Studying for GRE

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
Member
3210 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I actually teach test prep, including the GRE, so I can give you all kinds of suggestions!

The first thing I would recommend doing is figuring out where you’re going to apply (if you haven’t already) and look at what GRE scores they expect. Usually schools will give either a mandatory minimum or just an average of what students they accept tend to score. If it’s not on their website, give them a call and ask.

Then, take a practice test. You can get them for free online.

Once you’ve seen where your scores are vs. the score you need, you can get a clearer idea of how to prep. Note that the GRE changed scoring scales a few years ago, so you may need to do some converting if the school’s website shows a score on the old scale (200-800) rather than the new scale (130-170).

If you are pretty close, then I would recommend buying some practice books (any company will do) and working on the areas you need, plus studying LOTS of vocabulary. If your scores are pretty far from what you need (more than, say, 7 points away), I would recommend investing in a prep course. They vary in price, but you can usually find courses with the major companies (Princeton Review, Kaplan) online for a reduced price.

I would plan to prep for around 3 months!

Hope that helps! I’m happy to answer other questions if you have them.

Post # 5
Member
1197 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Make flash cards for your vocab words and review them as often as you can!  That really helped me with the verbal portion, which was my weakest section.

Post # 6
Member
17 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I also used to teach GRE/SAT. A few small thing to add — @howsweetitis is totally right about taking a practice test. I would be use one of the ones online, not anything paper and pencil. P&P is not anything like the real test and will not give you a good baseline.

And take it all the way through like the real deal. Whenever you take a practice test, take it through. Test fatigue is a thing and that’s part of what you’re preparing for.

One you get to studying, if you are an anxious tester, try to set aside a time to study that aligns with the time you plan to take the test. Even if it’s just weekends, it will help you get into a routine. 

Any practice books will do, but if you’re looking for a small leg up, the GRE official ones are better for problems. The Princeton/Kaplan/etc. ones are good for testing tips (how to “beat the test.”) I used to work for one of the big companies, so the “beat the test” tips are particularly good for GRE because computer tests have a lot of weird patterns you’ll do better if you know about. Big companies send people in to test the tips often, so theirs tend to be the best vetted and most up to date.

If you have difficulty getting motivated, or need a substantial improvement, a class will help (or a tutor, and those are often better and cheaper if you find one that comes recommended.) The dirty secret is that teachers for these companies would rather tutor on the side. They don’t get paid a ton by Kaplan or whoever, so direct tutoring money is always better and your instruction will also be more personalized.

Good luck!

Post # 7
Member
3210 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@beetee123:  Hmm, you’d have to probably call them and ask about what they mean by a satisfactory score. I would imagine it means something like 50th percentile, but you never know.

The GPA thing is absolutely mystifiying. Let’s say you have a 3.0. That times 200 gives you 600, so you need 500 more points. That’s obviously on the old scale, because the new scale only goes up to 170. But 500 is a ridiculously low score, unless they’re talking about the average of your math and verbal? Which is possible, I suppose. So you might want to call and ask for clarification on that one too.

@Jalapeno:  Lol, you must’ve worked for a different company than I do currently, because I make BANK and would never jeopardize my cushy-ass job by tutoring on the side!!

But, OP, Jalapeno gives great advice as well. 🙂

Post # 9
Member
6073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@beetee123:  I did it!  I studied at the age of 33 too.  Fancy that with no math classes for 15 years. Oof da.

There are many GRE study guides out there.  I picked up one from the library that had chapters on math and then test quizzes at the end of each chapter (along with answers in the back). 

Every night (for about 6 weeks) I studied one chapter, or repeated a chapter.  I went over the notes, maybe even redrew the examples.  Then I took the test and graded myself.  I had a notebook just for all of this.  Sometimes I’d revisit old chapters, but it did take me about 6 weeks (this was on the side will doing undergrad courses and homework too).

Sadly I would get like C- and D’s on my mini tests, but I did pretty well overall on the actual GRE.  I did not study for verbal at all.  I was doing an engineering degree, so they don’t care about verbal!

Post # 10
Member
17 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@howsweetitis:  Hah! Yes, there are a few out there that pay very well — glad you found one! I remember a friend defecting for Manhattan GMAT and making $80/hr (I picked the wrong tests I guess!) I was so jealous. I worked for one of the big 2 and I made $17/hr for SAT and $19/hr for GRE classes. A little more for tutoring. Meanwhile, they charged about $125 an hour. Most tutors (and clients) figured it out pretty quick 😉

Ohhh, and I was also a base-level tutor. I remember that some of our more tenured folks did quite well and probably were in your boat. College kid schlubs like me though? Not so much! 

Leave a comment


Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors