anonymous asked:

I am taking the general GRE in 75 days, and my practice exam scores aren't exactly what I would like them to be. I am specifically struggling with the math portion, but not doing very well in the verbal sections either. I am enrolled in college full-time, have been awarded a research fellowship that requires 10 hours of my time per week (at least), and have an outside job. Would you have any advice on how to study for a standardized test such as this given time constraints?

You’re going to just have to buckle down and make time to study more. I know that might sound a little harsh, but they don’t give research fellowships to anyone, so I know you can do this. You know what you are struggling with, so focus on that (but make sure to review the other areas some, too).

GRE Specific Advice/Test-Prep:

General Studying Tips:

Good luck!

How to Study for the GRE

Step 1: Find a test taking center near you.

Step 2: Decide which date you want to take the GRE

Step 3: Download practice tests online.

Step 4: Go to your local library to find geologic surveys of your area.

Step 5: Use these resources to locate a nearby cave.

Step 6: Move into cave, leaving all your possessions behind.

Step 7: Abandon all your career goals.

Step 8: Gather roots and berries to survive.

Step 9: Let your hair and/or beard grow out.

Step 10: Try to forget the life you once hoped to lead.

Step 11: Cry.

Can it be good, from the age of 10 to the age of 23 , to be always preparing for an exam, and always knowing that your whole worldly future depends on it: and not only knowing it, but perpetually reminded of it by your parents and masters? Is this the way to breed a nation of people in psychological, moral, and spiritual health?
—  C.S. Lewis to Dr. Warfield M. Firor (March 12, 1950)

anonymous asked:

hey, congrats on the gre score! any tips you can give us on studying since you did so well? i'm finding memorizing words rly hard. tips for each section please! & how was the timing? rushed?

Thank you very much! And sure, I’ll do my best, although I think studying depends wildly from person to person–for example, many of the grad schools I’m applying for explicitly state they don’t consider your math score, so I didn’t spend much time prepping for that. Timing is also quite subjective, because while I have time to check my verbal answers, I always have to guess on 2+ quantitative problems because I’m not that quick with sums.

First, invest in a practice book. I highly recommend Manhattan Prep’s 5lb Book of GRE Practice Problems, which is only $12 on Amazon right now. Not only is it as ridiculously expansive as the name suggests, it includes a diagnostic test, 9+ fully outlined and explained essays, maybe one thousand vocab words, and a solution explanation for each math problem, broken down by type (ie probability, triangles, sets, etc). In addition, a quick google search will pull up free online practice tests (three from ETS, the actual GRE-makers) which mimic the computerized test exactly–and they’re free, so why not at least power through a few sections?

Now, more specifically:

The Written: No one wants to spend 30 minutes writing a practice essay, but at least try to do a few full, typed essays from practice prompts (preferably from a source that also includes full 4, 5, and 6 essays to measure yourself again). Type it somewhere without spellcheck, because you don’t want to be like me and realize during the exam that you can’t remember if millennial has two Ns. Because I feel confident in my writing skills, I usually only outlined the essays for my practice test, but this allowed me to compare my line of reasoning to the examples given. Standardized testing demands a very particular type of logic. If you want to be especially thorough, you could mark up an example 3 or 4 essay with thoughts on what could have made it a 5 or 6–by learning to efficiently recognize others’ shortcomings, you may be better equipped to see your own.

The Verbal: Flashcards. All day, every day, until you despise the English language (but also start to recognize your expanded vocabulary in the wild–just the other day I heard both laconic and taciturn on Buffy). Manhattan prep has online flashcards, but I went ahead and made a huge set on Quizlet (because I love making flashcards). Quizlet allows you to star words you have a lot of trouble on. I found that 200+ words quickly dropped from my list, and I began to recognize others showing up repeatedly on practice tests, which helped me gauge what was really important to know. (Flue? Probably not going to come up. Quixotic? Most definitely.) On any of the passage summary readings that sound like trick questions, I write out what the question/answer is saying in my own words, along with any unspoken assumptions. This saved 5+ points on the test, because a lot of the questions are purposefully written with assumptions that logically follow–but if the question doesn’t ask you to make a conclusion, stay to what the text says to the letter. It’s not testing your ability to be a rational, practical thinker, it’s testing your ability to jump through its evil, evil word-hoops.

