here, quick calculation speed is of paramount importance, so it would be well advised to brush up on the tables, fraction conversion to percentages, and also squares and cubes of numbers. The usual practice of 15-20 Verbal questions should still be done on a regular basis.


Finally, this middle phase of the preparation would also be an ideal time to pick and choose a date for the actual GRE. This would go a long way in targeting and synchronizing the preparation in a much better way.


Weeks 7 and 8:  Move onto the tough questions, and maintain a Performance Tracker
Having received a fair idea of all sections and the various question types across all of them; now is the time to move onto the medium and tough difficulty level questions of both Quant and Verbal areas from the Official Guide.


Also, it’s the appropriate time to now start to focus our preparation considering the entire exam in mind, rather than keeping it section-wise. Hence, these 2 weeks should be utilized to solve 15-20 questions of each of the following categories: Sentence Completion, Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, Problem solving, Data Comparison, and Data Interpretation. This is important to test the ability of the candidate to smoothly transition from one section to the other, and also from one question type to the other, as this would be a very important skill for the actual GRE. Through the regular maintenance of the Performance Tracker, keep a log of not just the wrongly attempted questions, but also on the right ones, as it would be equally important to develop further and devise better and quicker ways to solve them.


Also, attempt two more timely restricted essays, one each of the two types: Issue based, and Argument based.


Weeks 9 and 10: Full-length mock tests and detailed analysis
By this time, the candidate would be well versed with the questions given in the Official Guide across all sections, so it would be absolutely the correct time to move onto the next and the final phase: Full Length Mock Tests. Before moving onto the tests, the first step should be to analyze the Performance Tracker for the repeated error areas, and improve upon them by revisiting the Official Guide if required.


Then, first attempt the two full-length tests given in the Official Guide, before getting to the two Official ETS computer-based tests. These 4 tests should be attempted one by one, and not continuously, one after the other. Ideally, a couple of days must be given after every mock test, to the proper detailed analysis of the test and performance improvement if required, by revising the concepts and techniques from the Official Guide.


This study plan, if followed to the core, should easily help the candidate to score a 320+ on the GRE, and hence pave the way to securing an admit into one of the top master’s program across the world.


Top GRE Coaching Institutes in India
If you are serious about cracking GRE and getting admits from top MBA and MS programs in the world, then joining a GRE Exam Coaching Center is a good idea. Since GRE is an international exam, there are many Online Test Preparation companies that offer GRE Exam preparation online for international students. Of course, there are Indian companies too who offer GRE Exam coaching. You should review both options of GRE Coaching classes carefully and decide which is the best option for you. Here is a list of top GRE Coaching Institutes in India.


GRE Exam Preparation Online: Top 5 International Options



Princeton Review



Manhattan Prep







Fee starting from (in USD)






Fee in INR (1 USD=75.5 INR)

INR 11,250

INR 37,675 

INR 47,490 

INR 15,553 – 35,938 

INR 41,450 

Mode of Delivery

Self-Paced Online

In-person, Live Online and Self-Paced Online

In-person, Live Online and Self-Paced Online

Self-Paced Online

In-person, Live Online and Self-Paced Online

No of Practices Questions






Practice Exams






Course Mode

Online Only

Online Only

Online + 3 Workbooks + Pocket Reference

Online Only

Online + Printed Materials & Online Workbook







So if you are looking for GRE online coaching or GRE coaching classes offline, then you must visit all five websites and take a wise decision.


GRE Exam Coaching Institutes in India

GRE Coaching Classes Jamboree IMS learning Manya Group GRE Edge Crack Verbal
Rank #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
USPs Market leader in GRE and GMAT education.

Jamboree is one of the best institutions in India for GRE coaching. It offers both online and classroom programs.

Pioneer of CAT Coaching in India. Specialized CIE (study-abroad) centers with CIE Consulting Portal Manya is India partner of Princeton Review. It has 40+ centers in India. It offers 4 GRE Courses. 97% student satisfaction rate, Assisted 363 students get the perfect 170 in Quantitative Reasoning Personal tutoring option, Excellent material with flashcards, Detail-oriented courses
Fee INR 26,000 for GRE exam preparation Online;
Price On request  For GRE coaching Class room training
INR 15,000-25,000 (center-specific) Rs 25,000-65,000 INR 28,000 (Compact GRE eclass) Online comprehensive- INR 8750 approx.
Delivery Mode Both Class Room Training and Online classes are available Both Offline and Online options are available. Both Offline and Online options are available. Personalized study-plan, Two GRE experts allocated to each student, and limitless doubt clearance Plethora of course programs to choose from- Classroom/Online/personal tutoring, Concept-wise tests, application videos, one year validity, access to webinars
Course Features Intelligent learning, Vocab list, Personal and customized assistance, Sound university selection support Diagnostic Test & Study Plan with GRE Class room/online training, University selection support, GRE Books & Study material, full length online tests, one to one doubt solving sessions, Admit Guarantee    It offers a combination of Classroom lectures, Online preparation on Princeton Review and Online/Video Classes. Different GRE Prep programs for preparation needs of  Verbal & Quant for the candidates with different back grounds. Offers high score guarantee, vocab builder with cartoon mnemonics based on pop-culture to learn and recall tough GRE words


Best Books for GRE Exam Preparation
If you are planning to do self-study for GRE exam, you need to get the best GRE exam preparation material and GRE preparation books. Here’s a list of the best GRE preparation books and GRE study material which will guide you to the best possible scores. Some of these GRE preparation books are exam specific.


Official Guides by ETS for GRE
ETS the body that conducts GRE Exam publishes its own preparation book. This is a must read for serious candidates.

  • The Official Guide to the Revised General Test, 3rd edition, by ETS (available for $ 24, or approx. INR 1680 on Amazon)
  • Power prep and Power prep Plus, by ETS (priced at $ 40 per test, approx. INR 2800)
  • Official GRE Verbal Reasoning practice questions and Quantitative Reasoning practice questions, by ETS (priced at $ 32, approx. INR 2240)

If you are looking for additional material, you can refer to Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides, 4th Edition (available for approx. INR 16,800).


Best websites for GRE Preparation
A good volume of GRE Exam preparation material is available online. In your preparation journey, these best websites that also provide GRE study material for GRE preparation can be helpful.

  1. Educational Testing Service ETS GRE Website
  2. Magoosh GRE Blog
  3. Barron’s TestPrep Blog
  4. Manhattan PrepGRE Blog

In this article, we have tried to cover an in-depth analysis of the GRE and its preparation for Indian students. Having begun the article with the detailed section-wise analysis of the exam, we then moved onto a simple comparison of the GRE and the CAT, and explained that if you are already preparing for CAT, there won’t be much extra required to prepare for the GRE simultaneously. Then we gave you a very detailed week-wise planner of 10 weeks of how to prepare for the GRE with GRE study material. We provided a detailed list of the best GRE coaching institutes that provide classes, both offline and online, for GRE preparation. We also gave best recommended material, in the form of books, websites and portals. Hope you found this article helpful for cracking GRE.

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