(Closed) GRE advice?

posted 7 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
2195 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I took them a few years ago. I really focused on math when studying. You can study vocab words until the cows come home, but the odds of any of those words being on your test is slim. Just try to relax, know you can take them again, and manage your time (watch the the little ticker).

Good luck!

Post # 5
Member
3788 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Actually, I completely disagree. The Kaplan “most common GRE words” list is extremely helpful. I made flashcards, and I recognized quite a few words from the book on my GRE when I took it. You can’t study the verbal questions so you just have to know the vocab; it’s really all you can do for the verbal section.

Practice tests help for the math. I didn’t feel like any of the stuff I saw in the math section was difficult, just that it was a lot of things one doesn’t use in everyday life. like middle school geometry or high school calculus. Practice tests give you exposure to the kinds of math you should study, and then you can hit up the library for textbooks to refresh yourself on the concepts.

I stuck to the generic intro/support/conclusion for the essay portion. I remember hearing that it’s important that you have those elements (so if you feel like you’re running out of time, don’t skip the conclusion!). Pay attention to topic sentences, a thesis, and transitions. The essay is kind of luck of the draw, though. I got a really lame topic. When I did speech and debate, I had a pre-prepped arsenal of “support” for whatever topic I would draw to speak on, and that kind of approach helped with the essay. Read the NY Times; I swear there is always something useful that can find a way to be relevant.

And… stay calm. I took it on the computer, and I read beforehand that it generates questions based on your performance. I thought my math questions were so easy that it was a sure indicator I was basically failing it. I almost canceled my score because I was so nervous. I ended up in the 91% percentile for math, which is pretty decent for a humanities major! 😉

Good luck!

Post # 6
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I took the GREs several years ago. I know it’s changed a bunch since I took it but my biggest suggestions are to stay as calm as possible about it all and focus on your weakest areas. I took a Kaplan class and that helped me a lot. I was working full time then and the class forced me to study. Oh and make sure to take the test when you freel as ready as you will be. I postponed taking it for a few weeks because I realized I needed more time to prepare. Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll do great.

Post # 8
Member
2154 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Bring snacks and drinks!

Post # 9
Member
118 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@mannellal: It’s hard to know when you’re as ready as you will be. You’ll never really feel totally ready, you’ll never really think “Wow I know I’ll ace this, I’m not nervous at all!” But if you feel you’re as good as you’ll ever be then go ahead and take it! The good part is you’ll get your scrore right away after you finish (that is how they did it when I took it) so you don’t have to wait for weeks to find out.

Post # 10
Member
4336 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I took it a couple years ago, and one of the books I got to study was basicallly like, “For the math, unless you are a math genius, you will not be able to figure out most of the questions in time, so seriously, just GUESS on almost all of them, don’t waste time with math equations, just use common sense for the multiple choice answers.”

I pretty much followed that advice, and I found that I did *surprisingly* well for the percentile in math, especially considering I haven’t even taken a math class since high school!

Post # 11
Member
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I took mine about 8 years ago, so I’m sure they’ve changed.

I spent the majority of my time stufying for math, and I found it to be really helpful. I got alot of area problems and things like that. I don’t remember it being TOO difficult.

For strategy, I went right to the essays, and answered them first, then math, then vocab. It’s easier to reason out vocab than to write and calculate a math problem!

I also took my watch, so I made sure I wasnt spending too much time on any one section.

another point I’ve learned from testing in general. If you come across a question you need to think about, mark it and come back. Answer all the questions you are 100% sure about first, and get through them quickly. That way, if you do run out of time, ateleast you’ll have answered some questions, and not been stuck on one difficult one the whole time!

Post # 12
Member
1486 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

The math is pretty basic, nothing advanced.  I spent my time memorizing a bunch of words and it improved my verbal score a bunch.  Taking practice exams is the best thing you can do.  

Post # 13
Member
204 posts
Helper bee

Good luck on your test!

I took the test last winter, and only gave myself about two and a half weeks between deciding to test and taking it.  Obviously you’ve been studying, which is probably the wiser approach.  I didn’t study for the verbal section at all (I was expecting to do well enough that the likely return on the time investment wasn’t very high), but I did burn through an entire math review book (in a week – I was a little manic about it).  The math isn’t really that HARD or high level, but it is sometimes tricky – I think any review book worth its price will help you figure out how to game the test (pointing out common things that might trip you up or that should flag you that you already have all the info you need to answer and don’t need to finish solving, for the comparative section) a little bit, which is useful.

For similar reasons, I’m glad I read through the section of the review book that talked about the essay.  It’s always helpful to know how the graders are going to evaluate your work.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend taking the ETS’s own practice test to get comfortable with the format.  Otherwise, I think being calm and well rested will probably help as much as any crazy last minute studying.

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