Prep Club for GRE
November 14, 2023

Joined: Aug 29, 2023

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Course Target Test Prep The Target Test Prep GRE

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Personal Background:
- From Latin America but my English is as native as my Spanish (live in the U.S.)
- M.S. Mechanical Engineering & B.A. Communication, minors in Math and French.
- Currently work as a technology implementation consultant at a Big 4.

Why TTP:
I discovered Target Test Prep through my employer, who has a partnership with them and a few other test prep services. Everyone I asked at work that had tried TTP spoke very highly of it. I also researched online and saw nothing but great reviews. The score guarantee was another big selling point for me because it demonstrated the confidence TTP has in their resources. I had done a 9-week live virtual course to prepare for the GMAT in the second half of 2022, but I unfortunately was not able to really take advantage of it since work was extremely demanding at that time. I also felt that I didn’t benefit that much from the group classes. I feel my studies are most effective when I first study material independently, and only after then review as a group. I do think it could be useful to supplement the TTP course with group classes (which TTP does also offer) but I didn’t choose to do that because the TTP course was already extremely well suited for my learning style, and I was trying to be economic. The first course I had done had been pretty expensive so TTP’s price point was another big reason why I decided on it. Looking back, I honestly could not tell you a time when I used my money better than when I purchased TTP’s subscription.

Why I chose GRE over GMAT:
I mentioned that I took a GMAT course but I did TTP’s GRE course so I want to clarify this. Everyone around me also preparing for grad school was taking the GMAT and I didn’t know much about the GRE and which schools/programs accepted each of them. I later realized that the programs I was targeting and the plans I had for my education over the next 5 years actually fit the GRE better (one of the online programs I may apply to after business school only accepts the GRE, for example). I decided to take a practice test and compare that to my GMAT practice test, which led me to realize I was much better at the GRE. Sadly, my strongest suit on the GMAT (sentence correction) was not on the GRE but… you win some you lose some. For those of you starting out your test prep, I suggest taking a practice test of both to figure out which format and style works best for you. For example, I had a strong preference for the GRE’s format because it was adaptive at the section level instead of at the question level. Also, I felt that the on-screen calculator on the GRE calmed some of my test-taking anxieties. Although I do not recommend using the calculator for all of your basic operations, it was calming to know that if my brain goes completely blank and I question myself on whether I actually do know what 7x8 equals amidst the stress of the exam, I had a calculator right there that would allow me to resolve this in 2 seconds.

My TTP Journey:
Once I decided to take the GRE, I signed up for TTP. I used my subscription for ~4 months, from June 13, 2023-October 16, 2023, but completed the grand majority of the course (Expert track) between July 2 and August 21 (as logged by the TTP platform, I dedicated 191 hours of study between June 13, 2023, and August 22, 2023). It was definitely a lot of work, time, and effort. And it was 100% worth it. The only regret I have was that I didn’t discover TTP sooner – hindsight, I guess.

Given my career plans and the programs I was targeting, my main priority was excelling in the Quant section. Since I was originally targeting Round 1 applications, I was short on time – especially since I wanted to take the test at least twice. My strategy for preparing for the first exam was to focus on Quant first. I completed 100% of the Quant modules on TTP, practiced vocabulary, and skimmed the verbal chapters. On my first test, I got a 162 Quant, 154 Verbal.

For my second exam, I focused more heavily on Verbal and completed 100% of the entire TTP course. This time, I got a 162 Quant, 164 Verbal.

What was very cool to see was how accurate TTP’s score improvement guarantee was. By my first exam, I had completed ~60% of the TTP course and, therefore, would not have qualified for the score guarantee of 320 – I received a 316. By my second exam, I had completed 100% of the TTP course and scored a 326. Basically, they know what they are doing, and they tell you exactly what to do to get a great score.

Although my second test score was excellent in Verbal and overall, I really wanted to improve my Quant score. When preparing for my third exam, I reached out to TTP for some advice. They suggested I supplement TTP’s course with official ETS practice questions. I bought the Official GRE Super Power Pack eBook and prioritized doing all of the Quant exercises. I also knew Vocabulary and timing were my two biggest trouble spots in Verbal so I did all of GregMat’s vocabulary quizzes on YouTube and practiced enough Verbal to maintain my timing strategies from my second take. On my third exam, I scored 167 Quant, 161 Verbal, which was above the average of my most competitive target program.

How TTP differentiates itself:
There are various aspects of the TTP course that make it the most efficient and effective way to prepare for the GRE. I selected the Expert path and it was extremely comprehensive, covering absolutely all material tested in the GRE in a way that is not overwhelming. TTP organizes your tasks based on the number of hours and dedicated study days you indicate and organizes it in a calendar view. This was huge for me because I am very visual. I felt it provided me with the accountability I needed.

Another thing that helped was the way the course material is written. The language used is conversational rather than textbook-like and it is broken up in a very encouraging way. For example, the progress bars and multiple lessons keep you motivated through long chapters. TTP also highlights “must knows” and you can find them all in one place for quick refreshes, organized by lesson. Being able to highlight with different colors, add notes, and view these highlights/notes all in the same place was also very useful. I was working full-time throughout my studies, and I felt that the way the TTP course was broken down made it easy for me to make progress even if I just had 30 minutes in between calls.

As if that wasn’t enough, I loved TTP’s Analytics page because it allowed me to pinpoint my weaknesses and create custom tests from my bookmarked and/or incorrect problems. One thing I will say is that the custom tests worked best for Quant. Verbal was tough because you can only do and review the same problems so many times before you start remembering passages and answers.

Beyond the platform itself, TTP has amazing, caring folks that are available at literally all times. I have reached out to them a couple of times for help on specific problems, and they have provided clarity when I couldn’t grasp certain solutions. I have also reached out to them for more general test-taking support – I chatted mostly with Jeffrey, who was always extremely encouraging. They really do care about your success.

Lessons I have learned throughout this journey:
1. If you are between taking the GMAT or the GRE, take a practice test of both. Figure out which format and style works best for you.

2. Take the TTP course seriously and follow the Expert track.

3. Do not take your first exam until you have completed 100% of the TTP course. This will allow you to get a true score as your baseline and you can get a clearer picture of where to focus on for your second take.

4. Plan to take the exam at least twice since most people do improve on their second take.

5. Vocabulary specific tips:
- Create vocabulary flashcards from the TTP vocab sheet. I liked using Quizlet because I could add images to the flashcards (again, I am a very visual person) and the Quizlet app is awesome on your phone.
- Study vocabulary by synonym groups. I grouped words by the synonyms that are on the TTP flashcards. I thought this was an efficient way to study them, especially as I approached the exam date and time got shorter. I created a table on Excel with all of the TTP vocab words and then generalized the synonyms so I could filter and build a pivot table. I then also created flashcards for these on Quizlet.
- Test your vocabulary studies with Greg Mat’s vocabulary quizzes on YouTube. I did all of them and it was an effective way of recognizing which “common offenders” I needed to brush up on.

6. A MUST!! Supplement your studies with official ETS practice questions (buy the Official GRE Super Power Pack eBook and do all of the exercises, especially for Quant).

7. Take the exam in person (not at-home). I had computer issues both on my first and second takes. Save yourself the stress.

Trust me when I say TTP will be the best investment you make throughout your entire grad school application process. Take the TTP course seriously, follow the advice I listed, and you will ace the GRE. Consider that my personal guarantee.

P.S. I tried to verify my review but the connection to the GRE Score Report failed :(

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