GRE for Pharmacy Students

1. How to prepare for GRE ?

1.1. GRE-

1.1.1. Tips for preparing GRE for Pharmacy students - GRE as general test of aptitude and general guidelines-

GRE test is of two types- General and Subject. Of these 2, General GRE test suffice the criteria of applying for any university in USA in the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences or other medical and health-care disciplines. A General GRE test examines an examinee in 3 sections- Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical writing. Verbal Section- A verbal section tests the proficiency of the examinee in the language and his/her flair in understanding variegated sections of English inclusive of comprehension, sentence completion, antonyms etc. This section is usually the toughest of all 3 sections and has to be studied very carefully grasping every petty details. The traps set in this section by ETS can be overcome by having a thorough understanding of the vocabulary and this task in not at all simple. Though, a rigorous study and practice makes it quite simple for a student to understand and catch the traps and overcome them too. Moreover, about 4000-5000 English words have to be learnt with their annotations and antonyms. This has to be reinforced with a daily schedule of learning new words from a GRE course book. These word lists lay down a prime foundation for further preparation of Verbal section. So, learning word list has to be started from day 1 of GRE preparation duration. One fact has to be well remembered that consistency means more in GRE than hard work. Of course there is no supplement for hard work, but a student has a good chance to secure low score in GRE if he/she is not daily with his/her preparation, howsoever hardworking or whomsoever he/she may be! One can employ the use of flash cards as a part of daily routine in GRE preparation which would help a lot. A pharmacy student must possess a good caliper in verbal because vocabulary plays a very important role in review of research and review manuscripts in high impact journals. Many high impact journals focus a lot on the vocabulary used in the manuscript too, besides the scientific language and methodology employed. Quantitative Section- This is usually the simplest of all sections and examines the proficiency of a student in solving basic mathematics problems. However, few questions that appear in this section seem to be way too difficult, although they can be solved by employing certain strategies. The strategies indeed prove more than the actual proficiency sometimes because the time allotted is usually rate determining in GRE test. A pharmacy student needs to concentrate upon every area of this section because he is not that well versed in mathematics as that of the technical students. However, understanding the basics and fundamental concepts can help a pharmacy student to secure 800/800 in this section and this is not at all difficult. Analytical Writing- This section is all about the writing skills and usage of English proficiently in writing essays. This also tests the ability of the student to analyze a given situation and give his inputs or report the existing scenario. This section indirectly influences the ability of the student to put his/her thoughts in words, which is very important in research field wherein ideas have to be expressed in terms of words quite a huge number of times (e.g.- preparation of manuscript, PowerPoint presentation in seminars etc.). This section requires a lot of practice and decides the probability of the student to fetch scholarship during MS study. Free Internet Resources for preparing GRE - Practice tests- Word lists/antonyms/synonyms- GRE Guide-

1.1.2. Books Recommended for GRE- Barron’s- Barrons is famous for its exhaustive word list containing as much as 3500 words and their annotations. Beside this, it also contains many synonyms of every word it covers. Secondly, it contains guidelines and directions on how to solve every sub-section, viz. - synonyms, antonyms, comprehension, sentence completion etc. Adding to this, it discloses various tricks ETS uses to pitfall the students appearing for GRE exam and the ways to escape those traps.
My Comments- I found that book very interesting and I can say very confidently that it was my primary source of preparation for the GRE exam. It is difficult to be understood during the few initial days of the preparation (which might even extend up to a month!). However, if a student is serious and determined enough to succeed in ETS-GRE, this book can bring wonders. However, the major disadvantages I found in this book is that the tests given in the book as well as the CD provided with it, are the same and are NOT adaptive tests! Also, the page quality isn’t standard. However, such a quality was kept to moderate the cost factor involved! Princeton Review- This book is not available in the market and is offered only to the students enrolled in the GRE preparation course by ‘The Princeton Review- Score plus Academy’. This book contains few word lists, but it contains some words not given a mention of, in the Barron’s.
My Comments- Referring this book simultaneously along with the Barron’s would give a comprehensive study of almost all of the words which are actually used in the official GRE exam by ETS. This book too contains the guidelines, but it is more adapted for the students being trained by Score plus Academy- the Princeton Review. Big Book- This is an excellent book for studying word lists. Though, ETS has stopped publishing this book, it could still be found on the web free of cost. Many sites provide free downloads of Big book. The hyperlink could be found out under the ‘free internet resources’ section mentioned below.

1.1.3. General acceptance scores for admission to MS program-
There is no hard and fast rule of minimum marks for securing admission to universities. However, the GRE scores for pharmacy student required to get an acceptance is usually lower than those of technical students. Usually good pharmaceutical universities like Rutgers, state university of new jersey, University of Georgia, utah state university, ohio state university etc. demand a total GRE score of 1200 and above and preferably 1300 and above for scholarship. In this, more often the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing scores demanded are 550, 680 and 3.5 or above. However, the score isn’t the sole criterion for securing admission as it contributes to about 40% for getting an acceptance. Rest of the 60% depends on the academic background, extracurricular, social services offered and very specifically research interests and past research activities of the student. 
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