I took the GRE a couple of years ago, and while I normally enjoy standardized tests, it kind of kicked my butt. The thing is - the content wasn't all that different from the SAT. The math questions were over things I hadn't seen since 8th and 9th grade. I honestly believe that I would have been better prepared for the GRE straight out of high school than I was in my junior year of college.
All of that said, I did just fine. And you will too. Don't worry about it - easier said than done, I know, but worrying isn't going to improve your score.
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I took it about two weeks ago. It really isn't as bad as some of the people make it sound. My advice, find the area where you're weakest and really concentrate on that.
Yes, you can take it again but not for 60 days. So I took mine on November 1st. I can retake on January 1st, and will get scores on January 15th. It takes two weeks for scores to come in, and until December, it takes 4 weeks. I will barely get mine in on time for my top tier. Make sure you have enough of a timeline to apply.
If you are applying this year, you really shouldn't wait much longer. Prepare, and retake if you must. I'll be retaking it in January for my second and third tier schools.
I took it about 4 years ago... but I bought one of those GRE prep books and did what was suggested (taking the sample tests, doing the math problems and doing the english exercises). I did pretty well. The biggest take away from doing the prep was buffing up on my vocabulary (very important for the GRE, honestly IME the difficulty on the english section was knowing what the words meant, if I knew what the word meant, I was golden).
IME the test is a little evil!! If you are getting the questions right, the questions get harder, i.e. take longer, and these are timed tests so you quickly run out of time. I still swear that there was one math problem that did not have the correct answer available.....
Think of it like having an unpleasant dental procedure. Once it's done, it's done.
What's the worst that can happen? Even with lackluster scores you'll be admitted to grad school on the strength of your academic record and recommendations. Your scores aren't posted on Facebook, so nobody will ever know, anyhow, unless you choose to share.
Apart from that it's a matter of whatever amount of preparation you feel is appropriate and the inconvenience of spending a big chunk of a day taking the test. Working a practice test to get the flow of the format is probably the only thing really needed.
In short, no big deal. When you get to your comprehensive exams once you've been in grad school for a while, there may be some reason to ruminate. Now, not so much.
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I took it maybe four years ago. Or five? I THINK that they have slightly revamped the test at this point in time so that if you have extra time remaining on a section you can go back and change answers if you need. That was my biggest gripe at the time that i took the test. You had to answer the question in the order it popped up on the computer screen and once you moved on you couldn't go back to review. Also, I didn't really prepare for it as much as I should have. My recommendation is to find a good study book, USE IT (that's the part I failed at), and just not to stress out over it too much. I currently work in a research lab at a university, and tend to hear/see about some grad school candidates, they honestly don't seem to care too much about it unless it's a spectacularly bad score. If you're somehwere in the average, you're probably fine.
I took it in 2009 and it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. I test *horribly* though, so I was terrified going in. I did take it more than once, which was very helpful for me (hurt financially, but was beneficial from a score perspective).
I found the GRE review books to be very helpful, they give lots of testing strategies as well as tons of sample problems to work through. If you can afford to buy/borrow books from a few different companies I'd recommend that. I was able to pick and choose the techniques that worked for me from the different books to end up with a plan that worked well for me. I dedicated a lot of time leading up to the test to studying, and it definitely paid off for me.
At least at my school, I know some people who were admitted with less than stellar scores. They had really strong GPA's, resumes and essays that made up for their GRE score.
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Eh, unless ou're applying to Harvard or something, don't stress it.
I took it last year and it was fine. I'm extremely strong in English (that's what I'm going to grad school for) and I brushed up on the questions via the GRE web site. Didn't bother to try to study the math, since I knew it would stress me out and for my purposes, my math score didn't matter. I ended up scoring a little above average in the math anyway, just on what I remembered/could reason out.
My version had two critical essays to write, but they didn't count as part of the score. I think it's something they're playing around with adding, so presumably I could have skipped them.
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First - go online and go over the types of questions. It's free (my undergrads have done this - I don't remember the site but you can PM me for the link and I'll ask them, but google should do it).
If your grades are strong, and your letters, don't sweat it. I would only look at a GRE as a way to boost someone. At least in my field (PhD program, biomedical sciences) your references are absolutely key.
Munching, first of all - congrats to you for facing the dragon of the GRE in the first place!
I took a prep course at the U. of Cape Town in 2009, and it was an eye opener for sure. I'm older, been out of college for 20 years, and the math was a b*tch. I hadn't devoted a brain cell to that stuff in a looooooooong time.
That said, the prep course gave me confidence that the key to the math (English is no problem, easy peasy for me) was practice, practice, practice. It's not as if you're digesting any truly new theoretical mathematics, it's simply a logical rehashing of algebra basics, really.
I ended up not ultimately taking the GRE because I put off the grad school route for now, but my rule of thumb for myself will be to do a good 6 weeks of intensive math prep - an hour or so a day of practicing GRE-style problems - should I choose to tackle it in the future.
Wishing you the VERY BEST on taking the test. You'll do fine!
I took it last year, a full 10 years after high school and at least 6 years since I had taken any sort of math class. It really is an awful lot like the SAT. I would highly recommend you spend the $30 for a prep book. I would have been in major trouble if I hadn't gone through the math topics and done a ton of practice questions. Also familiarize yourself with the types of writing prompts you will be given and the format of the verbal questions.
It is a really unpleasant for everyone... almost seems like they design it that way. Just go ahead and schedule it, spend 2 weeks slogging through your practice materials, and get it over with. As long as you have respectable scores, most schools will give your GPA, recommendations, personal statement(s), and experience much more weight than GRE scores.
Also remember, the GRE was just massively revamped. The scores are now from 130 to 170 in increments of 1 point, instead of 200-800. The Verbal section is very different, with more focus on reading comprehension and critical thinking than vocabulary. Also, the math section now has an on screen calculator. Other than that the section hasn't changed much. You can also skip and return to questions that are difficult. Check on the ETS website for all the changes.
Make sure when you buy prep materials that you are buying the new GRE materials.
And keep this in mind, as an art history major, they are not going to expect high Quantitative scores. I'm in Statistics, so while a 700 Quantitative is considered poor, a 400 Verbal is considered adequate! It definitely depends on your intended discipline.