Sergey V. Popov
This month our staff decided that it was time to give tribute to one of our GRE students. As our GRE courses are small, these worthy students often get overshadowed by our large number of law, GMAT and TOEFL students and it was a long time since we honored one. Well, it didn’t take us long to look through our records and find Sergey Popov, who got an amazing perfect score of 800 on the Quantitative portion of the GRE and is now studying at the University of Illinois.
Sergey was born in Novosibirsk in 1982. After high school he entered Economics Department of Novosibirsk State University, where he says he got a taste of a true academic economics, and apparently loved it because he kept on with the discipline. After graduation he entered The New Economic School, where he says he mustered all his strength to convince some top universities that he is “truly any Ph.D.
program's dream student.” It worked, because now he is getting his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, a world class economics program.
Sergey says that Pericles GRE preparation program greatly helped him. He scored 600 Verbal, 800 Quantitative, and 5 for Analytical. The biggest benefit, he says, was in the composition writing practice, and some hints in Quantitative were useful too.
Of course, the quantitative section is the secret weapon for Russian GRE takers, since mathematics required in the Russian educational system is generally higher than what is required on the GRE. Nonetheless, there are mathematics word problems that often give Russian students a difficult time. Plus of course there is the whole experience of taking a test that is completely different from Russian exams. So Sergey’s perfect math score is really amazing!
But Sergey’s verbal score is also excellent. Universities understand that foreigners usually cannot score high in the verbal section of the GRE, which consists of some very difficult vocabulary tested by subtle and hard to spot linguistic differences. In an economics graduate program like Sergey’s the university would probably have been happy with even a 400. It really takes a native speaker to do well on it, so Sergey’s 600 on that section is also outstanding. Sergey’s advice is to read and use preparatory books and CDs, read English popular books in your spare time (he’s a Harry Potter fan), and of course take the Pericles GRE course.
Congratulations Sergey! We wish you every success in your Ph.D. program and hope to see you back here one day teaching economics at one of Russia’s top universities.