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  1. #1
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Default Studying for the GRE

    Those of you who have taken the GRE - what are some good resources for studying? What did you do to prepare?
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  2. #2
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    I'm prepping myself but I've researched this extensively and asked tons of grad students. Get a GRE prep book (I was recommended the Baron's) and hit it hard. I was told going to the classes are a waste of time and money unless you really, really need guidance when studying for it.

    I'm also planning on taking beginning Latin I in the fall, not just so I can be even geekier, but because learning the latin roots of many words will help you guess when you don't know a term.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nottaprettygal's Avatar
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    I studied with both the Kaplan Verbal and Math workbooks. I also bought a book called Word Smart for the GRE, which had all of the most frequently used vocab words. Although I memorized most of them, I still found the verbal section to be fairly tough.

    I also did little to no preparation for the writing skills section.

  4. #4
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    It's been a while since I took it (before online resources were available), but I found that taking practice tests was helpful, and really pretty sufficient.

    I'm not really sure what advice to give on the verbal portion - as I recall it was pretty similar to the practice tests that I'd taken - lots of vocabulary, and the typical "read the paragraph and answer questions on what it means" type of stuff. I'm not sure how much you can really study for that - memorizing words just isn't too efficient - there are too many. Latin/Greek, maybe?

    On the math and analytical portions, I found that it wasn't so much that things were hard, or difficult to figure out how to approach, but that the time limit for the exam just wasn't sufficient - it was more a question of how many problems you could do correctly *fast* than how many you can figure out. The practice tests really helped here - the problems seemed to fall into the same set of categories on the real test as on the practice ones, so it definitely will give you a good idea of what to expect, and which problems, if any, to simply ignore as time sinks - you can come back later if you get through the whole thing. As I recall, lots of geometry/trig/algebra type stuff on the math test, and tons of logic puzzles on the analytical portion.

    On the subject portion (mine was biology), it was pretty close to the practice exam - I'm sure they vary wildly among the subjects. There was no writing portion when I took it.

    Anyway, like I said, it has been a while, so things may have changed - but I thought that practice tests (and time yourself while doing them) were a good investment. Oh, one more thing - make sure you get a good night's sleep beforehand... I wound up having to drive a ways to get to the testing center, (due to procrastination in registering, and finding out that the deadline was "tomorrow" - hmm... I had to drive an hour to get to a FedEx pickup point that could even get my materials in on time - sorry, tangents ) and getting to town the night before and staying in a hotel helped. Anyway, I hope that helps .

  5. #5
    Senior Member nottaprettygal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    The practice tests really helped here - the problems seemed to fall into the same set of categories on the real test as on the practice ones, so it definitely will give you a good idea of what to expect, and which problems, if any, to simply ignore as time sinks - you can come back later if you get through the whole thing.
    This isn't possible on the current GRE (which I HATE). Because it's computerized, you get one question at a time. It is VERY important to answer the initial easy questions correctly because the rest of the questions you receive are based on how well you answer the first few. If you get the first five math questions wrong, you'll receive easier questions that aren't worth as many points.

    It's complicated, and I'm not quite sure how they figure out the scoring system, but with the new test, it's best to take as much time as you need (within reason) to ensure that you answer the questions at the beginning correctly. Guessing at the later ones is fine, but it's not possible to come back to the ones you skipped.

  6. #6
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nottaprettygal View Post
    This isn't possible on the current GRE (which I HATE). Because it's computerized, you get one question at a time. It is VERY important to answer the initial easy questions correctly because the rest of the questions you receive are based on how well you answer the first few. If you get the first five math questions wrong, you'll receive easier questions that aren't worth as many points.

    It's complicated, and I'm not quite sure how they figure out the scoring system, but with the new test, it's best to take as much time as you need (within reason) to ensure that you answer the questions at the beginning correctly. Guessing at the later ones is fine, but it's not possible to come back to the ones you skipped.
    Oh, ugh . That's nasty. I took it back when it was the old-style "tons of people in a room at tiny desks with paper booklets" sort of thing. Thanks for correcting me NPG, and sorry for the bad advice, Eileen. The not being able to go back, or put a question off and come back to it later sounds pretty nasty - although I guess if they reworked it so it wasn't such a time-crunch, it may have its good points too. Anyway, thanks for correcting me, and good luck on the test, Eileen .

  7. #7
    Just a statistic rhinosaur's Avatar
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    Get a booklet or two, and practice, practice, practice!

    Make sure you know how to interpret pie charts and calculate percentages of percentages and stuff like that. After years of doing calculus and x-y plots, I didn't have a clue.

    Practice writing quickly. I nailed the first essay, but on the second, I tried to make lists of all my counter-arguments and ran out of time.

  8. #8

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    Well damn. I was going to give advice, but you crazy kids and your newfangled computerized tests make my experience irrelevant!

    For what it's worth, I found the GRE to be almost identical to the SAT, just with an added analytical section. I didn't prep or study, because the knowledge base is so large for tests like these that it seems like a fool's errand. If you're comfortable with the kinds of questions that appear on the SAT and use the process of eliminating wrong answer choices to arrive at the correct answer, you should be fine. Good luck!
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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  9. #9
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    It depends on how deeply you want to immerse yourself.

    If money isn't a significant obstacle, there are courses (similar to the LSAT or MCATs) that offer personalized study plans/survival techniques.

    If you're uninterested in a classroom environment, I'd recommend calling local universities to see if people with test experience are available for tutoring. I've heard that some Grad courses offer course credit to students who volunteer their time for prospective clients to the program.

    Or, I suppose there's always the Barnes and Noble route of purchasing Kaplan/DeVigue test materials. The drawback to this is the inability to query when necessary.


    Best of luck.

    Watch your watch.

  10. #10

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    The CD you get when you sign up for the GRE.

    It is most representative. It also has general scores of students applying for various types of programs, and is rather up-to-date.

    EDIT:I may not have the best perspective. I applied to an engineering program. So Math (which basically needs a perfect score) was the only thing that mattered (unless the other scores weren't reasonable).

    EDIT2: Don't discount the roles of your previous grades, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose in getting into various programs. Compared to the few weeks of extra-preperation over-top of your 15+ years of schooling, effort on the other aspects of Grad School application may be worth more.

    EDIT3:The trick to math questions (people complain about the time crunch) is to use as much reasoning as opposed to calculation to solve problems as you can. For instance, similar objects with n:1 ratios in sides will have n^2:1 rations in area. Some comparisons are ridiculously obvious on inspection, and will not require calculation to see which is bigger. Eliminate silly answers and plug-in the rest for solve problems when that is much easier, ...

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