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GRE for Medical Students

 by Saurav Suman


Hi everyone. I have taken my GRE general test yesterday and I would like to share my experience with you all. Since I have learnt a lot about gre through blogs and forums its my duty to payback. First of all, I am a medical student presently in internship from India. I have given gre for getting admission into MPH course. I scored 1380 (610 verbal + 770 quantitative). Though it is not a great score but I think it’s a healthy one. Now let’s trim the fat and come to the crux. One more thing, if your weak point is quant you will be less benefited by reading this article.


1. Gre General test or simply Gre test is of 1600 scores. 800 verbal and 800 quantitative. Verbal section is basically English section where U will are tested on 4 types of questions:- antonym, analogy, reading comprehension and sentence completion (30 questions, 30minutes). Quant section is maths sections where questions will be from :- arithmetic, geometry, data interpretation, permutation and probability, probability is a misnomer, question will be from it, certainly (28questions, 45 minutes). There is also an analytical writing section where you have to write 2 essays. 1st – present your own views on the topic (45 mins.) and 2nd – analyse an argument (30 mins.). Analytical section is evaluated on a six point scale. On the exam, 1st analytical section will appear, u have to write 2 essays, then ten minutes break then verbal and then quants. After quant a 5th section appear. At prometric I came to know that I can leave that section, so I left it. After that comes the warning, whether U want to see your scores or not. If you agree they will show your verbals and quant score and u r now officially one time gre test taker. If you think that ur exam has gone bad and U deny seeing ur scores they will not show it to u and they wont report anywhere that you gave exam once. Even after declining there is a provision in ets to get your scores within 60 days of declining (not 100% sure about this). After the score you will get an opportunity to send your scores to 4 institutions for free. So better be prepared for it in advance. Analytical result comes in 15 days.


2. Gre test is a not linear test. Non linear test means that if U answer your 1st  question correctly next one will be slightly tougher and so on it will go until  U make your 1st mistake when the level of question will decrease. So, all questions do not carry equals marks. Its an intricate process done by ets.


3. I feel that for MPH you should try to be close or above 1350 and at least 3.5 or 4 in analytical section.


4. Average time required to prepare – 4-5 months. Though someone may feel its too much but when you start mugging up the words then its so soporific that you barely go through 100 words a day initially.


5. 1st book for gre :- BARRONS


6. Its really difficult to cram gre words because most of the words are unknown to u, u have to remember not only the words but also its meaning. I will recommend that for mugging up the words take the use of help. Excellent website. It has all gre words which u will find in Barrons. It really worked for me.


7. If you are very poor in English like me, take WORD POWER MADE EASY just for fun to counterbalance the ennui of the word lists….it will ease you during barrons word list memorising.


8. once u r though with all the 50 word lists then start other things. I want to say that try to complete your 1st reading of word lists in 1 month and don’t do anything other than that (Of course u can entertain urself with word power made easy).


9. On flashcards I would say that I never used it. I used some different method. I have a nokia smartphone and I found various gre word lists softwares (gre guru, barrons gre) on the web. I installed them on my mobile and checked my ken on word lists whenever I was outside. Gre guru is good, which is just the imitation of barrons word list. U can hide the meaning and show with the push of a button and U can also mark and unmark the words. Very effective for me. I wouldn’t have used flashcards even if I hadn’t found this software.


10. 2nd book :-KAPLAN. Excellent book. Barrons is very basic. Don’t rely on barrons too much other than its collection of word lists. Although u should solve all problems of barrons but that is not sufficed. Kaplan is slightly tough than barrons and well poised.


11. Start other things too, like working on analogy, sentence completion and analytical writing. If possible take help from a friend good in English to evaluate your essays. U can lure ur friend on promising a grand treat if ur gre goes well. It really works. Anything which can boost your gre score, u should do that.


12. Reading Comprehension is the toughest part on the exam and you will have to develop your skills to solve. In the actual exam you will know how much question a particular passage contains. Don’t read the entire passage. First read the question and then try to find the key words of the question in the passage. If the first question of a passage is “general idea” about the passage try this. Read the whole introduction para, then 1ts line of every body para and last line of the conclusion paragraph. You can get almost perfect idea about the orientation of the whole passage. But the key to reading questions, like all other keys is practice. Don’t only practice but give some time in the explanation and try to understand why a particular answer is the correct and your answer is wrong.


