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Thread: GRE questions

  1. #1
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    GRE questions

    Okay, so I didn't see another thread like this so if there is I'm sorry!

    I plan on applying for Masters programs in planning for the Fall of 2010 after graduating from undergrad in May 2010. I'm looking into the GRE and am trying to figure out the best way to go about it.

    I plan on taking it in October, and then again in February for later applications if I feel like I need to. (Is it bad that I will only be able to take it once before the first applications are due? I just decided to go ahead and apply directly out of school and there dont seem to be any early dates offered.)

    My main questions are:

    Is it better to take it computer or paper based?

    What prep books can you recommend?

    Are the classes worth it? (I was looking at the Kaplan class but its very expensive - has anybody taken this? Thoughts on the class? Are there any other classes that are possibly cheaper?)

    Really any advice would be appreciated! My GPA is not great so I really do to do top notch on the GRE.

  2. #2
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    I believe that ETS will send schools several of your most recent scores, so if you bomb your first GRE, schools will still be able to see it. I don't know what effect this would have on your chance of admission. I got a copy of Kaplan's GRE Comprehensive Program book and it seems good, though I haven't yet finished it.

  3. #3
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    If I am not mistaken, in the US the only option is to take the computer based GRE.

    I liked the Barron's book for GRE prep, they have a robust math section that goes over most of the key concepts in detail.

    I don't think the class is necessary. You'll get a CD with some computer based practice tests when you sign up for the GRE. Do those and whatever tests come with your book and you'll be fine.

  4. #4
         
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    Advice regarding the GRE --

    Take lots of time with the first few questions on each section. The GRE is scored in something of an odd fashion. How you answer one question determines the level of difficulty of the next question. Starting at the time you submit an answer to the very first question, the scoring mechanism begins narrowing down your scoring range. If you miss the first few questions, you could get every question from that point on correct and end up with a very low score. On the flip side, if you get the first several questions correct, you could do not so great on the rest of the section, and still end up with a very high score. It's an odd scoring mechanism, but understanding how it works is almost as important as knowing the test format itself.

    Best wishes.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jakers's avatar
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    All you need is a book. ( I used an REA book) that has practice tests (preferably CD tests). And depending on how busy you are give yourself a couple months to study. But dont overstudy. Go in there fresh and you will improve from your practice scores. Math section is weighted in this exam it seems. IOW (If you got the same number right in Q as V, Q would have a much higher score) Dont stress, its not that hard.
    "Inside Joke"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Hey all,
    I am planning to take my exam in october as well. You said a few months of study, so really how much study time did you guys put in? I haven't really studied for a hard core test that is so broad in oh, 10 years (SAT to be exact). My grades were alright (3.4 overall GPA, my major courses i was running a 3.8). So yea, i need a good score, but don't need to bank to much.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    I studied for about 3 weeks the first time around and all but bombed the math section. I studied less intensively for about 5 weeks the next time around and my scores improved a lot. I think more than 6 weeks of semi-intensive studying is overkill, and the last week and a half to two weeks is probably best spent taking practice tests and troubleshooting your own weaknesses.

    gladw23, if you don't do well the first time, why wait until February to try them again? You will know immediately after the test how well you did on math and verbal, which should give you a good idea of whether or not you want to take them. There's no reason to put them off for four months, especially when your acceptance to some grad programs may hinge on your GRE scores. Signing up for a second test in December would give you time to study more and would allow you to get your second set of scores to most programs before the app deadline.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all replies so far - they're very helpful!

    1234567890 - you're right the test in the US are offered only computer based. So I guess I have no choice! The good thing about this is that it appears I can take the test whenever I want (I thought the test dates were for both computer and paper based but it was just paper based - I really should have looked into this more before I posted my questions, sorry!).

    I have another question too:

    Since I can only take it computer based does anybody know if this allows you to skip questions and then return to them later? Or must you answer the question right then and there?

  9. #9
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    You can't skip questions.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Before you go spending money on books, tutors, etc, use ETS' free Powerprep software (PC only grrrr) to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses. Has lots of sample questions and two sample exams

    http://ntis01.ets.org/onyx/powerprepTestTakers.htm
    "Try to be in two incredibly successful bands. If not, that's okay." -- Words to live by, courtesy of Dave Grohl

  11. #11
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    No classes, just a book and a month of studying!

    I also went straight from undergrad to grad school, and it was tough to study for the GREs while taking a full load of classes and working, so I know what you're going through. I bought the Kaplan book, made notecards for the vocabulary words, and studied for about a month in advance. I took the computerized GRE, which was the only one I was allowed to take, the first week of October of my senior year. I wasn't happy with my math score, so I took it again the second week of November. I used that month in between to focus almost solely on the math.

    If you're unhappy with your score the first time, I think waiting until February to take it again might be hard because you'll want to be shifting your focus to writing your personal statement, getting letters of recommendation, visiting schools, etc. If you're already in test-taking mode in the fall, I would try to get the GRE over with ASAP.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Took the GRE Yesterday!

    Hello,
    I just took the GRE yesterday and I'm planning on applying to grad school right after graduating in the Spring 2010 like you. I would HIGHLY recommend that you take the GRE ASAP. I have a relatively throw away summer job so I spent about 1.5 hrs/day each workday and about 3-6 hrs each weekend preparing over the course of 5 weeks. If you can still squeeze in 20-40 hrs of studying this summer, do it before you have a full course load. I have friends planning on taking it this fall for various grad programs and I am so happy that I've already gotten it over with.
    I also recommend that you use the Powerprep software, it was free and great. I combined this with a Kaplan book specifically for the math section and a Princeton Review general test cracker. I loved Kaplan but I don't like PR and never have.
    I scored very well and I'm so happy it's done, the key is taking practice tests on the comp. Being finished this early gives you the power to begin to apply this summer before the craze of senior year sets in!

    Good luck!

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