The Quantitative: Aside from a basic college algebra review, I haven’t taken a math class in almost six years. The math section is bittersweet: While it does rely more heavily on reasoning than on equations (and unlike math, reasoning is familiar to my day-to-day life), it still expects you to memorize obscure equations. And it forces you to use a tiny on-screen calculator with minimal functions. When the SAT is vastly kinder, you know they’re just screwing with you. (Have I mentioned how expensive this test is? Honestly, that price is a large part of the reason I was determined to get it right the first time. But I digress.) To supplement my prep books, I had a friend tutor me in concepts I’d totally forgotten, and I made a cheat sheet of formulas that the GRE excepts you to know. (Not a literal cheat sheet, GRE police–I know you’re watching me.) Some of those are as follows:

  • Quadratic equation
  • Slope of the line
  • Areas of equilateral triangles + assorted polynomials
  • Area of part of a circle
  • Standard deviation principles
  • Regular/compound interest

That’s not comprehensive, but it’s a start. Tailor it to your own needs, and decide how important math is to you/your top grad schools.

This is the part where I repeat all the cliched stuff about going in well-rested, remaining calm even when the timer flashes the 5 minute mark, and remembering you can retake it in a few weeks. Really, it’s important to remember that this is a test designed to measure skills you don’t actually need to be a smart person. Decide ahead of time the minimum scores you’ll send (check data for your intended schools/programs and national percentiles). And if you have any more GRE/academic questions, I’m absolutely open to support you as best I can!

I really dropped the ball on this one. I didn’t think I needed to submit GRE scores when applying for doctoral programs because I had earned my Master’s. That’s not true at all. I need to send GRE scores. And since my scores are now out of date, I need to retake the test. Two week study cram session, here we go!

Just wanted to take a quick break from studying to share with everyone my absolute favorite way to memorize terms!! I decided to share because it took me until the beginning of my senior year of college to learn this trick and I wish I had learned it sooner! I’ve used it to memorize Italian translations, important facts in geography, and even more overwhelming things such as the name (both english and latin) and location of every muscle, bone, and tendon/ligament in the human body.  Feel free to message me with any questions! Happy studying!!!

🌵  Step 1. First I start off with index cards for definitions (in this case they were already made for me … thank you Kaplan GRE prep!!🙌🏼). 

🌵  Step 2. Then I use two of the index cards to make a “don’t know” and “know” card. 

🌵 Step 3. When first trying to learn a definition, I start with three cards, all of which go on the “don’t know” pile. As I memorize each one I put it in the “know” pile (I define memorize as being able to repeat the definition back… keep in mind for this example I’m learning the definitions of English words!)

🌵  Step 4. Once all three of the original cards are in the “know” pile, I pick up all three and test to see if I still can repeat back the definitions for each one.  Any card that is correct stays in the “know” pile while any card that is wrong is moved to the “don’t know” pile.

🌵  Step 5. Let’s say after the last step I had 2 cards on the “don’t know” pile and one card still in the “know” pile.  I then re-study and re-memorize the two cards in the “don’t know” pile until they can be moved to the know pile.

🌵 Step 6.  I then repeat step 4 and step 5 again checking for accuracy.

🌵  Step 7.  Once the first three cards are all steadily in the “know” pile, I add 3 more cards and repeat step 3 through step 6 all over again.  This time, after the three new cards enter the “know” pile, I check my accuracy with all 6 cards before moving on! 

***ill usually do this until there are ~20 cards in the “know” pile and then I start all over. And then once I have 2 piles of 20 each I’ll check all 40 together!!***