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Key secrets no one told you about acing GRE

Raise your hand if after you got to know GRE was mostly just a bunch of quantitative and verbal questions (before you started answering any of the questions yourself), you began wondering why people made so much fuss about it.

That was me after I eventually made the decision I would be writing GRE earlier in 2019. I kept wondering why in the world many people I knew made so much noise about the difficulty of the test. Mere quantitative reasoning? The last time I did anything with that name was primary school! Acing GRE shouldn’t be a problem!

Those were my thoughts until I did my first diagnostic test and with my scores right before my eyes, I became humble. It wasn’t that I flunked the test; rather my score was way lower than I expected. Almost everyone whom I have spoken with about writing GRE had always recounted very similar experiences. We all agreed that GRE had that effect of making you question yourself and your intelligence.

The most interesting part of my earlier experience came when I was trying to understand why I missed out on the questions I flunked only to find out that I knew most of them! All that led to my error were tiny mistakes here and there.


acing gre-tips no one told
Acing GRE is as simple as ABC


That experience and subsequent ones led me to the discovery I made about acing GRE that became a game-changer for me as I employed study strategies: GRE is not a test of your intelligence. I believe GRE is more like a test of how you can cleverly find the right answers that have been craftily hidden from you. I found that the test was designed such that the right answers are deliberately concealed while the wrong answers are intentionally and shrewdly made to look like the right ones. This led me to make a rule that in my GRE study strategy that the readily obvious answer is never the right one and I found that I was almost always correct with that rule.

Coming from my conclusion above, I realized that my GRE study strategy has to include deliberately honing my ability to believe in myself. In acing GRE, I realised my strongest weapon had to be my confidence. I needed my confidence to be intact even when I get confused about a question and many answers are looking alike to me. That way, I can quickly move on and answer the next one without feeling like the world had just collapsed and I was the stupidest person.  That way, I don’t throw in the trowel inwardly and start to think I already flunked the entire test. So, in my GRE study, as I was growing my ability to decipher the right answer, I was intentionally growing my confidence about acing the test too.

On my test day, I found this strategy paid off! I had a particular section in my verbal part where I honestly felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. My mind was at the brink of giving up and saying this was over. And then I remembered my secret weapon of acing GRE and encouraged myself that no matter what happens, I was not stupid and “we die here!”. You can imagine my exhilaration when I found that I scored a total of 320/340 in the exams!

As you design your GRE Study Strategy and prepare for your test by practicing more quant questions and checking the meaning of every new word, remember to pay attention to this usually underrated requirement for acing GRE: your confidence. It can be as simple as putting up a sticky note with words that remind you that you are going to ace the test, like a friend of mine, did. Just keep that weapon. It is potent. You can do this. That’s not just a slogan. You really can. I wish you all the best in your exams!


Written by: Oluwatoyin Ajilore

16 Responses

  1. Fantastic approach to acing GRE. I probably should be thinking of writing mine, too, and I won’t forget to use these key secrets you shared here. Congratulations on the achievement! Cheers to loftier heights!

    1. Thank you, Israel.

      Please, by all means, make plans to register and write GRE as soon as possible.

      The i-Scholar Initiative is glad to help you make that dream come true through its full GRE/TOEFL scholarship and amazing mentoring program for young scholars like you.

      1. Pls how do I register for the GRE/TOEFL test?
        When is the next i-scholar initiative scholarship application coming up?

        1. Someone in Texas introduce this i-scholar initiative scholarship to me.
          Pls can you guide me through on the application process.
          I can be reached at +2348088216455.(WhatsApp)
          I am a recent college graduate currently serving in Jos Plateau State Nigeria.

          1. Chinwe,

            Please, find time to go through and study the relevant instructions on our website.

            Follow us on our social media channels too.

            Information on the next application window will be announced soon.

        2. Chinwe,

          We have the relevant instructions on our website.

          Follow us on our social media channels too.

          Information on the next application window will be announced soon.

  2. You said it all sir. Being an engineering student, I was too confident on my mathematical skills. Not until I did some trial that I realised GRE was way beyond secondary school mathematics.

    In the same vein I couldn’t give the verbal section a trial because I have zero (0) confidence.

    But with this your post sir, I now have the right tools and motivation to keep on with my preparation.

    I still have a semester left to finish my undergraduate studies and with the ongoing ASUU industrial action, I don’t even know when that would be. Whatever the case might be though, I will not halt my preparation.

    Like you said sir, “ We die here.

  3. Thanks a lot for this revelations you gave on acing the GRE test with minimal stress . Please I have been putting off writing the GRE/TOEFL exam but I am ready now to sit for any of them..how do I register with i- scholar inorder to benefit from the initiative..

    1. Dear Miracle,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Applications for the next academic session will open soon. The application is free. Selected applicants get to enjoy fully-funded GRE and standardized exams.

      Please, be on the watch-out across all our social media platforms as information would be posted there once the new application window opens.

  4. In one divinely inspired book are crafted these very words: “A word spoken at the right time, oh how good it is! ” How apt those words are given the very substance and evidently the timing of your virile anecdote in my sojourn.
    I have etched this formula in my heart and will always place it before my face; and by the zeal of Jehovah of armies, I shall not fail, I shall sing songs of victory at the very end of this odyssey!
    Thank you for this insightful post, keep touching lives!

  5. I just started preparing and the Verbal section is very daunting, with too many words to learn… But,

    1. Joshua,

      That’s the spirit; Yes, “We Die Here”, “We will give it our best”, “We will not stop until we achieve the desired and best outcomes”.


  6. Thank you for sharing this motivational story. It has inspired me to make an effort to write GRE. I’m now starting preparation to write GRE but I’m not confident for the verbal and analytical reasoning section. I will be glad if I will get mentorship to prepare to write GRE.

    1. Shambach,

      You need to believe in yourself and put in the hard work to ensure you succeed in your exams.

      We have various materials on our website that can help you as you prepare for your GRE and TOEFL. Please, avail yourself of these materials.

      Also, bookmark our website and follow us on our social media channels for more practical tips on acing your GRE and TOEFL and how to win top scholarships in leading universities around the world.

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