13. For practice take “BIG BOOK”. Believe me its not a big book it’s a great book. I can vouchsafe you that you will earn at least 50 points extra in your verbal because of this book. U can download its pdf from web. It has 28 practice sets with 2 papers in each set. Don’t worry about time initially. Work  on accuracy. Make a note of words from big book that are not in barrons. They are equally important but don’t go through big book’s worl list. Its quite a long list. Only pitfall of big book is that u don’t find explanation  to any problem.


14. For essay, I found a book on the internet which had remarkable explanation of both types of essay with the same topics that are commonly tested in the gre. (I had already practiced the same argument which I found in the gre exam.)


15. Practice to the point of exhaustion with these materials but don’t forget the word lists. Practice is the key of this exam. Before giving the actual exam I revised almost 10 times each word.


16. Try to find all the free material from the net. Some good websites are it gives scores 

Kaplan’s test – 3 full length CBT tests. Similar to what comes in actual exam.

Ets powerprep – gold standard of actual exam. Questions are very much alike.  There will be no repetition but exactly similar.

17. Few important things. The more u can procrastinate ur first mistake in a section better score u will earn. I have read somewhere that if u don’t make a mistake in the first ten question your score will cross 700 directly. It does not mean that u cant score 700 if u made a mistake in top ten questions. Never make a mistake in the 1st four question of verbal or quant. It will ruin your score. If u score 22 /30 correctly in verbals in any of the tests mentioned above in actual exam conditions you will get around 600 in the actual exam.


18. There are few sites which prepare for gre like It helps but not too a great extent. I think better for quant than verbals. If u think 3000 rupees is not too much for you, U can take its supscription.


19. Give your ets practice test 1 , 1 week before actual exam and practice test 2 , 2 days before the exam. 


20. I haven’t seen Princeton book for gre, so I cant comment on that.


21. Don’t panic


22. Personal queries and qualms are welcome


23. Best of luck 

pg in us

is it compelsory to do mph before residency in us..



I have completed MBBS in 2010 I tried to get into PG in India but haven't been successful. I wanted to know is it better to give USMLE considering I have a lot of gap years in btw and is is almost 5 years since i graduated. Or is it better to give GRE though i have no research or work experience....and also wanted to know about my chance of getting student visa!!
Kindly help!!

GRE for psychiatry ?


I am looking for applying in psych residency , should I apply for MPH programs in general or psych in particular ?

in what month should I start preparing for the GRE so that I can give the exam in time for my scores to be available for me ?

thanking you 

Leaving MPH ??

1) I wanted to ask you if i can apply to residency programs stating incomplete mph (that will not be complete even after starting residency). or will it look bad on my cv and hurt me ????

2) I mean is it necessary to have complted mph before starting residency or it dosnt matter to residency programs ??

3) Will residency programs ask to show a completed degree before starting residency??

4) Wont they ask why am i not completing mph and applying for residency ??

Kind Regards

hi , i have one query

hi ,

i have one query regarding MPH. I got an acceptance from cornell for elective in the month of may-june 2012but i coudnt get B1/B2 visa inspite of applying twice.

now , ppl told me that dont apply atleast for what if i do MPH and apply for F1 after 1yr do my previous rejection will interfere ?..kindly help

 hey u didnt get a visa

 hey u didnt get a visa though u had an acceptance from cornell?? I'm shocked. Wt went wrong? how was ur interview? from where did u apply, Delhi or bombay. Plse tell me the details as I am also worried abt visa issue and thinking whether I should apply with my parents abhi as a tourist or I should apply on basis of elective when I get one. Wt will be a better way to apply to increase my chances of getting a visa. I cant believe u lost the opportunity inspite of getting an acceptance from a university like cornell.


hello friend , i completed my mbbs and now i m doing  M.D. (psm), frnd i really want to know it will be better for me if i will do gre , actually after joing of my MD i heard about gre, so exactly i dont know how it will be useful for me. plz help me


what is it for UK??

Am a BDS student,.. i wana do post graduation in The UK.. should i write GRE & TOEFL or UKCAT (United kingdom clinical aptitude test) & IELTS will alone suffice ???

Hi, am writing from India, am

Hi, am writing from India, am done with 2months of my internship. I want to know what should I do if I want to settle in US, like go for GRE and TOEFL exams as am more interested in non-clinical fields than clinical, I wish to go for research. Can I n if yes then How? What is the scope?

kindly reply

Do more volunteer research in

umar's picture

Do more volunteer research in US if you are interested in research

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

Hi!!m a medical

Hi!!m a medical student..started with my internship..i was planning 2 prepare 4 step 1 bt have heard dat gre is an easy approach..i want an easy branch preferably non u said mph..whats d scope after dis n are there any other options lyk dis..?

