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  1. #1

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    GRE Prep Math Advice/Test Prep Recommendations

    I am considering going back to school and am scheduled to take the GRE next month. I took the GRE...gulp...eleven years ago and my scores are no longer valid.

    I'm not so worried about the verbal/writing. I've taught the Kaplan prep course, taught (and graded) for AP, and I write press releases, email campaigns, and newsletters in my job. The entire PI forum will be useful for the argue and issue essays (I'm not being facetious, I really think it will be helpful ) Not to brag or anything :brag: :brag: :brag: but my essay for the then-writing requirement received a six AND was used as an example of what to do in the official ETS prep book. I'm still going to study for the verbal aspect as my Big Word vocabulary is not what it once was.

    I am SWEATING the math. I didn't think it would be easy, but I didn't think it would be that haaa-aaard (whine). My verbal was a little bit lower than I hoped, but my math was A LOT lower. I thought it would be more like ACT math--find the X, interpret some data from a table, struggle a bit with do I multiply or divide for this ratio, but noooooo. Now the Y has run off with the X and the 4 is trying to find them. The answer is somehow 22.67 and I have no idea why. There are parabolas and slopes and all sorts of other normal words with other, sinister math meanings.

    But the absolute WORST is L has invited A,B,C,D, and Q are invited to a horribly boring party where people argue about seating arrangements the entire time. A can't sit next to D and Q can only sit next to B when the moon is in the house of Saturn an C told Q she would cut B. Given the above information, which one is currently dating Tessa's sister?

    I did find a book at B&N just for GRE math, but I'm assuming it was written for recent grads and not people with better things to do with their time "non-traditional grad students." The very first question, the explanation confused me more than the question. I need something much more basic than an explanation starting with "We know that..." or "Assuming that..." because I do not know that. I know how to find the circumference and area of a circle and I know the X and Y are always hanging out together on a damn slope and sometimes m joins them for a three-way. The explanations for the logic questions with conditions were even more

    I could piss and moan about math having no bearing on my degree and how unfair it is, but I have to take it regardless.
    Any techniques, study guides, tricks for quantitative crappy fake business meetings would be appreciated. I don't know where to begin since at this point, the GRE study guides are above my level!

    For those of you wondering, I still want to teach abroad, but my mom's knee surgery was put off. It was supposed to be in January and was moved to June and I'm not comfortable leaving the country till I know she can get around on her own, and someone needs to watch my dad while she's recovering. I've been pleasantly surprised at the volume of openings and queries I've gotten; some of them don't begin until January anyway! I've been meaning to take the GRE anyway--regardless of where I end up next year, I'd like to take some graduate level distance-education classes.
    "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter

  2. #2

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    I took the Gmats so do not know what types of math questions you get. However I will say that you should simulate the test conditions as best as possible. When I took the gmat, the best prep I got was one that included a simulated computer test and even a pad like the one pearson gives to test. Also, make sure you time yourself when doing the math section. For the GMAT, we had about 35 questions and 70 minutes to finish the math section, so an average of 2 minutes per question.

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    Well,the unfortunate truth is you just have to start at the beginning and go to the end.One step at a time.I'm in college,have been for almost a year now,I've been out of school for 12 years.I just passed one algebra with a B and I'll be taking another this Summer semester over a one month period,everyday,instead of once a week plus labs. I imagine every school is different in regards to their curriculum and requirements.Where I go,usually,you go to class one day a week for 1.5 hr. then you are required to go to Math lab,which is essentially a room with lots of computers and do your homework and take quizzes.In class,they don't actually teach it to the whole class,you log onto the computer,and watch your instructional videos,do your homework and take your tests.If you need help you ask your instructor.

    I honestly don't see the revelance of this many maths on my degree either but it's still necessary.*ugh* Best thing to do is just learn the order of operations and review,review,review.When I was preparing for my final,I spent days just re-watching all my math videos,doing study plan and just reviewing as much as I could and having an instructor help refresh my memory on the things I was having problems with.Good luck!

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    Bountifully Enmeshed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matryeshka View Post
    There are parabolas and slopes and all sorts of other normal words with other, sinister math meanings.

    But the absolute WORST is L has invited A,B,C,D, and Q are invited to a horribly boring party where people argue about seating arrangements the entire time. A can't sit next to D and Q can only sit next to B when the moon is in the house of Saturn an C told Q she would cut B. Given the above information, which one is currently dating Tessa's sister?
    Not specifically for GRE prep, but the Khan Academy is very good for helping with the first: https://www.khanacademy.org/ I remember my daughter doing parabolas and slopes--Algebra II stuff.

    And the second is just a pretty standard type of logic puzzle, so I would think you could start off just working on some logic puzzles like these: http://www.brainbashers.com/logic.asp

    After you get some practice, the book you already have might start making sense.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    A friend of mine found the Khan academy videos helpful when returning to undergrad after 20 yrs. The videos are quite short, and they cover specific topics that should be easy to match up with the GRE's list. These videos are maybe not as quick/condensed as you might like, but they are very well done. I also know there are many "math for adults" or "math for dummies" type books out there, which might be a bit easier to read than the GRE manuals, though less topic-specific. Like Andrushka said, there's not going to be a magic shortcut.

    Do you have any mathy friends who could help you out? Feel free to PM me if you like, I've done some math tutoring and I can try my best.

