What can I do to get better at the GRE?
March 14, 2019 10:22 AM   Subscribe

This test is really not that hard but I can't seem to get the answers right. I'm using an app called magoosh to study, but I cant seem to do better on the math questions. It is honestly driving me nuts. I am aiming for a 165 in math but honestly I don't know how I will get there. The questions seem like they're impossible and like no matter what I do I can't get better at it.
posted by Braxis to Education (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's been many years since I took the exam, but I found it useful to do practice tests, and then carefully work through the problems that I got wrong. Also, it's important to try taking a practice test under timed conditions, so you get a sense of how much time you'll have when you take the actual exam.
posted by alex1965 at 10:43 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Did you do a review of Algebra/Geometry/Linear Equations/Proability before sitting down to do Magoosh? I tutored GRE math for years, and I think Magoosh's problems way overshoot (in terms of difficulty), and are qualitatitvely different from, the problems you see on the actual GRE. While it's an interesting source of tough problems, Magoosh is not going to resolve weaknesses in the fundamentals if you have any (which most students do).

I strongly recommend working the 5 lb book as an alternative to Magoosh. Also, feel free to PM me if you need more resources or advice.
posted by shaademaan at 10:50 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I agree with shaademaan, the 5 pound book was more similar to the actual test than Magoosh. If you have the concepts down you just need to get used to the rhythm of the GRE problems. The 5-pound book also comes with a printed practice test and I believe online access to many other practice tests. I hadn't taken a math class in a decade and got a 162 quant just by doing this in the evenings for about a month.
posted by little king trashmouth at 11:13 AM on March 14


Also, make sure you're paying attention to your pacing and strategy for quickly determining for each question if you should guess, eliminate 2 choices and guess, or really attack the problem. The GRE is really measuring HOW WELL YOU TAKE THE GRE more than the math itself, so pay attention to the "meta practice" of test-taking in these very specific circumstances. Kaplan and Princeton Review (and many others no doubt) have good basic strategies.
posted by nkknkk at 11:22 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Did you do a review of Algebra/Geometry/Linear Equations/Proability before sitting down to do Magoosh? I tutored GRE math for years, and I think Magoosh's problems way overshoot (in terms of difficulty), and are qualitatitvely different from, the problems you see on the actual GRE. While it's an interesting source of tough problems, Magoosh is not going to resolve weaknesses in the fundamentals if you have any (which most students do).

I strongly recommend working the 5 lb book as an alternative to Magoosh. Also, feel free to PM me if you need more resources or advice.


I haven't done that no, I will do it. I have been doing linear algebra, calculus and statistics, can't beat their questions anyway to be honest.
posted by Braxis at 11:26 AM on March 14


Other than that, does anyone have any tips on having a positive attitude with this thing? I mean it is a godawful test. I don't even know why anyone cares about it. I still need to do it, the universities I will apply to will want it and it offers a counterweight to my GPA which is my weak spot.
posted by Braxis at 11:59 AM on March 14


Your issue may not be the content but your strategy. There are faster ways to answer the questions by eliminating common wrong answers.
Get yourself a GRE strategy book!
posted by k8t at 12:18 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


@braxis, IMO it helps to keep in mind that standardized tests are just a game cooked up by an educational testing service, and not a true reflection of your abilities or your potential as a grad student/scholar. Just another hurdle to clear -- nothing to assign any emotional weight to.
posted by shaademaan at 12:20 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Other than that, does anyone have any tips on having a positive attitude with this thing? I

This is less about studying and more about the actual test day: Know that you will feel like total crap.

The online test is designed to (sort of kind of not exactly) find how hard the questions have to be before you get half right and half wrong. So if you get one right the questions get harder. If you get one wrong they get easier, etc. etc. If you're taking the GRE, you're probably not someone who's used to scoring 50% on tests (Based on number of questions wrong/right). That experience will be very discouraging and make you feel like you aren't doing well. So when you're doing the test remember this and don't feel bad if it feels "too hard." It feels too hard for everyone because they're trying to make it so that it will feel too hard. It doesn't mean you're not doing well.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:03 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


if you go on the Kaplan site you can take a timed practice test (one time for free). At the end it will then give you a run down of the types of questions you’re missing, study those, take more practice questions based on a Kaplan GRÉ book you get from the library, take the real thing.
posted by raccoon409 at 3:04 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Get the book.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:31 AM on March 15


Check to see if a nearby library has LearningExpress Library. It has lots of practice tests, tutorials, an equivalent of the 5lb. book, math skills review (and other skills reviews), and lots more. You will probably need a library card to access it. You will have to create a personal accounts within LEL in order to save work in progress, store score reports, and revisit any practice tests, tutorials, or eBooks. Libraries like this database because it means the books are always available--not checked out and not returned.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 11:42 PM on March 16


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