MPH helps you get residency

umar's picture

MPH helps you get residency at a really nice place but getting residency without MPH is equally possible. 

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

when should i start?

dear umar,

i am a final year mmbs student in india..when should i start applying for electives..wat is the rite time?.please help

7-9 months before the

umar's picture

7-9 months before the starting date of electives....

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.


ASA.. im in 4th yr(also kemcolian =).. nd im planning to start struggling 4 toefle and electives most probably in march (after im done with our prof).. i haven"t applied to any university till now.. umar bhai z it the ryt tym to apply in?? and when shud i fit gre and ,mph in my plan..???




u should apply 6-8 months in

umar's picture

u should apply 6-8 months in advance.... u can do gre and plan for mph after your MBBS and electives....

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

 thanx 4 ur quick reply..

 thanx 4 ur quick reply.. (=

just 1 more question, all i need b4 MBBS z toefle and electives or z there anything else..??

what is the application

what is the application procedure for an MPH? i m preparing for step-1 and planning of taking it in May 2010. should i keep MPH in mind too??

edu backlinks

I enjoy looking at your writing, this page was included in my favorites in chrome.

@ viraat

For MPH you should have done with your GRE and preferrably TOEFL. Most of the MPH colleges have their admission through a centralised system SOPHAS (school of public health aplication service). It works like the same as ERAS for residency application. More information may be obtained through MPH in mind is a good thing but you should always look at your schedule....meaning If you start preparing for GRE it will take approx 4-months and TOEFL 15-20 days (if planning to take after GRE) and then LORs , SOP, so it will take nearly 6 months to get ready to start applying to various schools...Just keep in mind, its give a sence of security during  residency application....beside if u have other United States Clinical Experiences (elective, observership) they are also valubale.

 varies from university to

umar's picture

 varies from university to university and scholarship to scholarship if u r going on a scholarship.... I dont have much idea about it... try contacting few universities about it...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

gre ?

 hey everyone ...what is gre? how does it help? where is it taken? what is MPH? i am sorta confised ..i was introduced to this for the first tiem..some one please help?

GRE is an exam required when

umar's picture

GRE is an exam required when you want to get admission into a US university for a degree e.g MPH, MBA, PhD etc... for moe google search GRE... I ma sure you would find much about it...

MPH is masters of public health and it DOES help you in getting residency... I met many people at Johns Hopkins doing MPH... in MPH you are taught about public health and research protocol... so in a way some university residency programs really like MPH people as they have a good research backround... moeover some students in US do MPH to get into med school.... MPH+MD or PhD+MD is a very common combination in the faculty of most of US universities....


I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.


Well...I have heard that since u r in USA for almost 2 years u r better acquainted with the environment.....u can better understand the englishmen...and it assists a lot during the matching interviews......also mph adds a weight to your application......if maintains a continuity in ur cv(there can be a substantial 2yr gap after mbbs and before matching, which makes a negtative impact on ur cv)


Right now I am going thru the application process for MPH for fall 2010 whose classes will probably start from aug-sep 2010....In the meanwhile I will try to clear both step 1 and step 2ck (I dont think I will be able to take both of them)....I have heard that its very difficult to both study there and prepare for Steps ..I am looking for an institution where I can find a medical school nearby or has 2-3 medical school in the surrounding area...Considering all other factors I think Houston is the best choice.....Basically MPH enables me to present round the year in USA......This will help me to search some observership/externship......I would also do research if time will permit.......In short I will do anything to lenghthen my CV.....but I am more inclined to observership than research.....and definitely when I will be there I will come to know many different new things.

about MPH

SIR,i am done with my mbbs...i want to apply for MPH course in texas ..can you please guide me


@ saurav

vaibhav's picture

And how usefull is MPH to residency match apart from givin an opportunity to study in u.s?  

@ Saurav

vaibhav's picture

First of all awesome article dude....  and congrats for the score.. it is not a healthy score its a good score now a days.. earlier scoring was easy now its not so... anything above 1300 is considered good now... One query Can u plz tell me what do u plan to do in future? i mean r u goin to join MPH and along with that study for usmle? or u planning on research work with ur gre? thanking u in anticipation ... God bless..

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