    And I'll just end by saying: in general with math, (1) read carefully and (2) draw pictures, diagrams, anything - just get down on paper whatever sense you can make of it. Especially useful with those "X,Y,K,Z,T,L,F are sitting around a table" problems

  6. #6

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    You only have a month, and you already know your weakness, so I would buy only one prep book which is focused specifically on your weakness, (I'm obviously recommending this one, below), and as best as possible, do it daily until you finish it. Only once you finish this book would I suggest you move on to a broader GRE prep book.

    If your weakness is the GRE math section, then the absolutely best book for prepping for the GRE math section is this one: http://www.amazon.com/CliffsNotes-Re...rds=bobrow+gre

    This thing is a cult classic.

    It covers the math for various standardized tests, but does specify which parts are most applicable to the GRE, rather than, say, the GMAT, and it talks about the difference in the tests, and thus which sections of its book you need to focus on, in the first chapter. So it's easy to tailor your studies to your particular exam.

    What's wonderful about that book is that 1) it's a review, so it's quick (and you only have a month, so you need quick) and 2) it breaks things down to their most basic parts. This book assumes you had the math, but that you had it, say, over 10 years ago, and that you remember nothing. So it literally covers the basics - things like dividing fractions - before it moves on. But it does it all quickly, so you don't get bogged down. This makes it a good refresher, and that may be what you need before you tackle the actual GRE prep book you have.

    If you haven't already done so, take a GRE sample test now, so you know your updated baseline. Then take GREs a few times between now and the actual exam. You taught Kaplan test prep, so you probably know how to prep, generally speaking, but in case it's different in Kaplan, I recommend that 1) you buy actual old GRE tests and do them as you prep, rather than relying on the fake sample tests that places like Princeton Review make themselves, and 2) that you do no GRE exam the week before you take the real GRE. Rest that final week in terms of taking actual exams. And finally, on the morning of the exam, read something before you take the exam, to warm up your brain. Could be an article from the NY Times. Just something to get you going, so that the first thing you read that morning isn't the GRE itself.

    Since you only have a month, I would ask you not to bother with things like the Khan Academy. I feel you need to focus in only on the exact math on the GRE. You don't have time for anything that is not tailored to and specifically focused on this exam, IMO, because you need the math in the context of the types of questions asked on the exam, not as it might be taught in "real life". You need GRE algebra, for example, not actual algebra.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrushka View Post

    I honestly don't see the revelance of this many maths on my degree either but it's still necessary.*ugh* Best thing to do is just learn the order of operations and review,review,review.When I was preparing for my final,I spent days just re-watching all my math videos,doing study plan and just reviewing as much as I could and having an instructor help refresh my memory on the things I was having problems with.Good luck!
    This would be great advice if I were going to undergrad, but I already have my Bachelor's and my Master's (two of each!). I will never, ever, ever, ever step foot in a math class again. Ever. I really am just learning for the test. I will know it for a month and then promptly forget it. In most graduate programs (including this one), students typically only take classes in their subject area.

    Even if I had a lot of time, I wouldn't do the Khan Academy. I'm going to a graduate program, which means I only need to do this type of math once, maybe twice (depending on the score). I won't have to take a math class, so I really don't need an in-depth analysis as Garr said.

    I DID take a practice test which is how I know my math skills are really weak and I do need some vocabulary review. I would have liked to have ordered the Cliff Notes, but since time is ticking, I bought a McGraw Hill GRE study guide that has a basic math review and I found my brother's pre-algebra book for extra practice. I'm not looking to ace the math section, I'm just looking to not embarrass myself.

    I'm also going to practice from the website Prancer linked. Stupid logic problems. Who needs logic anyway?
    "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matryeshka View Post
    This would be great advice if I were going to undergrad, but I already have my Bachelor's and my Master's (two of each!). I will never, ever, ever, ever step foot in a math class again. Ever. I really am just learning for the test. I will know it for a month and then promptly forget it. In most graduate programs (including this one), students typically only take classes in their subject area.

    I'm also going to practice from the website Prancer linked. Stupid logic problems. Who needs logic anyway?
    More power to ya! lol...wish I didn't have one more.

    I'm going into physical therapy....my math instructor said it shows my patients that I have the ability for critical thinking.I told her "Oh yeah,when one of my patients comes in with tedonitis in their shoulder I'll say "Don't worry!I have the ability to think critically...I passed algebra." ".

    goodluck on your test.I thought for sure I'd flunk it totally,but was surprised when I tested in the intermediate algebra level.The test will have a mix of pre,basic,intermediate etc...I honestly guessed one several questions lol

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    I have no advice to offer; only these:
    (((((Matryeshka)))))

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    double post

  11. #11

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    Thanks! I just found out that GRE has dropped the analytical section, which means NO LOGIC PUZZLES!!! WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." –Olympic Charter

  12. #12
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    The best prep I ever found were the Princeton Review guides. I always did fine on verbal and analytical (too bad they dropped it; that one is probably the only one that actually HAS real-world applications! No one who isn't in engineering/sciences and therefore not taking the GRE is ever going to need math beyond arithmetic and most people never read anything quite like the verbal sections) but quantitative killed me, and Princeton Review included ways to know when to guess, and when to just skip. I bumped SAT and GRE math scores a hundred points between practice and the test.

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