Hi! I have taken the General GRE exam in March 2017 and scored 329/340 with 163 in Verbal and 166 in Quantitative. I will tell you my experience and in general some tips as to how to fare well on the exam. Nevertheless, preparation strategies vary from person to person. I would like to state it here that there is no particular source for GRE preparation. I have detailed my experience and ideas. You can figure out something from them. This is what I have found out after a hell lot of Googling!
If you want to get an idea as to where you stand even before you start your preparation, I would suggest you to take a free mock test online. I would recommend the one offered by Galvanize. It's not a full test, but has one Verbal section and one Quantitative section. You just need to spend an hour and you would get an idea when you check your scores as to where you made mistakes and which concepts you need to learn better. This, in my opinion, embarks your preparation for GRE!
The most important thing to do is to first book your test date. Until and unless your test date is booked, you would not get the requisite motivation to start your preparation. That was what I did. I first scheduled my test and then took the mock to see where I stood. I scored 302/340 in the mock test. I was not at all prepared. So the results were as expected. I found out the concepts I needed to study and started working on them.
Talking about how much time you need to invest preparing for the test, it is totally dependent on what you do. If you are an engineering student or a mathematics student or someone taking math courses and constantly staying in touch with the subject, I assure you that Quantitative section would be a cakewalk! At the same time, I would like to emphasize that ETS has raised the bars for Quantitative section and it is not as trivial as it once seemed to be (I'm not generalizing anything here; whatever I say is what I opine). If you want to start from scratch and study everything throughly, I'd highly recommend enrolling for some online GRE coaching.
You can subscribe for Magoosh as it would prep you up for the toughest questions – questions that are too tough that ETS might not consider asking them- which is a very good thing as you would find the actual test pretty easy! You can take a subscription for three months or six months depending on what is ideal for you and depending on when you have scheduled your test. Do not think of it as a waste of money because in the worst case scenario where you do bad in your first attempt, you might end up wasting more money for your second attempt! So it's okay to spend some money when necessary because it's worth it. 🙂
Practice all the material religiously, and work everyday. Make sure you have the ETS official book with you and also download the Powerprep software from ETS website. Set a target, say, that you would complete your first round of preparation in a month and then take the first test on the Powerprep software. Depending on your score, you would know where you stand. You can then improve your score by focusing more on areas where you lost marks. Take the second test one week before your actual test date after you think you're fully prepared. That test is relatively tougher than the first one. Spend the last one week practicing rigorously.
Vocabulary plays a crucial role in Verbal section, but, remember that it is not everything. It contributes to about 20% of your score on verbal section. The most important aspect is practicing Comprehensions and test completions. GRE is an exam which you can excel by practicing more and more problems! That's the key